9.33 A.M. I am trying my hardest not to get too excited about my date this afternoon.
In the laws of dating once you get excited it all goes horribly wrong. They message you to say they don’t want anything complicated or are about to leave the country, forever.
10.00 A.M. Still thinking about my date whilst stacking the dishwasher.
10.33 A.M. Chewing thumb nail and reflecting on love life to date:
- First partner informs me he is gay.
- Second partner runs off with a blonde barmaid.
- Snog a senior manager at work in a moment of madness following break-up of relationship with the one who ran off with the barmaid.
- A succession of disastrous dates with a variety of losers and loners.
- Decision made to withdraw myself from the dating scene.
- Period of dating abstinence.
- Last week – This date winked at me on my dating app. I winked back. He sent me a friendly email. I replied. I tried not to come across as desperate in my email. I simply said we should go on a date ASAP and I suggested a day, time and location etc. He replied with a simple ‘ok thanks’
I don’t think lady luck has been on my side when it comes to dating.
Today – it’s time for me to dip my toe back into the dating pool. I haven’t had much luck with relationships but I strongly believe Prince Charming is out there. Somewhere.
10.34 A.M. Write out first date preparation list:
• Review choice of first date outfits.
• Wash hair
• Shave legs
• Apply makeup
• Change mind about outfit, select new outfit and change mind. Repeat x 10 times.
• Do some major gargling with a heavy-duty mouthwash.
• Practice kissing on the back of my hand. I don’t normally kiss on the first date but I may change my dating policy if this one turns out to be normal and mentally together.
• Have a small mental breakdown about starting dating again in my thirties.
• Imagine what our wedding will be like?
• Ring Brian my landlord a number of times to remind him about giving me a lift.
10.36 A.M. Text both ex-partners for 5th time this morning and 10th time this week to remind them that they have agreed to take their respective children for the afternoon.
11.37 A.M. My best mate Shaz and I are stood by my living room window, watching my first ex Jon get out of his car.
Jon is Matilda’s (my teenage daughter) father. He was my childhood sweetheart. The person who I thought would give me the fairytale wedding and love me forever.
That was until I fell pregnant with Matilda and he confessed soon after that he didn’t love me anymore, as he was gay.
I think back to that emotional time. I was only a teenager myself, carrying a baby I wasn’t sure I wanted and trying to get my round the fact that my Prince Charming fancied other Princes.
For the record you cannot compete with a stubbly chin and a hairy chest.
“I know I have said it before but he is stunning!” exclaims Shaz, with her head pressed to the glass, staring at Jon.
The sight of him makes me turn towards the stairs and scream “MATILDA your father is here!”
“Jon keeps himself in such good shape doesn’t he Roxy?” says Shaz, gazing longingly at him as he walks towards the house.
I glance at Jon; his chiseled heroic face, well-defined arms, muscular chest and sigh at what could have been mine. Obviously if he hadn’t gone on that clubbing holiday, met Paul the butcher from Portsmouth and reassessed his entire life outside a Spanish nightclub.
11.38 A.M. Remind myself that I spent the best part of my teenage years happily ignoring the signs that he wasn’t happy with who he was.
11.39 A.M. “Have you ever thought of trying to… turn him back?” whispers Shaz, keeping her eyes fixed on Jon stood on the steps outside.
“No!” I reply, wishing Matilda would hurry up in coming down to greet her father and Shaz would stop asking ridiculous questions.
Shaz sighs loudly before saying “do you mind if I try to turn him?”
“Yes I do! Leave him alone. Anyway you are pregnant and shouldn’t be lusting after men!” I exclaim, reaching for my phone.
I fire off a quick text to Matilda telling her that her father is here. My teenage daughter ignores my voice but responds well to a text.
Within seconds she appears at the bottom of the stairs. Both Shaz and I steal a quick glance of concern at each other. Matilda’s outfit is inappropriate for just about all social occasions. It consists of a skirt, which looks more like a belt, and a revealing vest top. I know full well that Jon will not say anything to her.
“You are not going out dressed like that!” I exclaim, as she stands in front of us with her denim jacket flung over her shoulder and chewing gum noisily.
She rolls her thick mascara clad eyes at me, flicks her long brown hair and walks towards the door.
“I love the way she listens to you,” whispers Shaz behind me.
11.39 A.M. “Hi Jon” I say brightly.
His tanned face appears in the doorway and Shaz starts to fidget.
“Hi there Jon!” Shaz purrs, whilst giving him a little wave.
He gives her an uncomfortable nod and smiles at me.
“Mam has a date at the local garden centre café with some weirdo!” announces Matilda to her father.
In Matilda’s eyes any man who is not a skateboarder, a lead singer of a band or a model is classed as a weirdo.
Jon raises his eyebrows and ushers Matilda outside.
11.42 A.M. Shaz and I watch Jon’s car glide out of the street.
“I think I am getting one of my pregnancy cravings again for a Snickers bar!” says Shaz rubbing her tummy and looking towards my kitchen.
“Won’t that be your third bar today?” I ask, noticing two empty wrappers on my window sill.
“I can’t help it if the baby already likes nuts and chocolate,” Shaz sighs, turning back to the window.
“Oh look here comes Rob the Fish Man!” she exclaims as a bright red van, with ‘Your Local Tropical Fish Man’ plastered all over it, comes into the street.
Rob is my other ex partner and father to my two boys; Toby and Harry. Shaz always refers to him as ‘Rob the Fish Man’.
“OMG he has brought the barmaid girlfriend with him!” exclaims Shaz.
We both watch the van pull up. Rob leaps out to help a tiny blonde woman, clad in a tight leopard skin mini dress, from his van. Once on the ground she teeters dangerously on her huge leopard skin heels. He reaches out to steady her.
“I thought you said they were going to the park to play football with the boys?” asks Shaz staring at the blonde’s dress and gigantic stilettos.
“They are going to the park. Rob says she struggles to wear casual stuff when she’s with him” I say, watching him guide her up the path.
“She likes her leopard prints doesn’t she?” says Shaz.
“She likes to make an effort for him,” I say, remembering Rob sitting me down and telling me the reasons why he was leaving me for a blonde barmaid. One of the reasons being I didn’t make much of an effort with the way I dressed.
“Do the kids still like her?” asks Shaz.
“Toby reckons she laughs like a monkey from one of his animal programmes and Harry claims her perfume makes his eyes sting!” I say, picking up Shaz’s empty wrappers from my window sill.
11.52 A.M. Shaz and I are stood watching Rob load the boys and the blonde barmaid into his tropical fish van.
“I take it she still likes his tropical fish?” asks Shaz, watching Rob help her up into the van.
“He says she likes anything small and colourful!” I exclaim, staring at her pin like, orange tan legs.
11.54 A.M. “What did you ever see in Rob the Fish Man?” exclaims Shaz, watching Rob’s van pull out of the street.
“He had his own business and he had a van,” I say, leaving the window to go sit on my sofa.
“I still can’t believe he dumped you for that barmaid,” says Shaz. “Now get out your dating app and tell me all about this date of yours!”
I grab my phone and flick onto the dating app.
11.55 A.M. “This is Derek. He has his own gardening business and his own van,” I say proudly.
Vans are a big tick box for me in a relationship. I am drawn to practical men with large vans, tool boxes and overalls.
I also like a man who owns a vehicle big enough to cart me and my three kids about in.
Shaz lets out a sigh. “He’s very pleasing on the eye isn’t he? If it doesn’t work out you can definitely send him my way. The postman wants nothing to do with me or the baby!”
I reach across and give Shaz’s arm a squeeze. She smiles.
“I think I will be ok,” I say, feeling a little burst of Derek related excitement shoot through me.
“He is one hot gardener Roxy. Those sea blue eyes are something else!” drools Shaz, stroking Derek’s photo with her manicured red finger nail.
“Hands off!” I say, snatching my phone from her.
“So what does he know about you then?” asks Shaz, curling up on my sofa and tucking her feet underneath her.
“I’m single” I say.
“He knows you have three kids?” asks Shaz.
I shake my head before saying “nope, why spoil the first date with that sort of low-level detail?”
Shaz laughs. “Oh I get it! You are planning to win him over first and then slip into the conversation one day, over a romantic breakfast in bed, that you have three kids and two ex partners?”
“Don’t you think that’s a good strategy?” I ask, watching Shaz inspect her pink fingernails.
“Your boys are lovely Roxy, but you might want to forewarn him about Matilda,’ Shaz says holding her hand up to get a closer look at one of her nails.
“She’s a good kid, just got some hormonal issues,” I say, checking my phone and catching sight of the text I got from Matilda last night. She had disobeyed me and gone for a ride in her new boyfriend’s car. The text read ‘I don’t take orders from anyone!’
“Have you told Derek anything else?” asks Shaz.
“I am into gardening” I say staring at Derek’s photo.
“Gardening?” questions Shaz. She pauses and stares at me in horror. “Roxy you struggled growing water cress for Toby’s school project!”
11.58 A.M. Continue with my wedding daydream