Here comes the sun

I’ve got a problem. And it’s pretty serious.

I guiltily confessed it to my housemate on the tube this week, glancing around so that no one could hear.

“I think I’ve lost my mojo.”

“Your mojo?”

“Yeah, my mojo. My sparkle. My shiny….ness. Basically, I feel like a big dork.”

And I do.

It’s been a gradual thing. But the confident, flirty, interesting girl who got off the plane in London all those months ago seems to have lost her touch.

None of my clothes seem to look as good. My makeup seems wonky. My stories aren’t as interesting. On Saturday night, it took me an hour to get served at a bar. AN HOUR. NO WOMAN SHOULD BE FORCED TO WAIT AN HOUR FOR A MARGARITA. And as soon as I’d drunk it, I decided I’d rather be reading a book instead, and went home.

Walking back to the little brown brick house, I pondered my situation with increasing anxiety.

What is wrong with me? Is this what happens when you get old? Is my face starting to LOOK old? Is it wrinkly? Oh God, is all this thinking GIVING ME WRINKLES? OK, hold your eyebrows still. Maybe it’s that I’ve been single too long. Have I lost confidence? Have I forgotten how to talk to people? Have I lost the power to charm men? That’s it, I have! Oh, why did I WASTE the power when I had it? Think of the THINGS I could I have got if I’d used it wisely! I could have DIAMONDS! And they would DEFINITELY distract from the wrinkles. I AM A HIDEOUS, WRINKLED, DIAMOND-LESS MONSTER THAT NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE!

Fortunately, back on the tube, my ever-wonderful housemate was there to stop my pity spiral.

“You haven’t lost your mojo. You’re just dealing with your first London winter. You haven’t seen the sun in four months. You’ve been shivering since August. It rains every day. We’re all used to feeling like crap for half the year, but we have the good sense to stay inside and drink wine. It’s just you, trying to pretend everything’s good when the winter is trying to beat all the joy out of you. Just hide under your doona, and everything will get better in April. Or May. By June, definitely. We will definitely see some sun in June.”

JUNE?

It’s too much to bear.

Which is why I write to you from Changi Airport, Singapore, halfway home to Australia.

I AM going back to London. But I’m just taking a little break in the sun. A few weeks to hug my cousins, drive a car, eat potato salad and not have to deal with black snot (one of the more disturbing aspects of London living).

Who knows, I might even find my mojo.

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A hairy question

He was friendly. He was flirty. He was American.

But he had a moustache.

My Saturday night is now nothing but a boozy blur. But here’s what I remember. Some girlfriends and I drank champagne. We went out for dinner. We drank more champagne. We told funny stories and laughed hysterically. We drank more champagne. We had deep and meaningfuls. The restaurant closed. We found a bar. We drank more champagne. We cried and hugged each other. The bar closed. We found another bar. Decided, sensibly, that we didn’t need any more champagne.

So we ordered margaritas.

We danced. We drank more margaritas. Someone fell over. And when I reached the point where I needed to hold one eye closed to focus properly, Moustache Man suddenly appeared.

From what I remember, he was lovely. Outgoing, interested, confident and charming. New to London, and keen for adventure. Sympathetic to my lack-of-focussing-ability. A potentially perfect leading man.

BUT.

HE HAD A MOUSTACHE.

Now, you need to understand – I really, really hate moustaches. To me, they are the ugliest, dirtiest things in the world. A clean-shaven man? Lovely. A guy with a bit of stubble? Perfect. Sporting a full beard? Hot. But a moustache? Gross, just gross. Hairy, scary and (I don’t know why), but kinda pervy.

For me, November is a terrible month. As Movember takes hold, good-looking men all over the place are suddenly afflicted with a hairy upper lip. It’s terrifying!

And that – especially for a girl looking for love – poses a major problem. If you meet a moustached man in late November it COULD be that he’s a charitable, fun guy, out to raise some money and have a laugh. The moustache could be gone in days, revealing a handsome, clean-shaven Mr Right. Or, he could seriously think a moustache is a good look and HAVE ONE ALL THE TIME.

It’s a difficult time for a moustache-fearing girl.

Bring on December 1!

It’s raining. Men.

The weather has turned. And my sunny Australian optimism is slowly turning a little grey, too.

I’d been warned about the London winter. Former Londoners had gleefully described it as ‘hell on earth’, ‘soul destroying’ and ‘the single most awful thing you will ever experience’. I laughed. I had my heart broken last year, remember? A little cold weather is hardly likely to get me down!

But you know what? Those smug ex-Londoners were right. IT’S BLOODY COLD. The sky is actually grey. There’s so much water in the air, my hair tuns to frizz the second I walk out the door. The other day it was so face-freezingly cold, I wore two coats, and a scarf wrapped around my nose. It never, never stops raining. And you know what the worst thing is? It’s October. IT’S NOT EVEN WINTER YET.

It’s a source of constant amusement to my cocky, acclimatised housemates. They sit in t-shirts and shorts, laughing at me as I wrap myself from head to toe in a cocoon of blankets just to watch the telly. Forget the Heathrow Injection (that layer of fat all Aussies get when they move to curry-loving London), I’m looking bulky enough thanks to the three or four jumpers I’m wearing at any given time!

Which is surely not going to be a great look when it comes to meeting my Mr Right. Unless he has a thing for thermal-wear?

So far, I still haven’t found him. But I have encountered a WHOLE HOST of Mr Wrongs. I don’t know if it’s an English thing, but I have met some hilariously rude and inappropriate men since I landed in this wonderful city. Some highlights:

Mr Racist: A very proper British chap who I met at a volunteering gig. He was the epitome of politeness, until he gave me the hot tip, “If you ever date a black person, don’t worry about being on time. They never turn up to anything when they’re supposed to.” Charming.

Mr Aggressive: A man I sat next to at a dinner, who didn’t talk to me ALL night. Until very late, when he turned around and barked, “Are you single?” When I said yes, he told me it was probably because I was a terrible girlfriend. He then told me, “well, I would give you my number, but my phone is broken”. What. A. Shame.

Mr Literal: A guy who wore a t-shirt with ‘C*NT’ stamped across it. A bit too honest with the advertising, perhaps?

Mr Snob: A young, rich, unemployed toff. When I told him I was keeping myself really busy with lots of social events, he confidently replied, “Well, they will definitely dry up”. Cheers.

Mr Druggie: A man who, when listing his attributes, included, “do you like coke? Because my brother is the biggest coke dealer in Essex”. No. No, I don’t.

Mr Offensive: A man, who over the course of one evening, told me my accent was “terrible”, that he had two girlfriends, and I that I looked about 36. I am appalled and embarrassed to say this guy’s charms kind of worked on me. I blame Bridget Jones. And tequila.

Or maybe it’s just the cold? Could the freezing temperatures be messing with my head, as well as my hair? Yes. I’ll blame that.

Seeing double

As you get older, it’s a fact that more and more people around you get coupled up. Scrolling through Facebook, you find that one of your few remaining single pals is now ‘in a relationship’. Your ‘in a relationship’ friends have suddenly changed their status to ‘engaged’. Just today, I saw a that a boy I went to primary school with, who I once asked to marry me (he said no, because he wanted to marry his cousin. The rejection!) is HAVING A BABY. Not with his cousin mind you, but shocking all the same. I knew him when he was five years old, and now he’s having a child!

It’s a good thing. I am really happy that everyone is finding happiness, blah blah blah. But sometimes, all this ‘coupleness’ can make you feel very, very single.

When I moved to London, part of my decision was to get away from Couple Land. Don’t get me wrong – I really, really love my married friends. But I know I’m not going to meet MY Mr Right, playing Scrabble and drinking wine with my grown-up buddies as they stay in on a Friday night. I thought London might be an escape from that – a chance to meet up with a different crowd, hang out with some fun single people, flirt, hook up, and all that jazz.

But as I put together my guest list for my birthday celebrations on Saturday night, I realised the location may have changed, but the situation is much the same. Just about EVERYONE I know here is in a serious relationship. Of a group of ten people invited to drink margaritas with me for my birthday, just two other guests were single.

Depressing, but I’m not alone, right? There were two others sharing my plight! Three out of ten – that’s almost a third! Safe in that statistical justification I put on my prettiest dress, threw on some hot pink lipstick and prepared to have a wonderful night, reveling in my single (and totally normal) fabulousness.

Yep, those other two singles? They totally hooked up.

This should come with a health warning

I awoke from the kind of deep sleep that only seven margaritas can ensure. Head pounding and mouth dry, I forced one eye open as I reached out desperately for a glass of water. Suddenly, I jumped. Was that a spider on the pillow beside me? No, just the set of false eyelashes I had carefully glued on just twelve hours earlier, but evidently decided were too hard to remove when I staggered in to bed at 4am. As the memories of the night before came flooding back (did I really slow dance with a guy who looked like first-year Ron Weasley? Did I really just laugh and dance on when someone vomited on my foot?) and the hangover well and truly kicked in, I was struck by a worrying thought – this chick lit experiment might not be so good for my health.

To be honest. it’s a thought that’s been growing for a while. When faced with any decision, I find myself asking, ‘What would Bridget Jones do?’. Should I have that extra drink? Of course. Should I eat that entire cake? Absolutely! Should I flirt with that rude, arrogant man? For sure! It’s the only way to get Mr Darcy in the end!

The problem is, I can justify just about anything if I think it’ll make good material for the blog. Which is why my weekend was lost to several bottles of wine, a generous helping of tequila, a bag of lollies and the drunken abuse of a taxi driver who let another girl into his cab, AFTER I HAILED IT.

Bridget made it seem glamorous. But can this much eating, drinking and flirting really end in anything but obesity, alcoholism and cold sores?

Only one way to find out…