Dahab: Diving and Falling…..

So, I’m sat in this fantastic quirky cafe on the shore line of the Red Sea in Dahab, Egypt, with this gorgeous man lying in my lap. He reads whilst I type this blog. I was meant to be alone but just a few weeks ago I impulsively asked him to come with me and he impulsively agreed.

The original idea was for me to get my adventurous pre-motherhood self back as a treat after having pneumonia over Christmas. My beautiful daughter is on her first holiday with her Dad and so I knew I had a week to play with. After some exploring I settled on guaranteed heat in Egypt and decided to revisit a travelling destination from 15 years ago- Dahab. All that time ago I went with 3 dear friends from school and Uni. I bottled the scuba diving back then whilst only one of my buddies was brave enough. When she regaled us with her stories I instantly regretted not doing it, hence it being number 10 on my list I wrote of goals to do when I became a single mum. Also, my ex would never have done it. Now, I can live my life and not his and even better revisit a place I love which has no memories associated with him either. I also knew it was a well worn backpacker paradise and I would meet people on the scuba diving course as well as have an opportunity to relax and snorkel safely on my own.

But then he came. We’re on day five. I’ve only known him 2 months. It’s like I’ve never not known him and sharing everything, including the 3 day adventure of scuba diving, feels so good; so natural.image

image It’s been an intense few days but at no point have I got bored of him or the things we’re doing. We’ve been on the same page throughout and it feels amazing. And apart from the obvious connection and friendship we’re building I bloody fancy the arse of him! Everything is refreshing: his creativity, his kindness, his honesty and his big sparkly blue eyes.

The Open Water Diving course was done in 3 days. Both of us feel a sense of pride and satisfaction, especially as we’ve both admitted its been one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. It was worth it to witness the majestic coral and fish and the zen-like meditative qualities of breathing under water. He was my diving buddy and I know it sounds cheesy but it has bonded us to share something so different, challenging and unforgettable. Even better is that I know he’s pretty smitten about me too. I feel myself falling in love and the emotion feels all brand new.

Is this just the holiday talking? The inevitable relaxation, break from the norm, sea, sun and shisha pipe affecting me? So what if it is? I’m going to enjoy it and what it drives me to do. One thing it has me itching to do is rewrite that ‘list’ which featured scuba diving. I’m a different person now- healed, heart mended and stronger for the love of my beautiful daughter and that strength makes me want to write anew to reflect that. Scuba diving? Done.

Back in the Dating Game

I’ve been separated and now divorced for 2 years and in that time I have embarked on some dating via an online website. There were a few rebounds and in one case a surprising friendship has formed. But I got dating fatigue and in all honesty, learning to live in a world without the ex, a world of motherhood and a world of being fulfilled as a single person and rediscovering me again has been what’s made me happy. Happiness is just being me and her.

However, I got pneumonia over December and have been a very poorly hermit for a few months. So, to give me a boost, I decided to join a well know online site again. The aim was to have a few fun dates, or funny ones, go to nice places and just get a general confidence boost and pick me up after being so ill.

There are some right rotters and fakers online. Dates are arranged and cancelled (although I’ve been guilty of that too!), some men seem to think that photos of their torso or cock really sell themselves to women. It just makes me think- #arrogantignoramusonlyaftersex. Clearly there are women out there who are the same but not me! I’m not doing it for a shag but a possible relationship as meeting people the old fashioned way proves tricky. Especially if like me, you’re never out due motherhood or pneumonia or when you have been out the people you attract are way too young or judgement is blurred due to booze! So, ‘looking for a relationship’ was what I stated on my profile.  It seemed to do the trick at lessening people contacting you who just want to display their genitals. Haven’t these people heard of a digital footprint?

But after 3 dates, date fatigue had started to set in again. The novelty had worn off and the feeling that my time was being wasted crept in. Especially when I swear the last guy was gay! And if he wasn’t, then sweet baby Jesus, he had the weirdest, campest affectation with his mouth! Lovely guy but could not get passed it!

But last week something happened. Someone contacted me and instead of polite and perfunctory messages, which bored me, I found myself writing long, meaningful messages because something clicked. I wanted to ask probing questions not the obvious ones and discover more about him and he me. We arranged a date and for the first time ever I was excited and nervous for a date.

We hit it off instantly and there was no uncomfortable silence as I felt like we knew each other a bit anyway. He’s creative, charming and a doting father, which I find a sexy quality now I’m a mum- we both shared stories of our daughters, who are obviously so important to us as demonstrated by our mutual pride in our stories. And as an added bonus he’s gorgeous and I don’t think he knows quite how much.

The date ended in a kiss. He walked me to my car and as we were saying goodbye he nervously uttered, “should I go for the kiss?”. “Yes- go for the kiss”, I said. So we did. It was super sexy and made me feel all tingly. Once we got home we continued to text each other and date number 2 arranged. I haven’t felt this excited about what’s to come in ages.

But what are the rules, if any about the new world of dating? We’ve texted each other every day since then, just like we would have messaged online every day. Is it overkill? If I’m not careful will that become tedious or stagnate? Once upon a time over 10 years ago when I last pursued a relationship there was no texting! You waited patiently and maybe spoke once to arrange the next date. Actual real life speaking on a landline phone! But this world of virtual media and the instantaneous world of texting and Whatsapp makes people feel connected. I feel like I know him and catch myself daydreaming about him. And that’s nonsense and I know it- I’ve met him once and for all I know he could have a ‘few irons in the fire’ and loads of dates lined up, as is the nature of online dating.

So, any help with confirming the ‘rules’ would be greatfully received. Maybe there are no rules? Maybe I will just make them up as I go along. But one things for sure, the excitement of possibility is a giddy feeling I’ve not felt in a long time and I’m intrigued as to how it will pan out.

Review

I find it hard to squeeze in blogging nowadays as a working single mum. My job and my 20 month old are very demanding. However, this week I got a week long sabatical from her whilst she stayed at her Dad’s. Her sleep has been poor of late with sleep terrors, sleep talking and genral neediness for cuddles in the night and I felt too exhausted to go through yet another round of sleep training. “You do it” I said when her Dad moaned and insisted on a new sleep regime last week after she had kept him awake on her weekly stay at his. You could have heard my jaw hit the floor when he agreed. I miss her terribly but the smug bugger has seemingly cracked her sleep problems. Win win. I’m just glad he knows what it’s like for once and that I didn’t have to do it. For once.
So, this week, I have been working late in a bid to get all my school prep done so I don’t have to work my summer holidays. It’s been weird not having to do the nightly bath and bedtime routine and I’m suprised at how long my evenings feel. Even with doing school planning I have had time to come to the keyboard to type somehting for me and not for work purposes.
Whilst looking over my blog I re read the “Bombshell…..” It was the first piece I every wrote and it was lucky enough to get posted on Any Other Woman too. It feels strange reading my words and yet knowing I was in a much different emotional place back then. I’ve come a long way. I thought about the list of dreams for the future I wrote nearly 18 months ago now and thought I would review them. The original list is as follows:

1.Cherishing every day with my daughter and keeping a video and photographic diary of her milestones.
2.A 2 bed little cottage somewhere, which I can furnish how I like. Bring on the soft furnishings and scatter cushions.
3.Working part-time
4.Swimming lessons with my baby
5.Learning to horse-ride with my daughter
6.Going on a girlie holiday (friendship has won out through all of this)
7.Meeting a man who will spoil me
8.5* holidays (not the travel lodge or hostel)
9.Running a B&B in St. Ives
10.Learning to scuba dive.
11.Re-marrying with a fairy tale wedding day I didn’t do the first time around.

I have actually managed to accomplish 1, 2 & 3. Well, it’s not a cottage but a more gorgeous than most terrace with a massive garden for baby girl. I swim regularly with her but have not done actual lessons with her. In 2 weeks I can tick of No. 6. I am off to Majorca with 2 friends and one of them has become a single parent too so is bringing her kiddies too. Should be fun – villa with a pool and guaranteed sun. Whoop!

As for the rest… time is needed. That B&B has retirement written all over it. As for meeting a man, well I have dated several to know what I want now. The fairy tale wedding no longer seems important. I do know that I want someone to spoil me and I don’t mean with material things. Generosity of actions and words is so important. I want someone who can put me first for once. I’ve discovered I don’t need a man but I would like one as I would like to be a family still as it was something that was taken away from me. So, someone who has family values is a must. But most importantly I want someone who brings out the best in me and makes me and my daughter feel content and carefree. I wonder if that person exists?

Summer of Love

I am full of the joys and hopes of late summer. Who would have thought it? It is only 8 months since the bombshell. My self-esteem is back as I am desired again and desire to be with someone else. The best thing is that it has taken me totally by surprise.

I started online dating back in June as a distraction, as a self-esteem boost and as a way of getting over my ex. By golly it’s worked. I am back to work properly after my maternity leave at the start of September, so I knew it was just a temporary affair as once I’m back at work I will not have the time. Baby girl and work is the priority. I had some shocking dates but it was fun to gossip about and good to have a bit of social life when everyone else I know is in a couple. There was the Hobbit, the Silver Fox and then ‘Fit but bald’.

Now ‘Fit but bald’ lasted a few weeks – I thought he was a nice guy but something didn’t quite sit right with him. I fancied him and felt at ease in his company but I always came away thinking there was something missing. There was no great meeting of the minds and call me shallow but his prospects were not great. I could not see it lasting long term. But I stuck with it simply because I wasn’t after long term. However, Fit but Bald was obviously pretty keen on me and started texting relentlessly, talking a lot of bollocks and talking very seriously about ‘us’. I think I got so carried away with fancying someone again after nearly 11 years that I stuck it out a few too many dates knowing he wasn’t right. I needed to get the hell out of dodge! So, slowly over a space of a week my text messages got a little standoffish until he finally got the point. I broke the news I didn’t want to see him again via text. Sounds harsh but I did offer him the chance to meet for an explanation. He realised his mistakes and bowed out graciously. Phew! I don’t think I’ve ever had to dump someone. Easy. But then it was only a few dates!

However, since him, a rather lovely man contacted me on the dating website. We emailed a bit back and forth about the obvious like what the hell happened with my shit-bag ex and it didn’t put him off! If I could compile a list of what would make my perfect man for me at this stage in my life he would tick every box on that list: professional, ambitious, intelligent, solvent, sporty, kind and generous. He’s also gorgeous: inside and out. I have been on 2 dates with him and there was mutual instant attraction and spark. He is taking me out for dinner for date number 3 and I’m so flipping excited I could explode! I need to play it cool and take it slowly with this one because I’m a smitten kitten and cannot believe my luck.

My daughter is also growing more wonderful everyday. She is pure joy and love and now sleeps through the night and because of her I feel happy. Perhaps it is her joy and happiness that is making me myself again and to have the confidence to attract such a great guy.

Now, what to wear for my dinner date?……

Crush

I am too old for this kind of behaviour but seemingly I have a crush. He is hot. He is also 45, 10 years older than me. But he looks good and looks after his appearance – a bit of a silver fox!

I was dreading the date aswell. I joined a well know dating website 2 weeks ago and put as my age bracket for people I would be interested in as 30-40. He politely asked if I would reconsider for him. His photos looked nice and his profile was interesting but lets face it the photos could have been taken 15 years ago. So over a space of a week he worked very hard to get me to say yes to a date. Very charming. I commend his perseverance.

Nevertheless I was dreading the date because what am I going to have in common with a 45 year old? I still feel 22 half the time and although I’ve grown up since becoming a mum, I am very young at heart. I had visions of him turning up in a North Face fleece and awful Dadsie hair.

I was pleasantly surprised and fancied him immediately. The time went quickly but I’m such a novice at dating someone new and I’ve never done it through an online group. Was my topic of conversation boring? Was I asking too many questions about likes and dislikes rather than just chatting normally? Bloody hell – I’m also too old to be analyzing every thing that was said. There were obvious differences and not just our age but I felt comfortable in his company and he had a nice way about him. He also obviously didn’t mind that I had a very young daughter otherwise he wouldn’t have been there.

Now the end of the date was just as awkward as the awful first date but for different reasons. I had had a glass of wine on an empty stomach and was feeling a bit giddy. But he had been driving so had not been drinking so I had to contain my giddiness. But there was no let on from him if he liked me back. Am I one of those people who have no radar for these things? So when we said goodbye it was a pleasant kiss on the cheek and a ‘thanks and nice to meet you’. No date was arranged for another time.  But he did text later saying he had a nice time.

Now it’s been 2 days and still no text. Bugger. What are the rules on these things these days? Texting makes us more impulsive and immediate- gone are the days when you would see someone at the weekend but wouldn’t arrange anything until the Wednesday after. Or are they? Some friends have said he wont text again straight away as that is too keen. Others have said we’re too old to muck about so just text him to show you like him….Oh flipping hell, what to do??
Of course, knowing my luck, he is probably thinking  – “nice girl but do I really have anything in common with her?”….. Well he’s be right. We had zero in common but I think I’m just enjoying dating so want another one just for the fun of it!

All I know is I may not find a Mr Right from doing this online dating business but it is certainly giving me a confidence boost after the ‘Bombshell’ and is a very fun and well needed distraction. In the meantime I have another fella emailing me so hopefully there will be another date in the pipeline!

The (1st) Date

So I spent 2 hours getting ready: a long soak in the bath, manicure, pedicure and although my sister told me not to, I shaved my legs. Was that the curse that made my first date in 10 years bloody awful?

I guess I needed to get the first one under my belt. I was really nervous and tweeted furiously about my nerves and because he kept me waiting, the tweeting made it look like I was busy.

His photos did not do him justice: as short as me (I’m tiny), bad teeth, bushy eyebrows and far older looking in the flesh. The photos must have been taken yonks ago and he carefully chose ones where his eyebrows and teeth were not on display!

To be fair he was a very nice guy and will make someone very happy, I’m sure but he was just not my cuppa tea. He was not that bright (I’m bloody smart as), a bit rough round the edges and he talked non stop about himself. I dutifully asked him lots of questions expecting the same in return but no. Nada. Niente. Nothing!
So after one drink and only 1 hour later I made my excuses. And the end of the date was so awkward – do you leave with a kiss on the cheek? Do you tell them there and then you don’t want to see them again? I lied. When he said, “see you soon, yeah?”. I said, “Uh, yes of course” and scurried off! Oh dear.

Well, my sister did say it needed to be crap to make the blog more interesting – I hope I didn’t let you down sis?!

Blind Date

Two weeks ago a friend asked me if I was ready to date again. I categorically said no. At the time I thought I had too much on with baby girl and going back to work and that no-one would want to date someone with a 7 month old baby anyway.

Then the sun came out. In England when the sun comes out, the beachwear comes out, people wear hardly any clothes and men who have and have not got muscles get their tops off, even when it’s only 17 degrees. I felt happy and there was some outdoor drinking (just the one of course) to be done. Suddenly, I got a spring in my step, started wearing fewer clothes myself and perving on the men with no tops on. One of my friends was talking about online dating whilst we were out in the sunshine and so I thought, ‘why the hell not?”

It didn’t take much encouraging, so that night I signed up to a well know online dating website. This was unknown territory for me – I hadn’t been on a date with someone other than my shit bag husband for 10 years. I already liked it because it was safe. All done from the comfort of my living room and they don’t get to see you blush or grimace. I also liked the fact that I can set my stall out straight away. I’m a mum. I’m separated. You either mind or you don’t. Simple. The only problem was finding a nice photo of me, without the shit bag ex next to me!

Within seconds of finishing my profile and submitting the payment I had 3 winks- a bit like a poke on Facebook. But I can’t help feel that the men are really wankers not winkers. What’s the point? Shit or get off the pot and drop me a flipping email!

Within minutes I got an email from a rather nice chap. I liked his straightforwardness. He just emailed ‘You’re cute”. He is right of course, I am, so I checked his profile and all seemed promising. He has his own business, own teeth, own hair and like me is a parent so he is obviously not put off by me being one. Excellent.

So that very same night we emailed back and forth for a bit and then it dawned in me that I was knackered. It was way past my bedtime and baby girl is not the best sleeper so I’m bound to be up soon. It also dawned on me that I was already hooked. My self- esteem has rocketed and, just like Twitter I was connected to the world virtually. Oh dear me, I am a social media freak!

As the days went on I got more people emailing me. Some people either can’t read or are delusional. I had clearly stated the age bracket between 30-40 and 50 year olds were contacting me! I had also uploaded some really nice photos (granted they were pre baby but my figure is nearly the same) so some men with dodgy haircuts, mono-brows or a beer gut were clearly barking up the wrong tree. I just want someone who is nice looking, not a heavy set beef cake (I’m not a fan of a guy who’s a gym junky), has a good job, ambitious and values family. I also want someone who is literate, as you would not believe the crap that is written in the profile. I’m also a member of the grammar police and so not using your and you’re correctly is a no no! Now that might sound too fussy but I’m not delusional myself. I will not rule out divorced or if they have kids – afterall that’s me too. However, I will rule out a like for heavy metal music.

By the end of the week I am emailing a couple of nice chaps with one date lined up. My confidence, which has been shattered by my separation is coming back. I’m excited and nervous – it’s just coffee but its been 10 years since I’ve been on a date and I’ve never been on a blind one. I also wear glasses, which I won’t on a date so I’m a bit worried I wont spot him or recognize him from his photos and look like a right numpty. Oh well – the date is next week so I will let you all know how it goes. Now…what to wear?……