How to fall in love in London

A modern love story.

Once upon a time, in a far away, yet still kind of unaffordable, borough of London lived a young lady (lol ok that’s questionable but I’ll continue) who was swept off her feet by a handsome gentleman with no commitment issues who owned a nice flat and had a stable job and they –

Sorry I couldn’t continue because I was laughing so much that I choked on the reduced aisle muffin I bought which is strangely dry.

Here’s the real story:

Side note: if at points this story seems rather niche for a generic love story/fairy tale it’s because I’m narcissistic and can’t help bringing my experiences into this. All of which are totally bonkers and completely weird.

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PICTURE THE SCENE

You’re lying on the sofa one day idly flicking through tinder, chins out, shouting things at an old episode of Americas next top model:

“How hard is it to SMIZE Tiffany!! And sort out your walk. No wonder Tyra is no longer rooting for you!”

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When suddenly something catches your eye.

James, 29

Architect (the panty dropper of all jobs)

In a band (errrrmaaagahd)

And then….the real clincher. The magic words, the golden goose, the pull your knickers off and wave them round your head deal sealer

Six.foot.four.

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By some miracle of fortune you match with this gentleman (all your pictures are heavily filtered and there are strategic ones to show off a considerable amount of tit) and you start to exchange witty and spontaneous banter*

*read you and three of your friends sitting in your pyjamas in the living room with the focus of a swat team, coming up with the best possible answers to his questions.

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Tentatively, you suggest a date. He accepts. Friends unanimously rejoice.

You arrange to meet on a Sunday (nice and safe) but sadly because you are a twat you wake up at 3pm stinking of booze and realise you have lost the keys to your flat. Text him to tell him you might be ‘a bit late’. Hopefully this gives off a cool rebellious vibe rather than an out of control alcoholic vibe.

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Sneakily arrange to meet in the pub you were in last night, so you can enquire about your keys. Sadly, ruin any chance at subtlety when the barman actually has your keys and you do a celebration dance like a mad orangutan.

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By some actual stroke of complete luck you have an excellent first date. Swiftly followed by an even more excellent second date.

Miraculously a third date is on the cards and you’re pretty sure what this means….

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Especially as the invitation is a romantic dinner cooked at his place.

It’s at this point where desperation takes over and when asked the question “is there anything you don’t eat” you reply “No I eat everything”… despite the fact you’ve been a vegetarian for 18 years.

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This also results in your ‘very helpful’ pal reminding you that you have, in fact, decided that you’d rather eat half a chicken and, in doing so, undermine your dietary choices since you were six than not have sex with an attractive man.

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This should probably make you feel bad but it sadly it doesn’t.*

*in this case crisis was averted as we had a mutual friend who, upon hearing that he was in the butchers sizing up prime cuts of meat, let him know that I was a lying psychopath and also a vegetarian. Weirdly he didn’t run for the hills, but I feel the aroma of ‘desperate liar’ hung pungently in the air from there on out. So…yeah.

 

MOVING ON

You decide that preparation is the key to success and that in this case preparation means wearing some kind of uncomfortable underwear contraption that cuts into your body like a cheese grater. The aim is to trick this man into thinking you are the kind of woman who owns and wears garments like this on a daily basis.

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There will be plenty of time for him to get used to the fact that your favourite pair of pants is a giant duck egg blue number from M&S that has a hole in the waistband where the elastic has given way.

I like to call this ‘lying about who you are in order to appear attractive’.

A panicked shopping trip ensues

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Plus  you pick up 100 bottles of veet to be applied liberally from the chin down.

The third date goes off without a hitch* and you start to think that perhaps this could be the actual love story of a lifetime. Perhaps it really is possible to be this mooningly happy, you think to yourself, as you wander hand in hand through leafy parks, laughing uproariously at very mediocre jokes (his not yours – you’re a HOOT). Shopping for books and chasing each other around the shelving units in a way that feels to you like a rom-com but makes everyone else in the shop want to shove the nearest book directly down their throats.

*unless you count trying to seductively clamber onto his kitchen work surface whilst kissing him and then accidentally turning the hob on with your bottom and then burning said bottom and your new lace pants kind of melting against your skin a bit which meant you had to have sex on top of a bag of frozen peas. I don’t but maybe you do HAHAAHAHAHAHH (help me God)

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Kissing in horrendously inappropriate places (NB I once saw a couple snogging on a plinth on Southbank. So obnoxious. Also, I had just been dumped so whilst rationally I know it wasn’t personal it felt like they had clambered up there merely to rub it in my face. Which is also why I shouted ‘TWATS’ at them as I walked past. Sorry guys).

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You’re cocooned in a blissful ball of happiness. You smile at people on the tube. You sing in the shower. You bring his name up in conversation so often that your friends basically wish you were dead.

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This, my friends, is what all your boring old teachers meant when they said ‘pride comes before a fall’.

It happens slowly at first. Like the impending build-up of suspenseful doom in any good horror movie.

First…he refers to you as a ‘friend’ to his mates in your earshot.

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A text goes unanswered.

A couple of days of silence.

A week.

A cancelled date.

“I’m really busy at work right now”

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“Are you COLIN…or are you just busy being a TWAT?”

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You try and keep calm and turn to your friends for reassuring advice.

But deep down in your gut you know that this isn’t good.

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Its this level of not good

Sure enough you get the text at 11am whilst at your desk.

“Hey – you free for a chat later?”

Side note: Boys, WHY THE HELL DO YOU DO THIS? We aren’t idiots (mostly). We KNOW what this is. We know this is not a happy-go-lucky ‘I just called to say I love you and want to rent a shoebox sized flat in Clapham with you’ call.

No.

We know what’s coming but now we have to sit and fester on this all day. That my friends is how you end up sitting in a park near your office with your work wife and a gin in a tin at 10.30am on a Tuesday. Thank you, you bellends.

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(Sub side note: the last guy I dated was actually the worst texter of all time but was uncommonly fond of phone calls – why god why – which meant that I’d have three days of silence then a ‘can we chat later’ text that would make the back of my knees sweat and then it’d turn out HE ACTUALLY JUST WANTED TO CHAT. MY NERVESSSSSSSS)

But you make it through til 5pm like the trooper you are even though your whole day is geared up to receiving, what I like to call, ‘platitudes of horseshit’ from the mouth of the person who you saw naked a mere 48 hours ago.

“Its not you its me”

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“I’m just in a place in my life right now where work has to be my focus”

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“I just don’t really see this going anywhere. I’m not sure we’re right for each other”

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“You deserve someone who can give you the affection and romance you want”

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“You lied about eating meat and it was quite desperate and weird and now I don’t fancy you any more” (ok cool this one is quite legit).

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You try to reason with them by reminding them of your good qualities

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Your totally laidback attitude to dating

But they refuse to be swayed. Needless to say, you don’t take the news well

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Kindly friends gather round for some stern words of advice as you valiantly and maturely handle this crushing heartbreak like a boss

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“You only went out for three months”

“He dressed exactly like an old dad… let’s not cry over this”

“Is that a pizza box under your pillow?!”

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Sadly though no matter how poignant your pals advice, this is the period of time known as ‘the extreme sad-sack period’. Welcome to the month or two where you deem it acceptable to exist entirely on a diet of cheap alcohol and the occasional packet of crisps. Where you sit in your towel for hours, re-reading old whatsapps to try and ascertain where you went wrong. Where in some…cough…hypothetical, yet strangely niche, situations wander round your flat in a pair of his boxers and one of his tshirts rubbing his old vix nose inhaler against your cheek whilst your flatmate eyes you the way one might eye a suspicious rucksack on the tube.

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After a while and an even sterner talking to from pals you decide that enough is enough.

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You also decided that now is the time to hit the town. Because you are borderline mentally unstable at the moment and throwing ten gin and tonics at this could really elevate you into the clinically insane level you’ve been excited to try out for so long.

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FYI – this is how fun you are in this period

You put on a nice appropriate outfit (aka something so tight you can barely breathe) and employ your most fun friends to take you to the nearest alcohol house.

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As you sip cocktails (pound the cheapest wine like its juice) and discuss current events (WHY.DIDNT.HE.LOVE.ME) you can feel yourself getting a little tipsy (so drunk you don’t recognise one of your oldest friends and keep asking the others who ‘this new bitch’ is. Oopsie.).

Hey everyone what happens when you’re miserable and drunk?

TEXTY FINGERS THAT’S WHAT.

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Now is the time to dig your phone out your bag, spilling lipsticks and old train tickets onto the floor around you as you stare at your phone with one eye open, breathing like an old carthorse.

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Let’s all cast our minds back to the last time you decided to drink and text. Did you text something nice and rational that resulted in you both having closure?

No of course you didn’t.

No one in the history of the world has ever texted their ex a cordial message after ten bottles of piss wine and you are not the exception you are the rule.

It’s also worth noting that never, ever has a drunken 3am text resulted in the person who dumped you thinking “Oh gosh actually do you know what I think I am still in love with them. Better hot foot it down to the pub and swoop her up before anyone else does!”

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Your message will be one of these things:

– Extremely rude

“I jus wannnded to message you to say you’re a BUSTURD and you’ll awwwaayyss be a bustard. Duck face puck”

– extremely pathetic

“I still think about you an I dun undersund why we can work it out. I miss you smell and your pretty face and I miss you”

– nonsencial

“I’m frogging over the wayyyyy hsjbfhsdjgbjl;kd wheeeuuurrrrr are the boats???????????????”

– desperate

“you awkae?”

However, without a doubt, the message will be misspelt and absolutely bonkers.

This particular time you decide to continue your persona of desperate liar and text your ex saying “heyyyy – suh something rally bad huppnd. I broke my leg. Help me pls”*

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I MEAN

WHY IS LIFE LIKE THIS

*ps: this also results in you waking up in a cold sweating panic, twenty minutes late for work, having send a garbled text to your ex pretending you’d ‘only sprained it’.   And then purchasing a tubey grip which you have to wear to meet him for a drink, YOU insisted on organising, because it ‘would be nice to see him’.

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Spoiler alert. It wasn’t nice. And the tubey grip cost £7.99. FML.

But hey you can’t keep a good woman down so you decide to throw yourself into work/get really stuck into a new hobby/prioritise your friends.

AKA you hit tinder with a vengeance.

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Sadly, because the universe can smell when things might be slightly improving for you this is the time that your ex decides to post a picture of him ice skating with some blonde girl in a twee bobble hat captioned with a heart emoiji.

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Isn’t this the same ex who had to really focus on his work right now I hear you cry??

Fucking of course it is.

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You are now entering what I like to call the insane stalker period.

By the time you get the courtesy “I just thought I’d let you know I’m seeing someone so pls stop texting me at three in the morning” message you are in the position to reply

“I know you are. I hope you both had fun in PARIS you giant bellend. PS pls can you ask her where her bikini from her 2011 holiday to turkey is from I really like it. Thanks”

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Bad times.

Time for a regretful bob haircut.

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And more booze

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Then one day you wake up and you don’t immediately stalk his Instagram story. You feel strong, happy, not totally mentally stable but not totally mad.

The world is your oyster! You don’t need men! Now is the time to focus on you… You don-

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Oh god

You’ve got a date next week.

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