52 First Dates – That Four Letter Word

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

Can you believe that it’s been 15 months since I went on Date #10 and met Mr Toronto? I can’t quite believe it myself, time seems to have flown past. Now it’s time for that VERY important four letter word – VISA.

Over the past year Mr T. and I have jet-set back and forth between London and Toronto. To be fair, it’s mostly him coming here, but that’s because his aviation company flew here regularly over the summer and so Mr T got a free ride to the UK. Get in! well, he had to work, but still. Plus, an extra little perk of him working was having a free hotel room, albeit Gatwick’s Hilton’s sparse offerings, and it was preeetttty nice!

But, there was one thing bugging me all along, where could this go? I didn’t want to do long distance forever, and though I’d kinda got used to being far away from each other, there comes a time when things have to change, when things have to get a little more serious. But what can be more serious than saying ‘I LOVE you?’. I’ll tell you. Saying, ‘Lets get a VISA’.

Luckily for me, Canada’s a commonwealth country and so they have the young person’s working visa which you can apply for up to 30. Luckily for me again, Mr T is 28. However, being cabin crew he needs his passport for work and we’ve had to wait a LONG time until he could take annual leave and get a long enough period to send his documents off to NYC, in the middle of Hurricane Sandy, I add. But, today he got it back and there, stamped neatly in its pages, was the visa, all approved, all ready to go from December 1st 2012.

I have to say, getting the visa was highly stressful, largely because there is no official to ask and no official to check your documents. You have to work it out yourself, plead for help from friends who have similar visa processes and hope to God that you’ve got everything right. We made mistakes. We fucked up a few times. But, it’s done. And now this 52 First Dates story can continue its happy ending as Mr Toronto becomes Mr London.

52 First Dates – Dealing with the Two L’s

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

Today, I said it. I said something that I daren’t think possible when 52 First Dates began. I told Mr T I loved him.

We’ve been circumnavigating around the issue recently with a lot of ‘I miss you a lot’, ‘I wuv you’ (please don’t judge me – we all know that in the privacy of txts adult language turns to dirt and mush).  The thing is, with a Long distance relationship, the Love word is very easy to throw around. In fact, the word is easily thrown around in whatever relationship you’re in and it can quickly become a term with no real meaning. But, with the distance of 6,000 miles, a face to face ‘I Love You’ isn’t that possible. Plus, I’d been a bitch on the phone last night and spent the twilight hours worrying if he really, actually, knew how much he means to me. So, I said it, I meant it, and life is a whole fracking lot better now it’s been said.

I can’t quite believe that I found love due to 52FirstDates. Nor can I believe that it happened so quickly; Date #10 after all. Nor can I believe that I’ve fallen in love with a man who lives 6,000 miles away. I’ll say that again – 6,000 MILES! Claire is now on Date #31. To be honest, I think you might have found me hanging by a noose if I was on level pegging.

Long distance relationships and love is a complicated affair, but whilst I was adamently against it at first, it’s actually worked in our favour. We are thrilled to talk to each other, excited to plan our next trip, relieved that in our current state there’s no way to take each other for granted. Ok, the physical issue is enough to drive ones horn to a permanent erection, but with the blessed iPhone, Toronto is just a phonecall away. Apple has pretty much solved by dating disaster.

However, the word love is a certain milestone within a relationship, and now it’s been said, what next? Milestone One; You start dating. Milestone Two; You say Love. Milestone Three; You Move in? You Get Married? I do know that for a long distance relationship to progress, something has to change so that its no longer a long distance relationship. But, whatever happens, I set out on 52FirstDates to find a husband.  And, now it seems, I might have only gone and bloody well found one!

Date #10 – 52 First Dates – The Tale of Mr Toronto

This week has been rather a rollercoaster. At the start, the dark clouds of depression began to roll in, making me feel inadequate, uninterested and fog filled. At the end it was smiles, passion and more laughter than I’ve had in a long time.

Mr Toronto and I have been chatting for some time after he initially found me on a lesser used mobile app, Jack’d. We texted daily, he called me a couple of times, we shared more than a few intimate photos, but I never thought it would come to anything, I mean, he lives on the other side of the world. But Mr Toronto is intense, intense enough to fly across the pond to come and see me in London. Intense enough to scare me a little as a certain good friend knows. But though I may have been a little wary at first, his persistence paid off because date #10 started on Monday afternoon and finished only a few short hours ago!

The thing with Mr Toronto is, not only does he work in the aviation industry, but he’s spontaneous too so a quick standby request and he was in London in no time. In a 52 First Date’s first I’d shared the blog with him, wanting to make it clear that I wasn’t doing this just to bed him and improve diplomatic relations. It was good reading fodder for his journey, and a few questions out of the way and all was fine. Our dating ideas were changed rather due to his accommodation plans falling through, and after creating enough fireworks for the entire street to think Eid had come early, I persuaded Mr T not to look for a hotel; as long as he got out of my way in the day so I could work, he could stay the week.

And so, an unexpected holiday romance began. We talked allotments, I made him watch The Great British Bake Off, we were woken by Cecil the cockerel at 8.30am. I made stupid faces like a gurning champion, farted in bed and wore my £4 faded Primark trackies round the house, and amazingly he still found me attractive. He cooks. He’s interested, or at least pretends to be, when I go off on a geek fest regarding gardening, bugs, or my aquarium….though I haven’t unleashed the Harry Potter geek on him yet. He has an incredible body, one which makes me feel out of shape rather. I love that we watched Final Destination 5 together and laughed at the stupid gore whilst filling our gobs with popcorn, ice cream and, for health’s sake, a tuna sandwich. I love that he has the dedication to keep his faith, yet the independence to not be led by it. I love that I was completely myself for the entire week and felt like a best friend, but of course with benefits, was in the house.

So, what next?! Well, there’s the possibility I’ll go to Toronto to see him and, before we even met, Mr T already had plans to become Mr London in 2012 for his career. Would I move for love? of course. Is this love? of course not – yet. As far as 52 First Dates is concerned I’m not at all sure. Mr Toronto makes my heart smile, and the last thing I want to do right now is go on a new first date. As such, there may be a stop gap in proceedings whilst we work out where this might head. But, for now, date #10 has taken a little piece of me with him on his flight back to Canada and I’m hoping that I’ll see him again.

Date #9 – 52 First Dates

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

After the shameful dates of #7 and #8, I’ve been wondering if I once again needed to become a little more discerning in my choice of meet. There’s one thing for going on 52 dates, but the drive of ‘needing’ a date has led me to go and meet men which, perhaps in normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have met. Not that this is a bad thing mind you. With my long list of criteria, being forced to meet alternatives is a good thing. But, having had two dates not go so well, I was feeling a little dismal.

I decided to be productive for Date #9 as, though we had spoken for many months on Grindr, no date had ever been set and I was wondering if I might, like #5, have a last minute cancel. So, I headed into town – shopping, reading in the park and the six monthly sexual health MOT was in order – though perhaps the latter might not be the best idea just before you supposed to be going on a date if bad news is received. With a clear screen and a bag burgeoning with condoms (where have freedom’s gone?! Getting free condoms from the health clinic is one thing, but having them in Soho bars is surely far better for the safe sex message), I headed off with slight anticipation for the latest man in my life.

Date 9 was, and is, sexy with a smile (I’m smiling about him as I write). 25, hair stylist, local to me due to my Grindr coverage, and pretty much out which I highly respect in the asian community. It’s a good sign when five minutes in you’re already wanting to kiss someone. I introduced him to Patisserie Valerie and flirted over cakes in Compton Street, despite the rather abrupt and poor waitressing (Marshall Street and Spitalfields have MUCH better service). We bantered about his bling, about his Saturday night drunken antics, about the fact that we’ve been chatting on Grindr for months yet have never really taken the opportunity to meet. We drank Pornstar Martini’s at Freedom and flirted more, me knowing that I really fancied him now as not only did I still want to kiss him, but I didn’t dare touch him either – a common trait when I like someone. I now know more about styling than I ever have in my entire life, but with the knowledge also comes a sexy guy who is so passionate and enthusiastic about his job that you can’t help but be enthralled. It’s normally me that’s chatting away like a rampant budgie on dates, and it was refreshingly blissful to sit back and simply enjoy the company of someone who’s on your wavelength and is a lot of fun to be around. Also, his love of tea scores brownie points, and when you factor in a love for a good strong cuppa after a pissup before bed, there a major points involved.

Living in the same direction, we both headed home on the Central Line, not having had a kiss and knowing that a mid-carriage snogathon couldn’t really happen. We talked all the way, making the 30minute journey feel about five minutes and there was a notable appearance from Meera Syal (she’s lives in my hood dont ya know). I complimented his bum when he jumped off for the overground, he complimented mine by text a few minutes later. I really hope I see him again, because I could have quite happily spend the entire night chatting away. And its safe to be said, any amount of unexciting dates are worth the feeling that I have right now.

Date #8 – 52 First Dates

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

They say that if you fail, try try again, and after Saturdays dismal failure I was very keen to get another date in pronto. I’d been speaking to Mr Investment Banker for a few months now and had largely held off because our initial communications had surrounded meeting up for a random shag. He was on gardening leave from his job, horny as hell, and thought we’d have a great time. However, whilst he had a great body and was South Asian so just my type, with 52 First Dates a bid to find love, the last thing I needed was another notch on my bed post and a new fuck buddy to confuse my befuddled head.

Over the past few months however, we’ve chatted more, he agreed that yes, he was a horny fuck, but a relationship could be on the cards, tick tick in my books. And so tonight, amongst London’s burning riots, dark looming clouds and the city alive with sirens, I decided to meet this rather handsome, pocket sized man for a drink or two.

The date was good, but interluded with quite a few moments of silence. We sat side by side on a bench outside a pub looking out at screaming police vans, not exactly good body language from the outset. We were approached by countless tramps, one of which was dressed almost as well as we were, and other than the odd glance at each other’s face, we talked, but at our drinks rather than each other’s faces. Some potential f-buddies are simply not suitable for more than bed bouncing, a fact that was clear by our lack of mutual interests, his seriousness compared to my silliness, and the fact that our lives are vastly different. I mean, he gets up at 6am, and I’m rarely in bed before  2am, this was never going to work.

After strolling the streets around Spitalfields hunting looters – we found none, though the police presence was high – I thought that I might get a darkened alleyway snog just for snogs sake. I mean, this is date 8 and I haven’t snogged since date 1. However, a hurried goodbye and a rather fumbled, quickly turn a cheek kiss into a limp hug on his part, showed me that he far from fancied me and I should’ve just jumped on at Liverpool Street rather than walking him back to Bank…confirmed by his then decision to go to Moorgate, possibly to avoid further kiss attempts from me.

So, an enjoyable evening came to an end. I never look back at these failings with regret, he’s a lovely guy, we’re just not suited and he didnt fancy me an ounce. Onwards….here’s to date #9!

Date #7 – 52 First Dates

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

Whilst I was filled with a little hope after date #6/Federer lookalike, I soon realised that it wasn’t going to happen. Yes, we chatted like old friends, but being worried he was going to go in for the kiss, in addition to looking in the toilet mirror hlafway through the date and asking myself whether I fancied my date or not, probably reveals my disappointed answer. I liked date #6 a lot, and I suppose I was trying to create a spark. However, from dating history I know that if it’s not there from the beginning it simply doesn’t work for me…and so onto date #7 I went.

A Grindr find, date #7 was a Middle Eastern Aussie. He was hot. He seemed fairly upfront and honest, and after he failed to find any Bel Ami boys on his holiday in Prague we decided to meet up. If I’m honest, I was disappointed. Sometimes you meet someone and know within seconds it’s not going to work. He was still hot, still Aussie, still Middle Eastern, but I could tell that our approach to life differed hugely. He didn’t get my banter. He seemed rather uninterested, and whilst a nice guy, there’s no creating a spark when you don’t have fuel or kindling. The most notable occurrence of the date was that there was a squashed fly on the window by our cafe seats; slightly off putting when ur trying to enjoy tea, cake and some stagnant conversation.

There’s not too much further I can say. We ate cake, we window shopped in Liberty’s, but I was all too keen to get away and see my friends for some evening boozing. And with the coming week’s social calendar already bursting, I’m hoping that I find time to slot date #8 in!

Date #6 – 52 First Dates

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

The one thing you realise when serial dating is that the demanding effort needed isn’t for the dates themselves, it’s for the prep work. Finding men, chatting them up, vetting them to the best of your abilities to ensure that they’re not complete weirdos actually takes a long time. 52firstdates started well, and now I realise it was because of the prior prep, readying men to actually meet. It seems that, unlike me, people have lives to live and can’t actually just date at the drop of a hat. And though dates were rolling to start with, the past few weeks have been a little stagnant to say the least. However, Claire and I seem to be mirroring each other, and she too has had difficulties. Whether luck was on our sides, or the simple motivation of her sixth date last night spurred me on, I finally managed to confirm a lovely number six for tonight.

I met Date #6 on Gay Romeo, a new site suggested by a twitter friend. Sardinian, 27, independent and a great smile. After the debacle of the past few weeks I was slightly unsure of whether I’d ask for a date because I was just in need of one or whether I actually felt it would go well. Saying that, a slight blip in my highly strict criteria was much needed. Being both east end boys we decided to skip the suffocating atmosphere of central London and instead head to Canary Wharf. And having never been there in my 12 London years I was amazed how nice it was.

Date #6 was beaming constantly. Funny and with sparkling eyes his thick Italian accent made it a little difficult to understand at times. However, in these moments I was just taken in by his uncanny resemblance to tennis star Federer – his eyes, his teeth, his broad face, and the way his mouth was slightly contracted when he spoke. We wandered along the river, looking at architecture and the slivers of sunlight streaming through the clouds. We had a coffee in Costa, before we took again to the city slicker skyline of soaring buildings and pristine parks. At one point, amongst the pine trees of a sculpted space I was slightly concerned he was going go in for the kiss. Date #6 has the possibility of becoming a great friend, and we all know what that can be a foundation for. Was the spark there? I’m not sure, and I was cautious of a kiss that could lead him on. But, if this were the Bachelor he most certainly would not be going home.

Of random note, halfway through our date I ended up being interviewed by a team from South Korea making a documentary about London. As Date #6 phoned a friend I ended becoming the face of London for Korean children to learn English too. That or I’m going to be used on war propaganda. It was slightly surreal, especially for midway through a date, but hell, my face can now be enjoyed by kids across Korea (cue sick bucket).

All in all, Date #6 was lovely, and even if no husband comes from it, it was a fantastic evening with a new friend exploring new places. Were there raging fireworks? No….but we all know the emotional turmoil that comes from that. For now I’m happy to want date two, and get back on this dating bandwagon.

Commitmentphobes and Apple Trees – 52 First Dates

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

So, here’s the thing. Finding, putting your faith in, and having a date every seven days is proving a challenge. Whilst the first four weeks seemed to drift past with blissful ease, it seems that recent weeks have proved a bit of a problem. Not that those first four weeks were easy; I met some nice guys and emotions did run a little high. But, finding those dates proved very simple, and with the power of online sites and iPhone apps, beautiful guys seemed to be popping up everywhere. However, everything seems to have gone quiet, and the metaphorical dating snowball seems to have got stuck mid slope.

Today was going to be third time lucky with date #5. Unlike @C_T_S’s Catfish dating horror, I knew that #5 was legitimate, he was just busy. However, after being cancelled on again I’m afraid my conversation was less than subtle in the fact that I wasn’t bothered anymore and to stop texting me. I don’t actually doubt that work was indeed mad, and that he had been ill, but if it’s taking more than three attempts to meet up for date one, then it’s simply not going to work out in the long run. If you commit to a date you commit, end of. Then, with date #6 proving to just want to fuck, and having discovered on Saturday that he’d also been messaging a good friend to try and hook up, communication with Mr Middle Eastern has also been cut short.

I’m not sure whether it’s the weather, or perhaps that the entire gay community has become aware of a mad loon going on a date every week and writing about it, but things seemed to have dried up rather. I don’t want to go on a date with just anyone because, lets be honest, if there’s no banter or attraction in the first place, then its simply a waste of everyone’s time. Add to the mix one time fuck lovers and date commitmentphobes, and the future is looking bleak. With plans both Friday and Saturday this week, I only have tonight, Wednesday and Thursday to enjoy an evening with new conversation and unseen smiles, and so, I’m feeling rather ill prepared and pressurised to find Mr Next.

However, having also joined gayromeo in a bid to find a husband, I came across this quote in someone’s profile. I’m not sure where it’s from but I think it describes rather aptly how I feel about the dating world and, in times when I’m feeling a little neglected, its nice to think that at least I’m not scrabbling around in the undergrowth picking up rotters.

Boys are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree.

Other boys don’t want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling & getting hurt.

Instead, they get the rotten apples from the ground that aren’t as nice but easy.

So the apples up top think there is something wrong with them when in reality they’re amazing! They just have to wait for the right boy to come along the one who is brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

Date Fail – 52 First Dates

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011So, after a failed Date #5 last week I was ready to get back on track this week, and last night had Date #5 Take 2 set up, and then date #6 tonight. Well, as intimated in the title, Date #5 once again cancelled, this time due to illness. This may be completely honest, and to tell the truth, our date would have been one of coughs, splutters and bunged noses as I’m also currently grappling with a summer cold. The morning excess of snot is quite literally repulsive, and only steaming showers have been able to free my head of gunk. However, I had made the effort to go into town and set the world to rights with a friend, so the fact that Date #5 cancelled again was rather disappointing.

Meanwhile, Date #6 was due to be tonight with a hot, slightly angry looking Middle Eastern guy. There were a few red flags if I’m honest. His suave and styled approach seemed to be straight from Made in Chelsea and I was wondering whether he might be a slight Ollie/My Little Pony/Pocahontas replica. Meanwhile, his inability to use full stops would have probably driven me to an early grave. Mr Middle Eastern knew about my date on Thursday (yesterday’s failed escapade) and said he’d be around after if I wanted. Subtext – if you don’t go home with him then we can fuck. Red Flag 1. Then today, I text to see if he still want’s a drink. ‘I’m free late late what time u meeting your date’. Subtext – I don’t want a drink, I want a bootycall. Also, his inability to remember I was on a date on Thursday, in addition to not putting in any punctuation riled me. Red Flag 2. 30 minutes later another text asking where I am, subtext – Actually, I’m horny now, are you around to service me. Red Flag 3. There’s been a few texts since with similar meaning, which completely contradict his previous chat with me about wanting to find something long term instead of a random bed bouncing session.

So, with plans once again for tomorrow, it now seems that I’m two weeks behind in my 52 First Dates concept which is highly annoying. Date #5, well, I’m, making no more effort but I would still go on  a date with him. Date #6 is being cut loose to go and subtext away from me. And as week seven looms I hope to god that I actually manage to get on another date!

Date #5 – 52 First Dates

© Bernardo Baldiviezo 2011

This week there’s definitely been a storm in this hermit’s little tea cup. Date #4 was my future husband. Fact. (ok, there may be a mix of embellishment, melodrama and down right stalker thoughts here, but he was the first guy I’ve ever had that surreal, whole heart and mind feeling for – and after only two bloody hours!).  However, date #4 is not hugely great at texting, a fact he alluded to himself, and so I’ve been provided the perfect occasion to wallow in that hellish ‘where on earth is my cheeky, sexy, make me smile message’. In addition, after all my positive date spiel about his possible career abroad he’s only gone and got the job. He’s into me, he’s just not THAT into me. And with September looming there really isn’t much of a chance to build the foundations of a relationship that will last a year of travelling back and forth between countries. However, whilst logic reminds me of the fact that two weeks ago I’d never met this guy, that we only spent two hours together, and that I really have no extended connection, my heart has other, strange ideas and I’m finding it very hard not to dwell on it. Meanwhile, lovely date #3 is texting me every day, making me not only realise that that’s how it should be, but also making me feel incredibly guilty. I like date #3, but date #4 overshadowed him, and I don’t want to be leading anyone on in this minefield known as dating.

And so, I have to admit, I approached date #5 with an already bruised heart and an amount of trepidation. I wasn’t really feeling like going on a date, but this entire concept is here to conquer that emotion and keep the dating ball rolling. Date #5 was sexy, Mediterranean, and a Trekkie – what more could a sci-fi geek like me want? We’d had an in-depth first conversation about the sweety goodness of waffles and so I’d decided what better place to meet than Spitalfields Market Patisserie Valerie to indulge ourselves a little. The fact that the day had been a washout and we were both East helped too, avoiding the hour long trek into Central London. The date? Well…56 minutes before we were due to meet Mr #5 cancelled. He seemed to have a legitimate reason, but I’d actually geared myself up to looking forward to a cream filled bun over conversation with a hot man. It would have been the perfect end to a dreary day.

On the plus side, my day was made better when the identical twin brother of a former hookup messaged me to see if I was available for ‘friends and fun’. I knew of his existance from my former beau, but never in a million years thought that we’d ever coincide with each other. And here he is, winking at me on Manhunt, and all I’m thinking is ‘Damn, this could be so wrong, yet SO right.’  Meanwhile, technically I have also already met up with one guy this week….though it was Sunday at about 1am. The rules state hookups are not dates, and this was definitely not a hookup. Though if this 19 year old muscled Asian guy hadn’t left when he did it quite possible could have been. But 19?! What on earth was my Saturday night brain thinking….well, actually I think we can all answer that…and, to have a random snog with a sexy man was just what I needed to take my thoughts away from other things. I’m 30 and I can still pull teenagers – result!

So, I have two days before this week is over to try and find a new date, and only tomorrow night to actually see someone as I’m otherwise busy all weekend….I better go a-hunting!