Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sydney lovebirds

Cute, huh? The first picture was a stroke of good luck - they'd been hopping from branch to branch and just happened to sit side-by-side like that just long enough for me to snap them. I loved the picture so much I kept an eye out for avian pairs the rest of my trip. I like the Opera House couple too (even though that's a blurry shot).

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Speed blogging

I'm feeling incredibly busy and time-poor right now (and also low-energy and tired) so tonight is not the night for long rambling posts, even though I am way behind in telling you about Cute Canadian, among other things.

I leave for a four-day weekend in Sydney on Thursday morning so I have just three days at work this week to get a whole lot of stuff done... Also, next weekend I've signed up to do a three-day training in something bold, physical and well out of my comfort zone. I have some prep to do and no time people, no time!

So in lieu of details, details, details, you get a maximum of eight carefully chosen words on CC and Quirky Film Guy.

Cute Canadian: kind, generous, conversation/chemistry lacking, yet still contending...

Quirky Film Guy: entertaining, interesting, inspiring, über-smooth, departing on location...

Actually, 8 words each almost brings you right up to speed... I'll fill in some gaps when I'm back from Sydney.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Brown and orange and blonde and bald

I'm holding out on you - three weekends of dates with Cute Canadian have passed us by and not a one has made its way into a post yet...

I will endeavour to remedy that in the next couple of days but for now I just don't have the time to do it justice.

In the meantime, tomorrow night I'm having drinks with Quirky Film Guy from speed dating. I'm expecting to enjoy myself because he's a smart, fun, creative guy with a way cool job. I'm not counting on sparks though. I hesitate to confess this because it's shallow but the red-headed guys do nothing for me, generally speaking. Actually neither do the blondes. Or bald guys, now that I think of it.

If I'm really honest, I'm a brunette gal looking for a man-brunette to call her own. However, a wise friend once said to me that we should be open to the possibility that love may one day come in a package different to the one we expected.
Sounds sensible to me, so drinks with cool, quirky, red-headed film guy tomorrow night it is...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And the contact details go to…

So you’ll recall that after my spontaneous night of speed dating I posted straight away to see if my instincts are any good and if I could predict who would be interested in me.

Seems like my elite status got to my head, because my strike rate? A dismal 50%. I might as well have flipped a coin.

Now, I didn't even tell you about the guys I said no to yet... You see Auckland, even though it has about a million people living here, it is small. And the population of eligible single men - smaller still (we are officially in the midst of a man drought).

I walked into the room where the event was being held, coolly cast my gaze around the room to scope the talent only to immediately register that amongst the 'sexy singles' was a guy who'd been trying to engage me in online chat for ages through various dating sites (I just wasn't interested) and another guy I'd been on one date with (and ruled out due to total lack of chemistry). Ye gods, has it come to this?

I pretty much decided - even before getting my results - that I would not want to go speed dating again (even for free).

Regardless, I got my matches by email the next day, and although they told me I had retained my elite status (phew!), I only had two matches (meaning we each were given the other's contact details).

Bachelor #1 declined me, which surprised me a little but bothered me not one bit. He was nice, but a little bland. Bachelor #3, the hottest man of the night, also totally rejected me. And while that’s a little rough on the ego, I can handle it. (I found out after the event he was a smoker anyway, which is pretty much a deal breaker for me…)

Of course Bachelor #4, the one I regretted saying yes to, said yes to me. I entered his cellphone number into my phone so I could screen him if he called – but the sneaky devil called from another number and caught me unawares. Which led to me agreeing to go to dinner with him, when really I didn’t want to…

Bachelor #2, cool film guy, also said yes and got in touch by text. Now him, I was actually glad to hear from. He was fun and interesting to talk to, and while I don’t think I’m attracted to him, I could see us having fun hanging out. So we’re meant to be doing something this week.

The further through the weekend I got, the more I regretted agreeing to dinner with Bachelor #4. I just couldn't get enthusiastic. Normally I'd give most anyone a chance, but with Cute Canadian on the scene I didn't really see the point.

Of course it would have been so much easier if I’d figured this all out on the night and just said no then - but since I didn't, now I had to rebuff him. I’d kind of resigned myself to just going to dinner and then giving him the ‘I don't think we're compatible’ speech, but after a great date with the Canadian (more on which to come in a forthcoming post) I realised I didn't want to do it. And also that it wasn’t fair to him to force myself to go out with him. He was a nice guy even if he didn’t do it for me – he deserves some respect.

So Sunday evening, I called his cellphone to cancel. Now, I am so not good at ‘difficult conversations’, which I absolutely class this as. So to actually pull this off, I had to sit down with a list of bullet points in front of me to cover off. I mentally rehearsed it a couple of times, and then – finally – dialled his number (accompanied by silent prayers of ‘don’t pick up, don’t pick up, please don’t let him pick up’). And whaddaya know - the dating angels smiled on me and actually let it go through to voicemail. (Halleluja!)

I told him I was sorry but I had to cancel dinner because I’d started seeing someone recently and over the weekend it had gotten a little more serious. That I was sorry to stuff him around, but I didn’t think it was fair to waste his time. I think I did a good enough of a job that he wouldn’t feel too bad about it, which was my aim. I felt like an idiot telling him about things ‘getting more serious’, but lordy, the sweet relief when I hung up! (And I was proud of myself for not sending it to him in a text, something I seriously considered...)

In conclusion, I am so over speed dating...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Taking care of the quantity...

Hey peeps, brunette babe here. I may have had a glass more of champagne than I should have tonight so forgive me for any typos or unnecessary rambling...

I've just come home from a night of speed dating. It wasn't my intention tonight to sit down with 8 different men and chat for 8 minutes with each of them - actually I was rather looking forward to a night on the couch with Ugly Betty and then early to bed (I'm tired from the weekend, which I'll have to tell you about another time).

But, I was driving home tonight and at 6.08pm I got a call from Fast Impressions, the company I went speed dating with last year (after which I was designated an elite single gal by them for getting the majority's vote). They were running an event tonight and were short a woman or two (or three, as it turned out) and asked me if I would go - for free.

I couldn't think of a good reason not to go (for free!), and so I said yes. Which meant I had precisely 42 minutes to get home, get ready, and then hit the road again.

Anyway, I went, and I'll tell you more about it another time, but for now it's late and I thought I'd just quickly post my predictions regarding matches. I'm having more faith in my instincts these days (since I so accurately predicted Finlay's affections going off the boil) so I'm interested to see if I can pick what will happen.

Out of the eight men there tonight, there were four I said yes to - if they also said yes I'll get a message tomorrow with their details.

Bachelor #1: a sweet guy, very pleasant and with nice manners. (Possibly lacking a little oomph, but not a definite no.) I predict he will say yes

Bachelor #2: a quirky, creative, slightly ginger guy working in the film industry. I predict he'll say yes - we had an interesting conversation in our 8 minutes and seemed to connect.

Bachelor #3: best looking guy of the bunch, and quite interesting to boot. I hope he'll say yes - but I'm not sure. Our conversation showed potential but ultimately was a tad stilted. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that he'll say yes, but of all the bachelors, he's the one I'm least sure of.

Like I said, I hope so - he went with a female friend to this night and afterwards I walked past them having a drink at another bar. I joined them for a cocktail and I had fun talking to #3. We'll see...

Bachelor #4: I kind of regret saying yes to him. He was nice enough but was a little too obvious about talking about his yacht, and his company and how he started it for lifestyle reasons (so he could have time to spend with his kids - which he doesn't have yet). Nice, but tried a little too hard to impress. I think he'll say yes to me though.

So, arrogant, huh? I think every guy that I was interested in will also be interested in me. That's just asking for a fall, really.

But we shall see...

Friday, February 16, 2007

V-Day/B-Day wrap-up (plus an embarrassing confession)


The great thing about being born on the 15th of February is that in the likely event of Valentine’s Day being a complete washout, you only have to wait a day until you’re guaranteed to receive some good love, affection and pressies. It’s been quite a comfort to me over the years…

Consider then, how pleasant it was to have a Valentine’s Day without disappointment for a change. Really, it was lovely.

Knowing that I had dinner with Cute Canadian to look forward to had me in a good mood all day. Often Valentine’s is not fun in an office environment – inevitably someone gets a big bunch of flowers delivered to her desk, just to rub your nose in your own sorry singledom. But no-one got flowers this year that I saw. The girl who sits opposite me was having snappish arguments on her cellphone with her boyfriend. People were stressed and busy with work. Just another day at the office…

After work I went to a class at the gym and then proceeded to get ready for dinner with CC. I love the whole getting dressed for a date routine... You lean forward to preen and adorn yourself with makeup and jewellery, you’re imagining what might happen that night, and you start to feel all fluttery about it. It’s quite delicious…

Dressed to kill, I headed up to Ponsonby where I was meeting him at a Thai restaurant. It was a gorgeous night – dusk had dialled the hot sticky day into a clear inky sky, the air cool and sweet.

I entered Thai House
and found him sitting at a table by the front, overlooking the street. The restaurant was quite cosy - it’s a small building to begin with, and also very popular. Everyone was seated quite close to each other (we had a very touchy-feely couple showing their love the next table over). I sat down and we began to talk and we were both smiley and I guess a little nervous. As our conversation paused, he reached down to his side and presented me with a big bunch of red roses, beautifully wrapped (as seen here). He said ‘well miss, these are for you’. (An aside: I love that he calls me ‘miss’ – I find this so cute and teacher-y!)

Anyway, I was so blown away by it. I mean, it was only our second date... And he’s a teacher (with a mortgage) and I know how criminal the price for roses on V-Day is. And just to put it into perspective, no-one has ever given me a beautiful bunch of roses (plural) for Valentine's Day – not even serious boyfriends past – live-in boyfriends, even! So for Cute Canadian to do this on our second date – well, it was quite the gesture and made me feel special. What a sweetheart.

The food was good and spicy and afterwards we headed outside to return to our cars. I was expecting the standard post-date long, drawn-out goodbye with some kind of attempt at a goodnight kiss, but he simply wished me a nice birthday for the following day and said goodnight as we went in different directions. Which is fine for my nerves – I can get a bit panicky as someone leans in to make their move – but did leave me kind of wondering ‘Hmmph. Should I be insulted that he didn't want to try and kiss me?’.

In any case, I wasn’t going to let it spoil my night. I went home and happily arranged my flowers on my bedside table. (So unaccustomed am I to receiving bouquets, I didn’t have a vase big enough – had to make do with a big tumbler instead.)


The next day I got to sleep in, which was heavenly. I have a strict policy of not working on my birthday, so if it happens to fall on a week-day I’ll take the day off. This year, since the 15th was a Thursday, I decided to make a long weekend of it and take Friday off too. Sweet!

Mum came around at midday, bearing a gorgeous Phalaenopsis orchid
and took me into town for lunch and a shopping spree - fun!

Text messages pinged in from friends throughout the day, which made me smile many times. Presents are nice. Special birthday meals are always good. But the thing I love to receive most are words: simple, honest, loving words that don’t tend to be said at other times of the year.

Amongst my favourites:

* From a Portuguese couple I met on a guided tour of St Petersburg:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY FRIEND! When your visit to my country? Many kiss and a happy day, César and Marta.

I love these guys! We spent a mere three days together, over three years ago, but every Christmas, New Year and birthday without fail, I get a cute text from them wishing me kisses and happiness and a trip to Portugal soon.

* A message from a precious friend reminding me of the Sex & The City episode where Carrie turned 35. Feeling depressed at being single and without a soulmate - the girls decide that they’ll be each other’s soulmates, leaving them free to just enjoy men.

Would u like 2 be soulmates? My friend asked. And just enjoy company of Cute Canadian w no pressure 2 find soulmate? I told her I would like that very much…

* And one from Cute Canadian himself (on a borrowed cellphone, presumably, since he’d just told me the night before he was resolutely cellphone-free), hoping I was having a great day and telling me ‘I thought you looked stunning last night!’. Awwwww…

Plus an embarrassing confession for your entertainment…

All this talk and thought of Valentine’s Day had me thinking about the day in years past and how they had been spent. (Boringly, even in the years when I was in a relationship, V-Day often passed without consequence.)

Then I remembered one Valentine’s when I had made a grand sweeping gesture of romance towards my crush at the time. The year was 1989, I was barely in my teens and just starting high school. I was head over heels in sweet puppy love with Daniel, a boy from my class at Intermediate School the year before.

We’d been assigned to sit next to each other for one of the three terms of the year and it had been the best term of my life. Together with another boy, James, we had a few months seated beside each other in a row and we had a great time. We had lots of fun joking around, the three of us. I remember laughing hard and often. Going to school became the highlight of my day.

Daniel was gorgeous and lovely and very innocently, I fell for him, with no expectation of anything happening. It was a sweet crush, destined to be unrequited but forever cherished. It was a pure and beautiful thing. Unfortunately, our term side-by-side came to an end and our desks were reconfigured so that I sat beside other, less enthralling deskmates. And the following year we left for different high schools.

But I still thought of Daniel, and so in that first year of high school as Valentine’s Day came around, I decided to make my feelings known (anonymously, of course).

What form did my missive of love take? Why, I took a fresh sheet of paper, gently spritzed with that Chanel No 5 of kiwi teenage girls (Impulse)
, and typed out the lyrics to Especially for You (a Kylie Minogue/Jason Donovan duet which held great emotional significance for me - see below for the video).

This I sealed with a kiss and sent off to him by mail. Lord knows what a 13 year old boy made of that!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dear brunette,

Happy Valentine's Day

love always,
Auckland City Libraries


Happy valentines day beautiful friend, may love and magic flow your way today x

Lush Fertile Tantric Astrological Not-boyfriend


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blame it on Cupid

So maybe the fact that I have a date tomorrow night (gloat) is rubbing off on me, or maybe it's my indefatigable romantic streak, but romance is all around and I'm loving it. (Translation: the surprising event of me actually having a date on Valentine's is protecting me from my typical annual bout of melancholic resentment at other people's happiness.)

Case 1: Chris Carter, the first openly gay member of parliament, got hitched to his lover of 33 years (made possible under New Zealand law by the civil union bill passed a couple of years ago).

I love that after so long together, they can finally acknowledge it with a formal ceremony and legal status (even if it is just a 'civil union' rather than a 'marriage').

Also, I love that I live in a country where a member of parliament can a) be gay and b) get married and just continue on with his business. Of course, some negative comments have been made (see here), but overall people are supportive (even God seems to approve according to the second item in this column).

New Zealand is pretty great like that. We even elected the world's first transsexual mayor, the wonderful Georgina Beyer - in a rural farming area of the South Island, no less - not exactly a demographic you would expect her to succeed in.

Case 2: The story of this guy who proposed to his girlfriend on national television in the States is really heart-warming. I can only wish for someone to love me so much they seek for the most expensive way to express it to the nation and propose. (You know, New Zealand airtime is a lot cheaper than in the US. It could happen...)

At a time when normally I just don't want to have other people's spectacular love (and my endless shortage of it) shoved down my throat, it feels good to be able to take pleasure in the fact that some people are succeeding in the world of love and romance.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Definitely maybe

As it turns out, Cute Canadian is definitely a ‘maybe, possibly, perhaps’. And really, that’s great as far as I’m concerned – all I’m looking for on a first date is for it to not be an immediate ‘oh good god, no’.

We met up at SPQR, my favourite first date café, and spent a good couple of hours chatting. Here’s what I learnt about him:

  • Cute Canadian is even cuter in person
  • As could be expected, he has a cute Canadian accent to match
  • He’s responsible for teaching his special needs students a full curriculum – including sex education. (Apparently he has big life size dolls as a teaching aid. Kind of like cabbage patch dolls – only with all the bits. The mind boggles…)

He was fun to spend an evening with - incredibly pleasant, full of smiles and easy to talk to. Is that a national trait of Canadians? All the Canadians I’ve come across just seem so goddamn nice all the time...

He mentioned my birthday coming up this week (the day after Valentines) and I liked that – it’s a little thing, but when a guy actually reads your full profile and pays attention, it’s flattering.

At the end of the date we walked out of the café and he asked ‘so can I call you?’. Of course I said yes. Then he said ‘you know… It is Valentines this week… Can I take you out to dinner on Wednesday night?’. Again, of course I said yes - although he took me by surprise. Volunteering for Valentines as a second date? I always thought guys only did the Valentines thing under duress...

But, you know, score! I get a Valentines Day date after all! I’d already accepted that I was going to have an entirely non-romantic day (dentist appointment, yoga class, coffee with a friend) but what the hey - I’ll go with the flow. Perhaps that's the law of least effort already kicking in?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Guess who's got a date, eh?

Yes, it seems I have my first date of the year ahead of me this weekend, a coffee date with a cute Canadian.

After the disenchantment of the week before, I decided to refresh my profile online and see if I could improve my Feng Shui or something. Maybe it worked – I’m getting messages again anyway.

Although – ay ay ay! Some of the messages I get… Probably doesn’t help that I’m a night owl so usually online quite late. Last night I got a message from a European guy who’s profile, under ‘looking for’, says: “i'm looking for non-smoker girl. we can start from chat and we will see how it will goes”, and also “i dislike lie and dislike people, especially girls, who at begin of conversation asking me about my salary.”

Might be just me but in my head I imagine him sounding like Borat! Anyway, he asked me in what suburb I live. I ignored that question at 11.37pm last night, but messaged him back today that I tend not to tell strange internet men where I live straight away…

But back to Cute Canadian. Here’s what I know so far:

  • He’s lived here for 10 years
  • He teaches teenagers with special needs
  • He likes country music

Yeah, so that last one isn’t a selling point for me, but the teaching kids with special needs thing? I find that both endearing and a bit daunting. Could he be any nobler? I can’t imagine a higher maintenance group of students so I’m picking he must be incredibly patient.

Anyway, I’m not going to get ahead of myself and plan the wedding just yet. The first date is always so telling – I find it’s either an immediate ‘nuh uh, no, not ever!’, or a ‘maybe, possibly, perhaps, yes’. So we’ll see which it is on Sunday.