An anti V day manifesto

Manifesto: derived from the Latin manifestum, meaning clear or conspicuous.

Yeah cool so I don’t think I have enough words or clarity of purpose for a manifesto but it makes for a more intelligent title then ‘whiny single girl rant’.

Disclaimer I have been single my whole life except two roughly 6 month intervals of ‘being in a relationship’. I am now single again. I am also white, privileged and living my best life in London. So don’t feel sorry for me. Now to ranting.

What I find irritating about V day in no particular order:

Those obligatory near V day articles about  ‘What I learned from being single for 3 minutes’. Can I have a Bitch please? How about being single basically your entire LIFE!?

These articles often insist that we all have to learn something from being single. Whether the lesson is a ‘aha’ moment hiking alone on some mountain. Or acquiring a new hobby: painting with bonus mindfulness, dancing like a third rate Beyonce or knitting whilst discussing Shakespeare etc.

The point these types of articles imply is being single is a state of ‘other’. Therefore this ‘other’ state must provide an experience to grow from. Some value must be gleaned from it. We can’t just be single and unproductive apparently. Taking this logic further (if you could call this rage logic) people in relationships apparently don’t need this ‘find yourself’ moment. They carry on, blissfully stunted. They do not experience the particular joy of a singles lock and key party, discussing the merits of tacos with a tiny dude who is perhaps 21 at a pinch. Shame.

The fuck boys of  Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel who leverage V Day to widen their appeal.

Definition of a Fuck Boy:

Tight tee-shirt/top off showing semblance of abs, extensive use of emojis instead of words in bio (surfing emoji, travel emoji, weight lifting emoji). Job ‘entrepreneur’.    Photos of: with the boys, with a baby anyone’s baby will do, a dog also not his and a wedding picture to show he wears a suit really well. Optional addition of a snap-chat handle.

The hapless clueless boys who have failed to grasp how savage online dating is particularly nearing V Day.

Definition of Clueless boys:

Bio ‘I am no good at writing about myself, just ask’. Well sorry to say dude but NEWSFLASH it is a brutal world out there. A grainy photo of you in your bedroom with your dirty washing piled unceremoniously in the corner?! Ain’t gonna cut it. If you can’t ‘sell me’ on your personality how to do you expect to get any sort of attention? Online dating is a buyers market so get hustling. And for god’s sake get your articulate friend, neighbor or cat to write your bio.

End rant for now and stay tuned for more dating adventures!

#undatableinlondon

 

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101 Dates London Survival Guide part 3

I have just been on one of the WORST dates and if you’ve read my other blogs, this takes some doing.  Picture this. It is Friday night and I have brought my A-Game. The A-Game equals cleavage and good hair, always vital accompaniments to my savage personality. Ten minutes late he arrives. A green jumper-wearing, Hobbit- haired Greek Cypriot with a Yorkshire accent. He announces immediately he will probably have to go back to work after the date. Nice. Good to know he has signaled his exit strategy. How flattering. We order our drinks and as we chat his eyes dart all over the place, like my face is a horrific challenge. Could he have a mild form of Asperger’s, I wonder?

As we sip our wine he tells me ‘he can’t remember my profile and interests’ so could I get my phone out and show him so he can remember? Incredulous, I reply he could just ask me now. ‘True,’ he responds and then proceeds not to ask me.

Throughout our conversation, which centers around his job and his curls (why they aren’t sitting right and what product he uses) he pulls out what he believes to be his party trick. It is a poorly attempted version of an Australian accent. Nothing it seems would be more hilarious then to hear a bad version of your own accent repeated back to you for immediate applause.

Me: That’s cool you like films. What kind of films do you like?

Him: Yeaah maate. I like a good drama maate.

He assures me that people find his Aussie accent hilarious. He has dated two Aussie birds from Perth as well as a South African bird and they all found it funny. He can’t do a South African accent so the Aussie one had to suffice. Personally, I think the South African bird got ripped off. My general apathy to his comic gold must be an outlier, I tell him. He agrees.

The conversation limps on and I take larger gulps of my wine. Noticing, he asks me if I am trying to hurry the date along. I giggle unnerved. It hasn’t even been two hours. In the general fog of the ordeal I can tell he considers himself a ‘truth-sayer’. ‘Keeping it real’ and being ‘too honest’ is his thing.

‘You aren’t one of those feminists, are you?’ he asks disparagingly, as I am midway through explaining my short film ideas. Feeling the rage build and burn through my veins with the power of a thousand suns, I take a deep breath and prepare to annihilate him. I needn’t have bothered. He is already off on another thread of conversation, no answer required.

As we leave, he says almost under his breath: ‘I’ll text you and see if you respond.’ I pretend not to hear him. Sure enough on Sunday I received a glorious bit of prose:

‘Roses are red. Violets are blue. When are we going on date number two?’

How can he possibly think he has a chance? I compose various responses pointing out his stupidity but his education is not my responsibility so I opt for merely wishing him luck. After all, I am sure there is a ‘bird’ out there for him somewhere.

#undatableinlondon

 

101 Dates London Survival Guide part 2

I made a guy bleed. That’s right you read correctly. This was early on in my dating career, the illustrious giddy heights of early 2017. Ah 2017 the year of excessive make up contouring, Aperol spritz and Trump. I digress back to ‘the bleeder’.

It was at a rather famous dating bar in London called Gordon’s wine bar. Gordon’s is  perfect for a first date. Essentially it is like a subterranean cave lots of curved walls and little alcoves.

So the scene is set. Enter stage left ‘the bleeder’ this guy is proper posh. He has one of those glass cut English accents which no one in London has (sorry to burst your Hugh Grant bubble).

Drinks in hand we huddle around a table our conversation is inconsequential typical 10 minutes in chat. Comprising of the weather why is it good/bad. Why I moved to London. A common question people seem to think Melbourne is the same as London but with amazing beaches and weather. Ah nope! What I do for work and why it doesn’t define me. Yawn.

Fast forward 20 minutes and two wines in I figure him out. He likes to play ‘devil’s advocate’ on EVERYTHING. On TV shows ok fine but on abortion? How can you play devil’s advocate on abortion? What’s next? Him saying he can see both sides to Hitler? But the highlight of the night was most certainly his violent exit.

In the tradition of every Indiana Jones movie he boldly leads the way through the small cave exit. But unfortunately for him he fails to lift his feet adequately. He trips and falls over. You know the type of fall I am talking about. Like in primary school where you lose all the skin off your hands and legs and can see it rippled on the pavement. He hits the ground with a slap his body fully splayed. ‘Oh dear’ he mutters ‘this is terribly embarrassing’ (yeah like I said posh) and quickly stood up. His hands are  pouring with blood. He proceeds to hug me. His fingers curled around themselves like deformed T-Rex hands. I assured him if I had been leading the way I would have tripped as well. We both know this is a lie. He leaves with what little dignity he can muster. I proceed to giggle on the tube all the way home.

Oh and here are some more dating  archetypes:

Finance guy-Works in finance does complicated and mystical things with money. Main interests appear to be going to the gym and travelling. After running through your mutual lists of upcoming travel destinations you secretly try to get your Fitbit to tell you the time. As the evening drifts on you attempt to revive it by flinging at him the terms ‘crypto currency’ and ‘disruption of the banking industry’ he perks up. Somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind you fantasize about being in bed eating a diet ice cream. Dream on.

Word killer-This guy can kill any conversation and doesn’t seem to understand the rules of interaction. Which is you say something and then I reply by saying something allowing the something to be added or expanded upon.

Example

Me: ‘Speaking of travel have you heard of the writer Alain de Botton?’

Him: ‘No.’

Me: ‘Well he talks about travel and explores the dichotomy that is travel. When you travel you go to a new place the experience is new, people excite, the surrounds are exotic. Yet for someone who lives there, the exact same places and experiences can be dull and repetitive. That in the very notion of travel, so much relies on the switch in perspective.’

Him: ‘Geez that’s a bit deep.’

End sentence?? That was all he could say? Kill me now, KILL ME, I sent urgent mental signals to the inconveniently hot waiter. But alas I would have to rescue myself. Less than two hours in we both agree it is a disaster and never meet again.

Stay tuned for another thrilling installment of #undateableinlondon

 

101 Dates London Survival Guide part 1

Dating in London I will cheerfully report to you is a cluster-fuck. Last week was International Women’s Day. I celebrated by eating all the icing off a International Women’s Day cupcake whilst remarking I’d rather have pay equality to my colleagues.

International Women’s Day was also the same day I was ghosted by a dude I hadn’t even met who was supposed to go on a date with me. So in the vein of  ‘Bridgette Jones’ I went to the gym and did some planks. Much more productive. I hate planks by the way they were invented by someone with no soul. I had another date Friday night  with a guy I have dubbed Brazil. (Hint he is from Brazil). Honestly my heart wasn’t in it but when did that ever stop me? To my single sisters out there I thought it would be helpful if not amusing to detail a list of all the Tinder bros, Bumble bearded sapio-sexuals, Hinge ‘entrepreneur’ archetypes I have encountered thus far on my dating adventures.

LIST 

Sport guy-The sport can be interchanged any type of sport or marathon running fits the bill here. Mine was kite surfing. A date with a guy that loved kite surfing so much he talked about it for 3 hours. I became an expert in kite surfing and vowed never to do it. He texted me after suggesting we hang out again, I weakly agreed, we never met again.

The Nice guy-Sure you have minimal in common with this guy and you worry it will be an obstacle. But your friends urge you onwards and he cooks you dinner. Just as you begin to convince yourself you might be starting to like him, he ghosts you. You find out from a mutual friend it wasn’t even because he met someone else it was because of work. Losing out to a call centre roll out. a new low.

The Intellectual-You connect on so many ideas and themes. The conversation is deliciously rambling and stimulating. You decide this guy has something, sure he is oddly hairless (seriously no hair and eyebrows so fair they were almost transparent) but you can see past that. He texts to say he thinks that you are ‘very pretty and intelligent’ but he ‘doesn’t think it is a good idea that you meet again’. Like some how you were the Ebola virus of potential romantic risk.

The Film guy-You both have a searing passion for film and love discussing it. The only set back is you don’t find him attractive, not one bit, not even a little, never going to happen, nope.

Workaholic-He is intense, very driven and hyper masculine think Bruce Willis/Russel Crowe. You love his confidence and the way you can joke around. He really wants to see you again and you text intermittently for months. Somehow though he can never find the time to meet.

Dieting guy-He considers himself a really fun guy and likes doing marathons. He doesn’t drink which is ok but he also doesn’t eat sugar or gluten. He makes his own meals and everything including the condiments from scratch. Whilst he details his complex meal preparations to you, you seek salvation in your diet coke. Sadly there was none to be had.

This concludes the end of part 1, stay tuned for more thrilling installments of #undateableinlondon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two ingredient chocolate slice or what I learned about minimalist baking.

I am not a fan of recipes that are defined by what they lack. Sugar free, egg free, taste free? But these are turbulent times from the rise of the kale chip (I made them once and they tasted like burnt grass), cleaning eating hash tags to the beautification of food on Instagram rainbow bagel or unicorn toast anyone? So when a non gluten partaking friend espoused the virtues of a two ingredient Nutella cake I was intrigued. How can any baked good with two ingredients be awesome? I was about to find out. For this chocolate slice I have called it a slice for calling it a cake is insulting to all cake kind. You will need:

Four eggs

240 grams of Nutella

Yep that’s it. But because I wanted to pimp it out a little bit I added:

One block of finely chopped 70% Lindt with sea salt

100 grams of flaked toasted almonds

A dash of vanilla extract

Now all you do is crack the four eggs into a bowl and whip them with a hand held mixer or free standing (cue sobbing into a tea towel my tiny London sharehouse allows no such luxury). Whip the eggs for a minimum of 8 minutes they should double or triple in volume. Add the vanilla. Meanwhile soften the nutella in a bowl in a microwave for 30 seconds. Then fold one third of the egg mixture into the nutella. Fold it really gently and slowly adding the the rest of the egg mixture. Keep folding until you have a chocolate airey mass. Add the mix ins then pour into a pan lined with baking paper and greased with butter. Bake in an oven set at 150 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Things I learnt:

*I decided as I was being lazy that emptying the entirety of the nutella into the eggs and folding would be faster. Fail. I had to fold it for ages and I felt that it was never properly mixed through.

*Due to the absence of flour my mix ins gleefully sunk to the bottom. Yup.

*In chocolate baked things I want a passionate and intense flavour and I felt that this slice with only nutella sorely missed cocoa.

**So whilst it was a good ‘learning’ experience I’ll think I’ll stick to more inclusionary bakes.

***Next up I plan to make the Primrose Bakery Oreo Peanut Butter brownies I have been lusting after spotting them on instagram.

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Eggs being whipped.
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Eggs doubled in size.
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Nutella and mix ins.
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Mix ins into the batter.

 

Halong Bay and the Best Banh Mi in Hanoi

Halong Bay is so picturesque it is ridiculous. The emerald green waters, the over 300 rock formations, the caves. If you do find yourself in Hanoi it really is worth the trip. I picked a day trip due to limited time and I also managed to convince a Sydney couple Kat and Ben that I met at breakfast to take the tour also. The day trip involves about a 3 and half hour bus ride each way and then a junk boat trip to the bay. Eating fresh seafood and gazing out at the endless water and looming rocks was amazing. At the actual rock formations we had the option to either be taken through the formations on a small boat or to kayak. Due to laziness we chose the small boat. It was a good decision. People who kayaked it appeared seemed to spend most of their time veering off in the wrong direction. Or in the case of one girl posing in the kayak by herself taking pictures whilst drifting towards a rock.

We also trekked to a cave which had huge stalagmites and stalactites. Our tour guide enjoyed pointing out formations and inventing rather patriarchal stories to go with them. Such as ‘see this rock, this rock is a mother and the below formations are her children’. Gendered cave stories aside it was an enjoyable trek.

Today was Monday and my last day of freedom before the work conference so naturally I made the most of it. Armed with a map I headed out to find the best Bun Bo in Hanoi aptly named Bun Bo Nam Bo. What is Bun Bo? It is a dish with vermicelli noodles with beef, herbs, clear soup and crushed peanuts. Delicious and a perfect breakfast meal. But I did feel I needed to round out my breakfast with something a bit more hearty. So what better then the best Banh Mi in Hanoi Banh Mi 25? Pork with pate and salad so so good and really worth a visit.

 

King Express and Motorbike riding in Sapa

Ah the King Express it sounds like a charming Victorian era Agatha Christie type train. It wasn’t. I arrived early at the train station as instructed to exchange my pdf ticket for a ‘real’ ticket. In vain I struggled, I went to countless official looking men with caps, women with inspector like shirts on only to be ignored or told to go to platform 5 or 10 or 9 or 6. At a certain point I bypassed the calm laid back chilled girl traveler image I was trying to project you know the type, no make up, tanned, fine with baby wipes instead of a shower and steam rolled into sweaty, teary territory. Finally in the distance I spotted a shack which I hobbit-ran towards. Incredibly in the shack sat a woman sagely handing out tickets. I did’nt bother trying to work out the absurd lack of instructions or logic to this but held onto my ticket for dear life.

I was slightly dreading what my overnight sleeper would be like considering the very mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. However my bed and sheets were clean and my travel companions were a lovely Canadian and English couple and a guy from Hong Kong who made a video diary with us as extras. There were some crazy party animals in a few cabins down who screamed and yelled all night and the smoke from the smoking room did filter into our cabin but all in all it was fine. 8 hours later we arrived in Lao Cai and grabbed a shuttle bus to Sapa and the Ethos community center. Freshly showered and fed omelettes I suited up in motorbike gear for my motorbike tour of the glorious mountains. My tour leader and motorbike driver was a lovely woman from a small tribal village near Sapa. I got on the back of her motorbike and it was only then did it occur to me ‘what the fuck am I doing on a motor bike??’ Alas this realization was a bit late and off we went with me basically clinging to my guide’s waist. My internal freak out only lasted about half an hour and this combined with stopping every 20 minutes or so to take pictures of the beautiful mountains, the falls and a trout farm calmed me down. We kept running into the couple from the overnight sleeper who were doing the same tour by taxi and it was so nice to talk to them and see the sights together.

We had a traditional Vietnamese lunch and I got drunk serenaded by a Vietnamese guy who tried to get his friend to take a photo of us. It was his mistake, my Greek build was no match for his weak frame and I shrugged him off.

In the afternoon I explored amazing caves and a saw some gorgeous mountain buffalo before grabbing the overnight train from Sapa back to Hanoi. Basically it was one of those rare days that will echo in my memory forever. Tonight I am off to a second food tour of Hanoi and a Water Puppet show.