Things have been going well with The Theatre Producer. So well that finding something interesting to say is a struggle. ‘We did this and it was lovely’ doesn’t make a good read. So I thought now would be a good time to revisit some dating disasters, namely The Columbian.
Setting the scene
It was around 2007 when we met. I was working at a rather silly magazine and living in North West London, near Hampstead Heath. Only six months previously my father had got in contact with me after years apart to let me know he had cancer and it wasn’t looking good.
Our first date
I was dating girls on MySingleFriend. A slightly grumpy but very pretty looking girl contacted me. She had really long black hair and was from Columbia. She listed that she smoked in her profile so I was a bit casual about the whole thing but she did appear to live only a couple of streets away so we met up for a date.
Our first date was a meal and then a walk on the Heath. It was pleasant.
She did something complicated in the city, she had come over to England when she was very young. So she remembered Columbia but had spent most of her life in London.
Her accent was interesting, sort of softly melodic. She was very pretty, tall and a brunette so well it was basically much all my weaknesses in one. After the walk on the heath we strolled into town stopping in bars on the way. We got quite drunk.
We had a few more dates after that. We went out for a lot of meals. They went well. So well that I sat her down and had a bit of a chat about the situation with my father. I felt it was important to let her know that there was some stuff going on.
On our fifth date I cooked for her. She liked my cooking and she stayed the night in my tiny single bed while my flatmate played loud punk music in the next room. I can remember that her thick black hair fell down to her waist. It made her look amazingly exotic.
We carried on dating. I was made redundant from my job which was a shock but also the right thing. On the day I was made redundant I had typed up my letter of resignation and put it on the desk of my boss. He called me into a meeting before reading it so I had to steal it back and got to leave anyway but with redundancy pay. Win.
I went freelance for a while. Freelance journalism is tough, especially when you are just starting out. Luckily I had a very good friend who gave me some names and helped me get going. She gave me three names to contact and pitch ideas too. Two of them became semi regular work and I was away.
I ended up house-and-dog sitting for a chum. I invited the Columbian to help me house sit for a week. It was fun and a way of testing if we could live together.
We got on great, although the dog got really angry if we touched each other in front of him. My Father took a turn for the worst and so we went to go and see him. It was a long exhausting drive but it was good to see him and after years of not talking we’d even sort of become close. It was also nice that she got meet my father.
The Columbian and I carried on dating, as in a proper relationship. I visited her extended family in South London a lot. This would involve dancing. There was always salsa dancing and the English boys (the women seemed to exclusively date English boys) would be taught how to dance in front of the whole family. It was quite embarrassing trying to clonk your way through dance steps while 30-40 professional dancers watched you and talked about your form but I did it because it was a relationship and that’s what you do.
A few months passed, she was looking for somewhere to live. I was sort of looking and a friend of mine who had a lovely place that he got for a steal was moving to Dubai. We decided to move in together.
The flat was tiny but perfect in a lovely part of town. Moving in was exciting. We had loads of some things (mostly clothes) and almost nothing of others (cooking equipment) for a while it was brilliant, if very expensive.
I would work from home writing and pitching ideas and then I’d cook an evening meal so she had something lovely to eat when she got back. I’d also make her coffee in the mornings while she was in the shower. She was very particular about her coffee so would be surprisingly angry if it wasn’t milky enough.
She started to get angry a lot. I was earning a reasonable wage, enough to cover the rent food and the occasional present for her but not as much as she did. Someone she worked with, a man, was starting to make her feel bad about going out with someone who earned less than she did and she’d sometimes return home so angry that even posh chocolate milk couldn’t cheer her up.
My father passed away. He suddenly got a lot worse and then was gone. It happened in 48 hours. The funeral was rushed and his second wife wrote me and my siblings out of his history. We sat in the front row and listened as the man doing the ceremony talked about our dad but neglected to mention his children. It was a tough time.
The next day I pitched for a book and got my first book deal. I didn’t mope around or anything like that, I threw myself into my work for the next few weeks.
My birthday came around. I got given money by my mum for a lovely coat that I had lusted after for years. I spent it on our gas bill. My birthday came and we went out and she got me a kebab, and I paid for us to go to the cinema. She didn’t give me a card but I didn’t want to make a thing out of it so didn’t say anything.
The next day she returned from work laden down with presents. Huge bags full of gift-wrapped boxes. I was shivering with excitement but waited a few hours before politely enquiring if they were for me. She said no, she’d got them for her aunts to cheer them up. I ask if she’d got me a card, she said she had but that she hadn’t given it to me because I was acting weird and didn’t deserve it.
A few days later she came back from work and said ‘I was talking to my friend at work, he says a parent dying isn’t such a big deal and you should just get over it’.
It was such a horrible thing to say I didn’t even know how to react. I walked out to cool off. Forgetting my wallet, phone or coat. So I just stood by some bins shivering in the rain until I came back. She started sleeping on the sofa some nights but wouldn’t explain why.
What makes a date?
The guy at work who had been pouring poison in her ear asked her out on a date. Well she said it wasn’t a date but they went to Notting Hill for the day to go to the market and then for a meal. Inside I was uncomfortable but didn’t make anything out of it. She was the only girl to ever meet my dad and that meant something to me in a weird sort of way.
We had a pregnancy scare. She didn’t read the instructions for the pill and so we had a very tense evening with those little tests with thankfully turned out to be a false alarm. I tried to remain calm during the whole episode which she would later list as a reason she broke-up with me.
A friend of hers came down to stay, and spent the whole time being deeply unreasonable. She would fly into a furious rage with her boyfriend (also staying) over nothing and then stomp around for the rest of the day. The Columbian was confused by this behaviour and was not amused when I mentioned that she acted a bit like that sometimes.
I had a big weekend of work. I had to review a night club, go on a stand-up course for a feature and then re-write 3000 words on poker. I warned her that I would be chained to my desk so she went out with her friend and her boyfriend.
After the club night I was home for 20 minutes before I had to shower and go to the stand-up course. I did the course, and my first ever stand-up performance, wrote the words and then on the Monday she said ‘we need to talk.’
I knew what was coming and I had decided it was for the best.
If I gave in again I’d spend the rest of my life being mentally badgered by her. So we broke-up. If anything it was quite amicable. I asked if I could have the flat for a week to finish a book and she said yes and stayed with her parents who had a spare flat nearby.
I ate some bad mushrooms and so was violently ill for a few days and then got stuck into the book. We were still Facebook friends so I got to experience her joyous Facebook updates about being back on the dating scene until I did the right thing and un-friended her.
She counter-acted by writing a long email to my mum listing everything that was wrong with me.
A week or so later I moved out to a friends house and resolved to have nothing to do with her any more, apart from getting my half of the deposit on the flat back. That took six months and involved several emails from her saying she wanted to get back together.
We’ve not spoken since.