© 2017 by Jenny Stallard.

18 December 2014

Single - and happy

AND so the end is near, I've nearly eaten the final mince pie… there is just one week until Christmas Day and I do not have a boyfriend. The search went north to Leeds at the weekend, where one man 'kindly' told me: 'Well, you've failed, then…'

I thought for a moment and sipped my prosecco. 'Au contraire, as they say in France, Mr Northern Man,' I said. 'I do not feel a sense of failure. In fact, I've a renewed sense of confidence and happiness.'

Sure I'd like to meet someone. But this Boyfriend By Christmas lark has stopped me being so serious about the whole single thing. 'Hoorah!' I hear my friends and family cry. (Well, Mum didn't 'hoorah', she just laughed and said: 'You never said THIS Christmas…')

As you'll know if you've been reading, I have, along with my wingwoman Carly, played crazy golf, made pizzas, sniffed T-shirts, speed-dated, been to dating parties and ice-skated. This week I even learned to flirt with strangers. Sober. SOBER. I am referring to my afternoon with flirt expert Jean Smith (flirtology.co.uk).

Jean embodies that US style of no-nonsense dating you imagine they do in the States but were never sure actually happened. We had the most fun ever, with her teaching me to talk to men. I know. You'd think I was a dab hand at it, wouldn't you? But sober? Not so much. And banter-free? No waaaaaay! So we set out into the high street where we 'practised' talking to men. This wasn't a pick-up artist scenario, this was just talking. Saying nice things. Learning to let a man talk, to be polite, asking things like: 'Do you know where to get a nice coffee around here?'

At first I was petrified. I didn't want to interrupt their day. 'You're assuming they won't want to talk,' Jean encouraged me. Sure enough, each man stopped, talked immediately and when we said I was having a flirting 'lesson', revealed he was nothing but pleased to have been approached by a lovely young lady (that's ME! I KNOW!). This final dating challenge was quite a revelation. I know I hide behind a wall of banter and slightly fake confidence when it comes to chatting to men. Being nice and polite and non-sarcastic was quite a challenge. It worked, though, and it taught me one of the biggest lessons I've learned through this column, one of five things I'd like to share with you now. Drum roll, please, for the five lessons of BoyfriendBy Christmas…

1) We've lost the art of conversation when it comes to dating. It's time to reclaim it. I vow that in 2015 I won't be online all the time. I need to talk to men in person. And not be too sarcastic when doing so.

2) Everyone needs a wingwoman or man. Don't go through the dating journey alone. At the end of the night, you will never leave alone if you've arrived with someone in the first place.

3) Dating is a numbers game. AKA Collect And Select. Putting all your emotional eggs in one basket will lead to only one place - misery and confusion. I'm not saying go out with half the city at once but it doesn't hurt to keep your options open until he's uttered the 'B' word (that's 'boyfriend').

4) Being single can be lonely - but only if you let it.

- but only if you let it.

I have felt so angry, confused and selfcritical over the years for being single. No man will ever make that feeling go away. It's up to you to take yourself to a happier place. As my friend Sharon once said to me: 'It's better to be on the shelf than in the wrong cupboard.'

5) Men will disappear on you. Yes, Brixton, Adam, Nick, I'm talking to you, Houdinis of the dating world. Girls, when this happens, move on, and fast. If they've decided they don't want another date, generally they'll stop texting. There is no point pondering on this. Do not demand answers.

Instead, plough your energy into finding a man who will do you the courtesy of staying in touch. When a man wants you, and wants to be with you, he will cancel everything to do so. Now, I can't hang around being sentimental, there's only a couple of months to go until my next deadline. The Boyfriend By Valentine's Day challenge is on

11 December 2014

One way to sniff out a lover

IT'S the final countdown and I'm getting over-excited as this is the penultimate column. As you might have guessed, there's no boyfriend, yet. But it's OK, as there is plenty to do to rectify this situation, and it's (puts on X Factor voice) party season!

The party season so far has included seeing my dad in panto and attending a party where Wingwoman Carly and I had to sniff lots of blokes' T-shirts to see if we liked their smell.

Last Saturday's panto was a family affair. My sister and her wife were there along with other friends of dad's, including a man they thought I might hit it off with.

Now I've had a mixed experience with set-ups. Generally, they haven't worked. Friends seem to think being single is something people have in common, like film choices or eating out.

So when my dad's mates suggested I'd get on with another of their gang, I thought meeting at the communal panto event would be a good idea. Not awkward at all… until dad turned up in his make-up between the matinee and the evening show. The group ended up drinking damson vodka until the early hours, but if there was a spark, I didn't feel it.

This began in the US and now takes place in London. We had to sleep in a T-shirt for three nights then bring it along, so all the singles can sniff the T-shirts on the night and speak up if one takes their fancy. The idea is we'll be attracted to the pheromones. This is the caveman/woman law of attraction. I bought a new top and dutifully slept in it for three nights. Wondering if I smelt of damson vodka and regret, along I went. It was the most surreal thing ever. Some were just 'no' (and it's i si T sh spe not because they smelt of BO, it just wasn't a nice aroma to me). Others, for no reason I can fathom (ie, they didn't smell of gorgeous aftershave), I was immediately attracted to. Sadly, it wasn't the case once I met the owners, but we ended up having a fun night meeting other singles.

Oh, and I nearly forgot: Ice Skating With Nick. Well we skated, we had drinks, we had a smooch… and then he went quiet. I'd like to know why men seem to think it's OK to do that. A quick message to say no thanks - is that so difficult...?

Never mind, I have one week to go. And I haven't told you about the afternoon with a flirt coach and the man I met in the pub in St Christopher's Place who reckons southern girls aren't for him. Well, I was born in Lancashire… and I'm off to Leeds this weekend, too. Could a northern man win the BBC crown?

4 December 2014

Bristling with passion

AND so after a pause to reflect on expert advice, this week I have been the single most likely to mingle, gathering my posse of wingwomen and even a wingman, and dabbling in a new genre of suitor - the moustachioed man.

I was rather excited to attend some dating parties and first on my list was Lovestruck's so-called Laissez-Faire evening at Patch bar in the City of London. The combination of a happy hour and the fact that almost everyone in attendance is single meant that by the time I arrived at 7pm, the place was already packed.

I'd told a few single friends to join me as these Lovestruck events are, unlike many, open to anyone, free and have no set 'be there or miss out' start time. Gradually I was joined at the bar by wingwoman Carly and friends Lucinda, Pat and wingman Dimitri. We ensconced ourselves in a seated area and I was happily drinking and chatting to my fug friends when Dimitri piped up. 'Er, Jenny, are you going to go and actually talk to any men?' he said. 'Um… I'm having fun ta with you lot,' I replied. But I knew he was right. 'Time for a circuit,' Pat declared.

We left Dimitri to guard the handbags while we girls went around the room. At dating events like this you have to expect to be looked up and down, assessed, as it were. While this feels a little judgemental, it's what we all do online, and it's what we're here for - to see if there's someone we fancy.

Everyone does it, it's how it works. And it's not just the blokes, I'm guilty of it too. I walked past a man whose blue and grey stripy scarf caught my attention, along with his lovely curly hair. He was on his phone. 'Are you on Tinder?' Carly asked. 'No…' said the man as he promptly looked away from the phone and introduced himself as Nick (he wasn't on Tinder, but we do like to tease boys).

'Well you're in our posse now!' I grinned. 'Follow me!' (I can get quite bossy when I fancy someone. It's less risky than asking if they want to trail you around).

My bravado worked because Nick and I spent the rest of the evening talking. Just talking, you ask? I would never kiss and tell so I couldn't possibly comment. But I had a funny feeling in my knees at one point, I'll say that much.

'Collect and select, collect and select…' I said to myself (you remember that theory? That basically it doesn't do to only have one possible suitor at one time) as I headed off just two nights later to SpeedDater's Movember event.

Now, ladies, if you're a baldist like me, you'll know there's only one thing worse - a hair-free head but a super furry face or chest. So I was nervous. The Shoreditch beard has never done it for me.

There were high spirits when we arrived and donned our fake 'taches. Again, speed dating gets a vote of approval from us because it's short, to the point and you can get on with the rest of your night by about 9.30pm.

We ended up quaffing wine with a group of other singles discussing our favourite sites and events, as well as the big question of the evening: 'Should a th a man call rather than text and, if he does, is that a good thing?' Girls said a resounding 'yes', while men asked: 'But don't I look too keen?!'

I am a fan of the phone call, despite, or perhaps because of, that 'Eek, he's calling!' feeling. A man who calls means business. In my book, he's saying: 'I'm giving you my undivided attention.'

And so with the mother of all hangovers, I leave you with the news that at the time of writing, I'd heard from Nick and we had arranged to go on that most romantic of wintery dates - ice skating at London's Somerset House. I hope he's wearing that scarf.

'Speed dating gets our vote because it's short, to the point and you can get on with the rest of your night by 9.30pm

27 November 2014

You can't hurry love

PHEW! Six weeks in and I'm a bit worn out from the dating frenzy. With plenty of events lined up between now and the big day (no, silly, not my wedding, Christmas), this week I decided to press the pause button on my own efforts to find love and hand things over to a matchmaker or two.

I often joke that because I've been single for the best part of ten years I am a 'master dater' (think about it…). But the truth is I am rather impatient when it comes to love. You know those women you hear about who are on the first-date stage but are imagining how their wedding will go? That's me. Indeed, with Boyfriend By Christmas, I've begun to ponder how we'll spend the festive season and what we'll buy each other. Don't scoff, we've all done it. But it can get out of control.

Cue a post-work drink with dating expert Nana Wereko-Brobby, who runs the Social Concierge agency. This is high-end stuff - a monthly charge of between £200 and £500 for a bespoke matchmaking service. When we met, Nana interviewed me about what I'm looking for (asking me whether I wanted a boyfriend or a husband - and other rather tricky to answer questions). Now she's off tracking down a man she hopes will be a very strong match for me. Instead of me browsing online, I've put my love life in her hands. Nana did make me feel at ease, though. It was a bit like a personal trainer saying to you: 'We'll get you into shape, don't worry.' Her 'leave it to me' way of working felt very refreshing.

It was a sentiment echoed by another new dating mentor, Jamie Illingworth, aka the Authentic Dating Coach. A 90-minute Skype session with him about my 'dating habits' left me in no doubt that I've been rushing into dates and am often not 100 per cent true to what I really want in a man. Rather than asking a few questions before agreeing to meet, I think: 'I'll see what they're like in person,' then spend an evening wondering why I am meeting a teetotal smoker. Quality not quantity seems to be the theme here. Chance would be a fine thing (fnar).

And finally, a word from my other new dating font of wisdom, Charly Lester, blogger and founder of the first UK Dating Awards. 'Go out, try new stuff, enjoy all the fun that comes with being single, and if you happen to meet someone you fancy along the way, then it's the icing on the cake!'

So while I try to relax for now, I have indeed lined up some fun events for the next couple of weeks including Movember dating, where I shall test if I can fancy a man with face fuzz, and pheromone dating. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'sniffing out talent'.

20 November 2014

Dough you come here often?

THIS week I am talking in my X Factor voice-over style. 'It's week five! It's Thursday morning! It's time for Boyfriend By Christmas!' And just like The X Factor, all options are still open and there's room for a wild card.

After my lay-by date and 'Brixton' going quiet on me, I wondered if I'd even get contenders to boot-camp stage. Pah! Jenny Stallard does not stay thwarted for long! Wingwoman Carly rejoined the hunt for BBC at a pizza-making night for singles, hosted by speeddater.co.uk. For me, pizza-making was a fun idea - I like pizza, I like men, I like puns about tossing. Win, win, win.

Carly and I have a chat with the men who have come along but I'm not feeling that 'click' with any, which is a shame. I'm also getting very competitive as we've been told there are certificates for best pizzas. Everyone makes a pizza each, then calzone in groups of four. This is designed to get us interacting more but it's all just quite friendly rather than romantic.

It gets a bit cheesy (sorry!) and we go to another room to eat our pizza and talk more. These evenings (the company also does events such as quiz nights) are great at bringing shy people out of their shell. It's also good to not be just drinking and dating. But there's nobody here I'd see again. And my finger is firmly paused over WhatsApp, waiting for a message from 'Brixton', willing him not to be 'one of those' who says he had a lovely evening then disappears off the face of the earth.

On Saturday he pops up to say hi. I try to stay positive but I can't stop the niggle that this isn't the conduct of a man who wants to get to know me more. The other problem with this random style of messaging is you can now get the 'WhatsApp doubleblue tick'. For those not in the know, WhatsApp is a messenger app that shows you when a message is delivered, and later, thanks to a 'tick' on the message turning blue, when it's read. And then ignored.

But Adam from last week has been chatting on text too. We messaged after the pizza event, then he went quiet until the 'witching hour' of dating - that time when it gets a bit boring on a Sunday, you've been out seeing friends/pulling and now, home alone, want some chat from a single person. It's the same at 4pm Monday to Thursday, when you'll stalk your ex on Facebook or wink at someone online you only half fancy. We all do it and it's basically when you know you're being selected and possibly collected too.

Keeping it in the real world… I've also dabbled with my other old favourite, the coffee date. This time it was with the musician from Twitter. He was mature for his 27 years (dating someone the same age as my sister, who I can remember being born, does throw me slightly). We chat but I'm not feeling it romantically. Happily, I can offer to pass his band's details on to our music desk, so all is not lost.

Back online, I've joined two new apps: Zoosk and TrueView. It's all a bit confusing and I feel suddenly rather old navigating more new sites. Cue an invite from an elite matchmaking service that promises me a hand-picked suitor for a date plus events for £200 a month. (It's as if the universe is listening.) Can the price of a Mulberry purse find me love? Or will I wish I'd bought that coat in the Whistles sale to keep me warm on winter nights instead?

13 November 2014

I want my third-date snog!

IT'S Sunday. It's 4.30pm. I'm at a motorway service station near Beaconsfield off the M40. Woah there, Jenny. What's this got to do with finding a boyfriend, you ask? We don't care where you get your petrol and emergency coffee.

But woah back atcha. I was there for a date. AKA 'lay-by date' in the Metro office; this was my first (don't look so surprised) rendezvous off the M40 with a potential boyfriend. I made sure I told someone where I was going and I was back on the road 'alive, but not in love' as I texted my mum by 5.30pm.

The man in question was none other than Mr Outdoorsy from Oxford and it was one of two dates this week, along with a Friday-night speed-dating event in the city. Yes, there was snogging. NO, I wasn't involved. Sad face.

The other 'official' date was with the lovely Brixton. The main question that arose from that meeting was: 'What could be nicer than a goodbye kiss on a second date?' Answer: The lingering thrill of one on the (hopefully) third. But will there be a third date?! It's not been arranged yet. Will Jenny get her third-date smooch? Is Brixton scared off by being part of the Boyfriend By Christmas challenge? As you ponder that, join me back at the motorway services, where it was soon pretty clear that it was a no from me and Oxford. He was VERY outdoorsy. As he said he didn't watch much telly, I found myself wondering if I'd beat the traffic home in time for dinner and Downton Abbey. And he never even brought the dog. I know!

I've had a long-distance relationship before and am reticent about starting another, but if we can meet somewhere more romantic than the M40, I'm still open to dating outside London. Any Brighton boys out there?

To be honest, after seeing Brixton last Thursday, I'd started to feel a bit mercenary, dating more than one man. But as a very good friend Rebecca advises, dating is a game of 'collect and select'.

You should NOT put all your eggs (literally, at my age) in one man's dating basket. Enjoy their Lay-by date, L b d t company, then make a week's work, your choices when you are ready. Never be left thinking 'why hasn't he texted'. It's self-preservation. You wouldn't apply for jobs one at a time now, would you? If Brixton's not interested and I've invested my hopes in him, that means sad times for Stallard. And we can't have that, can we?

I can see he's still been visiting the site where we met. But then I guess he can see that I've been speed dating and on plenty of other sites. Argh! Right, I needed a distraction. Fridaynight speed dating and gin would do the trick, I thought.

Speed dating is probably one of the more old-school types of dating event but Original Dating has a twist - it uses its own app, Mixeo. So instead of using a scorecard like you would at speed dating, you say 'yes', 'no' or 'friend' on their app profile and the next day it tells you your matches.

Speed dating can feel exhausting as dates can blur into one, so the app with its pics is super-helpful and a clever way to update this old favourite. At the event, I meet Adam, a cheeky chappy who I find out has ticked 'yes' to me on the app. But when I look over the weekend there's no messages from him and I'm slightly disappointed.

Well, it's 2014, a girl can send a guy a message, can't she? I wait until Monday and send a breezy hello. I also have a little message tennis with a musician who'd tweeted to 'volunteer' for a date and we arrange a coffee for tomorrow. Collect and select, my friends. Collect and select.

With that in mind, I have two plans for Boyfriend By Christmas this week. The first is a free, open-to-as-many people-as-you-want-to-bring, singles' night on November 26, run by Lovestruck.

Its events are genius because they're a) free, b) fun, and c) boozy. Win-win-win. I'm gathering a posse of wing women for this event. Come bI ot ady along and find us (we dare you). I'll remind you next week.

Meanwhile, tonight, Carly and I are off pizza-making for singles. At least this time we'll avoid hangovers because we'll have some food. All together: 'When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie...'

 

6 November 2014

It's a new take on swinging

WHAT do you get if you put 250 single people in a warehouse with a bar and a mini crazy golf course? Let's just say I'm writing this with a hangover. A booze and dating hangover. Yes, it's been another busy week here at Boyfriend By Christmas, I can tell you! There's been the golf, an actual 'live' date, a 'virtual' Skype date and I've joined eHarmony.

So let's go first to the real-life date. It began with a flurry of online messages, which in a world of 'hi, lol, wanna chat' and, most recently, 'hello gawwjuus', was a welcome thing. Then, on Friday, we met for a coffee (in Brixton, which shall also be his name for now). I do love a coffee date: short, sober, easy to know if you'd meet again. Which we will - this evening, in fact. We had a lovely relaxed time. He's tall (another tick: I'm shortist as well as baldist), has a good head of hair and does smart-casual very nicely. He's also sweet, intelligent, hadn't lied about his height (guys, you know what I'm talking about) and didn't seem to judge when I told him I was going for takeaway Nando's and to meet my friends' new baby Ellie-Rose that evening (she's gorgeous, made me very broody. Eek).

So while we all ponder what's going to happen this evening, let me take you back to Monday night and the Skype date. I wore my pyjamas. He could only see me from the shoulders up - who was to know? He actually looked better than his profile pic and seemed quite well-built, which makes sense as he mentioned rock climbing and paragliding. Mr Outdoorsy indeed. He's in the wilds of Oxfordshire and has a gorgeous dog, yay! So it'll be a case of finding a mutual time and place to meet now, as we seemed to get on.

A pre-meet Skype date gets the thumbs up from me. It zooms past the build-up and helps you decide if you click - and if he looks like his picture. EHarmony, on the other hand, is the slow burner of dating sites. It won't let you just jump to chatting or swapping details. I'm drawn to the more serious element of this site because, after all, it's not 'boyfriend by Christmas, dumped by New Year', is it? (And yes, I've been there. Well, it was more like 'I'd like things to get more serious' in November, then 'dumped before Christmas'.)

While eHarmony bubbled away, I really needed a huge amount of single men all in one place. Cue crazy golf dating. My regular wing woman, Carly, met me on Tuesday for this event run by doingsomething.co.uk, an activity-based dating site. I've been advised by several dating experts that the best way to meet someone is to get to know lots of men - who aren't necessarily your type - in person. Doing that on a one-date-per-night basis is not a good use of your time, so I'm a massive fan of dating events like this. Lots of singles, less pressure.

The golf plan is genius, if a little bit flawed, because you have to be paired boy-girl to play and many people appeared to be playing that 'I'm too nervous!' game in the bar. Still, we eventually tee off and everyone's laughing and flirting as they totter around the course. We're paired with Mark and his camera-shy friend. Carly's worn a fab outfit; her skinny jeans look great. Mark and I have great banter, it's all very relaxed and non-datey, yet datey at the same time. I'm left a bit confused because we agree we get on, we agree there's probably no romance between us but we also agree it'd be fun to meet again. Is that arranging a second date? I guess we'll all have to wait and see…

30 October 2014

Will she give baldies a go?

LET'S get straight to it. The day after I went public with my challenge, there was an email to the Metro office. A real-life man had seen my column and written a very kindly worded note to see if I would meet him. He's a stand-up comedian, so we have something in common as I'm just starting out. But his emails were very gushing for someone who hadn't met me. And he still hasn't, I confess. He invited me to a Paolo Nutini gig, which felt a little too much for a first date - that's quite a big night out, more like third date territory, surely? So I'm undecided, but we agree to try to meet up soon (he lives in St Albans).

But first to Brighton. It's a Friday night and I'm on the train to visit my sister. Ah ha! I've seen the romcoms, I've heard the stories. This 'last train home' is supposed to be a hotbed of chatter and flirting. So I board the train with high hopes for romance on my way to the coast. I like men who are taller than me (I'm 5ft 6in), with hair - hair is generally a dealbreaker. I like them to be indie boys, not too smart but not too scruffy. Sadly, this Beer Express smells like a boy's bedroom on a Sunday morning. Fusty and fast-foody. Rush-Hour Crush? Crust, more like.

As Saturday morning rolls around, I spend my first waking moments like many singles: browsing the profiles on dating websites. I've registered with a few - My Single Friend, Lovestruck, Match and Plenty Of Fish. (I am too old and keen to meet someone to join Tinder.) This is familiar territory for me, as I've been single for four years, and in that time have been on countless dates. You name it, I've done it. Online, dating events… A year ago I met a guy and it got to date two. I was really into him but he did that classic 'disappearing act' on me. They do that a lot - just stop texting. I was gutted, as I'd hoped it'd go further, and had to dust off my heart after that one. In fact, in the past ten years, the longest relationship I've had was about five months. Am I failure at them? I do wonder sometimes.

Still, I'm optimistic this time and soon get a message from a nicelooking man on POF (Plenty Of Fish). Many POF men just say 'hi' but he seems to be able to string sentences together, which is good. He looks cool, he's a musician (fancy!) and that appeals... another creative type would work for me. The trouble is, this chap is bald. As I've said before, I generally don't fancy bald guys: I say 'potato', you say 'sexy Jake off Strictly'.

But I have also been told countless times that I have to give men who might not have a good head of hair a chance - you never know, he might like blondes and be giving this redhead a chance. I'll keep you posted.

That evening my sister and I head off to a comedy club and it is full of stag dos. Ah ha! prime hunting ground, non? You'd think so. But after chatting one guy up who looks at me like I've spoken in Japanese (he'd made a comment to his friend about the Jägerbombs on my tray; I'd used them as an 'in' for some banter), I lose the nerve to chat to anyone else/get too drunk to speak coherently. You know when Carrie Bradshaw wakes up a little worse for wear with an eye mask on? That's me the next day, but lying next to some rather less sophisticated leftover Chinese and one of my sister's cats.

Tuesday is time for a coffee date. Dolled up to the nines from my Metro photoshoot, I meet a man from match.com. I'm also late and unable to list any particular hobbies when asked (does dating count?) This guy is the classic 'lovely but not for me', so he deserves to go peacefully on his way. He emails to say he'd like to meet again. I am sad that I'm writing about him now, so I shall do what I don't always do, and reply to say it doesn't click for me. Check me out, being all grown-up and honest and all.

Fear not, though: to round off the week, I get an email from the press team at Ann Summers offering to help with the column. So if the dating doesn't work out, that's a good contact to have...

I must introduce someone to you: WINGWOMAN CARLY. She'll be coming to some dating events so I don't have to go alone.

Carly's blonde, very pretty and smart-looking, is not a journo, is single and would love to meet someone. We've been invited to 'swingers dating' next Tuesday.

It involves crazy golf in a Shoreditch warehouse (obvs).

23 October 2014

Boyfriend by Christmas?

WELL, good morning commuter. Are you single? Are you dating? Are you in a relationship? Have you thought about what you'd like for Christmas?
Now, I know that's a lot of questions. But the answer to two of them is key to what's coming next. You see, I'm single and I have decided what I'd like for Christmas.
A bloke.

I know, I know, I hear all the single girls give a snort and say that a new set of M&S pyjamas and maybe some Sanctuary bubble bath would be more realistic. 
But here's the thing. I'm 37 and I've been single for over four years now. I have most of the things I'd like in life except a relationship (and a dog, but that's a different story). So here goes: with all of you Metro readers along for the ride, I'm going to properly search for Mr Right.
Is it possible to meet and fall for a man (and have him fall for you) in eight weeks? If I apply the same logic I would to, say, losing a stone before Christmas, I'd say affirmative. Oi, I heard you laugh again. But I reckon it could just be do-able. 
And yes, I realise I should be careful what i wish for. As one friend suggested this plan: 'Remember Jen, a man is for life, not just for Christmas!' I might just meet someone and then wish I had my 'freedom' back. 
YOU join me at a positive time, as it happens. I am not heartbroken from a break-up and I am not utterly repulsed by what I see in the mirror in the mornings. So I'm of the belief that I have something to offer the menfolk. 
I will confess that while I do a lot to 'try' and meet someone (I go to dating nights, I'm on different websites and I'm always up for being set up on a blind date), if I'm honest I think that I fill my life with so much work and socialising that there isn't actually a lot of time to get to know a man as a boyfriend. So it's time to truly focus. My leather glove is thrown down as a gauntlet. It's time to put my cards on the table. I can't keep turning my love life into a joke (well I can, because I've started doing stand-up comedy about dating, but that's another story).

Am I deluded? About to repel any single men who haven't already met me forever? Or maybe, just maybe, going to succeed? Whatever you think, I hope you'll be coming along for the ride.
I'm like the genius mixture of Carrie Bradshaw and Bridget Jones. How hard can this be? Eight weeks to go....