Although I don't think it is intended to be, my book is a hoot. Something to do with the translation I think.
I've now reached the chapter about going back to an ex. Although the blast from the past describes us as never getting past first base, I suppose he isn't technically an ex. We did however enjoy at least 6 dates plus regular phonecalls - landline to landline and by WhatsApp when he was working overseas and sending photos of places he was visiting and working in.
So my current chapter doesn't really apply. Except in part. The part where it describes an ex in terms of bread... bear with me. ..
'Do you know how gourmets tell the difference between a good restaurant and a greasy spoon? They taste the bread. If it's crispy and crusty, they place an order but if its soft or too hard, they dont even glance at the menu" (Eat your heart out 50 shades of grey!) "Well, its the same with love! You haven't heard anything from an ex (in my case the blast from the past) and now he's inviting you to dinner (replying to a 3 year old email!) Go, but keep a sharp eye on the bread WTF?? Does he seem to have changed? Does he seem all fresh and crusty? Or is he soft and lazy, calling you because he is all alone, or hard and vengeful because he is sad?" Pass
The next chapter is a very helpful guide to taking your first holiday together and includes tips on what to pack in your suitcase for a Parisienne's beach holiday. For beach I read Barbados!
Curiously on the weekend of Johnie's flight to Barbados, most flights were affected by the Beast from the East storm and I took some pleasure in knowing that he would find it difficult to travel from Cumbria to Gatwick by road, and that his flight would no doubt either be delayed or cancelled. It was the same a fortnight later when he was due to return. Karma or what?!
I have no idea whether he went or not. I'm afraid I didn't reply to his email dumping me and apart from on the dates scribbled in my diary that we were due to travel to Barbados, and the days I slip into the new PJ's I bought especially for the holiday, I haven't thought of him since.
Back to Parisienne wisdom. I was able to put the crusty old bread theory to the test when the blast from the past suggested a lunch date which I gratiously accepted. This was prompted by my propositioning him to join me in Naples next month when I will be there on business, and as it falls on the May Bank holiday weekend, thought it might be an opportunity to stay a few extra days, if I could find a travel buddy. It felt like a bold move on my part, but nothing ventured, nothing gained and he seemed interested, saying it was a part of Italy he hadn't visited, but had always wanted to, and so we began discussing arrangements by text and email, until he suggested lunch halfway to thrash out the finer details, with the proviso that he couldn't totally commit to the idea as there was strong possibility he would be called away on business overseas. (And he was still active on the dating sites, as I discovered when I asked a few probing questions over lunch)
It was, nonetheless, a delightful lunch, catching up on the last 3 years. Conversation was easy and natural and so enjoyable that I didn't even notice which bread he chose and resembled.
After a few more weeks of occasional messaging, he sent a longer, newsy message saying it had now been confirmed that he would be out of the country on an overseas contract, departing on the same day as I would be for Naples, so he would be unable to join me. Ce la vie. I am happy to keep my trip strictly business, and stay focused on my work. An all expenses paid three night stay at a spa resort as the guests of my clients is quite enough excitement for one weekend methinks, without the added considerations of rendezvousing with a travel buddy and all that it could entail.
Long before this, I had already made the decision to give up dating altogether. I don't need the hassle and disappointments not to mention the expense of paid dating sites. I dread to think what I have spent on membership subscriptions off and on over the past 10+ years. I have my business, my friends, my children and grandchildren, an Agony Uncle and am pretty settled and contented so I have started deleting my profiles on the sites, as and when I find them, and can remember my log-ins created, in some cases, over a decade ago.
Talking of Agony Uncle. His latest emails tell me that his lovely lady who he met over a year ago on the sites and who moved in with him last December, has had some medical problems so returned to her home country in Eastern Europe where she thought she would have better medical treatment. They speak to each other every other night via Skype and she keeps him updated on her health, which it seems hasn't yet been satisfactorily diagnosed. She has now been gone 2 months with no sign of returning. I'm saying nothing...... Zilch. What do I know about relationships??
Having made the decision to give up dating and allowed my memberships to lapse, out of the blue, I received a message from someone on one of the sites where I had a very outdated profile. He is an architect who has travelled extensively, and is widowed. His profile read very well and his message even better. In both he mentioned that he followed Chinese astrology and listed the years of birth that were a good match to his own Chinese sign. Some were a decade out but one was just a year out so as I liked his profile and his message to me, I decided a birth year just one year out was as near as dammit, and being told in his personal message that I sounded very normal, I decided it might be worth shelling out £33 for a single months membership in order to reply, which I did.
I thanked him for his kind words and said I liked to think I was normal. I apologised for knowing nothing about Chinese astrology without mentioning that I had briefly put my trust in the alignment of the stars, but that I tried to keep an open mind about most things. I gave him my birth year, saying I had just renewed my lapsed membership in order to reply to his message and looked forward to hearing back from him.
This is his reply:
"Hi Diana. Oops! Well you know what is coming next. You are a rooster and it’s really not great I’m afraid (I’m a rat - look it up). (PPS If you were born in 1956 it would have been PERFECT sadly). I’ve been following this since I was a student and it’s been very accurate for me. If you are at all interested buy a book called New Astrology here Suzannewhite.com and it will tell you who works well for you. If you try it on your family and friends (ex-husbands, etc) you may be surprised. Her other book ‘love signs’ is also excellent. PS My brother is a Rooster and he’s been with me tonight but I can honestly say that we are ‘chalk and cheese’ and have been since being little boys. Well if it helps, you look and sound beautiful. I’m so sorry about the £33! Wishing you every happiness in 2018 and if you want to know more let me know. I’ve found this Chinese stuff has really helped me over the past decades - if you find the very best matches for you the relationship works on ALL levels in my experience. x
So I have just wasted £33 to learn that yet another bloke on a dating site is a rat. I should like to reply and ask why if this Chinese Astrology is such a wonderful code to live by, he is still single and searching but I can't be bothered and to be honest I'm not even interested in the answer.
So for the next month, I shall be back on the site, searching and emailing until my fingers bleed or my subscriptions run out, whichever is the soonest.
Just imagine how many books I could have bought on Chinese Astrology with what I've spent on subscriptions!