I was in the market for meeting people, it’s as simple as that. Months had passed since I had moved to London and I hadn’t really managed to secure any kind of social life for myself while I was in London. I’d still scurry off to Somerset the second it got to Friday and that was something I needed to change if I was really going to give London life a go.
I let Dana convince me to spend more weekends in London, I was easily persuaded, she made the point that I already knew myself: if I was ever going to enjoy life in London I’d have to start meeting people here to enjoy it with. So I continued with my efforts of meeting people online. The trouble is meeting someone to strike up a friendship is much harder than meeting someone to go on a date with. I think most people who have dabbles with online dating will have come up against those types… “no time wasters please, I have enough friends only looking for blah blah blah.”
I met up with a few people over the next few months. Whether going out for drinks after work or sticking about one or two weekends to go out for dinner and drinks. I guess you’d call it dating, only I wasn’t looking for love, I was looking for a life, here in London. I think by this point I had enough of love, it hadn’t worked out for me so far and I just wanted to have a good time. Focus on my career, focus on making a life for myself.
Well the succession of dates weren’t really anything to write home about. I had this problem that I sometimes have after being burned in love, no matter the person, the attraction is just never there. I met with a beautiful woman and went out and had a great time at a hip hop karaoke night and after that first meeting just let it all fizzle out, despite getting on rather well and half-heartedly suggesting we meet again. I just couldn’t be bothered enough by it all.
There was another girl, another night out. This time we ventured out to a restaurant near Oxford Circus. A little Italian place called Vapiano and then it was onto Candy. Again, a nice enough woman, cute, friendly… seemed happy enough with the idea of seeing each other again, I just let that one fizzle too. Are you spotting a pattern yet? Perhaps the funniest think about this particular evening out was bumping into one of my housemates quite randomly in the Candybar and then one of the best one-liners exchanged between us. I happened to ask out of surprise ‘What are you doing here?’ to which she casually and comically responded with ‘I’m hunting, ya!’
That one liner became a running joke between us from this moment on. When I’d retold the story to Dana when we recapped the evening she loved it and would join in on the fun too. Our third lesbian housemate was our Turkish friend Tara, it’s pretty fair to say that 99% of the time she only had one thing on her mind, women. When she said hunting she meant hunting, and she rarely, perhaps never failed in her ambitions.
Then there were the people I’d met back home, strangely enough I was more bothered about them. I enjoyed going back home and spending time with friends old and new. The new friends in my life were mainly Sohpie and Megan, well Megan was more of an old friend reunited. Then there were my girls from college, Michael and a few others that had come out of the woodwork, so to speak.
Until one day by chance I happened to be invited out by someone I’d been speaking with online for a little while. Dana had invited me out with her friends to a lesbian night at the Green Carnation in Soho, and my new friend was planning on going too. Dana had a habit of staying late at work and hanging out in the city, I would be ready to start drinking probably sooner than she’d even thought about finishing for the day. So I arranged to meet up with my new friend from gaydar, she’d expertly arranged a group meeting between ourselves and a couple of other people she’d be meeting for the first time and some people she already knew. It was already shaping up to be an interesting night.
This was it though I didn’t know it at the time, the beginning of my life in London. The first friends (outside of the office) that I would make in this big bad town. Since this first meeting we have been out together in Soho plenty of times, introduced more and more people to each other, celebrated birthdays, helped each other move house, enjoyed a house party or two. It all looked very promising, I was more willing to spend time in London now that I’d started to establish a life for myself.
What I wasn’t planning on was what would happen the next time I went home. I’d be back in Somerset over the Easter holidays and I’d made plans to see as many of my friends back home as possible. The events of that Easter (which are very hazy at best) sparked off a train of events that I wasn’t really expecting or prepared for.
At this point life was good, I was happy that I’d managed to make a clean break from my previous relationship. Since here I was 4 months down the line and happier than I had been in a long time. I wasn’t forced to pretend to be happy in a relationship that sucked. Sure there were times when I missed having the kind of close friendships and hang outs that I had back home when our little gay family had been so close. Sometimes everything is so hard in London, it’s a big place and it takes some organising to get everyone out for a night out at the same time and location is always an issue.
I was still happy enough not to have the constant reminder of everything that had blown up in my face. I truly was better off without them all, I let London be a fresh start for me. Once I dropped them and all their problems which I had a habit of taking on as my own, I was able to focus on me. I was doing really well at work and could see a career unfolding ahead of me, after all that really was the whole point in moving to London. Only thing that had changed was that I didn’t really see it as temporary anymore, I didn’t know how long I planned on staying. I still don’t.