Manhattan

The London Paper  –  26 Mar 2007

‘All life is negotiation’, so said the female stock-broker sitting opposite me at Nobu in New York. It was only five minutes into a ‘blind-date’ and I was already cursing the name of my Manhattan-based colleague whose sick and twisted mind had somehow imagined that me and this extraordinary character could possibly get along. I had just finished a three day marketing trip around the USA boring the pants off uninterested clients about my sector and had stayed on to Saturday in the vague hope of doing something amusing. In a moment of weakness and in the absence of alternatives I had agreed to meet this harridan for what soon turned into possibly the biggest waste of time since the England cricket team’s trip down under. My mate had managed to persuade me by saying that I was perfect for her since, and I quote, ‘she liked her men like she liked her cream, thick and rich’.

What happened on our ‘date’ can best be described as a cultural clash of the titans. Recent sexual abstinence had sent me randy enough to shag a warm sock. Hence, my agenda was simply to meet a nice young lady, have a few drinks and … take it from there. I had some ironic double-entendres prepared (old classics like ‘I’d like to get something straight between you and me’) and was feeling full of the joys of spring.

On entering the restaurant and spying the lady in question I immediately realised that she was, as they say, ‘good from afar but far from good’. Crueller people may even have said she was ‘built for comfort not speed’. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that within two minutes of the conversation I knew that I’d rather stick rusty pins in my eyes than continue this nonsense. This lady wouldn’t have known how to have a good time if it slapped her in the face.

But what was even worse was that I got the distinct impression that I was not on a date but rather being interviewed for the possible role of husband – a job I soon realised was only marginally better than cleaning the England rugby team’s soiled jock straps with my tongue. Questions were fired at me regarding my job, my promotion prospects, whether I owned my house etc and all attempts at fun took a back-seat whilst this investigation continued. As soon as was humanely possible I made my excuses and left.

I can understand why single women in their mid-30’s who lead busy lives can’t be arsed to beat around the bush when assessing men, but subtlety is still needed when stalking potential prey. My New York experience has shown me that whilst London may have its share of gold diggers they are truly uncommitted amateurs relative to their Manhattan sisters. Indeed, I return to these fair shores appreciating all the more the happy-go-lucky, fun-loving girls of this great city.

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