Excerpt, Part 1: 'Around the World in 80 Dates'

And as I traveled to and from my office in London, and to and from my work overseas, I was struck by how much more interested in women foreign men are, compared with British men. At times it feels as if you can't find a decent date in London to save your life, the bar being so low now that I mean any man who knows how to use a fork and possesses a matching pair of shoes, but you virtually have to fight them off with a stick in every other capital city around the world. I don't want to sound like an international hussy here, and I'm not even vaguely God's gift—I don't have Britney's butt or Melanie Griffiths's lips . . . though, to be fair, neither does she. But it is so much easier to meet men when you're abroad. Walk down the street in any other country and there'll always be men checking you out, coming over, chatting you up. In London, the only guys who make eye contact with you are the inmates on the subway. I'm not saying British men are totally to blame: We women have to take some of the responsibility, too. There are only so many hours in the day, and chances are that if you have a successful career, it's your job that takes up most of them. As the economy flourishes, are we in the grip of an emotional recession? Have we made our jobs the primary relationships in our lives, settling for so-so boyfriends because that's all we have the time to either find or maintain?

I say we, but of course I mean I. Had I loved my job more than I loved my boyfriend? By putting in and getting back so much from my career, how much did I have left to give Kelly? And how much did I really need from him in return? If I had needed Kelly more, would I have been forced to accept sooner that the relationship sucked and saved myself from going through "Jen and Kel -- The Crap Years"? I know this sounds terrible, but is it really possible to have a great relationship and a great job? And if not, which would you choose?

And to get back to talking about me again (oh, go on), if I was right and all the great relationships were wandering down streets in every country other than the one in which I lived, what was I going to do about it?

Before we go any further, I think we need to take a moment to discuss terms. It's important to clarify exactly what I mean by great relationships. What I'm not talking about is a shag. One-night stands are the emotional kebabs of the relationship world: easy to get after the pubs close, leaving you feeling like rubbish for the next three days. No, I'm talking about meeting someone I actually like and want to get to know. Someone who makes me laugh, reads me bits out of the newspaper, will run out for tampons, lets me cut his hair (badly, once), has a bath while I sit on the loo seat cutting my/his toenails. Someone I'm willing to introduce to my friends. I'm talking about a Soul Mate. And I'm completely serious when I say I don't believe he exists here in London.

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