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

If you think I'm being harsh and haven't given the locals enough of a chance, or perhaps you're new to London and are considering the perilous climb up Mount True Love yourself, I'll outline the options. There are a number of well and wearily trodden paths to a new man. Your friends unconsciously reveal what they really think of you by the kind of someone I thought you'd like to meet man brought to dinner parties. Rather than catching up on your paperwork, you could squeeze in some best of a bad lot power-flirting on the commute to work (and be devastated when, even though you didn't fancy him to begin with, he brushes you off). Maybe you're considering signing up for online dating or going to places where you should, but absolutely never will, meet someone suitable? Since over the last year I've tried them all, I'll share what I've learned with you. I've sat chatting to Belgian lawyers in Starbucks (willing them to be even a little more interesting); I've dabbled with online dating (where all the guys have done the Nick Hornby's Guide to Women course and are single parents with angelic but troubled kids, or run small, quirky, yet failing businesses). I don't even want to think about going to another cultural event (to meet graduates of the Tony Parsons' Guide to Women course: bitterness over ex-wife, partially concealed by exterior of witty self-loathing, which in turn is momentarily obscured by an encyclopedic knowledge of early punk bands). Maybe you can tell me about evening classes. I can't work out whether eligible guys need to do Woodwork 101 or if the classes will just be full of women like me. Likewise, I haven't signed up for a fourteen-week religious or spiritual workshop and I won't go near any therapy that involves garden hoses, buckets, or splash mats. I'm not looking to discover the meaning of life. Get karmic social services on to me, because I'm really not interested in my inner child. I just want a decent boyfriend. And by all means share your experiences with your girlfriends, but I am completely serious when I say that the actual task of searching for your Soul Mate, like getting your bikini line waxed, is strictly a one-woman job. It's a selfish, solo occupation that can't involve all your other single female friends. When too many of us in relationship recovery get together, new boyfriends are the last things on our minds. Instead we perpetuate and mythologize our misery, building a shrine to our exes out of empty wine bottles and Kettle Chip packets. I don't want to talk about old relationships. I don't want to spend months trying to understand what went wrong. If your car plunged through the median of the highway, you wouldn't spend a year showing your friends photos of the happy days when it was safely parked outside your house. You'd just go out and buy another one. Get right back into the fast lane. Move on.

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