About the one that got away. We had some lovely conversations and very enjoyable, easy and amusing exchanges of messages, too. Everything was going well. We’d talked (again) about meeting up; he suggested a walk along the canal to Coal Drops Yard and (this being before the pubs opened) told me that he would bring a couple of cans of G&T. At one point he mentioned that he was getting ready to welcome a houseguest for the weekend and so would be a bit tied up for a few days. I left it a while, but then when it was definitely no longer the weekend, I still heard nothing.

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Sexism and Misogyny Alive and Well

I had been assuming that the men who chose Bumble for their dating app would be less misogynistic than most. Because on Bumble, for heterosexual matches, once both parties have liked the look of one another, it’s the woman who has to make the first move. That must say something about the men who choose it, I thought.

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It’s Only A Mouse

Last night I was home alone – London has opened up slightly, corona-wise, and my son who (like me) normally goes into work again each day, has (unlike me) resumed some kind of social life. I’d set up the ironing board in front of the telly and hadn’t even really got as far as seeing if there was anything on worth watching. Seemed to be some kind of cookery,

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Phil From Wigan Has Sent You A Smile

Oh great! A notification from a dating app! Someone has sent me a ‘smile’. Maybe Phil from Wigan is the one! Unlikely, given how bloody far away Wigan is from London, still – momentarily – the spirits lift. A little expectation, a little hope.

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Il Faut Cultiver Notre Jardin*

Working in the garden today for the first time in a while and I was observing that it is a continuous process. Not, obviously, if you are making a garden for Chelsea, which only has to look great for a few days, but a real garden that has to serve day in, day out, all year round, and for years. It changes.

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I Met My Husband 6 Months After I Married Him

Great idea for a cookbook, I wish I’d thought of it, I’d have had such fun: two women, impressed by the recipes of their own grandmothers, went about the place gathering recipes from other people’s grannies from around the world, eating their food, sharing their recipes and telling their stories.  

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Communication. I know I have a lot to learn: my dysfunctional marriage, dysfunctional childhood and occasional misunderstandings with both loved ones and strangers tells me so. I could have expressed myself better. (I would have had to know myself better and have more courage.)

Unlike most people (I am discovering) I agonise over this business of communication. Others are amazingly quick to dismiss their counterpart as crazy, or – even more often – to be dead certain that they know what he or she is thinking or ‘really means’. I very often don’t know what is meant, and worry about whether I am misinterpreting. I spend a lot of time considering the thing from all angles and aware I may well have got the wrong end of the stick.

I’ve been talking to a man who is very articulate. He is a pleasure to speak with. We have many tastes and opinions in common and he expresses them well. Whether he is describing his adolescence, or his feelings about the breakup of his marriage, or a trip to the shops, he has a nice turn of phrase.

So why have I been feeling frustrated sometimes? Why have I felt that while we agree about a lot of things and seem interested in one another we are not really communicating? It’s partly that the initiative always seems to come from me, which leaves me feeling disgruntled and a bit needy.

But it’s more than that. He delivers a good talk, using a wide vocabulary and entertaining phrases and observant details. I think I have managed to put my finger on it. What he does, more than communicate, and even though he seems to remember things I have told him, is broadcast.

Do I? Am I a good listener? My husband once foolishly said in a discussion with me ‘Sorry, I wasn’t listening, I was busy composing what I was going to say next’. Which at least has the virtue of being more honest than was his wont, and he was only confessing to what many of us do. I know I’ve been guilty of it. I often come across exhortations to ‘really listen’ but I am not sure what that is or how one does it.

There’s a parenting organisation that talks about ‘active listening’ when you feed back what you think you are hearing in conversations with your children. I’m not sure I do that particularly, though I do sometimes remember. It’s all very well in a deep and meaningful conversation, or where someone is upset or unburdening themselves. But it’s hardly the stuff of (I HATE this word) ‘banter’.

My therapist tells me off the whole time about feeling that I ‘must do better’ but here I am again thinking ‘I must do better’.

Finding Men That Won’t Work

Thomas Edison said about his many initial, unsuccessful, attempts to invent the electric light bulb: ‘I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.’ I am framing my online dating experience this way.

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