A boring post about work

There’s no doubt, I am good at my job.  The problem is always the other people.

Last week was a little wearing.  First we had an audit by a new customer.  It was important in that, without getting ‘sign off’ from the auditor, we could not supply the goods.  On the other hand, without us and the parts we will be supplying, the customer is, to put it mildly, fucked.

For some reason, that escaped me, our MD (who now, according to the latest and greatest organisation chart is, in fact, our CEO whilst our previously designated Technical Director is now the MD) seemed more like a headless chicken than the cobra (as designated by one of my colleagues).  I would say headless cobra except, probably, for everyone else in the organisation, she still has the ‘bite’ associated with the cobra and, therefore couldn’t possibly be headless and, anyway, a snake without a head hardly runs around like a headless chicken does.

I have no idea why she seemed so nervous about the auditor being there.  OK, so we may not be perfect but we do have things in place, more or less and, gradually, eventually, we are getting there.

Still, it is tiring having to be pleasant to someone with the personality of a slug as, I’m afraid to say, most auditors are, in my experience.  I suppose it has something to do with the job they do.  I guess I am more of an ‘overview’ person rather than a ‘detail’ person.  Once I have the overview, I’m happy, the details just bore the hell out of me.

Tiring further was the meeting we had following that, with another customer.  This customer was accompanied by their customer and by their customer’s customer (the ‘ultimate’ customer, sort of).

They had wanted an audit.  For various reasons we were unable to comply with their request and I made it clear that they were not going to be able to audit.  It would be a general commercial meeting with the focus on our documentation and our processes, so that they (the ultimate customer) better understood that we were not some cowboy outfit as they may have been led to believe.

And, why on earth would they have come to the conclusion that we would be a cowboy outfit, you may well ask?

The problem was that, our customer, in order to safeguard themselves, as people are wont to do, blamed us for many of the problems with the equipment that they were providing; blaming our equipment for the problems.

And so, the ultimate customer and their supplier must have thought we were, to put it mildly again, crap.

It was important, therefore, to present a company that was on the ball, fully up to speed with everything and with processes that were top notch.  I knew that we had certain failings and, therefore, needed to be careful how we presented the company and the personnel we used to do this.  We needed people present who could be relied upon and who could show the company in the best light.  Also, as it was not going to be an audit (and I didn’t want it to become one) I wanted to keep Quality out of it a much as possible.

And so I picked the best people to be with the customer.  Apart from briefly, this did not include Production people.  So there was me (I’m good with the schmooze) and three Engineers – all of whom give a good account of themselves and have the skills and knowledge to present things in the right way.  They also speak the best English, which is important for not ending up misleading the customer or causing confusion with them.

The whole day went so well.  The ultimate customer was really impressed with our facilities, with the people I chose to have in the meeting, with our production and test facilities, etc.

The problem came afterwards.  Unfortunately, not everyone fully understood what we (I) were trying to do.  Firstly, during the time the customers were there, whilst we were on the shop floor, our Engineering Manager (apparently) blasted some of the people who, by rights, should have been there.  But he shouldn’t have ‘cos they hadn’t been asked and, to be honest, wouldn’t have helped my (our) cause.

Worse still, the Production Manager, the next day, came to the Engineering Office and started being all big-headed about how everything had been good the day before.  BIG MISTAKE.  I hadn’t included the Production Manager, not only for the fact that he doesn’t speak English so well.  And I had had some Production people involved, briefly, but when we went to the shop floor, for me, it would have been far better if there had been no one from Production or Quality around.  Probably we should have visited it at lunchtime when no one from that area was there at all!

Of course, the guy who does the assembly had to be there but he speaks no English and had to be there because I needed him to do things when the customers wanted to see things.  If it weren’t for that I wouldn’t have had him there either.

But not everyone sees what I do and now the CEO has asked me to explain it all to engineering because they are angry with Production and other areas for not pulling their weight.  Of course, the Engineers have a good point.  But to have done anything else would have been a potential disaster or, at least, certainly not made it as good as it was.

And it is difficult because my job relies on the fact that I have a reasonable relationship with everyone and I don’t want to piss off Engineering nor Production nor anyone else.  But at the end of it all, people have different strengths and, I’m afraid, Production don’t have the strengths to be in front of the customer, it’s as simple as that whereas Engineering (well, most of them and certainly the ones I chose) do.

Just like when you have visitors to your house and show them round, you don’t show them the cupboard under the stairs for a really good reason.

Of course, the problem is also that, in my opinion, the CEO doesn’t really value the Engineers quite as highly as I think they should be valued.  But I’m not the CEO so I can’t do much about that.

Sorry for the boring post but I was, partly, trying to decide how I go about trying to smooth things over with Engineering as I have been asked to do that by the CEO (who also doesn’t really understand what I do either!!!!!).


I’m not sure how I feel.  I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to feel.  My head tells me I shouldn’t feel anything but my heart is beating fast, almost as if I’m scared.

I don’t feel sad or that I’ve missed something.  I don’t feel angry or unhappy.  Nor do I feel happy.  And, somehow, at some time, that’s how I thought I would feel – not this ‘nothingness’ with a beating heart.

I read the stuff again to make sure I understood.  Yes, I cannot be wrong.  So much stuff on the internet these days but still cannot find anything about the actual event.  But then it goes and makes me look for other things.  Most things are just confirmation of things I already knew.  A few photos, a few discussions.

And still I can’t get this thing out of my head.  Why?

And then I think about the date.  No, it’s all wrong, somehow.  I mean, 2003.  I was still in the UK.  Not only in the UK but also still at the original address – the one she knew.  No.  I must have made a mistake.  A different anniversary then?  Ah yes, she was going for a walk.  And, at that time, I seem to remember, the talk of new knees.  Perhaps that’s the one she talks about?  Perhaps it was her AND him, celebrating the 7th anniversary of him being able to walk again?  That’s why the walk and why it’s worth the post.

And, yet, there was the comment about “he would be so proud of you”.  Surely you only say that of someone who’s gone?  Otherwise you’d say ‘he must be so proud of you’ or something similar.  But, perhaps there is a mixture here.  The walking being different from the dying.  The anniversary being the walking; the dying taking place at some other time.

But it tires me.  It’s boring crap and, after an initial interest, the whole thing starts to become pathetic.  I mean that I become pathetic to me.

And then, I wonder, should I make contact now?  What would it take?  And, anyway, she’s already in New Zealand or Australia or something.  With ‘her Ruthie’ on their yacht or her yacht or something.

But then that exposes me again and I don’t want to be exposed.  The rest of them come too.  It comes with a package (and a price) and the package I don’t want to open (and the price I don’t want to pay).  And, it’s strange really because only a day or so ago I found myself thinking about being adrift and that I was adrift and had almost always been adrift and, most of the time, I like being adrift and not anchored but that sometimes, for those brief moments, when being adrift seems less exciting but rather more scary, that’s the time that you have families for.

And I don’t have that.  And now, after V, I have less of even the little bit I thought I had.

And, maybe that’s why my heart raced when I read (and, probably, misunderstood) the thing on the screen.

It’s a very good feeling

No, I was wrong.  This wasn’t Bunch but, most definitely Brunch.

Her husband (I presume) was from American stock and so there was bacon, scrambled eggs (with, because the husband was American, Heinz Tomato Sauce) and pancakes with maple syrup.  She also baked – blueberry muffins, carrot cake that was almost like ginger cake, a fruit cake (that reminded me of my mother’s rock cake) and raspberry jam tart!  Mmmmmm!  Delicious.

Most of the conversation was in Italian but it wasn’t too bad.  As I’ve recently said to Man of Roma in the post On Being British, my understanding of Italian improves.  The hostess was particularly kind when she found out that I didn’t understand perfectly saying that the few words I had spoken were perfectly pronounced and so she thought I spoke Italian.  It made me smile.

As did F, who, when we are together, doesn’t show affection so often but when we are out, touches me more (rubs my knee, strokes my leg, holds my hand, kisses me (although not today)) and in such a way that it is genuinely affectionate.  I know he loves me.

I was introduced as his findanzata.  I like that.

I watched him during the conversations.  He has such a way about him, such style, such a good conversationist, so friendly, so instantly likeable.  I got the small pastries that we were taking and went round to his flat before we went for brunch.  He was getting dressed.  At that stage he wore a white shirt and underpants.  So very sexy.

We walked back to his house with his colleague who had also been at the brunch.  I followed behind them sometimes, when the pavement was too narrow for three abreast, and noticed the back of his neck or, rather, the nape where his hair fanned out (though it is short) almost like an upside down peacock’s tail.  So sweet.  And I wanted to kiss it there and then.

But that’s for later when he comes round.  Now I should be making the bed, washing up the few things, putting the house in order.  His idea to come round.  He misses the babies (the dogs to you and I).  Especially Dino who loves him, probably, only slightly less than he loves Dino.

Yep, I like being his findanzata.  It’s a very good feeling.

Brunch or Bunch

I was chatting with a colleague who was complaining about the cost of Brunch at this particular place in Milan.

The problem, we worked out, was that Italians have taken the word ‘Brunch’ and applied it (and an increased price) to a meal that can only be described as a buffet lunch rather than a (very) late breakfast, which was what Brunch devolved from.

F had told me, last week, that he was going to brunch with his landlady. It will be an all-Italian affair and, therefore, best described as a buffet lunch or Bunch. He told me that this Bunch would be Sunday (tomorrow).

Then, a few days later, he asked me to come. I’m not entirely sure why. I hesitate to say it’s because he wants me there but it does seem like that. I am going as his friend or findanzato – I’m not sure which. But I’m going anyway – and pleased to go because, in spite of my hesitation, I think it is because he wants me there; he wants us to do things together. It’s just that he doesn’t explain that very well.

It’s like now, as I write this. He had a headache earlier and went to bed. He rang because, although he feels better, he still feels a bit rotten. I don’t know whether he wants me there or not. So I said I would come round – if he would like. Eventually he said that he would like and so, when I’ve finished this, I will have a shower and go round, returning to do the dogs later.

And then we shall stay at his place. We went to IKEA this morning and he was looking for pillows as we need to be higher to watch the television. As he was buying some special pillows he asked me if this was what I wanted – ‘because one of them is mine and the other is yours’.

But, in spite of all the signals he gives, I remain unsure and, as a result, don’t push. In fact, I rather ‘hold back’. I don’t know. Is it right or should I be more forceful with what I want? Am I just being a pushover? And will that turn him away?

Ah well, tomorrow is brunch (or bunch). Either way, we shall be together and, whatever the signals, I like it a lot that we’re together.

The same thing with the right person

To be honest, I’m just a little apprehensive.

I knew it was coming, I just expected a little more notice.  And it’s not as if it’s anything to worry about, really.  But, you know…….?

F phones.  He is at Liù, near my flat.  He’s not IN Liù since it’s only 6.30 p.m. and I know they don’t open until 7.30.  He’s there because he has to get some stuff.  He needs a cable for the TV so that it can be moved to the correct place in the bedroom.

“Would you like to go for a pizza later?”, he asks me.  “We can go to Liù”

“Sure”, I reply.  He’s going to phone me later.

He does.

“We’re going to Basillico”, he states, “for 8.30.  We’re meeting S”.

He uses the nickname so it takes me a moment to understand what he means.  “Is that OK?”, he adds, maybe misunderstanding my initial silence.

“Sure but are you sure you want me to come?” I ask him.

Now, you should know that this is only me being polite.  S and F haven’t met up since S got back into town.  And, I’m not really jealous but there’s something.  I mean, he was with S for 11 years and, you know, maybe with S coming back, F thinks there may be a ‘getting back together’.  I don’t really think so but…….

And, I think, perhaps it would be better for them to have an evening together, catching up on old times or stuff like that and I would just be in the way.  Anyway, S’s boyfriend is still in the States.  It will be weird with me being there but S not being able to bring his boyfriend too.

Of course, the question, just like the thoughts are all crap.  What I want is that F would not possibly meet S without me being there.  But one can’t actually say that, right?

But there is also the thing that I am not S.  I am not as good as S.  That my not being good enough will become obvious to F when he sees us together.  Still, I want him to say that he wants me there too.

And he does.  He calls a little later to say he is having an aperitivo at Bar Basso, which is in the same piazza.  I have just come out of the shower.  I can’t meet S without making the best of myself, obviously.  I expect him to be somewhat glamorous.

I say I will be another 10 minutes.  As I am leaving he calls to say he will meet me at the pizzeria.  I walk up.

I see them.  S with his back to me, talking to F.

We meet.  He shakes my hand.  I shake his and we kiss on both cheeks, as one does, instigated by me.  Why not, I think to myself?  He is the same height as F.  Thin but not as thin as I thought.  An old-fashioned haircut, a short beard, not over-fashionable nor quirky as he might be, being a designer and all.

We sit in the restaurant.  Afterwards I think about how strangely F acted.  Like he was over-excited.  It strikes me that he was excited about introducing me to S.  I think that either he so wanted S to meet me or that he wanted to show S that he had someone else.  I thought the former last night and the latter this morning – so, obviously, I have no idea.

He and S always spoke Italian to each other in the past, F not speaking any English when they first met but, several times when S spoke Italian last night he asked him to speak English.  He finds it difficult to understand S so well, what with his heavier Mancunian accent.

Anyway, I liked him.  S, that is.  He’s not me and I am not him.  We are very different.  He asked a lot about me and I asked a lot about him.  He told me that when I meet F’s family I will like them.  He asked how long we had been together.  F replied that it was four months to which I added that it wasn’t so long.  However, S seemed to think that it was and seemed genuinely pleased that F had ‘found’ someone – as did F.

At the end he said that it was really nice to meet me after all the good things he had heard about me.  And since he would only have heard those things from F, it made me smile as perhaps this IS the real thing?  Apparently he texted F afterwards to say I was simpatico – our equivalent of nice, I think.

I don’t know, really.  Should I feel jealous (or whatever this is)?  Do I, in fact, feel jealous?  I’m not even sure about that.  Whatever I feel, I feel less now that I’ve met him.  He’s more ‘gay’ than F, for certain and more ‘gay’ than me too, for that matter.  I think that’s what F likes about me and it’s certainly one of the things I like about him.

And, after all, F said that we’re all looking for the same thing really.  The same thing with the ‘right person’, of course.

On being British

I like being British.  Am I proud of being British?  Well, to be honest, not always.  It’s not that I’m not proud, it’s just that, well, I’m British and being proud is not seen as a good thing.  After all, as we all know, ‘pride comes before a fall’ – and when someone has been proud, we see their fall as just desserts.

But I do like being British.  Firstly, I speak English (obviously, proper English – none of your mispronounced, misspelt, New World stuff for me).  In spite of the fact that the Chinese language (I forget which one of them) is actually spoken by more people in the world and Spanish is up and coming, English is still the universal language for communication.  I thank our Empire for that (and the Americans power following its demise).

Secondly, we have ‘ways’ of being; ‘ways’ of doing things that I use to my advantage, especially here.

And so I was reading this and the fact that the Immigration Minister has pronounced that there should be instruction on ‘how to queue’ because that is at the heart of Britishness.

There again, in my opinion, is the problem with people.  They get ‘Britishness’ completely wrong.  It’s not the queuing that’s important although, yes, people who jump the queue will result in a load of people who feel resentment and, these days, anger.  No Britishness is all about ‘not standing out’ from the crowd.  Or, rather, not making yourself stand out from the crowd.

Of course, if just ‘not standing out from the crowd’ were essential, we would have no famous British people until they were dead.  The thing is that you are allowed to stand out, providing that it’s not because you have been making yourself stand out – i.e. someone can push you forward as long as that someone isn’t you.

Of course, the correct response to this, should you find yourself standing out there, through no real fault of your own, is to be completely self-effacing; shy but not embarrassingly so; properly attribute your ‘success’ to others or the team; be truly grateful that there are others who think you are there (out of the crowd) even if, of course, you feel you did not possibly deserve it, etc.

Of course, there are always exceptions.  In fact, there is one exception to this overall rule.  That is when you are drunk.  And by drunk I mean very drunk (totally pissed, wasted, rip-roaringly drunk).  Then you can do anything you want – but, of course, you must regret it and suffer for it from the next morning and on until the end of your life!

Which is why I found the article so funny.  Hadley Freeman’s take on what is actually required to be British I disagree with, in the main but I will go through the five points:

1.  I’ve always found that dinner at 8 means that you will sit down to eat at about 2 minutes past 8 – unless there are late-comers, who will be frowned upon as they have made themselves stand out!

2.  We don’t always (in fact rarely) react with squealing excitement.  Understated excitement means not making yourself stand out.

3.  OK, I agree with 3 – or you say something like ‘Oh this old thing – bought it years ago’ as if that makes up for the fact that whatever it is is the most stunning item of clothing in the room.

4.  No one really cares how well Marks and Spencers do – what’s important is that the quality of their underpants is second-to-none and that their food quality is absolutely amazing but sooooo expensive.

5.  Just not true.  We do date.  We also court and, as she correctly says, ‘pull’.  But she misinterprets ‘pull’.  When you go out on a date it is with a predefined person for a meal or a drink or to the cinema.  When you ‘go out on the pull’ you are single and very much hoping that, by the end of the night, you have pulled someone who may, or may not, be a future date.

However, I just loved the end bit to number 5.  This is so true, especially of me (although I found online dating a way around the getting drunk bit).  But, just for those of you who don’t read the article, she says that the British method of coupling is like this:

go to a party, get extremely drunk, drunkenly kiss someone you have been making eyes at for some time but obviously never spoke to because you were sober then, go home with them, move in with them the next day, marry them.

It really made me laugh.

Well, this hasn’t happened for…..ummm….well…..bloody years!

Yesterday, about 1.30 p.m. I went home.

I felt ill.  I mean, really crappy, shitty and I couldn’t stay any more.

I slept quite a bit, had several Oxo drinks (my own secret solution to any illness) and, later when F came to see me, some Tachiflu (even if it’s not flu, I’m sure) and took my temperature (‘cos Italians like to take temperatures) because he had bought a thermometer, even though I told him it wasn’t necessary.  I did feel he was slightly disapproving of the fact that I didn’t actually have a temperature.  He also bought some orange juice, the Tachiflu, some milk and some beef burgers (he thought I would be off work today which, obviously, I am not!) – very sweet of him though, for sure.

My temperature was normal.  Of course!  I’m afraid I don’t get ‘fever’ which seems his answer to every slight change in how your body feels.  However, I still felt shitty.  The last time I took time off from work because of feeling ill was so long ago that I can’t even remember it.  Perhaps it’s an age thing.  Anyway, half a day off work in, say, 15 years, isn’t so bad, I think.

Oh yes and we had a FB chat thing about Susan Boyle, who appeared at the San Remo festival last night.  He said she looked really good, which surprised me.  He then replied that she had had her hair done and had a good dress on.  I replied that it wouldn’t make that much difference.  He replied that it made her look like Linda Evangelista – which made me laugh a lot.  I then replied saying that Linda may be very unhappy with that comparison but Susan probably wouldn’t be.

How where we grow up affects us

I am a little worried.  Only a little – right now, of course.  The actual (possible) events are a long way off.

I was born and brought up, for most of my childhood, in the middle of the glorious countryside of Herefordshire.  For the UK, this was one of the places furthest from the sea.  Yes, sure, when we went on our 2 week holiday, we went to the beaches of North Wales (and, sometimes, even had sun and warmth, I seem to remember).  But most of the 6 weeks of summer holidays, we were, as kids, stuck in the middle of this countryside.  And, so, we played in the garden (which was huge) or went walking or playing in the fields and woods near the house.

Certain things I remember would not be allowed now.  Like the bales of straw in the field opposite, where, every summer, we went and made houses of these bales, lugging the heavy bales to form walls and roofs, creating dens.  I was one of those kids that also liked to walk, across the fields and through woods, on my own, looking at the flora and fauna, enjoying the calming effect.

Now, as I am older, for me, the countryside is special.  It invokes images of tranquillity, of a tamed wildness, of being at peace.  Last summer, in the hills of Piedmont, I enjoyed, for a few days, thanks to N&S, the countryside and the hills that, somewhat, reminded me of Herefordshire.  And, every day, went walking with the boys, which they enjoyed immensely.

And then, for lunch or the evening, there is always a town or village nearby where, in the UK, one can find a country pub with good beer (one hopes) and, possibly, some pub grub or here, in Italy, you might chance upon some nice country restaurant.

One thing about my childhood that I always hated was our summer holiday to the beach.  I hated it for many, many reasons – we went in a caravan and, later, when the four kids were older, we had an awning attached, which was where we slept (of course).  The big drama of packing the caravan (to make sure the weight was evenly distributed), the putting up of the awning which had to be done even when it was pissing down with rain, the showering in some toilet block on the camp-site, the daily preparation and trek to the beach, my parents always preferring to be in a part of the beach without too many neighbours, so a longer walk with all the ‘stuff’, also knowing that one had to return with all the ‘stuff’ at the end of the day, etc.  Oh, yes, I hated it.

And now, of course, I have certain things that make my holiday.  Being in the countryside where one can walk without the need to carry; eating at restaurants and bars rather than taking all your own food; having the opportunity to visit a church or a museum or, here, a vineyard or the like.

But, for those people brought up near to the sea, the beach was the place that they went during their time away from school.  To them it is the perfect place to relax.

And so it is with F.  He has told me that, after breakfast he goes to the beach and stays there all day.  When he returns home, at 6 or 7, he eats having not eaten at lunch.

My worry is that, this summer, assuming we go on holiday, this is what he will want to do.  For me, it is boring and hot and I’m not really one for lying there just to get brown.  Getting brown is a consequence of doing something in the sun, not the reason for the holiday.  I can swim but I’m not good – basic, I think you would say.  But for him it’s his way to completely relax.  For me it is not.

Or, maybe it is and I have just not been with a partner for whom this IS the summer holiday.  Perhaps I should try and see.  My worry is, what if I do get bored and after an hour or so on the beach, want to do something?  Go for a walk, visit the town, do something else?

I know I should wait and see and, if I really don’t like it, I’m sure we can compromise, both of us wanting this to work, after all.

It just niggles at me from time to time, is all.

I’m learning a new language

Well, you might say “of course you are” but it’s not quite what you think.

I’m having various conversations with a girl who’s about 14.  Don’t get the wrong idea here – it’s not a bad thing.  She is the daughter of Best Mate.  And the conversation is the sort of general conversation that one would have with the teenage daughter of your Best Mate – except for one thing – it’s via Facebook and so is more like texting or chatting online.

And, as she’s 14, although she uses English it’s not quite the English that I write here.  And on more than one occasion I have had to ask Best Mate what a certain word or acronym means.

Because, let’s face it, I am old.  I remember mobile phones when they first came in and were almost as big as a small briefcase.  And the first portable computer was like a laptop – but the screen was a normal screen that you had to carry separately.  So, texting and chatting online requires that I learn a different language.

Some examples would be soz.  This is short for sorry.  Said is written sed.  How gets the ‘h’ dropped off the front.

All these things make remarkable sense.  However, I do find it difficult to do this.  I’ve just about mastered using ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ and ‘r’ instead of ‘are’ but I don’t even do that all the time, so writing ‘i sed i wuz soz’ I would still be writing as ‘I said I was sorry’ – even in text form, even going to the trouble of making the ‘i’ a capital.

And, in addition, I text Italians.  For me it is almost unthinkable as an ex English Teacher to write the short form.  The best I can do with F is to write ‘cos’ instead of ‘because’ (and even with that, the first time I did, he asked what it meant).

English is a wonderful, rich language (although the Italians always think theirs is better and richer – and, being a guest in their country I would not disagree – at least in front of them) but having been with V’s family (many of whom are first-generation from Jamaica), I became very aware of the the fact that there is no really ‘pure’ English.  It’s all bastardised all over the world.  Even here they take words and give them slightly different meanings (e.g. relax, which they don’t use verb even when it should be in the context in which they use it).

And so, this new form of English, widely used (I guess) by most English people (maybe even English-speaking people) under the age of, let’s say, 30 – where will it end up?  In 20 years will the common spelling of ‘said’ be ‘sed’ and ‘sorry’ be ‘soz’ – at least in the UK?

Every language changes over time but I suspect new technology and the need to type words on keyboards, touch pads and keypads could accelerate the changes to the language.  And since I know the same thing happens here (‘che’ becomes ‘k’, ‘per’ becomes ‘x’), I wonder if all languages are now under some pressure to change to meet the growing need of the younger generations to be able to communicate in ways that we never even imagined when we were at school.

Just a thought.

Online Dating – Dos and Don’ts and Scams

Well, those of you who have been following my ‘adventures’ through 2009 will know that I used online dating websites to find the man of my dreams.

So, obviously, I have a good opinion of them.  But there are a couple of pieces of advice I would give.

1.  Some are good and some are bad.  You will learn which are which but, if you’re serious, use as many as you can find to start with, weeding out the ones that are not good or don’t have the right mix for you later.

2.  Don’t part with any money to start with.  Just get a feel for the site and the type of people who are there.  Once you find the site(s) that have the right feel and the right people, only then consider paying.  Don’t worry about emails and stuff until you’re sure the right people frequent the site to begin with.

3.  Be very specific about what you want.  Specifying, for example, an age range of 20 to 70 is really not what you want, I suspect.  I thought that people just above my age would be fine but found that, in reality, I didn’t want anyone that bloody old. Nor, indeed, did I want a ‘kid’ who lacked maturity (and even below about 35 was pushing it – we are talking about men, here).

4.  Remember, people will put forward their best side.  This is a bit like going to a club or bar but without the loud music or drinking or dancing.  You see someone you like, you chat to them for a bit and, then, maybe, you get to see them.  Seeing them in the flesh (or ‘second date’) may be a bit of a shock.  Be prepared.  I have to add that, sometimes, I was amazed at how awful the photos were when compared to the real person, so it’s not always the best photos they put up.

5.  Remember that some people are looking for, how shall I say, one night stands.  That’s OK if that’s what you want.  Just be aware that, maybe, they’re not looking for what you are looking for!

6.  Be safe.  Be careful about where and who you meet. I wasn’t particularly and one of them could have been a bit hairy but wasn’t in the end.  But, then, I’m lucky in that I’m a bloke.  Tell someone where you’re going and give them phone numbers or any other information you can about the person you plan to meet.

7.  Beware of scams.  There are people out there who are just trying to get money.  I had one of them and, on looking at the photos again, I could see that it was a model and not a real person.  But here is a link to an article from the Guardian that is an interesting read.

But, for me, it was just like going out but easier since you could send a ‘wink’ or a message or an email and, well, if they didn’t respond it was nowhere near as painful as going up to someone in a bar and getting a rebuff.

And F is the result and so it worked out really well for me.

If you are looking and try it out, I hope it works out well for you too.