THE PLUS ONE

If you know me IRL, you’ll know I love to talk, that I live for socialising and admittedly, at times, enjoy being the centre of attention, but there is simply not a chance in hell I would attend an event of any kind (except for a work one) on my Jacobs.

In fact, walking into a room full of people I don’t know without someone on my arm (be it pal or partner) fills me with dread and panic. I find silences and standing alone oh so awkward, filling them at any opportunity and the thought of having to twiddle my thumbs while everyone around me has a good time fills me with fear.

As someone who would happily take a lone ranger under the wing of me and my friends, I’m not sure where this fear that no one in the room would want to talk to me has come from, and why I don’t have enough faith in other people to do the same for me, but tonight, I found myself at a loss for people to attend an event with, and instead of going it alone, I let this fear get the better of me and bailed.

I would secretly love to be the sort of woman who can rock up to events alone and work the room as confidently as when surrounded by my posse, but I’m not convinced even the most confident of women could manage it.

But I’m all for self reflection and improvement, so I’d like to know if I’m wrong.

I’m not talking going alone to a party where you’ll know other guests by the way, I’m talking going alone to a party where you will definitely, 100% know nobody. Is it lame I can’t do it? Should I work on being able to? Or is it simply natural human instinct that I’d like back up.

If I’m alone and you think I should’ve been a bit more brave, then I’m going to add it to my ‘Before 30 Bucket List’ – (eesh, how am I there already?)

If you’re with me, I’ll stop beating myself up about it. Sometimes humans don’t need to be brave, they just need to do what feels right.

(If you were wondering, the event I was supposed to go to before everyone bailed on me was Lauren’s Girl Vs Cancer, #notapityparty – If you would like to support her cause, buy a banging t shirt today.)

THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO BRISTOL

The best thing to happen to Bristol (aside from me moving here and a Polpo opening up on Whiteladies Road, of course) has actually arrived in the form of the most affectionate app in the world.

Yep, you heard it right. As if the city wasn’t kind enough already, a man named Paul and a woman called Alice have just brought a whole heap of added goodness to the west country with the gifting app of the future.

It’s called Huggg.

Yes, with three gs. They’re gangster like that.

Huggg is an upgrade on a well written WhatsApp, a thought out iMessage or a line of meticulously thought out emojis. It’s better than the age old poke on Facebook and it’s certainly an improvement on those gift cards you find at the bottom of your bag, months after they’ve expired. It’s everything your long distance relationship has been waiting for. It’s what will save parents waving their children off to university in September from having a breakdown. And, truth be told, it’s the stuff every lazy girl’s dreams are made of.

But what is it and how does it work?

Huggg basically allows you to send coffee, cocktails, burgers or breakfasts to anyone you like. As long as you have a phone and their number, of course.

If you’re away on a work trip and not there to sleep next to that special someone, send them a soup to spoon instead. If your best friend graduates and you can’t be there to congratulate them, send them a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate. Or if your colleague is hanging at work, send them a caffeinated pick me up from across the office.

Although there is nothing better than a real life hug, huggg is a pretty great alternative if you are a little too far away to reach.

Currently, only available in Bristol and Bath, download the app and get started today.

P.S. I’d love an iced soya latte from Friska if anyone’s offering.

Happy huggging!

THE ICK

If you’re a Love Island hater, look away now, because things are about to get pretty vacuous around here.

The other week, Olivia (one of my favourite contestants on this year’s sex fuelled extravaganza) spoke about catching The Ick and I want to talk about it, because it’s something I’ve experienced many times throughout my dating life and I’m thrilled to learn it’s a shared sentiment and not just me being picky.

There was the journalist who stood up in front of a crowded bar and pretended to be Dermot O’Leary presenting the X Factor during a date in one of London’s coolest spots, The Troubador. There was the barman who ate Nachos far too loudly next to me on a trip to the cinema. There was the banker who was sick in the taxi home. The almost perfect one who wore camo print trousers. The musician who had horrid hands and feet. The teacher who wore rubber soled, platform shoes. The poor chap who was too scared to kiss me. And finally, the gap year fling who insisted on wearing a beanie, even though we were seeing each other throughout the summer.

Whenever I dated anyone, there would be something ridiculous that would put me off. I would then complain to mum about their imperfections, regaling her with yet another tale of yet another dumping, and she would say to me, ‘It wouldn’t matter if you liked him’.

And she was right. Without even knowing it, she had identified The Ick.

Catching it is actually a pretty uncontrollable reality. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. One day, you can be excited about your latest squeeze and the next, he rocks up to a BBQ to meet all your mates in a pair of white Birkenstocks. You didn’t see it coming. The guy you thought was a catch, now falls to the bottom of the pile and even the thought of him sitting opposite you at dinner becomes unbearable.

That’s when you know you’ve caught it. You go cold. You grow distant. You want out.

Of course, The Ick isn’t always brought on by a poor choice of footwear. The sad truth is, they might not even have done anything wrong when it suddenly dawns on you that kissing them would be like kissing your cousin and that you want to get as far away from them as humanly possible.

If you’ve ever experienced it for yourself, you’ll know that The Ick is more stubborn than Herpes when you catch it, and there certainly isn’t a universal trigger which causes that incessant need to get out immediately, but without it, we wouldn’t find someone more suitable. In fact, I like to see it as a nice little gift from Mother Nature to tell us that the person we’re dating isn’t quite right for us. That we need to get out. That this one isn’t the one.

It leads us onto bigger and better Ick-Free relationships with men like my current boyfriend, for example, who has publicly showed himself up more times than Kerry Katona and still can’t make me catch The dreaded Ick, no matter how hard he tries.

On our first date, he waited over an hour for me to arrive. I normally would’ve cringed at the thought of someone sticking around so long. Later that night, he swung a lampshade across the bar at The Shard and pretended it didn’t happen instead of making light of the situation. Whilst we were dating, we were texting a lot, and let’s just say spelling isn’t his strong point, something that would have made me want to die in any other instance. Over the past 3 years, he’s worn boxer shorts in the pool on a group holiday because he forgot his swimwear. He sent me a photograph of his blackened toenail that later fell off (he sent me a photo of this, too). He sits down when he pees, hates Jeremy Corbyn and didn’t know who The Maccabees were when I expressed my sorrow at their departure from music.

He’s done so much more to make me catch The Ick than the others, so why haven’t I?

Because I actually like him. And genuinely liking or loving someone is the only prevention from this one.

So, with this in mind, it’s safe to say that Olivia was right to move on, and Tyla should follow suit – because there ain’t no coming back from this one, even if there is 50k and a deal with Miss Pap at stake. And to all those men (the majority of whom are either married or in long term relationships now) who I turned away due to that feeling: you know what they say, one woman’s Ick is another woman’s perfect date… or something like that.

Listen to that little whisper from Mother Nature, ladies. Like all mums, she knows best.