Tag Archives | dating

The Man Diet

Today’s guest post is from Zoe Strimpel, author of The Man Diet, which follows her quest to free herself of bad dating habits. You can find Zoe’s blog here


I’ve never been very good at food diets. But when it comes to following the different sort of diet prescribed in my new book, The Man Diet: One Woman’s Quest to End Bad Romance, I thought I was doing well. My motivations, you see, are greater than shedding a few centimetres around the waist (though that would also be much appreciated). They are about feeling good inside by cutting down on “junk food love”: Facebook stalking binges; callous sex; obsessing about men with friends, for example. The stuff that it’s hard to avoid, but that makes us feel like crap and erodes our self-esteem, just when we should be flourishing most.

But even the desire to be good to myself, to be the best woman I can be, has not kept me on the straight and narrow recently. I admit it: I’ve fallen off the Diet bandwagon once or twice in the past few weeks – and, unlike after a chocolate cake moment, I’m not licking my lips for more. In fact, I’m regretting my slip in resolve quite bitterly

The slide from grace began two weeks ago when I had arranged to see a guy for a drink. We’d met once at a dinner, and I’d followed up (breaking one of the rules of the Man Diet right there: No Pursuit). He acquiesced with charm and before we knew it, we were the last ones in the restaurant, draining a bottle of cava. We moved on, then, to the Groucho Club. Here, despite having had far too many drinks (breaking still another rule of the Man Diet: Cutting Down on Booze), he ordered us another. Then another. Suddenly we were kissing. It was terribly exhibitionist, but by this point I felt that my limits had dissolved in alcohol; and the inevitability of going home together felt overwhelming. A voice in my head said: “This is not going to be healthy for you. Sleep with him and feel rotten tomorrow when he shows no interest.” Echoing the voice was the question: “Why? Why do this?” My answer was that in addition to his being good looking and fun, a trophy of sorts, I felt it would be boring to pull out now.

And so the inevitable happened. A night of of pleasant-enough but ultimately forced passion ensued – forced being the only type of passion that happens when two people aren’t particularly enthralled by each other or bonded by insane chemistry. As he kissed me goodbye the next morning – I do have to hand it to him for his displays of affection even in the cold light of day – the arbitrary, programmatic nature of that kiss and the preceding ones hit me with a dull thud. This truly was anti-romance, and worse, now I had to put up with the deafening silence that would follow his exit (in addition to the hangover throbbing in my temples).

A few days later, I had an email from him, saying he would maybe see me “one day” again, but generally he was not comfortable with post-sex meetings with women he had no intention of dating. I felt crap and rejected, despite not wanting to date him either. I was also aware that I’d put myself in this situation and had nobody to moan to but myself.

See, one of the big problems with junk food love is that it is addictive. So having had one unsatisfactory experience, I quickly sought another to erase the bad taste left by this encounter.

I sought it with a truly hot guy, a friend of a friend. I was abroad and looked him up in his hometown. I had entered our meeting without expectations, but after three hours of intense conversation, and several drinks, I felt it would be a “waste” not to push it further. So further is where it went. Turning this encounter into a spot of junk food love was a particularly bad choice because I liked this guy. He was interesting and complex as well as really good-looking. But instead of leaving our evening with a “nice to meet you”, a peck on the cheek and the chance for it to develop into something real, I pushed it into the sexual sphere for validation. Why, I reasoned tipsily, have a hangover with nothing to show for it?

But as with so many men, the disjoint between night and day was as harsh as ever. Hot Man was all sweetness before the bedsheets were parted: as soon as the sun rose, the game changed vampire-style, and it was a case of hustling out to work as quickly as possible. Our delicate, new intimacy couldn’t withstand the flip from boozy, candle-lit night to factual, non-sexy day, though I wished it had. So, sitting in the taxi in last night’s clothes, I felt uncomfortably bloated on junk food love, and not a little melancholic.

There’s one upside to these encounters: they have reminded me just how useful the Man Diet is. My next step? Taking a leaf out of my own book.

The Man Diet was published by Avon on 30th November as ebook, with paperback to follow on 22nd December.


If you’d like to write your own Whisper, we’d love to read it! The submission guidelines are here.

Read full story · Comments { 2 } · Comments Policy

Whisper #28 – Oh My God

Author: Anonymous

Oh my god. Oh, my good god.

So having remained shag-free since October to lick my wounds after discovering that 9 years of booty calls and drunken sex do not a lasting relationship make, I finally decide that maybe I should climb back aboard the Dating Express before I actually forget what goes where.

I dabbled in internet dating about 5 years ago after too much wine with a married friend who wanted some vicarious thrills and persuaded me to sign up for Match, and the results weren’t pretty: there was Simon the Screenwriter (looked like a cross between Keith Harris AND Orville, no personality away from his keyboard); Colin the Policeman (stated within 5 minutes of meeting that he though broccoli was evil and I don’t think he was joking); the guy from Essex so awful I can’t even remember his name – I do remember him calling Basildon his ‘manor’ though and thinking he was a prick.

I even ended up seeing the flatmate of one date for a little while, but he had ADHD and it was too exhausting trying to keep up with all his conversational tangents.

It did my ego more harm than good – there’s nothing worse that someone looking you up and down in a ‘well you don’t look like your picture’ kind of way and I wasted a lot of time and effort on guys I wouldn’t normally touch with a bargepole: it’s amazing how absurdly flattered you can be by someone ‘winking’ at you. Internet dating was not for me.

Back in 2006 I was still convinced that Captain Booty Call was the man for me and it was only a matter of time before he realized this, so maybe in hindsight I was never fully committed to finding ‘The One’, because I thought I’d already found him. If only I’d spent all the money I shelled out on subscriptions and dodgy dates on a Mulberry handbag – now that would’ve been the start of a beautiful friendship.

A couple of years ago we moved into a shared office for work, and one of the guys who worked there was funny, smart, kind of cute… After a couple of days I realized that every time I spoke to him I’d giggle inanely, stutter a lot and ribbons of heat would move down my face in waves. Consultation with my Gay Best Friend confirmed what I thought: for the first time in 15 years, I had a crush on someone – unspeakably embarrassing, given that I started gibbering like a constipated monkey every time I got near him. Relief was close at hand though – discovering that he was married with a kid was the cold bucket of water I needed to sober up and start acting like a grown-up again. I think he was quite surprised when he found out that I could actually speak in complete sentences using words of more than one syllable.

We moved offices again recently. I was making coffee one afternoon when Ghastly came into the kitchen. Ghastly was so nicknamed because he always seems to be having a go at someone. After getting cornered by him for 20 minutes, he didn’t seem so bad. A few days later he even offered to make me a drink… Funny how someone just asking if you want a brew can cause the waves of heat to go running down your face and make you look like a beetroot: I really have to get a handle on these office crushes, dammit.

But back to my original point. Surely if I’ve been finding other men attractive then I’m ready to get back in the saddle? Dating new people would at least assure my friends and family that I’m not headed for a middle-age filled with numerous cats, purple berets and the unmistakeable aroma of wee.

With this thought in mind I decided to open myself up to new experiences, and so when a cheeky young buck from the bar down the road started sending me horny messages on Twitter, I thought, Why not go with the flow and see what happens?

The internet is a terrible thing, my friends. After a weekend of frenzied, filthy text flirting and a quick coffee this morning, I decided to do a little webstalking…. finding some lovely pictures on Facebook of him and his girlfriend. And when I told him he was busted his only question was ‘Does that mean you’re not up for a shag then?’. Outrageous, and I’m tempted to email his lady and tell her what a cock she’s dating.

There’s an old joke that men are like toilets – they’re either vacant or full of shit, and the good ones are always engaged. The more I stick my head above the dating parapet the more I think this could be true. Maybe I did something bad in a former life and I’m destined to only be attracted to married men for the rest of my days. Maybe the only people who’ll ever be attracted to me are fuckwits, although for sanity’s sake I’m not tempted to pursue this line of thought any further. Maybe my Grandma was right and there really is one someone for everyone out there.
I bet you a tenner mine’s a goatherder living halfway up a mountain in Tibet.


If you’d like to write your own Whisper, we’d love to read it! The submission guidelines are here.

Read full story · Comments { 1 } · Comments Policy

Whisper #18 – Why Won’t You Seduce Me?

Author: Gabriela Villarreal, a medical student from Peru.


It’s not a matter of looks. I know that. Yet I always blame the mirror for the non-stopping reality of me not having a boyfriend. Maybe it’s my short hair. My skin color? My not so skinny legs. My lack of a six-pack. My pores. The list goes on, but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with it. Why is it that I keep torturing myself listing my flaws?

I guess the thing is that we always want a reason, and blaming beauty is a common favorite among us women. I know it’s my favorite one. Feeling lessened by the presence of other women somehow feels a lot less pathetic if they’re taller or leaner than me.

Of course looks matter. But, hello, there are uncountable Carrie Bradshaws out there! And they don’t even have to try so hard; they are seduced by men. They are desired by men, lured in by men, they are even objects of their love. And me? Very well, thank you, pretty face, pretty boobs, no acne or whatsoever, thanks for playing, next.

Why haven’t I been seduced? Why has it always been so embarrassingly clear that the guy in particular doesn’t have a chance at all or that I’m hopelessly attracted by him? Why is it that in fact there haven’t been many of these guys? Why is it that, counting up all of them, they just claim the pathetic “a few”?

The worst is that there are guys who wanna fuck me, but it doesn’t count because that’s not my goal. And when I tell my friends about them they usually shriek in unbelievable tones and spend the next half hour arguing reason by reason why that guy in particular is so incredibly ugly or stupid or inadequate. Why is it so hard to find a man who actually likes me and that I like back? Why is it that the best relationships I’ve had so far were with far away people? Is it my country? My (lack of a) social circle?

The answer is very easy: it’s me. And the guys response is extremely clear: they’re just not that into me. It didn’t take the movie to made me realize that (although I felt uncomfortably related to one of the characters). At least Gigi (yes, the one I felt related to) had a very prolific dating life, which I don’t and have no idea how to start one. I’m too needy I guess, which scare men away, which leaves me needing more. Such a vicious cycle.

I guess it’s all about the attitude, and I’ve got it all wrong. I hope eventually I’ll bump into a guy who likes me and not just the other way around. My mom likes to say “matrimonio y mortaja del cielo bajan”, which means that love and death come from above. I don’t like the lack of free will it implies. But that’s another story.


If you’d like to write your own Whisper, we’d love to read it! The submission guidelines are here.

Read full story · Comments { 2 } · Comments Policy