Dear Bridget Jones,
It seems as though I only write to you lately, but how can I not this time? Life threw me a curveball in my quest to become a true Londoner (and I suppose in the quest to find love). When I dreamed of living in London, yes I imagined the funny unglamorous side, but part of me felt that would be my starting point and then I would be whisked into a classy life. I suppose you always thought the same too. Time for a reality check!
Back in November, I finally got a taste of the Chelsea life; a London neighbourhood infamous for being glamourous (but also filled with some awful rich people).
I met Amanda through a Facebook group. She had posted asking if anyone was keen to get drinks sometime. This is a very common social media platform for girls who are new to London or girls who are looking to expand their friend group. I commented that I was keen, always happy to make new friends in the city.
We arranged to meet up for drinks in Mayfair one night after work, at Mr. Fogg’s Residence. It’s along a dark street and has no sign indicating it’s a bar, just a doorman in a bowler hat and a black trench coat. I have been to Mr. Fogg’s Tavern in Covent Garden before and loved it, but this one felt a lot more exclusive. There, we easily became friends and then started people watching, she had us looking around for attractive guys, as girls do. There weren’t a lot of options, it was a Tuesday night and it seemed like a place for older people, to be honest.
We talked about what our type was and how we were both looking for genuine guys, through with the endless dating games so many guys play. She told me it was time I stopped looking for someone in Brixton/Clapham. Apparently, fuckboys hang out there and if I wanted someone to date, someone who will treat me like more than a bootycall, I had to search in Chelsea.
It was one of my favourite nights out, I felt like I was in Made In Chelsea (minus the snobbery). We mingled with guys at every bar and made some new girlfriends along the way. At the end of the night, we joined a VIP party of guys and girls with bottle service. Amanda got tired and went home and I stayed out with the group, as I’d been welcomed as one of their own.
This night resulted, however, as the worst hangover of my life. Ever have a 5 day hangover? I hadn’t until then, who knew it was possible? 🤢
Then carriage turned into a pumpkin and I should have seen it coming
The next weekend, Amanda and I had planned to have another girls’ night out, this time in Mayfair. The morning of, she texted to say she was now meant to have a date and asked if we could meet at 10:30, because she would need rescuing. “What if the date goes well?” I asked. “It wont!” she assured.
A few hours later she asked what I thought about being set up on a blind date. “What, as a double date?” “Yes,” she confirmed. I attempted to find out about who the date was, but she assured me it’d be a good surprise. I wondered if it was one of the guys from the weekend before. I didn’t collect any phone numbers, but maybe she did!
She said we’d all go out for dinner at The Ivy and then we’d leave them to start our girls’ night after. What did I have to lose? It’s a double date, it could easily be treated like dinner with friends and I wouldn’t be obliged to act like it was romantic. Plus, I’d have a friend to laugh about it later with, had it been an awful double date. “9:15 at The Ivy in Chelsea, don’t be late!” she told me.
It’s 9:18 and I’m still waiting outside, “Where are you?”. Amanda told me she was running late, and to go meet the guys inside. Then out walks a man who looks to be in his sixties. My stomach dropped. “Samantha?” He shook my hand and told me Amanda texted him saying she set him up on a date with a blonde Canadian. I still tried to think positively… Okay, so his friend and Amanda are on their way, I can act politely as possible when shutting down any ideas of romance in this man’s mind.
The staff greet him as we go inside, he’s clearly well known in Chelsea. We sit down by the bar while waiting for the table. I find out he works in the Oil and Gas Industry and owns properties around London, which he mentioned was how he met Amanda. I enquired, as Amanda works in Digital Media and is looking to moving in a flat with 2 other guys. “Did you meet Amanda when she was looking for a new flatshare?” He looked confused. Guess not.
I told him I worked in advertising and how I was just starting my career, hinting at how young I am and trying to show how significant this age gap was. I’m not against people being in relationships with massive age gaps, but for my own relationships, it makes me feel really uncomfortable.
The server announced our table was ready. We walk up … please be a table for four, please be a table for four … to a romantic candle lit table for two. I immediately tell him I’m just going to quickly go outside and see where Amanda is.
I frantically call her and message her, but she continues to ignore me. “Where are you, you better be coming!” She then informs me, in a text, this date was a set up. Reminder, this is the date she told me she’d need rescuing from. At this point I’m angry. I moved plans around so I could have a fun girls’ night out, and she’s pawned off a date she wanted to escape onto me, not to mention how violated I felt having this severely older man look at me as if I were his new conquest.
While I’m thinking of a polite way to go back in the restaurant and tell this man ‘I’m feeling caught off guard and uncomfortable with continuing this date’, he walks out to inform me Amanda isn’t coming. He showed me the text from her. Above it a text from him saying She seems young and innocent 😇.
Thankfully, he could tell I was upset by the situation. “Listen I don’t want to seem like a pervert, you are clearly young. You could easily find a date and so could I. I think Amanda thought she was doing something nice and misjudged. Perhaps we could all reconvene sometime as friends?” I thanked him for being so understanding and walked my ass back to the tube station.
When I texted Amanda how upset I was, she tried to cover her tracks saying she thought we would be a great match. “He’s successful, he’s been to Ottawa – where you’re from, plus he skis.”
She then tried to pull the shallow card, when in the past, she would blatantly point out men she thought were ugly. Once, she even told me that I am way above the league of a cute but dorky 20-something guy, and that I shouldn’t have bothered chatting with him.
Being the nice Canadian I am, I end my messages saying “I think we need to reconvene on what my type is. Let’s stick to going out for drinks and picking out our own men lol.” That was it for our friendship. What’s so great about Chelsea anyways??
The crazy truth is revealed …
You are probably noticing how weird this situation feels. Friends had joked, “Maybe she’s a pimp?” How funny would that be?
When I went home for the holidays, I told my friend Mairead the entire story. She revealed that what happened to me was textbook in Ottawa and likely in any big city.
There are girls out there who play these tricks all the time. They befriend new girls, show them glimpses of a glamorous life, convince them to go on a date (secretly an escorting date), and meanwhile don’t tell the girl the situation so they can keep the money.
Oh Amanda … good try. I am no pimp’s bitch! I’ll stick to dating for the genuine reasons.
Let this be a warning to girls out there, be careful. Don’t always trust a new friend setting you up!