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Dating in New York is hard.

This is my personal conclusion; you can stop reading now if you like.

Admittedly I am still single as I write this, and somewhat jaded by personal experience. Perhaps by the time I finish this project I will have happened upon a lasting romance and my life will be full of metaphorical rainbows, daisies, fluffy animals and all the rest of that shit. However I doubt an account of New York dating written in a state of contentment and with a well-balanced mind would be that entertaining. Thus I decided to start writing this thing while still engaged in the fray, and I guess we’ll just see where it takes us.

So, yes, why should you continue to read these ramblings of yet another strange individual talking about how girls are confusing, and how he learned new things about them, and how those things still don’t make any sense? Good question[1]. Erm... Well for one there will be some humorous accounts of kinky sex later. Everyone loves humorous accounts of kinky sex, right?

I suppose it’s about time I gave some introduction to myself.

I am English. I am a scientist. I have a PhD from Oxford University. I am five foot ten. I suck at sports with impressive consistency. My main hobby is photography, and I sometimes do other artsy things (like attempting to write books). I am thin. My face is probably average looking (as far as one can objectively judge one’s own appearance… I mean girls don’t recoil in horror if I catch their eye, but second glances are rarer than I'd like). I am pretty open-minded sexually and I have a few specific interests which I’ll get to later. I like playing computer games and watching movies. Oh, and I sometimes have panic attacks when dates are going well, which manifest as sudden feelings of nausea, often followed by my rapid disappearance to the nearest lavatory.

In summary, I have a few things going for me, a few things against me. The whole date- induced-nausea thing I guess is a little more unusual. It certainly adds a wildcard element to any given dating situation[2]. Fortunately these attacks seem to get rarer the more I date, so I can’t claim them as a major handicap, or reason for my present singleness. They did however sabotage a number of romantic encounters in my formative years, meaning that I arrived in New York never having had a serious relationship, and generally under-experienced in the arena of pursuing women. (Or to be more accurate, I was under-experienced in the arena of pursuing women successfully.)

The whole English accent is meant to be worth serious dating currency over here, which I won’t dispute. Although I suspect New Yorkers are a little more acclimatised to an array of exotic sounding accents, which dilutes my appeal. I also have a PhD, which if there was any real justice in the world would be valued a lot more than it is. Sadly though, the fact that I moved to New York to work in academia on a relatively meagre salary seemed to effectively neutralise the letters I can put in front of my name, especially when I’m competing for female attention with bankers, lawyers, illuminati members, and other individuals who can actually afford to live in this city.

Anyway, you probably get the picture by now. I’m a scrawny and nerdy Englishman with hit or miss social skills. I have never read any dating books, although under advisement I did once purchase “The rules of the game”, but I did not get past the first chapter. This failure to read any kind of self help guide may be related to my general disdain for instruction manuals, a desire to take short cuts, and a preference for figuring stuff out by trial and error (mostly error, it turns out)[3].

In this account I am setting myself a few ground rules that may be helpful to explain. First, all accounts are based as closely as possible on real events and real people I met. Actual things that happen out here in the world are often much more unpredictable and entertaining than fiction. However, one caveat is that most of these stories are told from memory, which fades all too easily, and so to avoid having to constantly qualify these tales with sentences like “I think I said something along the lines of...” or “Then I vaguely remember her saying something about ...”, I’ll just reconstruct the stories and conversations as coherently as possible, but I may in fact get them completely wrong.

Ground rule number two is to maintain everyone’s anonymity. This should have various moral and ethical benefits. To ensure this, I will change various details about the girls to give as much backstory to them as possible without revealing genuine clues as to their identity. I imagine most of the dates will be able to recognise themselves though. I just hope they don’t try and kill me as a result.

One final note regarding time. It is strange how, looking back, different life events all seem to become a disconnected soup of occurrences. It’s not always easy to remember the timeline of my New York dating. I am also often simultaneously pursuing dates with multiple individuals at any one time. I find this confusing enough as it is, and so to simplify your reading experience I will condense and rearrange the stories to try and focus sequentially on each individual in an order that best reflects ‘the evolution of my New York dating story.’

 Well I think that’s the rules covered. Please ensure your seatbelts are fastened, your tray tables are secured, and your seat backs are in the upright position. This flight from London Heathrow will be departing shortly. We should be arriving in New York’s John F Kennedy airport a little after 5pm local time. We do hope you’ll have a pleasant flight.

[1] I’m not sure how useful this series of stories could be as a source of dating advice. I have developed no clear strategies for how to be better at picking up women. If there are any meaningful lessons to be had here you can figure them out for yourself. Many lessons from these accounts may well be painfully obvious to you the reader, but have so far thoroughly eluded me. You may even find yourself yelling at me “What the dickens are you doing sir! That is a poor choice of action!” In a similar way that I would yell at a cute blonde in a horror film not to wander alone into a dark basement (“Stay put and alert the authorities!” I shout as her hand tentatively reaches for the door knob). Bear in mind, however, that I probably cannot hear you yelling at me through a book... and your neighbours may be trying to sleep.
[2] *Grossness warning- apparently some people are more freaked out by vom than kinky sex, so I’ll endeavour to confine details of my panic attacks to pre flagged footnotes*- Yes, my panic attacks may be reminiscent of Stan in South Park- I would like to proudly declare that I have never actually thrown up ON a girl, I’ve always made it a safe distance away from said girl, and almost always made it to the nearest water closet / discrete bin / secluded flower bed… There have been a few notable exceptions of which I will spare you the details. However, even when deployed subtly, a mid-date barf is not exactly the sexiest move to pull out of your hat.
[3] Note: this is not the approach I take to actual BDSM stuff, safety first being the motto there!

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