Friday 30 December 2011

128 Tales of a Real Life Romance - The End

I'd asked him, 'Will you still encourage your children to like football even though you don't?'

He'd replied, 'I don't want kids.'

A short and seemingly innocent conversation to anyone listening, but one that changed things forever. It was the beginning of the end of Hands and Rapunzel.

Jeremy Kyle informed me that it was my own fault. He said I'd scared Hands off by asking if I could have his babies so soon in the relationship. I tried to point out that it was a general query about children that had revealed this news. There was no second part to the question where I'd asked '...and also can I be the mother of these kids that may or may not like football?' I hadn't even said it under my breath.

Perhaps Jeremy was right though and it was too early to have that talk, even if it was unwittingly. It was definitely too soon to know whether I'd want to invite Hands to a breeding party, but when is the right time to know whether it's a guest list he'd ever even want to be on? We were on Date 8. How many more dates until it would have been acceptable chat? My friend was adamant that as we were at a certain age he should have mentioned it straight away, perhaps on Date 1 when he said that he'd never wed or bred he could have added that he didn't fancy the latter in the future either. 'Then you would've known if you were on the same page from the outset,' she added wisely.

Perhaps, because several dates on and just as I was really falling for him, I felt sick to discover that we weren't, and in fact were reading from completely different books.

We didn't discuss it anymore and just continued having a lovely evening. We didn't need to talk about it. We both knew that there was no point carrying on when we wanted different things. We both knew it was the end.

As Hands drove me back to Manchester the following day I spun my ring round my finger trying to concentrate on not crying.

'I'm going to miss your big rings,' he said.

'I'm going to miss big you,' I replied.

He pulled up at the Tower, we said a quick goodbye and I got out of the car.

A group of guys in a taxi waiting at the lights nearby rolled down their window and shouted at me.

'Hey gorgeous! Come with us!'

So I did. And cheekily blew a kiss at Hands as off I went to party with my new friends.

Nah I didn't really. I was too emotionally drained. I just went in to my apartment block. But secretly prayed that Hands had heard what they'd said.

He texted me later to see how I was and added that from what he'd witnessed when he dropped me off, he didn't imagine that I'd be single for long.

Maybe not but I'll never forget my short-lived, but lovely, real life romance with the guy with the big hands.


Thursday 29 December 2011

42 Tales of a Real-Life Romance - Chapter 24

Who knows what went through Hands' mind when I said that there was something I needed to tell him about myself.

I wouldn't say he exactly looked eager to hear whatever I had to reveal. I'd probably use the word nervous instead. I nearly changed my mind about telling him the truth, but couldn't think of anything quickly enough to say instead. Plus I could almost definitely guarantee that what I was going to announce was nowhere near as bad as the options going through his mind. I took a deep breath and decided to go for it.

'I'm a blogger.'

I waited.

And waited a bit more.

I couldn't read his expression. Damn. Hurry up Hands.

Then finally...

'What's a blogger?'

Oh. Definitely not the reaction I was expecting. I was a bit relieved though. He could hardly be annoyed by something he didn't know anything anything about could he?

Mains, tiramisu and coffees later and Hands could have chosen blogging as his specialist subject on Mastermind. I'd told him all there was to know. I'd explained about the whole blogging community, the people I've met through writing a blog, the time I went on a blind date to Belfast with another blogger, blogs that I read, blogs that I've written. I made it all sound so amazing that when he asked if I'd ever posted about him (see he'd even got the lingo down. I'm such a good teacher) I think he would have been offended if I hadn't.

His final verdict?

'It sounds great. I'd love to read it'


We left the restaurant and made our way to the hotel bar on the 13th floor. As we sat sipping champagne looking at the amazing view and night sky I felt deliriously happy. At that moment there was nowhere else I would rather have been.

I was so glad that I'd told him about the blogging. It actually seemed to have brought us closer together. Not physically. We were already touching as much as allowed in a public place. More in the way that as I'd revealed something about myself that he hadn't been aware of, we were suddenly desperate to know everything about each other. We took it in turns to ask each other questions ranging from the bog standard ones like favourite TV programme?...

Hands - Inbetweeners. Me - Grey's Anatomy...and True Blood...and Dancing on Ice...and The Mentalist and...aaargh I can't possibly pick just one!

To name an unusual fact about ourselves...

Me - I can clasp my hands at my back and get them to my front without unclasping them. Hands - I don't like football.

Now who wasn't answering questions properly? I'd given a considered answer involving my double-jointedness, his was just about football. I suppose it was fairly unusual though. For a guy anyway. I started wondering what he'd talk to the men in my family about when he met them cause that is the universal male ice-breaker isn't it? Then I had a stern internal word with myself about not being one of those girls that daydreams about family introductions and white meringues and such-like things so early on in a relationship. It was only date eight after all. I put my 'playing it cool' head back on.

It obviously wasn't screwed on properly though. That's the only reason I can think of for why I then asked the following question. The seemingly innocuous, but ultimately immortal question...

'Will you still encourage your children to like football even though you don't?'

'I don't want kids.'

Oh. For the second time that night I'd been surprised by his response. Only on this occasion my heart also sank.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

41 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 23

'So how did it go?' Jeremy Kyle enquired on the Monday morning. He was referring to my night in the hotel with Hands the weekend prior.

'Not good unfortunately,' I replied.

'It's your own fault,' Jeremy said after I'd recounted the sorry tale. 'What did you expect to happen after you told him that? No man would want to hear that so early into a relationship.'

I should add that JK was presenting the programme I was working on. I wasn't appearing on his show. Things weren't that bad. Or were they?

I'd been giddy with excitement when Hands had picked me up on the Saturday afternoon. Despite the fact that I spent the first six months of my life in a hotel that my dad was managing and for the last four summers I've done a job making videos of hotels abroad for tour company websites (by my reckoning I've probably filmed at at least 300) and I've practically been living in a hotel for three years (or above one anyway) you would imagine that going to a hotel was the last thing I wanted to do. It wasn't. I love hotels. Plus the fact that I would be sharing the experience with a certain large-handed man was adding to the appeal.

We arrived and followed the unwritten obligatory procedure that is required after checking in to your that we opened drawers and wardrobes to see how much space there was, even though we weren't going to be using them. We switched on the TV to see how many channels there were, even though we wouldn't be watching it. We exclaimed at the prices for room service, even though we wouldn't be ordering from it. We lay on the bed to test how comfortable it was, even though we weren't intending to do much sleeping in mean even though it wouldn't really matter for one night.

Law of hotels completed we got ready and went out for dinner. We found a lovely little family-run Italian nearby, the kind of place where you discover that you've been pronouncing bruschetta wrongly when they read back over your order. The kind of place where the staff are so attentive that by the time you leave you are ciao, ciaoing and kissing like old friends.

A while later and on our garlicky main courses (we'd discussed it and decided it was ok seeing as we'd only be kissing each other) for some reason I felt it was time to tell Hands that I was a blogger.

I've no idea why I decided then was my opportune moment. It may have had something to do with the Prosecco I was drinking. Who knows. I'd made my mind up though and went for it.

'There's something I need to tell you about myself...'

His face dropped and I could see various options flitting through his head. I felt sure that they would all be worse than what I was about to tell him. Wouldn't they?

Wednesday 14 September 2011

69 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 22

Now where was I?

Ah yes. In chapter 21 I'd hoped surmised that Hands and I were in a Relationship because we'd been ticking lots of the 'Things you do in a Relationship' boxes. Things like arguing and having him cook for you. I was just about to tell you about us putting a tick beside 'meeting the parents' when all manner of things got in the way of me blogging. If anyone is still reading then this is what happened.

Meeting the Parents

By 'parents', I mean concierges. And by 'met', I mean, 'encountered'.

His arrival to my apartment had been pain-free. I'd buzzed him in and up he'd come. The concierges probably thought he was just a regular good-looking guy on his way to visit some lucky lady. I knew things would be different on the way out though, when they'd put two and two together (or in this case, one and one) and they'd realise that the fortunate girl was me.

I wondered how on earth I could sneak a 6ft 5 bloke past without them noticing. I contemplated asking Hands to go commando (and crawl along the floor like a soldier, as opposed to not wearing underwear) but realised that was a ridiculous idea. He'd end up filthy and I didn't want people to think I was taking a tramp out for dinner. Instead as we exited the lift, I whispered to Hands that as we walk past the front desk he was to keep looking straight ahead and leave the rest to me.

I thought we were doing quite a good job. We'd both got the nonchalant walk down pat despite having no time to practice. I trilled 'Hi' as we passed so as not to arouse suspicion. We'd almost made it out the door when...

'Er, wait a minute...'


'Where do you think you're going?'

'I'm going out,' I replied, feeling like a teenager.

'But it's a Saturday're not allowed out.'

'Says who?' I replied starting to sound a bit petulant. I was at the risk of being grounded.

'Says you!' they laughed.

They were referring to a comment I'd once made when I'd come home from an evening out and announced that I was too old for Saturday nights and they were only for young people. Young people who don't mind music so loud that you can't hold a conversation. Young people with stamina for lots of queues (the queue to get in, the four people deep queue at the bar to get a drink, the queue for the ladies etc, etc.) Young people who don't feel the cold and therefore don't need to wear jackets.

I then said that if they ever saw me heading out on a Saturday they were to stop me and tell me no.

Obviously I didn't mean it. I'd only said it once. I was a bit tipsy at the time so it really shouldn't count.

It's not like they remember all my drunken chat. They've never mentioned the time pre-Hands that I asked if they'd find me a boyfriend and I insisted the only criteria I had was that he be able to drive and swim. They've never mentioned that. And in actual fact they should have mentioned that. They should have taken me aside for a little word the next morning and said that a nice girl like me could aim a bit higher when searching for a man. Perhaps look for someone that can ride as well.

'We're only going for dinner' I said, as if that would make it better and suddenly they'd forget it was Saturday.

'It's still Saturday night,' they said.

'I won't be late.'

'Ok we'll let you go just this once. Back before midnight though or we'll be locking the doors,' they jested.

At least I think they were joking. I didn't find out because despite having a lovely meal Hands and I were more interested in each other than our surroundings, and decided we'd be as well going back to mine.

'Look I've brought her back before she turned into a pumpkin!' Hands announced to the concierges as we entered the Tower at 11:45.

'Well done lad. You can come again.'

The Doubts Start

My concierges may have approved of Hands, but I was starting to have some concerns. I may have given the impression that everything was going hunky dory with my hunk, but there was an issue. One big issue. I'd tried to ignore it, but when I went to work on the army base during the week it became more and more obvious, and more and more of a problem.

Hands doesn't give good phone.

Our texts were great, our emails were even better and we were fluent in body language but our phone conversations were below par. We just didn't seem to know what to say to each other. I know you could say that it takes two to maketh a conversation and I should shoulder some of the blame for our crap chat, but I've never had this problem with anyone else. I think I'm quite good on the phone. I've certainly had lots of experience over the years. Once I even did it for five hours with an ex. No, it must be all Hands' fault.

During one such chat (for want of a better word) I decided to fill an awkward silence by recounting an incident that I'd had earlier in the day. I told Hands about how when I'd gone to take the radio mic off a soldier we'd been filming, he'd obviously got confused about why I was moving in to his personal space and kissed me. I couldn't stop laughing as I explained how embarrassed I was, and how embarrassed the guy was when he realised the real reason that I'd approached him.

Hands reaction? 'Oh right.'

'That's all he said?' Taggart asked me. I'd made some excuse to Hands to get off the phone and had called her straight away for her opinion.

'Yes,' I said miserably. 'Maybe we just aren't meant to be? Everything else is great but it's just hard work on the phone. And we clearly have a different sense of humour. He didn't even find that story slightly funny.'

'I thought it was hilarious!' Taggart said. She had. She'd been practically wetting herself when I told her. Unfortunately it wasn't Taggart that I wanted to bump uglies with.

The next day I had an email from Hands.

Sometimes I find your Scottish accent really difficult to understand, particularly when you are laughing. I have no idea what that story was you were trying to tell me last night! We obviously need to spend more time together to practice so I thought we could go away this weekend. I've already booked us in to a hotel. You just need to say yes!

What on earth had I been worried about? Talking on the phone is overrated anyway right?

Yes, Hands! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Wednesday 27 July 2011

35 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 21

Four dates, almost four months and lots of analysing of texts later, it seemed that Hands and I were finally in a...dare I say it?...relationship.

I couldn't be a hundred percent sure having not been in one for a while, but it certainly resembled one. For starters it was automatically assumed that we'd see each other every weekend. Then all the relationshippy things started happening. You know the things I mean...

The First Argument

Hands and I had got into a routine of taking it in turns to plan our dates. Number five was down to me and I decided that we'd go for dinner in my favourite place in Manchester. The only problem was that we couldn't get booked in until 9.30. I phoned Hands to check that he was ok with that, stressing that I loved the restaurant and it would be worth the wait. He confirmed that it was fine.

Until twenty minutes later he texted to say that he was going to look into other options.

'What?!' Is what I thought.

Firstly what was he doing trying to muscle in on my turn for date arranging? Away and cut someone else's grass.

Plus, what part of 'I hope you're ok with eating late cause it's my favourite restaurant' did he not understand?

I couldn't believe our first argument was about an eating venue. To be fair, Hands didn't actually know that we were having an argument. I didn't tell him. I just seethed internally until he called a while later to say that I was to ignore his last text and we'd stick to the plans that I'd made.

I asked why he'd even thought about making alternative arrangements. Turned out his friend Kev wasn't a fan of the restaurant and reckoned that we should go somewhere else.

Which was weird cause I wasn't aware that I'd invited Kev on the date. Was Kev's opinion of the date that I'd arranged to my favourite place relevant? Hands obviously thought so.

I decided to pretend Hands hadn't said anything. It was far too soon for argument number two...

The First Time You Cook For Each Other

Or rather Hands cooked for me. He did have amends to make for the last rendezvous after all. Plus I didn't want to cook for him. I liked him too much to risk killing him.

Even if I had been contemplating being a brave soldier and making him my speciality dish, crisp butty Thai curry, I lost all confidence after seeing the effort the Hands put in to making dinner for me. The actual cooking, the way he'd set the table and he'd even emailed me a menu that morning.


Pan seared scallops on a tomato, olive and herb salsa
Accompanied by a 2009 Chardonnay


Moroccan lamb served with tzatziki and sliced pitta
Accompanied by a 2008 Shiraz



It was all as good as it sounded. The dessert was my favourite. Things were back on track. Any arguments (what argument?) were forgotten. It was time for the next Relationship step. It was time to meet the parents...

Tuesday 24 May 2011

31 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 20

I decided that it was time to come clean to Hands.

In actual fact there was no right time to do it, but I knew the longer I left it, the worse it would be when I did. He deserved to know the truth.

Plus, it wasn't fair that other people knew and he didn't. I probably should have told him straight away, but as you know I really liked him and didn't want to risk losing him.

I tried to convince myself that perhaps he'd be ok about it? After all my friends were really supportive when I told them. I'd also told other guys and they'd reacted better than I'd expected.

I thought about it long and hard. I discussed it at length with various people who had been through the same dilemma.

The advice I received was mixed. Some said it wasn't his business. Others said honesty was the best policy. Some pointed out that he wasn't getting to know the real me, while others said it was only a small part of who I am anyway.

I decided that I couldn't lie anymore. If this relationship was going to go anywhere, I had to open up. I was going to have to reveal my dirty secret.

I had to tell Hands that I'm a blogger.

It turned out that making the decision to reveal all wasn't the most difficult part, finding the opportunity to do so was. Date 4 had been so great that we were keen to get together as soon as possible. In Normal Land that would be easy. You'd discuss when you were both free and arrange the next date accordingly. In Weird World where I live, it was a bit more difficult. I didn't know when I was available, because I didn't know when and where my next job would be taking place. It is part of what I love about being a freelancer in TV but it doesn't half make it challenging to plan anything and can cause havoc with my social life.

I just trusted that what would be, would be. And what appeared to happen was that Cupid noticed that I might go away again and was pretty pissed off that all the hard work he'd put in to introducing Hands and I may be in vain. He called up The Universe and had a word about arranging me to stay in the UK. The Universe agreed to help and said that I'd done enough gadding about for a while anyway and it was time for me to concentrate on my love, rather than work, life.

At least that is what I think happened and explains why I got a phone call out of the blue from ITV saying they were crewing up for a TV programme, that I'd been recommended and could I start the following week? They said I'd have to stay on location as filming would take place a couple of hours away from Manchester, but I could home every weekend.

I was over the moon!

I excitedly phoned Hands and we quickly arranged Date 5 for Saturday night. He then asked me what the job was. I explained that it was a documentary about a military driving school...

'Wait, you are filming on an army base?'


'And you are going to be staying at the army base?'

' the Officer's Mess...'

'You are going to be surrounded by men for the next two months?'

'Er yeah I suppose I am.'

'I'm happy for you, but if we make it through this it'll be a miracle.'

Oh. Not quite the reaction I was hoping for. I decided not to mention the blogging for the time being. Keeping schtum a little longer wouldn't hurt would it?

Wednesday 11 May 2011

35 Tales of a a Real Life Romance - Chapter 19

I felt quite nervous as I travelled on the train over to where Hands lives.

[Cue: cheering, clapping and waving of flags and banners that say things like 'Good luck Rapunzel!' and 'Hands is hot!']

Yes I'd decided to go for Option A. It was only Date 4, but it had taken months for us to get to that stage so we could hardly be accused of rushing things. Plus the Goddess had gone away to work elsewhere and I had a new flatmate who'd invited his girlfriend round that night. I wasn't keen on Option C - Being a Gooseberry, so was quite happy to make myself scarce.

It didn't take me long to decide that I'd made the right decision. If I'd played it safe and chosen the second suggestion It might have taken a few more months before I found out that...

1. Hands is very tidy

Extremely so. It was the first thing I noticed as I entered his abode. Obviously he would have cleaned before my arrival but it seemed like he'd had Monica Geller round helping. My flat has also been that clean, but that was in the first hour I moved into it, before my suitcases had haemorrhaged my possessions all over it.

(A new friend has started reading my blog and has remarked that I write about things she wouldn't even dream of admitting to her best mates. I've decided that she has a point and so will now not be revealing my innermost feelings for fear of being mocked or considered odd. So I won't be telling you that I panicked when I realised how different Hands and I were and wondered how we'd cope if we ever lived together. It would be wrong to even have had a thought like that was only Date 4 after all...What do you take me for?...Some kind of weirdo...No, no I was enjoying taking it slow and having months between dates and hadn't even thought about our next one, never mind The Future.)

2. Hands is very handy

As he took me on a tour he pointed out all the home improvements he'd done himself, like rooms he'd decorated, things he'd made, under-floor heating he'd installed. I was impressed. Hands will make someone a lovely husband one day. Obviously I didn't think about that someone being me. (See above for proof)

3. Hands is a proper adult

He has grown-up things in his house. I asked for a coffee when I first arrived and he made me one from a coffee machine with a nice cup and saucer and a biscuit. I normally drink the builders version from one side of a Dirty Dancing mug. It has to be from one side cause the other is so chipped it is dangerous. I suppose I have a coffee machine as well. It's just that it's five minutes walk away in Starbucks.

4. Hands has other big things besides his hands

Hands has a massive one. I've never seen one as big. Except once when I stayed in a hotel. I suppose being 6 foot 5 it's only reasonable that he'd have one as long. I was still surprised though and couldn't help but turn into Little Red Riding Hood.

'My what a big bed you have!'

'All the better to sleep with you in.'

He didn't actually say that. I'd fore-warned him that wouldn't be happening and he'd already shown me the room I'd be staying in. Shame really as I could easily have shared the bed with him without us even seeing each other, it was so vast.

5. Hands is very thoughtful

He'd downloaded songs onto his iPod that he knew I'd love, even though it could have opened him up to ridicule if any of his friends had ever seen them. I'm talking cheesy eighties pop. Music he doesn't even like himself.

He also talked about how much he helps the old woman that lives next door by doing her shopping and the like, and how he'd just bought her a jar opener in case he wasn't around when she needed him. It's an amazing coincidence but I have something in common with his elderly neighbour, as I'm also the proud owner of such a utensil. My mum popped one into my stocking at Christmas after she heard I'd had to take a jar of honey down to the concierge so I could make a hot toddy. My concierge was fine about it even though that's not in his job description. He had remarked on the fact that I didn't need help opening the whisky though.

6. Hands is smooth

I knew this fact anyway but I hadn't been on the receiving end of his charm for a few weeks. It started as soon as I got in the car when he collected me from the train station and he said that when he saw me he did a little 'Yes!' out loud because I was lovelier than he'd remembered.

I melted.

Yes there was no denying that Hands knows how to flirt. How much was just patter and how much was genuine? I wasn't sure.

Out in a bar that evening, Hands returned from the toilet and asked if he could join me while my boyfriend was away. I played along with his little game and said he could but warned him that my bloke was big and might want to fight him. He reckoned that he'd already seen him and knew he could take him on in an arm-wrestle.

I really did my very best not to analyse this statement and accept it as role-playing fun. Honestly. But I just couldn't stop myself wondering whether Hands had implied that I was his girlfriend...

Wednesday 27 April 2011

33 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 18

I managed to forget about the fact that I'd felt rejected by Hands. It was actually quite easy to do so. Probably because he kept texting me while I was away on my trip and his messages were usually either instructions to 'hurry up and get back home', telling me that I was in his thoughts 'far too regularly', or that my return flight 'couldn't come soon enough'.

Call me Miss Hopeful, but I thought Hands seemed to be Mr Interested?

A couple of days before I was due home I decided to phone the man in question. Partly because I wanted to hear his voice, and partly cause I wanted to brag to someone (anyone) that I'd finished work for the day and was lying on the beach.

He said he'd been thinking about Date 4 and wondered if I fancied a night out in his neck of the woods that weekend. Nice idea you might think, but I wasn't keen. It would have meant spending the night at his home. I just wasn't sure that I was ready for that.

Oh no, by 'that' I don't mean that. I definitely wasn't ready for that. I liked Hands far too much to be sleeping with him on our fourth date. Plus he'd already said that he'd made up the bed in the spare room ready for if I accepted his invitation, so I was confident that he wasn't counting his chickens about getting his oats.

No, what I wasn't sure about was the idea of getting ready for a night out with Hands, in front of Hands. Wasn't it too soon for that? It was only date 4 after all. Too early to be discussing who was going to use the bathroom first. And I'd probably miss out one of the best bits about the early days of a relationship, which as we all know, is when the guy makes a conscious effort to tell you that you look nice. Hands was unlikely to compliment me after seeing the work that goes in to looking 'natural.' I'd probably end up trying to force the issue by doing a twirl and saying 'ta-da!'

Obviously I couldn't discuss any of this with Hands. Instead I just mumbled something about thinking it over and suggesting that he send me an itinerary.

Yep an itinerary. I mean really. What on earth was I thinking? Sometimes I could do with having a stern word with myself. The only good thing was that it wasn't going to be necessary to mull over Hands' invitation. I was pretty sure that he was unlikely to get back in touch with the girl that had asked him for an agenda. For a date.

An hour or so later I received an email.


Option A.... Sample the delights (well there are worse places - just!) of St Helens?

Dress code - smart casual (anything I've seen so far would be perfect, including comfortable heels for as regular as you'd like kiss access!)

Pick up - 7.30 prompt at your address. Alternatively catch a regular as clockwork, comfortable train from a station of your choice in Manchester city centre to Newton Le Willows where your car and driver will be waiting to collect you and transport you to your next destination..... The benefit of this option would be an earlier ETA..... Say 6pm pick up from the station?

Eat in or out?.... Including several drinks of your choice both at My Abode and St Helens town centre (a taxi will be arranged for this short journey.)

Sample the delights of date 4 in the safe hands of your Chauffeur/Date/Organiser and if the mood takes you - dance partner?

Return to your accommodation at a time of your choice (with your date!)and enjoy a very comfortable stay with the use of all available amenities.

The option of breakfast at either your chosen accommodation or alternatively in the grounds of a fairly nearby farm sampling their local produce is also available? - weather permitting!

Return to your home address (chauffeur driven by your date) at a time to suit you.

If at any point your date can make your evening/night/morning/lunch any more enjoyable then just let him know and he will do his best to accommodate your request!


Option B..... Invite your date to Manchester (where you always go out) for a night on the tiles - well at least 4 hours until your date has to get the train home.

........The choice is yours! Please respond to any option which features a question mark. I look forward to hearing from you very soon xxx

Wednesday 20 April 2011

34 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 17

Now where were we?

Ah yes. I'd had three dates with the lovely Hands. Date four seemed to be on the cards but there was going to have to be a delay on it as I was heading off to sunnier climes to do a filming job for a few weeks. I suggested that Hands and I meet for a quick drink before I go. He suggested that we didn't bother (or words to that effect.)

Me and thee then analysed what his rejection of my offer meant for the Rapunzel and Hands romance. Some said it didn't mean anything. Some questioned, just as my Bro had previously, whether Hands had a back-bone. Some didn't know what to think. One guy contacted me to say it was clear that I was just desperate for a boyfriend and asked why I was so scared of being alone. Another tweeted to say that my blog looked far too boring for him to waste his time reading, so sadly I'll never know his opinion. (I suppose I should just feel honoured that he took the time out of his busy schedule to let me know that though?!)

As you know, I personally didn't think it was a good sign. I'd only suggested one drink before his night out with the boys, not that he see me instead. I couldn't help but feel rejected that he'd said no. And his excuse that he'd find it hard to say goodbye to me if we met up for half an hour, wasn't holding any sway with me. I mean I like to think that I'm good company but I'm under no illusions that I'm that good!

What could I do about it though? I decided that the best plan of action would be to do absolutely nada. If he wasn't interested, he wasn't interested. I couldn't force him to be! Anyway I had a trip to get organised for.

The day of my flight I got up bright and early to do some last-minute packing. I switched on my phone.

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

Seems I'd received a few texts. The first one was just after midnight...

Round at Gav's. Me and the boys have been counting the floors in the Tower. Looks like the lights are out in your apartment! Sleep well x

Stalker! Was my first thought.

My second thought was about the fact that Hands may have chosen not to meet up, yet I was still clearly on his mind...

My third thought was a feeling of smugness about the second thought.

My fourth thought Wait a minute! Hands had told me where his friend Gav lives and it overlooks the complete opposite side of my Tower and therefore would be impossible to see my apartment. Even with really powerful binoculars.

The second text had been sent an hour later...

Going to miss you a bit x

The third was sent at 3am...

Good night x

Then another one ten minutes later...

By the way I love your name.

Curiouser and curiouser. What did it all mean? Four texts were a lot of texts to send to someone that you weren't fussed for. Four texts too many, you could argue. Maybe he was keener that I thought? But then they were clearly drunken messages and everyone knows that they don't count. Hmmm.

I continued getting ready and did my best to focus on what bikinis to take rather than the workings of the mind of Hands. While in the taxi on the way to the airport my phone beeped again...

Sorry about the texts. Was on the truth drug. Have a good trip, don't work too hard and make sure you plan in some serious Hands time for when you get back! x

I don't think I'll ever understand men.

Sunday 20 March 2011

26 On a Break

Things are getting in the way of my blogging at the moment so just wanted to tell you that I'm going to have to take a little break from posting.

It won't be a long interlude, I'll be back in a couple of weeks to continue the story of Hands and Rapunzel, cause there is more to come. Oh yes there is!

Please don't feel bad. It's not you, it's me. I think we need to have some time apart. You know it's for the best. I really like you and I'll be back when I'm able to give you the attention you deserve. I promise.

Rapunzel x

Monday 14 March 2011

79 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 16

Date number 3 with Hands was a resounding success. Agreed?

Date number 4 with Hands was definitely on the cards. Agreed?

Fraid not.

Don't panic though, the game wasn't over exactly. It was just that the croupier was going to have to hold off dealing the next hand, because I was having to go away and work again for a few weeks.

Before you feel sorry for me I should stress that I was going to film in the Canaries. It wasn't exactly a hardship. In fact I was dead excited about going. I was just slightly concerned about the timing with regards to my romance. It was still early days with me and Hands. Maybe he wouldn't wait for me?

Then I reminded myself that he'd hung around for six weeks between date one and date two. And lots had happened since then. We'd been on a rollercoaster together, eaten pizza together, laughed together, played tonsil hockey together... We were practically in a committed relationship.

There was absolutely no need for me to worry. All would be fine.

I was flying out on the Saturday morning so texted Hands asking if he was going to be in Manchester on the Friday evening (yes, my copy of The Rules was now shoved in a drawer somewhere.) He replied in the affirmative and asked if I was going to be out in town and whether I fancied a 'sneaky meet-up'. I explained that I wanted to be fresh for flying so wasn't going 'out out' but wondered if he fancied meeting for a drink before he saw his friends.

Seems not.

He called me and mumbled something about it not really being possible, and explained that it would have been different if I had plans to go out as we could have 'accidentally bumped into each other'.

I see.

He then added that it was probably for the best, cause he'd find it really difficult seeing me for only half an hour and then having to say goodbye.


Except 'awwww' is not the way I actually felt about what he'd said. You see it appears that I have something in my head that I can only describe as being like a translation app. Put a sentence in and get the real meaning out. (I just wish I'd had it years ago because I'm sure I would have got a better mark in my French oral.) So those may have been the words going in, but in my mind what Hands was actually saying was 'You're alright Rapunzel but I wouldn't want to sacrifice any of boys' night to see you. Hell no! I don't like you that much.'

Needless to say I didn't feel very smashing when I got off the phone. In fact gutted would be a more apt description. What could I do though? Knowing how hyper-sensitive I can be, plus anyone that has ever used Babelfish will know that translation tools don't always give accurate results, I decided to get some other opinions on what he'd said.

Immediately I felt better. I was taking control. Plus I love surveys! Only this week I heard on the radio that it has been discovered that men like receiving flowers. The reason they know this is that they compared the happiness level of men without pansies etc, to those with them. There was a blooming big difference.

This survey was going to be as useful as that one. Probably even moreso. For me anyway.

Respondent 1

I first spoke to my Bro in order to get the male perspective. He wasn't so bothered about analysing whether Hands was keen on me or not, he was more concerned with the fact that Hands didn't seem to have a back-bone when it came to his friends and couldn't tell them he was going to meet me and would only see me if he could make out it was an 'accident' (This also brings up the question about the intelligence of his friends if they would find that believable!)

Verdict: Hands is a wet lettuce

Respondent 2

I asked my friend 'England' what she thought. She was outraged. At me. She said that she didn't know what the heck I was going on about and it wasn't like I was his girlfriend and he therefore wasn't required to have to see me before I went away. I meekly said that I knew that but I wanted him to want to see me. And I'd want him to feel like that even if he was my boyfriend. She was having none of it. We agreed to disagree. Before we ended up wrestling or something.

Verdict: Rapunzel is high maintenance, demanding and needs to have a word with herself.

Respondent 3

Asked my friend Scarlet what she thought. She said I was right to be concerned and it didn't seem like Hands was very interested in me.

Verdict: Nobody loves Rapunzel.

Ok, ok I may have slightly skewed the questions when talking to Scarlet and told her how much it had bothered me, and she just did like a good friend does, and said she understood.

All the time and money (well all those free minutes I'd used up calling the respondents) I'd put into my survey and I was none the wiser. Was it the end of the road for the Rapunzel and Hands romance? Or was I just worrying about nothing? And was it true that guys really like receiving flowers? I had no idea...

Sunday 6 March 2011

33 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 15


Good morning Miss Rapunzel... or now that we are more familiar may I call you Rapunzel?

I'd just like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to give me a very professional and insightful guided tour around your wonderful facility. The views (and sensations) immediately in front of me, and those of the city sky line were equally impressive.

Thank you for fulfilling my service requests and acting in a professional manner throughout the meeting.

I look forward to doing business with you again in the near future.

Kind regards

Mr Hands x
Cold Shower Executions Manager


Dear Mr Hands

Thank you for your email.

I am glad that you were happy with the service you received. You are clearly an expert in your field and I hoped that I could meet your understandably high standards.

I feel that we make a good partnership and am happy to continue with this relationship. I suggest we arrange some more one-on-ones though as there are some things I would like to run (my hands) over.

Can I also suggest that we remain professional in our correspondence and keep the familiarity to our meetings? I'm unable to offer the services I have provided you with to anyone but my favoured clients, so I ask for your discretion at this stage.

I look forward to meeting with you again.

Miss Rapunzel x


I know it's a bit cheeky of me to copy and paste the emails that we sent each other after date 3 and pass it off as a blog post! You want to know the whole story though don't you? Exactly as it happened? And this is what occurred next!

Plus I wanted to show off my new look blog! My bro did it as a surprise. He's a good un isn't he?! Thanks bro!

Thank you all for continuing to read and a special mention to those who comment. I love, love, love reading them! You guys are the best!

The next installment in the Hands and Rapunzel saga is coming soon. Read it to find out what I'm not happy about...

Rapunzel x

Wednesday 2 March 2011

52 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 14

Concierge buzzes me to say I have a gentleman caller on the way up to my apartment. Can't be sure but it sounds like he wants to add 'Woot woo!'

I pace around in nervous anticipation. Hands mentioned at Alton Towers that he likes the small of my back. Am therefore wearing a backless top. There are no flies on me. Clever girl.

Hands arrives. He leans down to kiss me and puts his hands round the back of my waist. Asks if I have put that particular top on especially for him. Damn...I've been rumbled. Smart arse.

Give him a tour of my apartment. Says he likes the view.

We sit down with glasses of wine overlooking Manchester. Tells me he was half an hour early so went to The Deansgate pub next door. I am happy about this. Nothing worse than a guy turning up early for a date.

Tells me a girl asked if he wanted to join her and her friends, then when he declined asked if he fancied going out with her sometime. I am not happy about this. Who does this girl think she is trying to cut my grass?

Discuss where to go for dinner from the limited choice near the theatre. Decide on Pizza Express. I say I'll print out a 'two for one' voucher.

Regret saying I'll print out a voucher. What if Hands thinks I'm a cheapskate?

Hands says printing out a voucher is a great idea.

My printer clearly thinks otherwise as it refuses to print anything.

Go to reception. Ask concierge to print out voucher for me.

Worry that they'll report me to Management for being a penny pincher. I'll get banished from the building for lowering the tone. Mind you I'm pretty sure they are already well aware I'm more Primark than Prada.

Leave Tower brandishing troublesome voucher. Concierge tells us to have a good time. Might be mistaken but am sure he winked at me.

Arrive at Pizza Express. As we both like things hot and spicy we decide to share two pizzas. There is no 'I' in team.

Go to theatre to watch show. It's a comedian I love from Scotland. I laugh lots. Hands does too. He seems to like a bit of Scottishness.

We hold hands throughout. Pretty sure that's not the done thing at a comedy show. There might even be a law against it. I like it though so don't care.

Show finishes. Comedian says he'll stick around for a bit to say hello. I get excited for a minute cause he's fit and I'd love to meet him.

Then remember I'm with Hands.

Then realise I actually don't mind cause Hands is also gorgeous. And funny too.

Think I must be falling for Hands.

Discuss going for a night-cap. Hands suggests going back to mine as he says 'it's the company that's important, not where we go.' Smooth.

I pour us another glass of wine and we sit down to chat. Hands seems more interested in me than his drink or conversation though. We start smooching on the couch.

Hands is a good kisser.

I start wondering if I'm going to have stubble rash.

Hands says that as it is a school night he should think about going.

We canoodle some more.

I think about what a really good kisser Hands is. While kissing him.

Hands says he definitely must go.

We continue partaking in some first base action.

Hands says he is going to go. Just after he kisses me one last time...

Think I've regressed back to being a teenager. Can't remember snogging the face off someone so much since I was 15 and Wiggy and I sat 'winching' in his bedroom listening to Sally Cinammon. On cassette.

Hands sighs and says he really is going. He gets up muttering something about cold showers.

I see him to the door. We kiss again. One for the road.

I go to bed very happy.

Friday 25 February 2011

57 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 13


Dear Miss Rapunzel,

Thank you for your prompt response earlier today.

I am more than happy to reschedule to Sunday, at which point will aim to satisfy both mutual parties. I am keen to take you up on your offer of both dinner and a comedian, and would love a guided tour of your premises - also your lips - to fulfil my earlier service request.

I will be in touch in due course to finalise the details and in the meantime wish you a most enjoyable weekend.

Mr Hands
Extracurricular Activities Manager

Wednesday 23 February 2011

47 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 12

So Hands had suggested we take our relationship to the next stage...

Yep, he wanted us to exchange email addresses.

What do you mean you are surprised? What else would he have been referring to? Ah, I suppose you were more thinking along the lines that he wanted us to be Facebook friends weren't you? Nah, Hands doesn't do social networking so that wouldn't be an option.

To be honest I'm not sure I would have agreed to that anyway. I think you can get the wrong impression of people through their Facebook profiles (has anyone seen the film Catfish?!) There was a time that I met a guy in a bar who asked for my number and then texted the following day to suggest we 'look at each other' on FB. I thought it slightly odd but if he was so adamant about showing me his, what could I do but show him mine?

While perusing, I noticed that he'd changed his status a few weeks previously to say that he was in a relationship. Hmmmm.

Underneath that was a comment asking who the lucky guy was. Double hmmmm.

Was he a gay guy just looking for a new friend to go dancing with him along Canal Street? Was his friend a comedian? Was he actually straight but in a relationship? Was he single but only recently so was essentially on the rebound?

I've no idea. There was too much of a whiff of 'it's complicated' about it for my liking. I promptly de-friended him and vowed that in future I would become friends with people in real life, before getting pally in the virtual world.

Not that Hands was asking me to do that anyway. He just wanted to do things the old-fashioned way and email me. How quaint. Next he'd be suggesting that we hand-write each other letters. With a feather quill. On parchment. And have a pigeon deliver them.

I liked the idea. I didn't tell him that though. I just took his email address and said I'd think about it.

What?! You can't just let every guy you meet take down your particulars.

I emailed him the next day. What a good decision cause it turned out that Hands the Emailer was a lot more prolific than Hands the Texter. And flirtier too! He'd send me messages saying things like...

Ooh... That girl from the Tower is popping into the hand model's mind a bit too often this morning! Go away please I'm busy! x


Will you just get out my head please, I'm trying to work!!x

I was loving it! It was hard to know what to reply at times mind you. I'd normally be very apologetic and send messages such as...

Just to promise you that I won't be on your mind at all today. You'll be able to get on with your work and you won't think of me at all. I can't promise the same vice versa but that's just something I'll have to deal with I guess x

I was a bit stumped when he sent me a photo of his desk with the instruction that I should go and sit on it and kiss him. What could I send him back? As a freelancer in TV production I don't have a regular place of work and I've no good pictures of me and my furry boom. I suppose I could have sent the picture my cameraman took on our job filming hotels abroad. It was of me in my 'office', ie the bathroom, keeping out of shot while he filmed the bedroom. I was sitting on the toilet at the time and although the lid was down and I was doing paperwork, I didn't think Hands needed to see images of me on the loo.

Instead I decided to reply suggesting that we take our relationship to the next, next stage...

Dear Mr Hands,

Unfortunately I have other meetings scheduled for today and will not be able to fulfill your request. Can I suggest that we reschedule for this Sunday? I also propose that as an alternative to the usual 'networking' activity of playing golf, we go for dinner followed by a comedy show. You could also come to visit my premises where I can provide you with the service you have requested and we can discuss any other business.

I look forward to seeing you again and continuing this partnership.

Miss Rapunzel x

Friday 18 February 2011

33 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 11

Once upon a time there lived a girl called Rapunzel. No, not the one that you are thinking of, this one is the modern day Rapunzel.

Admittedly she also lives in a Tower, the tallest residential building in the UK to be precise, overlooking the wonderful city of Manchester. Unlike old Rapunzel though, she is not trapped and can easily leave her apartment by way of the lift. She can probably even walk down the stairs if necessary. If she's insane that is.

Another difference is that the Rapunzel of today has no interest in being rescued. That's not to say that she isn't keen on meeting a prince, but she likes her life and doesn't want to be taken away from it. She just wants someone to enhance it. It isn't necessary that he owns a horse.

Modern Day Rapunzel had actually been on a couple of dates with a hotty named Hands and was wondering whether he was her prince. Her evil stepmother gorgeous flatmate, the Goddess, had been so keen for Rapunzel to find a wonderful man, that she'd introduced her to the tome otherwise known as The Rules and instructed her to follow them in order to find true love.

Rapunzel quite liked parts of The Rules, but there were some bits that she wasn't so sure about, hence the reason that she didn't follow them to a tee. One example of a time when she was undecided about what to do, is when she'd been on date two with Hands.

A wonderful date had been had and Hands had even stolen a kiss or two, or three. He'd dropped her off on his steed in his car and bade her farewell. A short whileth later, he had phoned and suggested that 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair.'

He didn't mean literally. It would be impossible as another difference between the old version and the new version, is that the current protagonist has short hair. And seeing as Hands has particularly large... er... hands, he'd have trouble even grabbing her locks, never mind climbing anywhere on them.

No, Hands was suggesting they continue their date and was inviting Rapunzel out to dinner.

Oh my!

Rapunzel didn't know what to do. She knew that The Rules would say no way Jose, but she'd had such a lovely day with Hands so far and was very tempted to continue it.

Oh if only she'd already told her blog readers about Hands she could have gone on her facebook or twitter page and had instant advice.

It was too late though. She was in this alone and had to be a big girl and make the decision herself.

After pondering and pondering for a couple of minutes, she made her decision.....

Which was to go and re-join the tall handsome man with the big hands. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, was going to let down her lift!

While going down in the afore-mentioned elevator, Rapunzel wondered whether she should have changed her clothes. She'd done nothing more than have a wee, brush her teeth and put on some lip-gloss as she was conscious Hands was waiting outside.

Hands kissed her hello and said he was glad that she was still in the same outfit as she looked lovely. Rapunzel wondered whether Hands had special mind-reading powers. She mumbled something about it still being the same date and he agreed and said that it was just part B of date 2. Rapunzel wondered yet again whether he was a mind reader. She also made a mental note to use the same excuse if the Goddess told her off for ignoring The Rules ('What do you mean I shouldn't have gone out again? It was the same date!)

Date 2B was lovely. Rapunzel was really glad that she'd decided to go. The whole date had been pretty amazing in actual fact (if you are my real friends you will just forget about the whole ill, moany bit...!) There was nowhere she would rather have been and no-one she would rather have been with.

Rapunzel was starting to fall for Hands. What did he think of her though? She didn't know. As he dropped her off at her Tower she wondered whether he'd ask to see her again.

What he actually said took her by surprise...

'What do you think about taking our relationship to the next stage?'

Tuesday 15 February 2011

24 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 10

Now where were we?

Ah yes. I was on a date with Hands at Alton Towers and had a moany face on me.

I know 'moany face' and 'Alton Towers' shouldn't really be in the same sentence. After all it's not like I'm a child whose mum had refused her an ice-cream. As I explained though, I wasn't feeling my best and it had taken so long for Hands and I to actually go out on date two (six weeks to be precise) that it all seemed very unfair.

There was also something else that was bothering me that I didn't tell you about....

Well in actual fact I did tell you about it, I just didn't elaborate on it. It was in this line... 'He gave me his stuff to hold, kissed me and off he went.'

You know what I'm going on about now don't you? Yep exactly. I was unhappy about the kissing part. Not that he kissed me of course. It's always nice to be kissed. My issue was more with the kind of kiss it was.

You see, you never know when your last, first kiss is going to be. Call me an old romantic, but I'd like to remember mine, so the first kiss with a new guy is really important. As you know I was all geared up for it to happen at the end of date one, but Hands decided not to partake. Fine. What was not fine though, was that he'd opted to go for it while I was playing the 'Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Miss Stroppy Pants' game.

And as first kisses go it wasn't even that good. A bit half-hearted really. It was definitely more than a peck. I mean it wouldn't have been appropriate to kiss, say a family member, like that. Unless you are Angelina Jolie and her brother of course. But it wasn't the kind of kiss that you'd expect from someone that had taken the day off work to take you to Alton Towers. It appeared that Hands wasn't so keen on ill Rapunzel.

Hands finished riding Rita and came to get me telling me how amazing she was. That's all I wanted to hear - about the fabulousness of some other female. He went off on another ride while I stood around some more. The day really wasn't going as I'd imagined.

When he came to meet me off that ride though he said he'd been on it as an experiment. He thought it might be an ok one for me to attempt and now he'd been on it he reckoned that it definitely was.

I was quite touched, but still wasn't sure. I ummed and I ahhed. And I ummed and ahhed some more. I was feeling a bit better though. I certainly wasn't as dizzy. Maybe I should attempt going on the ride?

I decided I would. Hands seemed really pleased and said we should go in the special queue to sit at the front. Oh yeah great. So not only might I have some weird reaction, but this way everyone would see it. Nervous is not the word. 'Shit-scared' could have been though.

Guess what?

I went on it. We sat in the front. And it was great! I was buzzing when we got off. I'd done it! Hurrah!

After that I was unstoppable. I went on at least...oooh...three more rides! Rapunzel was back!

From then on the day started improving no end.

Then things got even better...

Hands suggested we get some ice-cream. (No that's not the bit I'm referring to...) We sat down in the sunshine overlooking the lake. (Nor that...) My phone beeped - I had reception! (It may surprise you, but no that's also not the bit I mean...) As I read my text message Hands told me to get a move on because (and I quote)...

'We haven't had our first kiss yet and I really want to do it now.' (Yes! This is the bit I meant!)

So there and then we had our first kiss to the soundtrack of chart music, excited squeals of people on the rides and someone shouting that we should get a room. (Turned out that advice wasn't actually for us. Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty passionate embrace but we weren't rolling around the grass like the other couple were.)

As first kisses go, it was great. As was our second...and our third...and our fourth...

The rest of the day was amazing. The little blip at the beginning all forgotten. All too soon though, the park closed, we made our way to Manchester chatting non-stop in the car and then Hands dropped me off at the Tower.

I'd barely been home twenty minutes, and was still feeling giddy after my amazing date, when my phone rang...

It was Hands. He was supposed to be going for dinner with his friends but we'd been chatting so much he hadn't noticed the text messages cancelling it. Therefore, he wondered whether I wanted to go back out to play and he'd take me for dinner.

I had my phone up to one ear and the Goddess shouting the The Rules at me in the other. Which was especially weird as she wasn't even there. The fact that she wasn't meant that I could do what I wanted though. I just couldn't decide what that was.

Should I decline and say I was busy and leave him wanting more like The Rules would instruct? Or should I think of it as just an extension to the date and get my short ass back out there? It was a real dilemma...


What would you have done? What do you think I should have done? (Just so I know next time I'm on Oprah!) What do you think I did do? I'll tell you in the next few days whether you are right....

Tuesday 8 February 2011

34 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 9

The story so far... I met a lovely boy called Hands. He asked me out. I said yes. He then fannyed around arranging the date. I almost didn't go on the date. I did go on it though and it was great. He asked me on another date. He fannyed around some more. This time I didn't go on the date. He then asked me on an extra-special date. This chapter is about that date. (There is slightly more to it than that so please read from Chapter 1 if you haven't already.)

So six weeks after first going out with Hands, I was about to go on date number two. There had been reasons for the large gap between rendezvous. Mainly cause I'd been working abroad and then Hands had been on a course with work, (advanced hand modelling I presume?) but it was partly down to his dithering straight after our first date. This was all forgiven and forgotten though, because he'd suggested a trip to the theme park Alton Towers for our second meeting. Heck, he'd even taken a day off work.

I knew it had been an inspired idea on his part but just to double check I told everyone I came into contact with about the venue for date two. 'Ooooh that's a great place to go on a date!' is what everyone said. It was official. The boy had done good.

I was ultra excited about the day, except for one thing. I didn't know what to wear. Or to be more specific. I didn't know what to wear on my feet.

It was lovely weather so I'd thought about donning flip-flops, which would go well with the rest of my summery outfit (please remember this date is in the past. I'm not contemplating wearing attire like this in February!) Plus as I normally only wear flip-flops in the sunshine, on holiday or after a pedicure, I associate them with nice things and having a good time. Perfect therefore for my Alton Towers date. Except for one thing. They are flat. And Hands is a big boy.

I mentioned my dilemma to my Bro.

'What height is he?'

'Erm just a wee bit over six foot five...'

'What?! For God sake Sis you can't go out with him!'

'Why not?'

'Cause you're a short ass! Imagine if you ever got'd look like the Krankies in your wedding photos!'

Now I know that it is part of a brothers' job to make you feel crap. No matter how old you both are, he is still required to take the piss. And as insults go, suggesting that Hands and I would resemble a comedy duo made up of a married couple in their 60's, the female of which that dresses up as a school boy, is not one of the worst he's thrown at me. It struck a nerve though. What if we did look ridiculous together? What if Hands hadn't realised I was short and it would only become obvious when people were pointing and laughing at us as we wandering around the park. Even worse, what if without my heels I was too short to get on some of the rides.

I was getting myself a bit worked up so did what any normal person would do in the same situation. I googled images of couples with a big height difference.

Hey presto! After bypassing pics of Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum, and Tom Cruise and anyone, I found the sort of thing I was looking for. Hello Dannii Minogue and Kris Smith!

Turns out there is the same amount of inches between them, as there is between me and Hands. And they look fine don't they? I decided we could be the Manchester equivalent. Albeit a less attractive version. I felt much happier. Fan-dabi-dozi!

Date day dawned and Hands picked me up bright and early. I was glad to see that my taste in men hadn't changed in six weeks - I still fancied the arse off him.

We drove towards Alton Towers and the conversation flowed surprisingly well considering we hadn't seen each other for such a long time and actually didn't know each other very well in the first place.

Then something happened...

I started feeling dizzy.


In all the excitement of the 'Oooh what a great place to go on a date,' I'd forgotten that I was waiting for an operation on my sinuses. And that while waiting for this op I was occasionally suffering with symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, face ache, nausea, near black outs etc, etc, etc.

Unfairly it seemed that I was having one of these occasional symptoms then. While on my way to a theme park. A theme park with rides. Probably the worst place I could actually go in my condition.

I felt pretty bloody stupid.

I held off telling Hands but as things hadn't improved as we queued to get in, and I was actually feeling worse, I came clean.

Bless him, he was lovely about it. He was quite hopeful that I'd feel better as the day went on, and for that reason, and also for the fact that he'd bought the tickets weeks before, he reckoned that we should still go in anyway.

So we did. We wandered around for a bit. Enjoying the relative quiet at first and then the almost palpable buzz in the air as the park started filling up. Hands said it was time we started going on some rides.

And so he took me to the ride called Rita. Bloody Rita. Rita with her big list of medical complaints at the entrance and accompanying instructions not to ride Rita if you suffer from any of them. At that time I had most of them.

I just couldn't do it. I suggested Hands ride Rita without me and maybe I'd do the next one. He gave me his stuff to hold, kissed me and off he went.

Brilliant. Not only had I become the 'mum' that looks after all the possessions while the kids go off to play, but I also felt shit. And I was concerned that Hands was going to get the wrong impression about me and think that I was a big, moaning, hypochondriac, fun vacuum that was just going to suck all the fun out of the day.

I felt very sorry for myself. I took out my phone to call a friend to make me feel better.

I had no reception.

I felt even sorrier for myself.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

28 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 8

Oprah: Thanks for joining us today Rapunzel and for coming to share your story about how your life has changed...

Rapunzel: That's right Oprah. I used to be just your normal, average, typical girl...a bit like yourself...and then one day something happened that made me the dating expert that I'm known as today.

Oprah: That's incredible! Please tell us what happened...

Rapunzel: Well, I was plodding along, going on various dates, as you do. Some were good and some weren't. Then one day I was introduced to The Rules...

Oprah: Ah. You followed them and that's what made you an expert?

Rapunzel: Actually no. Admittedly some of The Rules are great. Like the one that says that prior to going on a date girls should stand in front of the mirror and tell ourselves that we are enough. In fact try it now Oprah...

Oprah: I am enough!

Rapunzel: I bet you feel great after doing that don't you?

Oprah: I do! I actually feel like I am enough. How amazing!

Rapunzel: There's another fabulous rule about combing your hair off your face in a slow, sweeping motion. If you manage to pull that rule off you end up with your date eating out of your hand. Some of The Rules aren't so good though...

Oprah: Like what?

Rapunzel: Well there is one that advises you not to wear clogs. And do you know why I know that isn't a good rule?

Oprah: Why?

Rapunzel: Because one of the regular commenters on my blog, Glen advised me that it wasn't. He seemingly has a real penchant for clogs and didn't enjoy his trip to the red light district in Amsterdam because of the lack of wooden shoe wearing ladies. It was just an innocent comment Oprah but it made me think...

Oprah: About clogs?

Rapunzel: No about the fact that my readers are all so wise and knowledgeable. They are also all from different countries, different backgrounds and are of different ages. I realised that by asking for their opinions on a romance I was having, I could combine all their thoughts and thus become an expert on matters of the heart. I'm a bit like a walking dating encyclopedia!

Oprah: That's wonderful Rapunzel! So you now know everything that there is to know about dating. Can you give us any tips?

Rapunzel: Of course! Firstly you must forget the idea that you shouldn't lie to a potential partner. That's a myth. At least it is when it comes to talking about your job. Me and my network of experts actually encourage that you do stretch the truth. You are an accountant? Say you are an Eskimo relocation officer. A nurse? No you are a cheese holer or a dolphin trainer. Let your imagination run riot.

Oprah: That sounds great! Anything else?

Rapunzel: Yes. You know when a guy doesn't kiss you at the end of a first date and you wonder why? I can tell you why. It could be because he has a rule not to kiss on the first date. He may not like you. He may like you too much. He may be gay. He may be shy. He may have bad-manners. He may have a mum or wife that has told them they have to be home by 11, and they have run out of time.

Oprah: Gosh! Yes, you are right. Thanks for clearing that up. I'm sure that has been helpful for many viewers. Anything else that you can help with? Like what do you recommend to do if a guy asks you out, you stress to him that you are really busy but give him a couple of days as options. He opts for one but says that he will confirm in 'bags of time' and then tells you days later that it is going to have to be the following evening because you are having to fit around Boys' Night?

Rapunzel: I'm glad you asked that Oprah because it is a common dilemma. What I advise is that you don't text anything in reply that night, because you are far too busy having a lovely time drinking cocktails with your friend the Goddess, but that the next morning you send the following....

Hey sorry I wasn't able to reply last night. Would have been good to see you before I go, was looking forward to it but I've made plans now. Next time you'll have to book ahead to avoid disappointment..! x

Oprah: I hear ya sister! I look forward to having you on the show again soon with more wonderful advice from you and your readers.


Ok, ok you might not all have agreed that was the best thing to reply to Hands. Some of you didn't think there was an issue in the first place. I was really annoyed with him though. And despite the fact that it was my only chance to see him before working away, and knowing that it was unlikely that I'd see him when I got back, I replied to him as detailed above.

And that was that.

The End.

Except it wasn't! The next day I received the following...

Bit random but wondered if you fancied an Alton Towers trip when you get back? Let me know if you do and I'll take a day off work (just don't ever tell the boys I've done that!) x

Talk about turning a corner! I reckon we'd come round the bend so fast we'd left skid marks!

Of course I was well up for this, so six weeks after our first date, Hands and I had date number two at a theme park...

Wednesday 26 January 2011

37 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 7

Things weren't going well...

Firstly, I'd taken my shoes to the cobblers to see if they could be fixed.

They couldn't. The guy serving me even remarked that they must have had a lot of weight on them for the heel to have broken so badly.

While I stood looking like a shame-faced fairy elephant, Taggart told him that just half an hour before I'd managed to get myself into a teeny weeny size 8 dress so couldn't be that heavy.

It wasn't her best argument. Particularly as we'd both just been falling about the changing-rooms laughing at the fact I'd got in to the minute frock. We'd even said it must have the wrong label on it because I haven't been a size 8 since I was aged about 8. I appreciated her trying to stick up for me though.

Secondly, I hadn't heard anything from Hands.

Yes, there had been that text thanking me for a nice evening, to which I'd sent a similar reply, but nothing since. It was now three days later and his last text to me was starting to look more and more like a goodbye message.

Just in case it wasn't though (he didn't exactly have the best reputation for being a prompt texter), I spoke to the Goddess about making my next move.

'Well The Rules would say do nothing and to wait for him to get in touch.'

'Yeah I know that, but what would they say about the fact that I'm about to go and work abroad for a few weeks, and if we don't go out now it's unlikely that we'll go out again?'

I felt that as we'd only had one date, it was unlikely that we'd keep in touch with each other while I was away, and even more unlikely we'd arrange a second date when I got back, so many weeks after the first.

The Goddess agreed that in this situation it was acceptable to modify The Rules. She gave me permission to text Hands but insisted that I wasn't to ask him any questions, so at least if he replied we knew that it was because he wanted to and he wasn't just being polite.

I thought that was a good plan and sent him a message telling him what a fabulous weekend I'd had. I realised that I was running the risk of him thinking I was bad-mannered for not asking about his last few days, and that I believed everything was all about ME! ME! ME!, but it had to be done.

Seems he thought nothing of the sort because seven minutes later I received a reply. Yes, a mere seven minutes later! And it said...

Glad you had a good time! Do you fancy meeting up for Round 2 or was once enough? x

My, how things had changed! Not only had he replied quickly but he'd got straight to the point! It was like a little dating miracle. And one point for me, in the 'Rapunzel against The Rules' fight.

I replied that would be lovely and asked when he was thinking. I explained that I had a lot to schedule in over the next few days, but that it would be good to see him before I went away to work.

He replied saying that he was flexible and could fit in with me.

I replied that at this stage I could do any day except for Wednesday.

Then there was silence.

Aaargh! Normally I could have held out, but I only had a seven day window to fit everything in before heading off to sunnier climes, so the following day after I'd still had no reply from him, I sent another text...

Tuesday, Thursday or Friday? Take your pick! x

He replied that we'd go for the 'Thursday or the Friday, probably the Friday' but that he'd let me know in 'bags of time'.

Now I'm interested to know how you would define 'bags of time'? Bearing in mind that this text was sent on the Monday lunchtime? Personally I'd say that hearing from him on the Tuesday would have been acceptable, but Hands and I clearly read different dictionaries as indicated by his text to me on the Wednesday night...

Hey lets go for tomorrow if that's ok? The boys night is looking like Friday now x

What?! Did I read that right?! After me stressing to him that I had loads to do and him saying he could be flexible, and then suddenly not being very flexible but promising that he'd tell me in 'bags of time', he thought it was ok to arrange the date the night before the date.

Not only that, but I was fitting around boy's night! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for boys' night and I actually don't think that a girl you have been on one date with should come first. But he certainly shouldn't have told me that I was being shunned for bloody boys' night!!!

The Goddess was just as aghast. 'I think you should tell him that it's time for him to put some of that hand modelling experience to good use, and to wave goodbye to Rapunzel!'

Oh how we laughed and we laughed, and then we went out for cocktails and forgot all about it.

Until another text came through a few hours later that is...

No comment from the social butterfly? I'll call you tomorrow daytime to make a plan if we are still on? Food or drinks or both? x

And what do you think I replied....?

Friday 21 January 2011

60 Tales of a Real Life Romance - Chapter 6

If the writers of The Rules had seen me on my date with Hands, they would have been appalled at how woefully unprepared I was.

There were certain things that I was supposed to do prior to the event, like 'have a bubble bath,' read The Rules and 'nourish' my soul with 'positive slogans like, "I'm a beautiful woman. I am enough."'

As I wasn't even sure I was meeting Hands until the last minute, I'd done none of the above. I suppose I could have tried to redeem things by sticking to The Rules for the actual date.

I could have made no attempt to get my purse out and let him pay for everything (and continue like that for another two dates!). I could have made sure that I 'sip-never-slurp' my drink. I wouldn't have told any 'sarcastic jokes.' I would never have started conversations and only talked about what he wanted to talk about. I would have made sure that my 'gestures were soft and feminine' and I would definitely have followed the most important rule - 'when your hair falls in front of your face, you tilt your head back and comb back your hair with your hand from the top of your head in a slow, sweeping motion.' (I bet that a few of you are trying this one! I did after I typed it. If only to try and work out what on earth they are going on about!)

Yes, these are the real rules from The Rules, and I should have been following them if I wanted things to go well with Hands, but unfortunately (fortunately?) I just couldn't remember them so I decided to do something controversial and just be myself.

And whaddya know? Hands seemed to like the real Rapunzel!

We had a great time. We went to a bar near mine, Dukes 92 (for those who know Manchester and would like to properly picture the scene). Chat came easily and we found out lots about each other. I discovered he was...

35 - a year older than me. Tick!

Had a good job that he loved, where he managed loads of people. Tick! (Though was slightly concerned that he might be more of an adult than I am...)

Had never wed or bred. Tick! Tick!

Gets on well with his family, including his twin sister. Tick! (Surely a guy with a female twin must have some understanding of women?)

Owns his own home. (Obviously this is a plus point but it's not on my must-have list. I'd have a cheek if it was, seeing as I rent my city pad.)

Loves travelling. Tick!

Funny. Big, massive, humongous tick!

I was really struggling not to enjoy the night despite that being what the Goddess and I had intended.

When Hands went to the toilet I sent her a text.

He is lovely!x

She replied immediately...

Ohhhh I'm so pleased!! Enjoy it! You deserve it! x

No mention of the fact we'd decided I was to have a crap time by way of punishment for his bad organisational skills. I silently thanked the Universe for bringing me such a good friend, and continued having a lovely evening with the Goddess's blessing.

A while later and Hands said he'd better think about going. Damn! I was meant to end the date. According to The Rules, I was supposed to glance at my watch 'after two hours and say "Gee, this was really great, but I've got a really big day tomorrow."'

Ah well. I'd broken most of their rules anyway so I decided that I was going to break another one. Yep, I was going to have a snog with him. (You must never, never, never kiss him on the first date.) I texted the Goddess and told her.

I want to kiss him! Think I will!x

She replied.... Ooh la la!x...which clearly meant she also thought it was a good idea.

I don't know whether it was the excitement about the passionate embrace that I was about to have, but as Hands walked me back to the Tower I felt like I couldn't walk properly. I was a bit lop-sided. I couldn't work it out. And obviously I couldn't discuss it with him. You just don't do you?

I remember a time when on another date I was having a drink, missed my mouth, and ended up with diet coke all over my white top. I didn't mention it to that guy either and instead kept my jacket on for the remainder of the date. Like someone that had just been let out for the day. (Does this explain a few things Kevin?!)

We arrived at the entrance to the Tower. I was feeling very flustered about my dodgy gait and praying that Hands hadn't noticed that I was walking as if I'd had a stroke. I was also gearing up for the kiss and the awkward moment about whether you will or not that always accompanies the end of a first date.

Except turns out that it wasn't awkward at all.

No. Hands just said, 'Right I'll be off then. See ya,' kissed me on the cheek and disappeared so quickly I doubted that he'd ever even been there.

Oh right then.

I entered the Tower lobby and checked my shoes to see if they'd caused me to walk funny. One of my heels had broken. Great.

Concierges asked me how the date had gone and said that they'd seen us on the security cameras. This was like when I was 14 and my dad came out to the garden to put something in the bin and caught me winching Billy Bolton at the front gate. Except that then there was actually something to see.

I said that to them and explained that I thought things had gone really well but the way he'd dashed off suggested he wasn't that keen.

As I got into bed a short while later my phone beeped...

Hey...thanks for a really nice night...x

Mmmm. I was really confused now....