Soho lovin' Chick

I'm a research student who lives in the Greater London area, but I absolutely love Central London, Soho in particular. Soho is the one place where ANYONE and EVERYONE is embraced and accepted...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Getting cold feet

What has life come to when you spend most of your time sitting around waiting for something terrible to happen in order for you to hopefully experience a little bit of your own happiness. I have spent the last week waiting for The Designer to call me to tell me that he has dumped his girlfriend, that she have moved out of his apartment and that we can start dating. What has happened to me that I have stooped so low as to do this to another woman? Granted he's been telling everyone that he's not sure he wants to be with her. Granted he's been telling people that he doesn't think they're right together. Granted he only made a move on me when they finally agreed that she should leave. Granted I haven't been helping the situation by being the friend who secretly hopes that the girlfriend gets dumped so that I can have him to myself.

Selfishly now, I am worried. I'm starting to get cold feet. For the first time in a very long time, I actually fear that karma will come back to bite me square in the ass for it's share of payback. I seriously pray that I won't get my comeuppance simply because I don't see myself as the vixen who takes but the girl who gets left behind. I'm not victimising myself, but merely stating a fact. It does not excuse how I've felt about him, but in all honesty, I did nothing to encourage him or entice him. I showed up looking smart, or chic, and a couple of times, I looked scruffy. I did not lead him on and we were usually up front with each other.

I still don't wholly understand why he's changed his mind about me (I mentioned once to him that I was interested in us dating again, he turned me down as he didn't think we'd make a good couple or work out). At first I was happy, incredibly confused, angry and annoyed, but happy. Now, I'm wondering if this is really a good idea. I see what he means when he says that he may end up hurting me, which makes me wonder if I'll be able to get in there first so that I can walk away with minimal damage. But why should I feel like I'm walking through a mindfield and not just enjoy it all? Why must I feel like I'm treading on egg shells??

I honestly don't know anymore. What's even better is that this morning I received a text from him, "Greetings from Jeddah!" The bastard left without telling me and is away for a week. It will give me the time I need to catch up with my research and really contemplate whether I want to go through with this or not.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What if...?

Carrie Bradshaw sits at the table, with her three best friends, and tearfully asks, "I woke up this morning and thought, 'What if I hadn't had met you?'". The scene chokes me up everytime. Then it got me to thinking, there are probably 3 major points in my life where I think, if fate had not thrown these in my path, as fate had allowed Carrie to meet her 3 soulmates, what would have happened to my life? Here goes:

1. What if I had never done a masters? For me, that was a huge turning point in my life. I was 24 and had finished a contract with an up and coming women's college back home. My father had given me the opportunity to come to England to further my education. At that point in my life I had reached a stage where I was incredibly content with the way my life was. I had a great job, that was trying to entice me renew my contract, I had (and still do) wonderful friends and a great social life, and I had a good relationship with my father as he allowed me to have freedom. I was actually in a great place in life that I was incredibly lucky to be in. So why did I jump at the opportunity to go to England to continue my studies? Simple, I would have been kicking myself for the rest of my life if I didn't. I would have thrown away a chance that most girls back home dream of and would have been branded foolish for the rest of my life.

2. What if I had stayed engaged? I don't know a single (Arab/semi Arab) girl who has not been engaged or been set up in an arranged marriage at some point or another. No matter how independent they are or how 'open minded' and Westernised they consider themselves to be, at one point or another they WILL contemplate an arranged marriage, and at some point they will give in. In my case it was the fact that I trusted my mother and because I'd heard so many 'good' things said about this particular guy. He wasn't my type at all, but I wanted to give him a chance because he was apparently your typical 'good' guy who was just looking to settle down. I know I say this to everyone, but it doesn't make it any less true when I say that there was nothing wrong with him. He never treated me badly or unkind. He was generous, sweet and very well mannered. What was worse was that his mother was (and still is) a wonderful person, who I got on with incredibly well (still do). The problem was with me. My heart wasn't completely in it and I wasn't ready to settle down. I liked him, he was a good person, he would have done everything to make me happy, I know, but I just didn't feel enough for him to think I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. My family and friends told me that the love would 'come afterwards'. I'd be told the different stories of how someone's friend had gotten married to a guy she couldn't stand to look at on her wedding day, but they now have 3 kids and she's incredibly happy she stuck with him. Stuck with him? Are you kidding?

I actually do have a cousin who kind of went through that. When I went to see her we spoke about how I felt about things. She said to me that she gave her husband a chance because she'd been told he was a good guy. But she said that she didn't feel that kind of spark or excitment during their engagement. She said that things blossomed after they got married and she told me just how wonderful he was. She said that if you're willing to take the risk, then you could be happy. Although I appreciated her honesty, I also had to appreciate just how lucky she was as well. It was a GAMBLE she had taken. What if the love never came? What if one day she woke up and decided she'd had enough and just wanted to smother him? How could she sleep with a guy who she wasn't completely heartfelt about? What about those annoying habits he must have had? How much jarring on her nerves could she take before she'd want to take a cleaver to his head? I wasn't ready to gamble the rest of my life, to promise a commitment to someone I wasn't sure I wanted to be with. To promise someone I would love and cherish them even though there was a possibility that that might not have been true.

After almost two years of being together, I did the honorable thing and told my fiance it was off. He was heartbroken, and he tried many times to convince me to give him another chance. But I told him he was better of without me and should be with someone who would truly appreciate him. Now though, I wonder what it would have been like. I don't think things would have grown. I would have numbed myself from everything and just fallen into the role of dutiful wife. I don't think I want to contemplate how I'd be if I'd had kids, for some reason that just doesn't compute. It wouldn't have killed my spirit, but it would have dulled me.

3. What if my brother hadn't passed away? It's painful and sinful to ask God why my brother died so young. It's even worse to think back on how for a whole month, as you watch his illness take over, you asked yourself, was this going to be terminal? Then chastise yourself for thinking something so stupid. I tell everyone, 'You would have loved my brother.' Everyone did. He was outgoing, funny, clownish and used his gangly features to get a laugh out of people. He had a temper on him, but he had such a soft and vulnerable side that makes me wish I hugged him more. I can't talk about him without mentioning a funny story of some sort. Although I don't know how my life would have turned out if he was still alive, but I know that half the things that happened would never have been. I would never have been engaged, I would never have met people who I thought were friends who ended up being my worst nightmare, I wouldn't have come to England, I wouldn't have done a masters or PhD. I wouldn't have met T-shirt man, Bus Driver, Architect. Would I ever have met Iris, Lulwa or Seroo? I honestly don't know how life would have turned out.

All I know is, everything happens for a reason. You are tested in many ways. It all just depends on how you handle them and how you react afterwards. Fate is not throwing yourself to the lions and saying there was nothing you could do about it.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Retail therapy: bad for the wallet, good for the soul

So basically GBL and I spent one incredible night together. I wore a fitted black dress (so fitted it looked painted on) with diamante heels and gradually through the evening his arm was getting more comfortable around his waist. We had an amazing time, I loved it, I didn't do the typical chick thing and fire 100 questions a minute, I just enjoyed the moment (and so glad I did now).

Two days later I get a call from him, being evasive and talking trivialities. I couldn't bare his tip-toeing any longer and just decided to get to the point in the kindest way possible. So I gently asked him, "What's on your mind?" I don't think he was quite expecting this, but I'm hoping that at this point he realises that I don't act like most girls as I hate to do the norm. He became profusely apologetic and took all the blame for what had happened the night before. He apologised for his behaviour and for leading me on. It DID knock the wind out of me and because of the shock I really couldn't respond, which probably worked to both our favours as I saved him from the potential abuse I could have hurled at him, which would have soured our friendship. Instead I injected humour into the situation and tried to make little quips when I found my voice. I'm guessing at this point he really could not believe his luck that he could have been let off so easily. If I'm to be truly honest at this point it was because I'd left quite a bit of money with him and I didn't want to lose it!

After the phone call had ended, I was incredibly angry and upset. How could he have been sorry for what had happened? I treasured that moment, then he came and p!$ed all over it in spectacular fashion! No, I wouldn't let him do this. I'd make him sorry that he'd done this to me... and so forth. In all honesty, I realised the only thing hurt was my pride. GBL was someone who I had fancied - past tense - but I realised I still liked him as a friend, I really did. The fact that he wanted us to still continue to be friends, for me to not stop calling or talking to him, to not cut him out of my life, hopefully (and I really do mean that because otherwise I'll sound incredibly naive) meant that he felt the same way I did.

I also realised, he wasn't the one I really wanted, and therefore, not a loss to be mourned, but to turn into a friend to treasure. I woke up feeling much better, happier and of course in the mood to leave the house. So I did. However, whether it was down to some sort of deep, repressed anger or sadness, I found that my recently cleared credit card was going to resurface. I found myself walking to the Topshop flagstore on Oxford Street. Now normally I only walk into that place to buy earrings as I never find their clothes to be flattering or reasonably priced. Today, however, I walked in with an open mind and a brand new card, which brought about a brand new respect for the high street giant.

I could not believe that considering it was a Sunday, how comfortable it was to roam around the store and find some little treasures tucked away in the racks, how their bags were actually truly elegant and how their silky mini skirts looked so feminine. As I passed the Fairtrade section of the store my eye caught the sight of something truly brilliant. In the t-shirt section was the perfect garment that should be used as a 'pick-me-up' for all girls whose hearts have been broken, whose self-confidence has taken a hit, or who in general want to show their sentiments to the world. The t-shirt read "I recycle boys". It was love at first sight. That was the last item I put in my basket, and I think the best buy of the lot (I got a silk, mini skirt from the Kate Moss selection which puts it in a close second as everyone knows you need to be tiny to fit into that stuff - ego boost points galore with that one!). When I got to the counter, I realised that my poor little account was going to take quite a beating for this unscheduled bit of retail therapy, but I walked the high streets of London (and Soho) feeling incredibly proud and empowered. I knew that tomorrow I was going to wear this t-shirt proudly to university, to my meeting with my supervisor and of course through the streets of London.

If there is one thing I believe a girl must have in her wardrobe, it must be an attitude enhancing garment or confidence boosting one - ladies, I believe I've found mine!

PS. I'm posting that picture on my facebook profile... let's hope he has as much of a sense of humour as I do.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

I watch, I don't play...

What did I do to deserve this? Someone I used to date (let's call him 'The Designer') popped back into my life. We've always kind of kept up contact because although he kind of got on my nerves for different reasons, we still got on and I liked him - for some strange and unapparent reason. Since I got back from my travels we've been trying to organise a night out together to catch up. He's canceled on me 3 times and I canceled the last one because I was suffering from a horrific cold. But he still kept trying to make new appointments we could keep, so I figured he actually wanted to see me. I'd never make new arrangements, I'd always leave it up to him because of HIS hectic schedule (although things for some reason became truly busy since I came back - I've never been home late so often and mainly weekdays!).

So today, while going through the tedious task of data entry (highlight, copy, move, paste, recode, highlight, copy...), I got a phone call from Designer. I put on my 'pleasant' greeting voice because I didn't want to sound like I was suffering from the reminents of a cold. Oh how foolish I was. He basically tried to use my good humour to harangue me into a football game. He basically used my 'love' of football to get me to take part in his company's grouping exercise. I knew it would come back to bite me in the ass one day.

One of the girls basically dropped out and they needed someone to fill in for her, and as he was going through his phone book to find someone else, he remembered that he was 'meeting' me this weekend, so why not join them? I was not a happy bunny. I told him that although I support a football team, it does not mean that I like playing the game. I told him I hated playing since I was a kid when my crush put me as a goalie and I let every goal in because I basically froze in my place for the entire game. That was not helpful. I don't think he took it on board because he began to ply me shamelessly with compliments that didn't necessarily make me feel any better (they worked like a regular Arab mother, guilting me into it), and I basically gave in.

So tomorrow, I will have to wake up early, which means I cannot stay out late to enjoy some birthday drinks. I will be running around in what I hope is a strong sports bra. I will be making a complete fool of myself in front of a guy who I normally look calm and collected in front of - even though I have a sneaky feeling he tries to be goofy in hopes that it'll rub off on me. I am not looking forward tomorrow. I just hope there are proper and private showers for after the game to allow me to revert to my regular self, or at least look presentable for when I get away afterwards...

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

The list keeps getting bigger...

I've done yet another stupid thing, the list just doesn't seem to end.

Friday I was having a wonderful time dancing round to music I really couldn't pick a beat to - Drum'n'bass. I was chatting to people I hadn't seen in months, and basically having a good time. I felt pretty, flighty and flirty. For most of the evening there had been something I'd wanted to say to one person in particular, and for some reason I felt that this was the night that I'd allow myself to be a little more flirtatious.

He has been, for a long time, someone who I found very attractive. Softly spoken, sweet, funny, witty and very good looking in a Gerard Butler way (so maybe we'll call him GBL? Gerard Butler Lookalike). Since the time I first knicked his chip, or even earlier than that (three years ago? Maybe earlier?) I've always had a soft spot for him. I'd sneakily ask for a hug, or just try to make him laugh (I don't know why he always had such a bright smile). Whenever I was around his friends, I'd always find myself asking after him. When he'd allow his hair to grow a little, I'd always found that it softened him and made him look so good. And those green eyes, so serene, quite peaceful really. What always got me a little worried was his ability to keep me talking. Sure it doesn't take much for me to get talking, but he was always the type to keep very quiet and allow people to talk. When we'd met up one evening for him to help me out with my research, we'd stayed for a couple of drinks and I found myself gabbing on about things that I didn't tell most people, and I couldn't believe it. Yes, you could say I've been fond of him for some time.

So Friday, in between dances and moving between floors I found myself keeping an eye out to see what his dance moves were like. He wasn't that bad, but very 'white man kinda has skills'. It was drum and bass, what could I expect? In between tunes and shifting of floors, we'd catch each other and tease one another. It wasn't until we were getting refreshments that I turned to him and said, "You're looking good out there, and may I add, in general." He gave a nod, slight smile and replied, "Why thank you, and so are you." The dancing continued, but I was getting quite tired and asked if I was taking people home. I ordered my cab and decided to give my ear drums a rest and sat on the couches in the lobby. GBL found me as he walked up the stairs and took up my invite (the whole tapping the spot next to me on the couch). We chatted for a bit until I got a call which I took outside. When I came back, I snuggled next to him and continued talking.

I then quietly said that there was something that I'd wanted to tell him, then changed my mind and said I couldn't. His arm came round me and he said in his sexy, deep, soft spoken voice, "Of course you can tell me." Now for most of the night I'd been rehearsing in my head a ditzy, cute but flirtatious line I thought I could get away with - because I know I can do that so well (sadly enough). Unfortunately, my head wasn't wired properly and instead I leaned forward, away from him and said "If there weren't complications, I'd fancy him like hell." I then paused, realised what I'd said and thought to hell with it, and said, "No, things are complicated, I fancy you like hell." I let it sink in, continuing to look ahead, until I heard his voice. I turned to him as he agreed with me that things were a little complicated, and he waited until I leaned back a little and was looking straight at him to say, "I feel the same way." I could feel the corners of my mouth twitching slightly into a smile. He then leaned in and added, "I mean, you're stunning." I don't know why, but my face just distorted into a confused look. I never thought he found me attractive in any way. I always found an excuse to touch him, hug him, play with his hair, wrap my arms around his neck, peck his cheek. In his cool laid back manner, I just never got the impression that he may have had the slightest interest in me. And here we were, sitting on a leather couch in a club very quietly telling the other that yes there was an attraction and no, we couldn't do anything about it.

For a few moments we sat there and stared at each other. And for a second I knew that he was thinking the same thing I was "Could we get away with a sneaky kiss?" Oh how I wanted to kiss him, I was so curious. I know we would have slowly leaned into each other, closed our eyes and held our breathe until our lips touched. I know he would have had lovely, soft lips. I know it would have started off gently and slow, and possibly would escalate into a more passionate link. I cupped his right cheek with my hand and brought myself closer, leaning my head slightly. My lips met his cheek and there the rested. I then whispered, "Happy birthday GBL." We looked at each other and quietly smiled.

Our moment didn't last as a couple of his friends, one of whom was involved in our set of 'complications' came to sit with us and say their goodbyes. My cab finally arrived and I went to grab my things. As I said my goodbyes to everyone, I walked to GBL and as I went to give him his usual peck, he wrapped his arms around me. I was slightly taken aback as he always held back and never gave me a proper hug, or from what I could see from the one he was giving me. His arms kept hold of me and as I felt them closing in more, I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed my face against his. As we pulled away, his arms very slowly came away from my waist, his fingers lingering on my waist, before giving it a cheeky pinch. I giggled and left.

I knew I had just done something very foolish, and there was so much I had wanted to say. I had managed to say that I'd didn't have completely innocent intentions when we met up for my testing, which he said he'd enjoyed. But I wanted to tell him that I had been wanting him for so long. I wanted to kiss him! I wanted him. I messed things up. Now I just added more to it................. but who am I kidding? If I really didn't want it to happen, I would do the sensible thing and avoid it completely.

.....................which may explain why we didn't kiss that night.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Love or lust...?

According to my horoscope I should be careful about confusing lust for love and the other way round, that I should look deep into my feeling to know which I'm truly feeling. I thought I did know. I thought I had it sorted and that I knew which was which, I think I've got it sussed to a certain degree.

On a superficial level, I find him to be sexy, gorgeous, tasty and I just want to rip the clothes of his body and do terrible things to it – lust. On a deeper level, I find him to be wonderful, sweet, charming, funny, kind, old fashioned, considerate and sexy – love? I can't help but watch his pouty lips when he talks, when his green eyes light up, when his cheeks touch his eyes as he smiles or laugh. I can't help but watch his hands as he gestures or rests them somewhere, wondering if they'll ever rest on me. Is it wrong to wish that his arms would find their way around my shoulders instead of the back of his chair to rest on? Is it wrong to wish that I could rest my head on his shoulders or wrap my arms around his neck?

Friday night at Fabric, as he stood there in his t-shirt and jeans, I just couldn't help but feel fat. Looking at his t-shirt stretch over his fit and trim body, how as he raised his arms I got a peak of his trim and solid stomach, how his jeans hung a couple of inches under his navel. Could there be a sexier image? The teasing image of what lies beneath? Knowing that there's more hidden under a flimsy bit of cotton material that could be ripped of or slowly unbuttoned? How I wanted to reach out, allow my fingertips to stroke his hip bones, letting my fingers wrap around his waist, hooking my thumbs in his shirt and slowly lift it up to...

Ok, so that entire paragraph screams lust. So I have the intentions, I have every intention of doing nasty things to this man. I've had every possibility to pull his face to mine and show him just how passionately I feel about him. And yet I just can never bring myself to carry out the act – not even the simple act of gently brushing his face with my hand. Something holds me back. I finally realised what it was, I am not in a rush to push him into it. He is not ready to start something and this time around I realise I'm not to spoil it by being my usual self. I always initiate things, rush in, or doing something truly foolish to make the first move. This time it's different. This time I will wait until he is ready. If I'm not the person for him, at least I'd be able to rest in the knowledge that I didn't push him into something he didn't want or wasn't ready for. He needs time and that's what I'll give him. During that time, I'll sit on my hands, I'll continue to adore him from afar and wonder what it would be like to wear that shirt of his one day...

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Old habits, talking about the future

Another day, another latte, another chicken sandwich, this has now become my routine, and I'm quite liking it. It's helping me to relax, although my mind is racing at 120mph. I'm thinking of a number of things simultaneously and the only way to pick them apart and organise them is to keep endless lists - things to remember, things to do, things to sort through, and so on. I have 3 notepads and a diary in my bag that I carry in and out of the college I'm testing. Sitting here freezing my buns off in this a/c'ed building, people would never be able to survive in the heat if the air conditioning ever broke down. It's funny, at the end of the day when my dad comes to pick me up after he's done at the office, I go out five minutes early, just so that I can stand in the sun. I'm wearing my headscarf and abaya, but being able to thaw out and slowly get toasty under the sun in the 34 degree heat.

Yesterday, my mother came home from in the afternoon, and as per usual we made a pot of tea and sat on the couch and got talking. Yesterday's theme was about housing and what I planned to do about it in future.* We spoke about buying and renting places in London, how when I finally get comfortable with my (hopefully) stable career in either academics or publishing that I wouldn't mind moving further into the city. I'd either move in on my own (which I'm not sure I really want to do at this point) or move in with a friend/housemate.

I've never known what it was like to live on my own. That week I spent at home on my own while my grandmother went away for a week is not what I consider living on my own. I never felt that I was alone because I knew it was for only a short period of time and that my grandmother was only on holiday. Then travelling for conferences and staying on my own isn't the same thing either. I would like to know what it is like to be a grown up at some point, a responsible, truly independant grown up, and really know what life is like. Although I have to admit, I'm very happy the way it's working now - how I'm being eased into it slowly, that works for me. One stress and possible break down at a time.

"It won't be lattes every day and buying Lancome mascara all the time." my mother said. I smiled at her and said, "I know, that's what I'm looking forward to, learning to grow up." She admitted that she'd never be completely happy with the idea of me moving in with someone, even if it was another girl, but at the same time, she also knew that it may happen at some point if my career required it. But I think the fact that I knew I wouldn't be ready to do that as soon as I graduate was something that gave her some reassurance.

For the time being, I'm happy with how my life is... in fact I'm very comfortable with the way my life is. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared about how my life will be after I graduate (oh gosh, and then that's ANOTHER worry). Wondering what will happen when I finish my PhD - the exciting possibilities are probably what help balance out the realistic worries and anxieties that it may just all come crashing down. Thankfully I know that I have my mother to depend on should the latter ever happen (God willing it doesn't).

*My train of thought was greatly disturbed when my sister decided to pull an (admittedly incredibly good) prank as part of April Fool's. Because she did it 3 minutes to noon, I did not have time or chance to get her back. But one day, I shall.... ooooh and it shall be good.

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