Wednesday 28 July 2010

The Money Trap

It's not every day that a girl gets asked out by a City guy.  Now, these specimens of men have accumulated quite a bad reputation over the years - overall, one always sees them as sleazy, obnoxious, self loving oafs with more money than sense.  Despite the fact that each one of them comes with hazard lights attached to them and a big sign saying "Approach with Caution" we are still drawn in like a moth to a flame.  I'd like to say that I have never been one of these girls, but even I have failed to avoid the trap of the City Boy.

I have to say that I feel fantastic.  I have just finished my final year of university, final exams are well and truly behind me, and I am now looking forward to a glorious Summer of all things lovely...and of course the occasional job hunting.  But I've swept that under the rug for now.  It's a bad economy after all - surely I'm in no rush.

It's completely out of the blue that I bump into Adam.  We're both at Waterloo station looking up at the train times.  It's not difficult to spot him - he stands out like a beacon in his crisp suit and charming good looks.  His head averts towards me and I'm suddenly finding it difficult to turn my head away.  It's only then that I realise I have met this guy before.  In fact, back in my second year of uni him and I were rather good friends.  I smile after getting over the initial shock of seeing him and he comes over, wrapping me in a warm embrace.
    "It's so good to see you," he says, his velvety voice sweeping over me. 
    "Likewise," I tell him.  "So what are you up to these days?" I ask keeping eye contact.  He looks so squeaky clean that I have to stop myself from reaching out and smelling him. 
    "Oh this and that," he says casually.  "I work in the City now.  Quite long hours but the money's rather good," he snorts. 
I can't quite get over how different he is.  Back when I knew him he was so awkward, geeky and shy.  And now, he's blossomed into a confident and successful young man.  Those geeky curls that once used to sprout on top of his head are now sleeked back and cut by a hairdresser (and not his flatmate).
    "What about you?  What you up to now?" he looks at me expecting something grand.  I'm afraid to disappoint.
    "Just graduated," I say with a big smile, staying far far away from the word 'unemployed'. 
    "Exciting times," he beams at me, his brown eyes flickering in the light.  "We should catch up.  Properly.  Go out and get a few drinks," he tells me and I find myself nodding.  I find I can't tear my eyes away from him, but I manage to when he announces he has to go catch his train. 

Two weeks later and a date has been arranged.  I've been given strict instructions to wear something expensive (which I fail to do so pretend that the French Connection dress I'm wearing is actually Vivienne Westwood) and have been told to just wait outside the tube station.
But he's a little late, which normally would be fine.  However my dress is rather short and the wind has really picked up as if it has a vendetta against me, so I'm just standing there trying my damn hardest to keep my modesty modest. 
    "Sorry I'm late," I hear his voice coming towards me.  "Got held up at the office again," he pulls a sad face and I tell him it's absolutely fine.  We start walking.  "Also, because I got held up I'm afraid we're unable to make that cocktail party,"
What cocktail party???
    "So I'm afraid you're just stuck with my company for tonight," he continues.
    "Oh, what a shame.  I would have brought a book with me if I knew," I joke.

We've been walking for half an hour and Adam still has not chosen a bloody restaurant.  We've been going in circles and he's trying restaurants that only five minutes ago turned us away for not pre-booking.  But he's being persistent and it turns out that he does not like to hear the word 'no'. 
I look down at my feet which I'm pretty sure are now bleeding.  I knew 6inch heels would one day be the death of me. 

A further fifteen minutes and we finally manage to find a restaurant.  "See, I told you we'd end up eating," Adam points out with a grin. 
I want to smile, really I do, but I'm in a bad mood.   My shoes are so scuffed that I can never wear them again and I'm having serious worries about the health of my feet.  Not to mention the fact that my dress has already lifted up so many times that I might as well put out.  I mean, Adam has pretty much seen more of me than I was planning for him to. 

The dinner goes well.  There is never an awkward moment and despite the fact that he has transformed so amazingly in the last couple of years, there are still glimpses of the old him that keep popping out.  I like that.  I like the fact that beneath this glossy veneer there's that geek chic guy that all girls secretly adore. 
    "I think it's time for the bill," he says as he calls over a waiter.  We fight over who pays until I eventually give in (well, I am technically unemployed now).  As we wait for the waiter to collect the money Adam plops his wallet on the table.
    "This thing is so heavy," he says in all seriousness.  I think he's joking so I laugh.  "No, feel it." he orders and pushes his wallet under my nose.
    "Umm, OK" I say and pick it up cautiously.  It weighs a normal amount. 
    "What have I got in here?" he opens it up and rummages around.  "Oh, that's why," he says lifting out a wad of cash.   There must be about £300 in his hand.  "I forgot I had this in here,"
You forgot!!!  You forgot you had £300 in your wallet???
    "I do this all the time.  I go to cash machines and don't pay any attention to what I'm pressing, just as long as I get some money out," he lets out a laugh.  I'm rather unsure how to react so I just smile politely. 
He puts the cash back in, then gasps when he sees something else in there.  "Oh bloody hell.  I'm almost too embarrassed that this is in here," he says.  Very carefully he pulls out a white slip of paper that looks a lot like a pay slip.  I expect him to just fold it up and put it back in, but instead he throws it under my nose, quite obviously wanting me to read it.  I push it back towards him indicating quite clearly that I don't particularly care what he earns.  But he's clearly keen to let me know.  He unfolds it and just stares at the numbers shaking his head as if even he can't quite believe how much he earns.
    Look at this," he says as he twists the slip of paper around for me to see.
I almost choke on nothing.  Wow!  He really does make a lot.  'You owe me a new pair of shoes,' I want to say. 

We're now back at the tube station and I'm desperate to make a run for it.  But he's not looking for let me go just yet. 
    "I had a crush on you back then.  Did you know that?" he tells me in a whisper.  It's one of those moments that would have been perfect had the guy not just tried to win me over by practically trying to buy you. 
    "I should get back.  I'm going to miss my last train," I tell him.
    "So?" he edges closer.  "You can just stay at mine.  I have an amazing apartment in the Docklands," he's really close now, but none of this is doing anything for me.  He'd be perfect, if he'd just stop mentioning money and possessions. 
    "I should go," I giggle like a little girl and try to move away.  But he's got hold of my hand and is very quickly closing the distance between us.  I can feel his warm breath on my cheek as he goes to kiss it.  His mouth then moves to my lips, but it's not romantic - he's being possessive. 
    "Come back to mine," he whispers, pulling me away from the tube station.
    "Adam, it's the first date," I say with a smile. 
    "Well, I don't sleep with someone on the first date," I tell him, but he just pulls away in shock.
    "What?  So I went to all that trouble for nothing?" he snaps.  "I wouldn't have bothered if I knew,"
The pathetic thing is that he is not joking at all about this.  "Have a nice night, OK?" he says and walks away.
I'm left outside Piccadilly station wondering how a good guy could go so wrong.

Monday 19 July 2010

How Not to get a Job

I'm sitting in the lobby of a rather large, corporate building.  Today I have a meeting with a recruitment agency for a certain job they have put me down for, and considering I only went to bed at 6am and got up at 7:30am, I can't say I'm in the right state of mind for this interview.  I look around at the masses of space in front of me.  I can feel my eyes drooping and almost curse at the fact that this armchair is so comfortable.  If this guy whose name I can't remember doesn't hurry up soon he's going to find me deeply asleep. 
    "Good morning," a cheery voice pierces through my mind's lulling state.  "Sorry I'm a little late," the guy says.  I shrug to suggest it's fine.  "Had a meeting with someone else that overran.  Have you been here long?" he asks as he leads the way to a small office. 
    "Not long," I lie.  I've actually been here for forty-five minutes because I was unsure how long it would take to walk. 
Once in the office I sit myself down on a blue office chair, smile politely at the guy and cross my legs in a professional business woman manner. 
    "Firstly, let's just go through your CV, then I'll talk to you about the current roles we have available," he speaks, but his words are just sounds at the moment.  "So how long have you been working for this company?" he points to the first job listed.
    "About six months,"  I begin.  "I love working there but I don't feel the tasks given to me show my full potential."  I'm almost surprised at these words.  Perhaps my brain is smarter than I think. 
He smiles at me, his blue eyes lingering a little longer than they should.  "I see.  And the one before that...let me see," he scans through my CV, "you worked there a little longer, it appears," he smiles at me devilishly.  Oh dear, he's spotted the fact that I only worked there for seven months.
    "That was just after university.  I loved working there but I don't feel the tasks given to me show my full potential,"
That's weird.  That last line seems oddly familiar.  Have I said something wrong, because this guy is looking at me rather oddly.  So I smile politely but his smile just stretches further. 
    "Indeed," he says.  His eyes avert back to my CV.  "So why would you like to get into PR?" he asks me. 
I open my mouth to speak but no words come out.  My mind is struggling to come up with something and meanwhile I'm just sitting there like a lemon, smiling occasionally.  "I think it's the right line of work for me," I finally say,  "I've always been passionate about it and I'd like to pursue my career in it further,"  I say in all seriousness but he's not taking me seriously at all.  He's staring at me now - a boyish smile plastered on his face. 
    "Is something wrong?" I tell him.
    "Nothing at all," he says back. 
I smile awkwardly unsure of what to do. 
    "Late night last night?" he asks, the boyish smile making an appearance again.
    "What?" I reply in utter amazement.
    "I'm guessing you went out last night," he explains as if it wasn't clear the first time.
    "NO!" I quickly defend myself.  I went to bed very early in fact.  I'm shocked at his accusations.
    "So that cigarette butt in your hair is fashion now?  Very Lady Gaga,"
I rake my hand through my hair, wincing as I feel the cigarette caught in a messy tangle.  I desperately want to defend myself but let's face it, there's no professional answer as to why I have a cigarette butt in my hair.  So instead I giggle.
    "I didn't mean to stay out so late," I tell him with a girly smile.  "Went to visit a friend in London and accidentally missed my last train back here," I explain.  "I had no place to stay so I sought refuge in a casino until 5am.  No money for a taxi so I had to walk to Waterloo.  I've had quite an expedition, you see,"
    "So I see," he scans me briefly up and down as if approving.  I may be absolutely shattered but even in this state I know what that look means.  Suddenly I'm fully alert. 
    "Right, back to the CV," I say and immediately his eyes fall to the piece of paper in front of him.  After a few more questions he edges closer and I freeze in my seat.
Oh my gosh,! He's going to make a move!
    I don't say anything - I just sit there in silence as he keeps on moving closer, telling me that if I change this here, and replace these two my CV would be perfect. 
    "So what do you think?" he asks.
Very quickly I stand up.  "I'm really not interested!"
    "In the job?" he asks confused.
    "No!  In you!" I almost yell.  "You know, you really shouldn't be making a move on girls like this.  We come to you for help and guidance in our careers and you just sit there, eyeing us up and down, probably imagining us naked.  You should be ashamed of yourself sitting there, taking advantage of your opportunity.  You know what, I really should be talking to your manager about this.  It's absolutely despicable.  Well, this may have worked with some of the other idiots but not with me.  I may be tired, Geoff, but I'm certainly not stupid!"
And with that I storm out.

It turns out that I am indeed stupid.  In retrospect he really wasn't making a move on me - my tiredness just took over and my thinking became skewed.  The poor guy (who's name wasn't even Geoff, it was Richard) sent an email to apologise and I later had to speak to his boss about it.  His colleague had heard the entire thing and he had to be moved to another office.  I completely ruined his career.
I guess those adverts are right - Tiredness kills.
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