The Con Artist

“You are brought here today accused of a wicked, heinous crime. A crime that has shocked and appalled in equal measure. A crime that has sent a shiver down the spine of every right-minded person in this community.

“You stand accused of defrauding countless men across the UK. You stand accused of deceiving men with your lies, your illusions, and your deliberate concealment of your true nature.

“In your wicked pursuit, you have left hearts shattered, Oyster cards used for no good reason, and haircuts purchased in vain. You have cheapened saucy Snapchats, invalidated tentative sexts, and nullified restaurant reservations.

“In your heartless mission, you have wasted WhatsApp messages and hours spent carefully evading the Friend Zone by concocting the perfect formula of exuding sexual dominance without seeming like a complete a-hole.

“You have quashed men’s hope of finding The One. You have made them feel used and vulnerable – mere shells of what they once were. You have left them devoid of trust, no longer knowing whom they can believe.

“Lauren Alisha Williamson, you are hereby charged with the crime of looking absolutely fuck-all like your Tinder pictures. How do you plead?”

THE END

First date nerves and being yourself

I had two Plenty of Fish dates this weekend. TWO. I am a sexual predator. I am going to end up on Crimewatch, or in Closer magazine.

Having little to two Tinder dates worth of experience in this respect, I was understandably fairly nervous. All of the usual thoughts were buzzing around my brain as I prepared for my first date at a local bar on Friday night. What if he doesn’t like me? What if we have nothing to talk about? What if I stand under a certain light and he spots my moustache?

So after defuzzing, I had a couple of pre-drinks to calm my nerves. Unfortunately, the result of this was that I was a) already slightly drunk by the time I got to my first date and b) really hungover on my second date the next morning. Because that is how much I have my life together right now.

To make things worse, the second date was at the King Richard III museum in Leicester (who doesn’t love looking at skeletons of 15th century monarchs when they’re hanging), which meant that not only did I have to get up early and catch a train, but also shuffle nauseated around a building where fucking everything is white and historically significant.

At first I tried to style it out, but I eventually had to concede defeat and diverted us to a café for an XL maple spice latte. I may have been hungover, but I am always #basic.

There are loads of rules for first dates. Don’t sleep with them. Don’t talk about exes. Don’t eat their food when they’re not looking. Don’t turn up in a Chewbacca costume. Don’t repeat everything they say back to them in a robot voice.

Clearly, some of these are blindingly obvious. Like bitch, don’t touch my food unless you value your fingers. But a lot of them, I think you should ignore.

Think about it. What is the point of acting like a different person during a meeting designed to assess each other as potential partners? It would be like buying a chicken and mushroom bake from Greggs and then it turning into a sausage and bean pasty half-way through.

Yes, I did just compare myself to a Greggs pasty.

So I decided to be myself. I admitted I was hungover, told him about the time I had to go to my birthday spa day with tramp sick in my hair, sat in awkward silence a few times, and made him wait for ages while I chose three psycho killer books in the 3-for-£5 deal at The Works. And he still asked me out on a second date.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t worry if you are weird and can’t handle your drink and have no idea how to act on dates. Be your own pasty.

If you think you may have an alcohol problem, visit www.drinkaware.co.uk

I got called a c*nt on Plenty of Fish, and it was liberating

A week ago, I joined the online dating website Plenty of Fish.

For those who don’t know, it’s a site where single people upload a couple of pictures of themselves, an insufferable ‘About Me’ biography, and statistics such as their height and religion – all in the hope of finding Mr Don’t Worry, You’re No Longer Going To Die Alone.

I’d always been a bit skeptical about joining. Partly because I’ve done a couple of stories with women who have been brutally attacked by guys they met online, and partly because it felt a bit too ‘officially looking 4 love’, a bit too ‘I’ve exhausted all of my other options and the panic has well and truly set in’.

Of course, I’d heard the horror stories. Policemen who turned out to be married with kids. Funeral directors who were 1ft 8in shorter than they’d indicated in their profiles. Dick pic after flaccid dick pic. But I’m a journalist to the core, and to be completely honest, I relished the idea of meeting some weirdos.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Within hours, I’d been snapped up by this delightful gentleman. Let’s call him Jack. Now Jack had a lovely little profile. Everything spelled correctly, no pictures of him on the toilet, no mention of bodily fluids. Plus he’d included a charming sentence about how he wasn’t on there for ‘fun’, and it was ‘time for mortgages and babies’. So when he messaged me, I replied.

But what initially started off as polite chit-chat rapidly turned into him trying to order my fanny off the internet like a £20 Pizza Hut meal deal. With nothing to do of an evening, I decided to play along:

pof-convo

For my efforts, I was called a cunt. Not a bitch, not a slag, but a cunt. LOL.

Because I wasn’t willing to hand over my genitals like a free cracker sample at Morrisons, I was deemed a cunt. Because I wasn’t up for bumping uglies with someone who couldn’t be bothered driving for half an hour to see me, I was decreed a cunt.

It’s not even that he was trying it on that annoyed me. Trust me, there’s been a new prime minister and an EU referendum since I last got my leg over: I know the drill. It’s that he thought it would be so easy. Like mate, I didn’t spend half an hour crafting a witty About Me section and uploading pictures of me looking swotty at my graduation to get prodded in a Premier Inn just off the M5.

I should probably be upset that a complete stranger called me a cunt, but if anything, it’s given me a bit of a buzz. Emboldened by my new title, I have begun parking across two spaces and talking loudly on my mobile in the quiet zone of the train.

Determined not to let my encounter scupper my Plenty of Fish experience, I have matched with some other guys and hope to have more stories to tell soon.

Cunt over and out.

8 gross things about house-sharing

In this climate, sharing a house with others is a necessity. Especially if your climate is one in which you are: a) chronically single, b) poorly paid and c) addicted to ASOS.

But now that statistically 96.8% of everyone I know is settled down and starting to buy their own home, the novelty of house-sharing is wearing decidedly thin.

So here is a list of eight gross things about sharing a house in your 20s:

1) You can’t have a pet
I grew up with five cats, so to suddenly have none is fairly harrowing. If I see a cat on the street, I can barely contain myself and toddle after it like a fat kid chasing an ice-cream van. My neighbourhood cats are probably sick of me. They probably have a Facebook group where they warn other cats about me. After three years of being kitty-free, I have finally cracked. A few weeks ago, I typed ‘can you rent a cat’ into Google. And the answer is no, no you fucking can’t you crazy cat lady.

2) You have to sign a six-month contract
Your flat is covered in mould? Tough luck, you signed a six-month contract. Your flat has a recurring mouse infestation? Tough luck, you signed a six-month contract. Your flat is haunted by the ghost of King Henry VIII? Tough luck, you signed a six-month contract.

3) You have to live with other people
And sometimes these people are crazy. Sometimes they put cereal down the toilet. Sometimes they bring strange men with eyepatches home. Sometimes they wander around at 3am whistling to themselves. Sometimes they turn off the freezer so your food spoils. Sometimes they watch Harry Potter every single day, to the point where you know ‘doo doo doo doo dooooo doo doo doo’ will be the soundtrack if you ever end up in Hell.

4) Every time someone uploads a smug picture of their house on Facebook, you will do a little cry
Why (sob) can’t I (sob) buy loads of tat (sob) from Home Bargains (sob) with someone who loves (sob) me?.

5) You will become disproportionately resentful when your flatmates don’t do their chores in their allocated time
“Oh cool, you finish work early in the afternoon? Then WHY are you preparing a ten-course banquet five seconds before you know I’m coming home and need to cook my dinner?” you will snarl, before running to your room and slamming the door, crippled with hunger. Only you deffo won’t do this and will just sit politely on your bed starving to death until the coast is clear.

6) You can hear e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g
Whether it’s them flossing their teeth, turning the page of their book, or slagging you off to their boyfriend, you will hear it all. You will become a mystical entity, no sound too small or intimate for your eardrums. Your life will never be the same.

7) Everyone will inevitably have very different levels of personal hygiene
Things I am fairly laid back about: taking the bins out until they’re completely full, washing-up being left overnight, people not immediately moving their ironing. Things I am not so laid back about: raw meat dripped all over the kitchen, period stuff left in the bathroom, people saying “I use my own shower mat, so I don’t have to do any of the cleaning.” U wot mate.

8) You have to act like a normal human being most of the time
If my flatmate goes away for the weekend, I lie in bed naked, covered in crumbs, like a flabby little prawn toast. No clean clothes? No problemo. Want five slices of pizza and half a can of cold baked beans for breakfast? Treat yourself, Charlotte. But when she is here I have to do loads of gross stuff, like use cutlery and get dressed and not repeat adverts back in an opera voice. Ugh.

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As the door blew open, a blast of cold air engulfed the coffee shop. Customers looked up from their chai lattes in surprise, teaspoons tinkling, biscuits crumbling.

But their surprise soon turned to terror. For the wind had brought an unwelcome guest into their safe little village.

The only person on Facebook who wasn’t engaged or pregnant had left her lair.

Fathers covered their children’s eyes, pensioners crossed themselves and mothers stifled their sobs.

Since time began, the villagers had appeased this evil entity with sacrificial offerings of snacks and a Netflix subscription. Every year, they held a Yankee Candle vigil outside her cave to ward off her malicious spirit. Every Halloween, teenagers dressed up as her and told her chilling tale around a bonfire.

“Many moons ago,” they whispered, “she was a perfectly normal girl in her mid-twenties with an okay job and no insanely gross attributes. But try as she might, no-one wanted to put a ring on it. In fact, no-one wanted to put anything on it. She might as well have sewn up her vagina. Things got so bad, she even tried Tinder.”

But now here she was. She hadn’t sizzled under the sunlight. She didn’t have hairy palms. Her eyes didn’t glow red. All of the scriptures and Channel 5 documentaries had been wrong.

“Can I have a hot chocolate, please?” she asked the cowering barista.

It speaks,” the town busybody spat through a mouthful of brownie.

Families huddled closer together as she grabbed her hot chocolate and a muffin and left the coffee shop. Either to eat children, or join Bumble. One or the other.

 

THE END