I described him to my girls as 'Just like Berger from SATC', not because I've deluded myself into thinking I actually AM Carrie Bradshaw (but I am close...right guys? Right guys??!) but because he genuinely looked like him. That dark thick crop of hair, childish features, slightly on the 'cute chubby' side but still attractive and charming.
Having sworn off shitty models and fashion dudes and Essex twats for life, Berger was a refreshing change. A Broker, if you will. Young, career driven, and always in a suit (most girls are a sucker for a suit!).
After meeting at a club in Kent, Berger and I started hanging out in the city after work. Our first proper date consisted of a dinner (standard) where I had to pick the place (still standard) and having already decided he wasn't quite what I remembered he had looked like, I ordered myself a Bellini (definitely standard). Now, the guy started telling me he lives in his own place that he rents in Bromley, works as a full time Broker and by the sounds of it, has a decent living...he'd just come back from Ibiza. Nice. Considering he was only 24, I'm impressed. Sure, I've not felt instant sparks with Berger but sometimes something that sparks instantly burns out just as quickly too. Plus, he's really funny. I was giggling away thinking 'wow, a Broker who isn't as dry as a Ryvita. that's one in a million'. He was swiftly suggesting going shopping together, or insinuated he'd like me back but his dad was staying over that particular night (as if I would actually go home with a guy on the first meet? No mate) but at least he seemed keen.
I know you're waiting for the catch, right? Less catch, more cracks - cracks that started to show as soon as the bill came and continued to grow over the following few weeks. The bill arrived, £64, and he scrutinised the whole damn thing so intently I was rather embarrassed and offered to pay, but he refused to let me and just continued to look at the bill, as if in disbelief of the price. We're eating in London, off Oxford Street, that really is NOT that much? Plus, he's a Broker and I'm well aware what they earn - if the dude is renting his own flat in Bromley by 24, he's sitting pretty financially. So what was the issue?
I swept my initial disdain away as we did have a fab night, and decided to see him again. He'd text me every morning at 7am without fail, which make me smile and I like that kind of attentive behaviour. He would call on his lunch too - only to leave me slightly irritated as twice he made some off the cuff comment that I drank three Bellinis and next time I'm paying for dinner. Erm...you offered, you going to tell me what to order now? Should I have stuck to a soft drink?!
Aside from the odd comments, I also got irritated by the fact that, he always called me during his lunch, and if I called him back in the evening - the phone went to voicemail, every single time. Never would his phone be on in the evening, ever. Considering he told me he had left his iPhone on a train a while back and didn't want to pay for a new one yet so he was using an old Nokia brick type handset, I can only assume I'm being called from a 'spare' phone and perhaps he isn't being so truthful about who and where he lives, after all. I did, in my usual clumpy style, ask him up-front why his phone is always off every night and he blames the shit signal in Bromley. Sorry, but, no-one I know would put up with that if that was the case. Also, what kind of 24 year old high-earning Broker would let their iPhone ride off on a train and not want to replace it asap? I can't live without my Google phone and however broke I am, I'd always ensure I have a top notch blower to use.
Anyway, on the assumption I am turning into a cynical, sceptical, un-trusting bitch, I ignored said thoughts and met up with him for another dinner date. During the day of the date, he text me to let me know he had left his wallet on the train, and thus had no way to pay for dinner and did I want to re-arrange? Now I'm sorry but is that not the BIGGEST COINCIDENCE GOING? I had already said it was my turn to pay so he didn't need money, and when I met up with him I questioned about the lost wallet, had he cancelled all his cards, has he called his bank, what about his drivers license etc etc. He seemed rather un-concerned for someone who has just lost all their cards, trust me.
We eat, have a laugh, and the bill comes then BAMN before I could look at it, he's snatched it up and is scrutinising it again. Berger, if I'm paying, the bill is not your concern! I told him this too. It just makes things awkward. I really didn't like it. I also didn't like how he pretended to be bothered that I had to pay, and said he is going to make it up to me, but not with flowers because I'm the kind of girl who thinks flowers are a cliche. No, no no Berger. I LOVE flowers (lilies are my favourite!) but thanks for assuming I must think romance is dead. *pissed off at his assumption of me right now* So after dinner drinks occur, I'm still paying, and he says he would love me to come back (I don't want to come back FFS) but his sister is staying over...so bored of the lies by now I just suggested perhaps he doesn't rent his flat alone and lives with his dad and sister because why else would his dad and sister be there? Apparently the flat is definitely his they just both stay over most nights. Sure.
The 7am text comes like clockwork the next day, and he wants to take me shopping at the weekend. Alarm bells are definitely ringing now because, if you've lost your whole wallet there is no way it would all get cancelled and replaced within 4 working days ready for the weekend. He's lying, and was lying about the lost wallet so I would pay. I am thus not shocked when the shopping trip gets cancelled because he asks to wait until pay day - don't offer if you know it's an impossible task. Also, when discussing the stupid shopping trip, he insinuates he isn't taking ME shopping, but I am going shopping WITH HIM to help HIM get a whole new wardrobe. This translates as 'don't think I'm buying you anything, just myself stuff'. I told him I'm damn busy and if he wants a personal stylist he can hire one for the day.
By this point I was less and less interested in him and more in tune with my gut instinct in that he was lying to me: lying about renting his own place, lying about the lost iPhone, the lost wallet, perhaps lying about the job too? I wanted to discuss my thoughts with him over a drink, considering it seems bizarre to me as I am honest about everything in my life with a man, I can't grasp the concept of lying. Purposefully arranging drinks with him before pay-day, I was unsurprised to then receive a call on the same day as the date, to tell me he's double booked and can we do next week. By this point I didn't care less and text him after the call to say thank you very much but no thank you mate. Goodbye. So, what's the story behind Berger? It got me thinking:
Where does the man stop, and the money take over?
I have no question that the Broker was broke, and lied to me about it all, but I do question why? I always pay on the second date anyway, and if the guy won't let me then I'll insist on going Dutch. I never scrutinise a bill - it's been a lovely night so why bother concerning with the cost? I am not materialistic and money is of no concern to me, but Berger made it an issue because it was an issue to him. There is only one thing I ever demand off my man, and that is DO NOT LIE. I can smell a lie a mile off, and it makes me run a mile along with it. What was the point of this shopping trip, this bizarre old school phone that was left off every night, the lost wallet, the 'rented' flat? I can only imagine that Berger had assumed I am this 'type' of girl that wants presents and lots of expensive meals and wants her man to pay and wine and dine her - this couldn't be further from the truth. But if this is the kind of persona I am giving off, I am now concerned less about why he was lying and more about the reasons for the lies - me.
I love to have nice things, but I haven't always been at a decent financial situation and I don't care if a man has dosh or not. My ex fiancée went through a period of being unemployed and I used to, quite literally, give him money when I was earning not too much myself. Then on the other spectrum my Mr. Big had more money than God and I have never felt so less-special in my life. Sure, I got plush 5* holidays and mid week bottles of champagne, but with his earnings he could re-buy and replace anything he wanted, including the girlfriends. I became a commodity, and once painfully replaced vowed to myself never to let a rich man buy me over again, and never allow a fat bank account to over-rule the man in front of me.
Berger had my interest, respect for his humour and his child-like mannerisms, not because of his job. He lost all of that once he assumed he wasn't quite the man I was after and pretended to let the money talk instead - money he didn't have. It makes me quite sad really, because I doubt the £64 meal to him was cheap and I'd never ever want to let someone walk away feeling gutted they've just payed for something they couldn't really afford. I am more than happy curled up at home with a takeaway and a movie. I don't need stupid shopping trips or fancy dinners to keep my interest; in this case, they were the very things that lost it.