’‘But then,’ she adds breezily, ‘I usually know whether men are right for me within ten minutes.’ Ten minutes? An attractive, intelligent and good-humoured 29-year-old, Anna’s last serious relationship was two years ago.
Since then, she has embarked on 77 dates (yes, 77), trying everything from blind dates and dating apps to appearing on the ITV dating show Take Me Out — all, sadly, to no avail.
I am certainly not going to marry someone just so I can have children.’That said, it hasn’t been totally hopeless. I’m feeling my age again.)‘Ghosting is when you just ignore somone’s messages — terrible thing to do.’ I shuffle a little uneasily.
She says she did like a couple of the 77 and even went out with them a few times but they fizzled out and she can’t explain why.‘Most of the men over the past two years have asked to see me again,’ she says sipping her champagne, which has finally — mercifully — turned up. I admit that I find avoiding these requests rather awkward.‘Oh God, you don’t ghost, do you? (Actually, I am a bit of a ghoster.)‘I’m always straight with people,’ she says.
Rather ungallantly, I pictured a terrifying hybrid of Demi Moore’s emasculating executive in Disclosure and Glenn Close’s bunny boiler in Fatal Attraction.
She can laugh about her plight, however, and is well aware of how her fussiness might seem to others. It’s on someone’s computer at work, and we gather round some mornings, filling it in.
Appearing on a ropey show like Take Me Out in April was, she says, showing a little of her new-found exuberance.‘A lot of my friends were surprised when they saw me on it.
I met one guy in New York and told him after 40 minutes that there was just no chemisty between us.He said: “You British are direct but I respect your honesty.” He even insisted on paying the bill, which was pretty good of him.’I am warming to Anna at this point. She clearly knows what she wants — or, at the very least, what she doesn’t want — and her self-confidence is beguiling.Indeed, she says her self-confidence has grown since she has been single.Also, the age gap, I suspect, could be a big sticking point, while divorcés probably are not ideal to someone so young who has never been married. I wave away her thoughtful gesture to pay half the bill (‘I always offer’) and order a taxi to take her home. ‘Don’t worry,’ she says, smiling, ‘I think I can manage another four minutes with you.’How generous of her.But as Anna ducks out of the London drizzle and into the car, I suspect she will soon be on to number 79.