London Housing: Can Flowers Fix Things?

The other day I walked into my house and saw a bouquet of flowers addressed to one of my housemates – no idea who.

I don’t really have a relationship with my housemates, I don’t know who they are, what they do, or even their names. I know that most of them are from Romania and don’t really speak English, which brings all the interactions to barely saying hi when we cross paths in the kitchen.

The flowers came along with a note that got me curious, so I read it. It said something like ‘I know you need your own space right now and I totally understand it. You’re special and I’ll be waiting for all the time you need. Please let me fix things.’ 

So I imagined a background story.

I imagined this couple being in a committed relationship, living together, building a future together, and him screwing things up at some point. A financial issue that ended up in a bad argument? Failing to take responsibilities when running the house? Obsessive jealousy or another girl? His brutally aggressive temper? Something must have caused the break-up: who knows what “things” he needs to fix. She asks for a break, for some time off with her thoughts because she needs to focus on herself for a while in order to understand her own priorities. She needs to move out, find a new place, start over. A straight course of action, even quite simple if it didn’t affect someone’s feelings. 

However, London never makes anything easy. For one main reason: housing.

Empty room
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Many times when renting in London, you’re bound to yearly contracts that, if terminated early, entail paying exorbitant fees – and sometimes we’re talking three figures! It’s not a coincidence you hear about a jillion of couples who are coerced into living together even when their relationship is over. Nasty stuff, but what can you do? The only way out is to hand away a couple of grand and still be able to have enough left over to afford the downpayment for a new place. And I imagine having to live like this; having to see all the pictures you have together hanging nicely on the walls, all the gifts, furniture and lovely items you bought for each other – every effort to make that place look like home.

Day after day, after day.

I’m assuming she didn’t want to live like that, that she didn’t want to carry that daily burden, for the pain and grief were too much to bear. So she takes that unfair bargain – another injustice London had carefully reserved for her – covers the fees and walks out. 

Apparently, she lives in my house now – somewhere upstairs. I’ve never met her, in fact, I didn’t even know we had a new person in the house. Anyway, after being parked there for days, she eventually collects the flowers. Maybe there would be a pinch of hope for that guy if she didn’t throw them away at the sight of the sender’s name.

I seriously don’t know how this is going to develop. I’m just hoping she’ll let me fix things.

Jim
The Britalian Post

Don’t be a stranger

How many people do you meet every day in London? 

And I’m not talking those one-off randomly met people but buddies you actually interact and regularly share a bunch of meaningful moments with. So, probably, not that many?!

One who lives in London must be prepared to making new acquaintances all the time, new friends, sometimes a new love, as much as to seeing them suddenly set off for good. Think of a colleague leaving the office, a friend relocating in another city or out of the country, a relationship that ends with no ill feelings, or simply a pleasant acquaintance moving on, going places, other places, even in the same town. And with the city being so broadly spread, you as a Londoner are very aware that you’re not going to see them as much as you used to. And it lets you down.

“Take care of yourself, and don’t be a stranger.”

They all become strangers eventually, if not all, most of them. You’ll have lived some beautiful moments and experiences together, you’ll have created a bond, you’ll have shared some of your inner thoughts and feelings that you’re maybe still unsure of or simply haven’t fully bloomed yet – just because time wasn’t enough. You’ll have concentrated all your efforts in that little amount of time because there’s no right amount of time you should wait for to expose yourself to that person. Even if they eventually become a stranger. Or you do.

You promise yourself you won’t make the same mistake, that you’ll be more cautious next time. But you’re a Londoner and you’ll fall into the same loop once again. 

It all starts on a random Friday night at your local pub; you meet them and get to spend the night together, then the weekend. You discover how much the two of you have in common, or more, that they are such a surprise you couldn’t hope it to be. You understand each other from the very first minute, and before you realise it, you know you don’t want them to be strangers. So when the farewell time comes and they’re about to hop on that train, you will not want to lose them, and you’ll come clean, quietly, stammering: “I love you.” 

How many people do you meet every day in London? Hundreds, probably thousands. They might all just be strangers, or they might as well become a wonderful part of your life. 

Truth is, there will never be a right time to give it try, and you may never be going to see them again. That one might be your last time, they might be the last strangers you meet. 

They might as well be your last, one, true love. 



Jim
The Britalian Post

Text me maybe

I will never understand why relationships have to be so damn complicated.

It’s you and I, we like each other, we want to spend some time together and give it a try.
Done! Easy! Right?

Hell no! No pain, no gain. In this case, no game.

When you’re approaching somebody, you need to weigh every single word and look after any action you take. You need to play that game.

Should I ask for their number?  What should I say and how often should I text?  Will they think I’m going too fast and feel some pressure? And if I don’t, will they feel I don’t care?

Don’t spend too much time overthinking it because, whatever you do, it’s always gonna turn wrong.

And instead of simply being honest, we’ll lose the beauty of seeing each other’s shy expressions, smiling for that funny thought, looking down when recalling that hurtful story, only because we’ll always focus on a game we never know how to play right.

So next time you like somebody and you want to give this thing a try, just keep it cool and safe: go for “Text me…maybe.”

Jim
The Britalian Post

How to find your perfect British partner in 4 steps

When you’ve lived in London for a while, you’ve finally embraced the local habits – the lifestyle, the culture – perhaps it’s also about time you’re hoping to settle down for good or at least give it a try. Step by step, after becoming a proper Londoner, you’re thinking of looking for a pure, genuine, incomprehensible, Brit-born and -bred partner. Firstly, because…come on, dating a pure British fellow is so damn cool, innit?! Secondly, it’s another opportunity for you to blend in the local culture – so yeah, cool again.

Therefore, after gathering some tips and tricks from various people (mostly Brits), here are the 4 steps on how to find your perfect British partner.

1. Join happenings

Pick a nice spot – a club, a venue that throws themed nights, a small and intimate gig – or any trendy and popular event in London. Possibly choose new wave, revival, hipster clubs/bars and festivals over heavy techno discotheques and exclusive clubs. They’re so posh and swank that nobody will give a damn about you unless you have a serious amount of paper. Or drugs.

Pro tip: Don’t go to the Zoo Bar or the O’Neill! Not because they’re bad places (actually really fun at times), but remember that you’re looking for a “perfect” British partner, not for la crème de la crème of the daily immigration flow. Focus only on places Brits would plan on going to.

Choose a decent outfit – possibly a mix between alternative, hipster and casual. That makes you more appealing to pure Brits. H&M, Pull&Bear and Bershka can give a good variety of pretty cheap options for stylish clothing and…”60 FUCKING QUID FOR A PAIR OF JEANS?” Yeah…well…
Unless you just don’t give a shit! In that case, right, who fucking cares?!

Now, if you’re good-looking, an eccentric and intriguing person, and you got a cheeky and engaging attitude, you’re already halfway to victory. If you feel like you might struggle with your appearance, bet on your genius mind and make your other features stand out.

Unless you’re a total loser!

Pro tip: Either way, it doesn’t really matter. Beauty is subjective and goes beyond a pretty face or a fit body. Stay as you are; if people like you, they’ll like you anyway.

If you suck…well, you’ll just suck anyway!

2. Look around and interact

Don’t be shy, don’t hide in a corner keeping your head down all night long. Have a look at the crowd instead and spot types you like at first sight. Find occasions to interact with people – whether they’re boys or girls – and be friendly with everybody. That’ll help you join bigger groups but bear in mind that you’ll have to buy rounds for perfect strangers because (fuck this shit!) that’s just part of the game. While waiting to be served at the bar, start with the usual “Hey how’s it going?”, “What drink is that?”, “Sorry guys, can I bother you for a filter (or a cigarette)?”, “What does that tattoo say?”, “Hey, what’s that accent from?”, etc. This has proved not to be a lame approach, and if it doesn’t work, don’t give up and keep trying. Not all people are eager to start a conversation, but some are, so go for it!

Pro tip: Don’t be a fucking pain in the ass!!!

3. Make the move

Wowowowo, hold your horses!

Once you’ve identified the type you like, deepen the conversation and try to get to know as much as you can of that person. Ask many questions (maybe not boring stuff), show interest – you know, that kind of shit. Once you realise there’s a mutual interest, make the move: slow down and ask for their number.

You will contact him/her the day after – better let the clock hands go full circle before you write anything. Yeah, anyway, just don’t do anything hasty! Then, according to the social rules, you’ll let the boy make that first move. Actually, since we are pretty evolved, either of you can do it, right?!

Then be patient and wait for a reply.

Think back to everything you said to each other. Remember the smiles, the laughter, the flirting, your fingers playing with theirs. Think of their look, their eyebrows bending in bashfulness. Think of the fun thing they said and that you misunderstood because your English sucks; it was too noisy there and you were not really paying attention because your dumb mind was already lost into them. Isn’t that it?!

Think of that unusual spark you sensed because that person was simply perfect – perfect for you.

Imagine the first date, the first excitement, the “Sorry, can you say that again?”, and the embarrassing moments of silence followed by smirky laughs.

Picture the first kiss, the vibe, those weird shivers down your spine – even if it’s just a simple kiss. Imagine exploring London together; seeing the city lights from the Millennium Bridge, the busker tuning up that one song down Southbank, the intimate spots near Borough Market, and those Sunday drinks on Primrose Hill.

Picture taking them to your hometown, showing them the beauty of your city, the places where you grew up, the squares of the endless nights of your university period; the food and the local specialties, the restaurant on the hill, the breathtaking panorama that even you had forgotten about and that enchants you every time you see it. So while up there, you get distracted for a moment – they stroke you and ask “Hey what’s up?” You smile and say “Nothing”. Imagine getting home quietly not to wake up your parents, whispering jokes that you’re not sure you understand and then sleeping together in your bed.

Dream of all the other fantastic things you’ll do together and how you won’t still be able to believe that you’ve finally found your perfect British partner.

Imagine just how beautiful would this all be.

Meanwhile, you’re still waiting for their reply and plenty of booze has knocked you out.

4. Follow-up

You wake up the day after with a bit of a headache – you are probably hanging for the wild night – and you go check your phone. Nothing – you keep waiting. That text back never comes and you’ll never hear back from them; you realise they’ve just vanished like they never existed, like that moment never happened.

You think you should add them on Facebook, write another direct message, say something more, something different. You start wondering what’s wrong with you – if your first text wasn’t too silly to be even elaborated and you should have typed something better, something clever.

Eventually, your dream suddenly starts crumbling and you feel like shit ’cause you’ve failed once again.

. . .

And you know what? It won’t really matter.

Because that one was clearly not your perfect British partner. Because there are no best steps to get to know one or maybe your perfect partner is not even British.

In the end, you’ll know you have learned a really important lesson. You’ve learned about the cool events around London and that they’re worth being attended. You’ve learned that you enjoy being around, that all in all you are really an interesting person, that people like you; you’ll have overcome your shyness, made a new and unexpected experience you’ll be willing to tell, and that you can’t wait to do it again.

You’ve learned that you just have to live it daily, to get to know people every time you can – to be social, open-minded – and that sooner or later that perfect partner will come, whether they’re British or not. Because the perfect partner is worth the wait, is worth failing for, is worth becoming a better person.

And remember, your perfect partner will be looking for you as much as you’ll be looking for them.

Unless you’re a complete loser!

Jim
The Britalian Post

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