Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Look further than the end of your own nose, hey?
In an unusual move, I found myself watching the Champions League final earlier this week.  Quite aside from being a really entertaining game (don't mention the result, ok!) it reminded me so much of happy times in Manchester, when I was a regular at Old Trafford, and could tell you all sorts of facts and figures about the team and the game.  Well, it was my job to know these things way back when.  Fast forward ten years and I've no clue who half the players are (is it a sign of age to think they all seem oh so very young?) and struggle to identify which way the teams are scoring when they first hit the pitch. Hey ho.

We watched it in our local sports bar, and being in the distinct minority as females, became the object of much male attention.  In the main it was harmless chit-chat about the game. One conversation stood out above all others.  After some aforementioned harmless chit-chat, the man to my left dropped his gem: "The thing about Dubai is it's just a complete freak show, isn't it?  The buildings, the hotels, everything."

Years of media training and PR mean that I'm quite good at composing myself in situations like this.  I remained completely calm.  But my face froze.  My eyes glazed over.  My left eyebrow raised.  My temperature rose. 

I mentioned words and places like Satwa, the creek, Bastikya, the parks.  His reaction was like a pig staring at a wristwatch.  Blank.  Nothing registering.  After tossing this verbal hand-grenade he revealed that he was in Dubai on a two-day business trip.  Still  no excuse, especially as this wasn't his first time in the city.

I cast my mind over my weekend: exploring remote ruined villages in the desert, reclining on a sunlounger reading books, watching the boy wakeboard past on an azure lagoon, passing my friends relaxing at the pool, hearing the call to prayer from my balcony, watching the twinkling lights of the low rise villas in Jumeirah as the sun set into the Arabian Gulf.  Nothing freaky about any of it.

The verbal hand-grenade could tell something wasn't right.  "I've really offended you, haven't I?" he asked.  In the spirit of not flying off the handle, I smiled sweetly, said: "Of course not, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whatever limited experience it is based on" and simply turned my back on him.

Freakshow? Dubai? Get a grip.  If you never leave your 5 star hotel to explore the city, you only have yourself to blame.  This commentator wrote one of my favorite pieces so far regarding 'Dubai Bashing."  I'd be interested to hear what you think of it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crocodiles and Pythons: Dating in Dubai

Bags: Yes. Dates: No.
A lovely friend of mine who is happily single has been feeling as if she should 'get out a bit more' and has thus thrust herself back into the Dubai dating game with vigour.  She's not one to do things by halves (and is gorgeous to boot) so has been on two dates in as many weeks.

We've all been rooting for her.  When a work colleague left the office for a date earlier this week, it was as if she was  heading off to war, such was the emotional outpouring of support.  That's how difficult it can be to go on a good date in this fair city. I'd like to say that my friend's two dates went swimmingly, with the prospect of new love on the horizon (I'm a romantic at heart, scoff all you like) but I'm afraid to say: NEGATIVE.  Highlights below:

Date One

"I don't really fancy him and he's not very hot.  But he is super sweet." Not the greatest of starts.
"Kissing him was hideous.  You know when you see pythons swallow an egg whole - I seriously feared that could be me." Oh dear god.
"It also felt a bit like when Steve Irvin used to wrestle with crocodiles!" Loving the visuals this conjures up.

Date Two
"He was dull and from munchkinland." We were told he was tall.   
"At least I learned some interesting facts about planes." He is a pilot.
"He now wants to take me out for dinner.  I think he must have been on a completely different date." Ah bless.
"The Tangro wins over him every time." To be fair, given the choice of a mediocre date or the Tangro, I'd choose the Tangro too.

So there you have it.  Thankfully as a happy single, my friend isn't crying into her Horlicks over these experiences.  But they do go some way to explain why you'll so often hear single people in Dubai say that they 'can't be bothered' to go on a date.  Good dates, it seems, are as hard to find as a goat farm in the middle of the city...

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Pray this never happens to you
Sleep.  Not something that has come easily to me over the years; whether it's not being able to, not getting enough, or being woken from it by blood-curdling nightmares.  That said, my new dreamy dreamy bed has massively improved things on that front!

For one rather scary period of my life, sleep also potentially meant something else: sleepwalking.  I was reminded of this today when the office started discussing 'stupid things you've done when drunk.'  To be fair to me, I did discover that the alcohol wasn't what was causing the sleepwalking at all, although it was the first thing that crossed my mind.

If you go and tell the doctor that you've suddenly started sleepwalking, they take you very seriously.  Did you know that sudden onset sleepwalking can be a sign of epilepsy?  Neither did I.  But the tests proved negative.  Turns out it's also your brain's reaction to incredibly stressful situations.  It basically 'forgets' to press the off-switch on your body whilst you sleep, which means that all the usual experiences that you might have when in REM sleep are no longer only in your head, but being lived out, quite literally, by your body.

I had some pretty upsettng health problems at the time, and my lovely little brain just couldn't deal with it all.  Sleepwalking incidents inlcuded waking up on friends' landings, on their stairs, or in their kitchens.  But I kept the best for a trip overseas.

During a work Christmas party in Dublin, my work colleagues found me sleepwalking through the hotel, just as I was about to reach the lobby, two steps from the front door to the street.  The stuff that nightmares are made of.  And it gets worse.  I was completely naked.  No, really.

I'm sure that some of my lovely friends who were on the trip are reading this: you know who you are.  Thank you for rescuing me, wrapping me in a coat, getting me another key to the hotel room, and putting me back to bed.  Thanks also for bearing with me whilst I sorted myself out and the sleepwalking stopped.  This story has gone down in the annals of history, as it is, of course, hilarious.  I'd probably find it funnier if it hadn't happened to me, but someone else entirely!  For the longest time I couldn't stay in a hotel without barricading myself in, just in case it reared its head again.  It hasn't, for over ten years. Insh'allah, this shall remain the status quo.

Not Again....

I'm sure Penelope never had these problems..
You may remember that about 18 months ago I was in a completely avoidable, hideous car crash.  Yesterday I was unlucky enough to see (but thankfully not be part of) another one.  We were heading to RAK on the Emirates Road when a large puff of gravel and smoke appeared near the central reservation, then careered across, almost onto the hard shoulder.  We couldn't really see what had happened, but as we approached, it was clear a car and driver had just had a very nasty eperience.

As we were about 100 metres away when it happened we were on the scene in a flash, and parked up to see if we could help.  When I say we, let's be clear, I didn't actually get out of the car, I left that to the boy.  I did try to, and wanted to, but one sight of the mangled wreckage and the trapped passenger (the blood, the blood) and I actually couldn't physically move.

So many parallels and things I try very hard to never think about:  the kindness of strangers, the lovely ambulancemen and police, the tears, the lost shoes and sunglasses, the glass in my bra (!) and my handbag, which I couldn't seem to get rid of for weeks....but the most overwhelming thing was a sense I hadn't expected to bring back such vivid memories: the smell.  I don't know if it's the sun, the heat, the dust, the mangled metal, the broken glass, the blood, the petrol, or all of these  things, but the highway in the desert after a crash has a very unique odour.  When I opened the car door, that smell hit me, and it was why I remained rooted to the spot.

I won't ham this up or get too dramatic.  This didn't happen to me, after all. The driver was carried out of the car, and despite the blood will ultimately be ok, I'm sure.  That's if you don't count the inevitable flashbacks, nightmares and panic attacks when you first get into a car again. 

The boy took me for an ice-cream which lifted my spirits for the rest of the journey (fickle, me?!)  But it has been on my mind ever since. There but for the grace of god....please drive safely desert family, and beyond....

As Predictable As.......

Men: as predictable as Dubai sunshine?
Men.  However much they frustrate and confuse us, we love them.  Yet there is one truth that remains: they're predictable.  I hate to stereotype and generalise, but as the same thing has happened to me twice in the space of one week, that's the conclusion I'm being forced to draw.  Today, at least.

What am I talking about?  When ex-boyfriends contact you, out of the blue.  When they do this, after a long period of time, what does it mean?  They've been pining for you, you're the love of their life and they've only just realised?  Well, it's possible.  But what's equally possible, and in both these cases turned out to be true, is that their next relationship has failed, and for some reason (well reasons plural, which we'll come onto) they see fit to contact you.

Let me elaborate.  We met S on a particularly entertaining flight to Damascus.  He had the dubious pleasure of sitting right next to us on the plane, which led to chatting, an exchange of numbers, and one very entertaining weekend spent careering in and out of historical relics, and Damascus nightclubs.  They know how to party in Syria!  I digress.  On returning to Dubai there then ensued a month long fling, which came to a natural conclusion when it became apparent that S had a girlfriend.  Honestly boys, Dubai is way, way too small to play like that. You get found out, and quickly.

Fast forward a year, and I woke one morning to a text from an unknown number.  "Hi, how are you, been way too long, shall we go for a drink? S"  As I'd deleted S's number a long time ago I had no clue who the text was from, and it was only about ten minutes later that I remembered.  I chortled heartily, deleted the text and forgot all about it.  Afterwards I laughingly relayed the story to the girls and we  agreed that he'd obviously just become single.  He sent a few more texts, but after my complete ignorance, got the message and stopped.

I thought no more about it, until a work colleague came stampeding into my office one morning.  "You'll never BELIEVE who I keep bumping into," she exclaimed.  Yes, it was S.  "And every time I see him, he asks about you...how you are, why you won't respond to him, how much he misses you." Now due to the fact that this work colleague has a functioning brain, it took her two minutes to deduce the obvious: he'd been dumped.  She asked him how life was as a single man and he couldn't understand how she knew. Ha!

Fast forward another week.  I wake up to an email from N.  "How are you!? How have you been!? What are you doing this weekend!?"  I'll forgive the over-liberal use of exclamation marks as he's European.  Such a random, out of the blue email, after literally 18 months, can only mean one thing....

To be fair to N, he differed wildly from S.  We actually had a relationship which lasted some time.  It was a lovely experience at a time when I was recuperating from a very nasty break-up.  He adored me, showered me with love and affection, treated me like a princess, and reminded me that there were good people (and men) in the world. When it became apparent that I wasn't harbouring such reciprocal showers of love and affection (more like a trickle) I called it off.  Over the years, I do hear from him from time to time.  It was obvious that he had a girlfriend - one night he was even texting me without knowing I was in the same bar as him...whilst he was sat with her.  Men.

I know I only have a research study of two, but quick chats to female friends reveal this behaviour to be very common.  One very recently heard from an ex who was last seen sobbing in her apartment (don't ask).  He sent her a super-cheery breezy text as if nothing had happened.  When she ignored it he barraged her with emails and calls demanding to know why she had deleted him on Facebook.  A quick sniff on the Dubai grapevine confirmed that he had just split with the younger girl he'd traded her in for (nice).  Really??!

So why are men oh-so-predictable when it comes to contacting exes?  Why presume that someone who you dated years and years ago, and have had limited (to say the least) contact with, will suddenly jump out of their seat with vigour, and rush into your arms at the drop of a hat?  Is it as simple as needing an ego boost? Or are they so deluded that they assume you've been sat waiting for their call? 

I realised many years ago that there is no way to fathom the depths of male mind.  Until anyone can shed some light on this particular dilemma, my finger remains firmly on the 'delete' button.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spreading the Love....

What to donate next?
It's not always easy to get involved in volunteering or charity in Dubai: these things do exist, but they're sporadic, and hard to find.  One very simple way of feeling philanthropic (and easing the issue of zero storage in apartments) is to regularly and ruthlessly go through your wardrobe and pass on unwanted items to others.  For many of us, that's meant giving them to the lovely people in the service industries (don't make me say the word maid!) who work in our swish buildings. 

My lovely cleaner, who reminds me of a Sri Lankan Mrs Pepperpot (Google her if you're too young to know her!) regularly takes bagfuls of clothes , shoes and accessories off with her after her weekly session looking after my apartment.  As she is a completely different shape and size to me she takes them to her local church and distributes them.  It warms my heart to think of church goers rocking around the city in my once-loved over-priced Whistles dresses.

And it's not just girls who are doing this, a lovely male friend of mine recently had a good clear-out (obviously been friends with me for three years) and came up with bags and bags of clothes he never wore, which he distributed to the security guards and maintenance men in his building.  One small problem: as he left his apartment this morning, he had a strange sense of deja-vu.  The man fixing the electricity meter outside his apartment looked familiar....he was wearing a shirt last seen on a  podium in a Dubai nightclub.  And it didn't stop there, the man cleaning the lobby, whilst in his ubiquitous uniformed t-shirt, was also wearing jeans and trainers.....last seen drinking in Okku.  It's all about spreading the love and the fashion, people.....!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Art, Not Beach

LOVE the Pavilion...
I’m sure I tell you quite enough about how I fill my Dubai weekends with beach, sunshine, and endless glasses of wine in warm breezes.  But this weekend was a little different; it was all about culture.

First stop was the wonderful Pavilion in Downtown. I’ve waxed lyrical about this place before – it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to being in a creative space back home: part gallery, part restaurant, part working space, part cinema…it’s a truly unique space in Dubai.  And with the benefit of being about 200 metres from my front door, you can just about scuttle there in 90% humidity without wanting to die when you arrive.  That may change in a few months the way that things are heating up here at the moment.

Their latest photography exhibition by sociologist Charlie Koolhaas was an obvious choice to attend, as it focuses on Dubai, and the 'city's journey on the international stage.' (did I mention I love living in Dubai?!).  The use of the space, the displays of the images (on canvases, hung up on the wall like newspapers) all made for an interesting evening.

Next stop was the Ara Gallery.  A hop, skip and a jump from the Pavilion, it's another reason why Downtown just inched up another couple of notches on the coolometer.  Rather than languishing in bed on Saturday morning, or nursing a giant hangover, I skipped out of the door (well ok, skipped is over-egging it a bit, but I WAS giddy!) at 9.30 am and headed to their 'History of Photography'  workshop.  I don't have any raging desires to become a photographer, but I am interested in all things visual, beautiful and creative, and it was an extremely interesting couple of hours.  My requests for future classes have included fashion, architecture and design.

After all that culture, it was time to revert to form.  If you haven't tried the amazing Sunday roast at the Montgomerie, you've missed out.  19 remains one of my favourite restaurants, and their Sunday spread is treat.  Beautiful view of lush golf greens, a civilised and stylish setting, good wine and wonderful friends.  Followed this up with a trip to my favourite Dubai pub, a game of darts, and curry at Ravi's.  One of the best weekends in Dubai ever!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To Kindle, or Not to Kindle...?

I'm having a dilemma at the moment.  I'm an avid reader, regularly ploughing through a book a week, which rises to a book a day when I'm on vacation.  I usually have a wish-list of novels that I'm champing to get my hands on, and have book reviews falling out of each and every handbag, saved up to purchase when I'm next on the hunt for reading material. 

This isn't a particularly cheap habit here in Dubai, but due to visitor season and M's regular trips home (just don't mention the giant Tom Ford book fiasco!) , I've nearly always got a good stock of reasonably priced books in the pipeline.  I get jittery if this drops below five.

So here's my dilemma....do I jack all this in, and buy a Kindle? 

I love the concept of having 20 books  in my handbag, ready to dip into on all manner of occasions.  But I'm also a sucker for having a real book in my hand, flicking backwards and forwards...I'm just not sure that a screen could take the place of that.  Nor the glee of seeing my new books lined up on the shelf, waiting to be read.  The anticipation!  Not to mention being handed a slightly dog-eared bonkbuster by a friend for reading in the pool.  I suspect that my Kindle would never really replace my love of real-live books - so what's the point?

I'd love to hear from you if you have one.  In the meantime, I'm mulling it over.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blood, Sweat and Tears

No such vigour in my class!
There was a time when I looked forward to Boot Camp.  Well not looked forward exactly (I'm not an exercise freak), but it was definitely something pleasant in my life.  Fresh air, outdoors, in one my favourite parks, with the Burj Khalifa twinkling away in the background.  We went twice a week, every week, for months, making us lean mean killing machines (well, perhaps not quite, but it did result in one of my best ever compliments: "Man, your body is Coke bottle tight!" God Bless America.)  It also had the added benefit of meaning I could spend time with one of my best friends, catching up on work, boys, and usually ending in a happy chat about what we were having for tea.  The whole thing was permeated with peals of laughter. 

That was, until I discovered evil Boot Camp last night.  It's been a while since I've been (which was a major part of my problem) and in that time I've lost some fitness, and it's gotten hot.  I mean really hot.  I knew I was in trouble when I left the office at 7 and felt that familiar 'eyelids sticking to eyeballs' sensation.  Grim as that sounds, it's the best way I can find to describe the heat that engulfed me.

Undeterred, we headed to the park.  Our lovely trainer J knows us well, after many years of enduring our inane chat and moaning ("we hate running!") and it was lovely to see him again.  But this time he wasn't alone, he had two assistants, whose sole job was to torture us for a full 60 minutes.

The hour that followed was honestly one of the most hideous of my life.  I used to laugh at girls that dissolved into tears during our sessions: I was very nearly one of them.  The heat, the exercises (in small groups so there was nowhere to hide), the fact that I was split up from the best friend (I whimpered) and instead paired with a small Italian dynamo of a girl who took the whole thing very seriously ("Count will you Kelly, I am trying to breathe") conspired against me, and at more than one point, I thought I was going to pass out.

As if all this wasn't enough, the session I'd chosen to 'ease myself back in' was also attended by...a professional photographer.  Yes, as I sweated, groaned, and staggered my way through the session, there he was, like an omnipresent firefly, flashing away in my face.  The first 20 or so shots, I smiled grimly. By the end I was completely oblivious and couldn't care less.  It put me in mind of what mothers say about giving birth with a cast of thousands staring at your nether regions: by that time you could have a marching band walk past and you wouldn't care, such is the level of pain, torture and exhaustion you are suffering.

We somehow made it home, broken women. Will I go again? Maybe.  But I'll need to throw myself around the gym a few times first.  And sit in a heat chamber in my exercise kit to acclimatise. And have an oxygen mask on standby throughout.  You think I'm joking....?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Three Important People

Dubai Hairdressers: secret shares in Elnett?
I've always maintained there are three people a girl really needs on speed dial: gynae, dentist and hairdresser.  (I did once tell my lovely dentist this, and he wasn't impressed with being popped into the hairdresser category. I digress.)

I've found all three in Dubai with various levels of success.  I'd still fly 3, 000 miles, and do, to get my teeth cleaned and checked by this man (can you blame me?), have finally found a gynae who doesn't a) ask me why i haven't had a baby yet and b) can call my lady parts by their proper name and not 'down below.'  And up until recently, I thought I had the hair covered off. 

Regular readers and Dubai dwellers will know the major issues that blondes face in this region when trying to find a hairdresser who is used to dealing with European hair.  Who can forget this wonderful incident in my first few months here, when a visit to the most convenient salon near my apartment resulted in hair so huge it could be seen from the moon.  To this day, this remains my mum's favourite blog post.  She's a  cruel woman.

Anyway, as I say, I do have a great hairdresser. In addition to knowing what he's doing, he's an absolute hoot, with every session in the salon resulting in laugh-til-you-cry hysteria.  (Just don't introduce him to your new boyfriend, when he can become borderline offensive.  Make that actual offensive)  But recently I've caught sight of myself in photos and thought: really? Isn't that blonde just a little on the bright side?  You could say (and we often do) that living in Dubai is not a time to skimp on the blondness, and all the benefits it imparts (although a friend of mine has just gone very brunette, and looks divine.)  It's not just that.  Sometimes in all the hysteria, nay frenzy of the salon, I do feel that any requests I might have are overlooked.  And that we're too busy laughing to really pay attention to the levels of bleach that are being painted onto my head, and the chunks that are being cut out of my hair.

So I'm thinking, maybe, just maybe, it's time for a change.  When I uttered this out loud to the girls, I was met with gasps. "It's like cheating on your boyfriend!" they exclaimed. And to be fair, it's sometimes seems harder to find a good hairdresser than a boyfriend in this town.

Any fellow blondes out there with recommendations, please let me know.  I need case studies, credentials and perhaps a photo before I consider my options.  The Afghan Hound needs a grooming before my birthday.  And we all know when that is!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Ma'a Salama, Family

Heavy heart, begone soon, please.
I’m well aware that I’m blessed with a small, but perfectly formed family, and they didn’t disappoint on their fourth jaunt to the UAE.  They’re very easily pleased, loving each and every activity, whether it was flashy and fun (dinner and drinks in top notch restaurants), the real Dubai (cultural breakfast and abra rides) or just plain relaxation (pool and multiple episodes of the Good Life.)

I’ve been saying good bye to them for almost twenty years, so you’d think it would get easier. It doesn’t.

One  of my favourite bloggers knows exactly how I’m feeling.  When I read her recent post it was all I could do not to blub into my keyboard.

Safe travels darling family. See you soon, In’shallah.

No More White Walls

I've been updating the Dubai homestead in recent months, lots of new furniture, lamps, lighting, but most excitingly, with art.  My apartment back home had walls filled with beautiful Manchester photography and artwork, with my favourites being a toss-up between pop art Kate Moss (from a very clever German artist) and my 'corridor of Vogues' which was all my favourite covers, in sequence, as you entered the hallway.

It's hard to find decent art in Dubai.  There are heaps of galleries, but as I'm not in the market of dropping thousands on artwork (when I could be spending that money on seeing the world!) lots of people resort to the Ikea fall back. No thanks.

These wonderful people came to my rescue, and unusually in this fair city, understood what I wanted, without me really knowing what I wanted.  Crazy!  I wanted something edgy, Arabic, and unusual...so I now have two beautiful, striking and (most importantly) utterly unique pieces hanging in the lounge (see left, although my photo comes nowhere near to doing them justice).

If you're wondering what the Arabic means, well, the graffiti on the left is a mixture of slang and names...much as UK graffiti would be.  In a moment of utter narcissism, the one on the right is my name, in Arabic.  No, I didn't go scribbling on walls to get the shot, the clever designer worked their magic and somehow did it for me.

They bring me such deep joy that I have been known to sit and stare at them, rather than the sea view! The parents were equally transfixed. Simple, beautiful things = such great happiness!

High Jinks on the High Seas!

The Creek one is next!
One of the things I love about Dubai is that new inventions and initiatives pop up in the blink of an eye. This is great if you are a) a complete geek and b) have visitors i.e parents, who have been multiple times and need something new to add to the itinerary.

Well, worry no more if you do have imminent visitors, the latest hot ticket is….a trip on the new Dubai Ferry!  When I say ferry – it’s more James Bond than P&O, a triumph of Dutch design and engineering, and brand spanking new.  You can catch it from the Marina or the Creek, and for the sum of 50 dirhams (about eight UK pounds) untold excitement awaits you.

We chose the Marina route as it heads out to Atlantis, which, love it or hate it, is an impressive vision and unmissable from the water.  After a lovely amble out through the marina (cue much nosying into beautiful apartments, and drooling over boats that cost more than the UK national debt) the ferry gently noses out of the Marina, and into the Arabian Gulf.  Then it’s full steam ahead to Atlantis, which is just as spectacular as you would imagine.

Rather than amble back along the same route, the excitement reached fever pitch when we hung a right, and came back THROUGH the Palm, rather than around it. This is amazing mainly due to the fact that it allowed more untold nosying into the biggest, most extravagant villas you are ever likely to see. For approximately half an hour I daydreamed about leaving Downtown and embracing private beach living.  This was brought to an abrupt stop when I remembered just how much it costs to live there.  Sigh.

We headed back into the marina for more boat drooling before disembarking like a troupe of giddy goats.  I've no idea how much the Roads and Transport Authority invested in this new scheme, but it was worth it.  If I was you, I'd get involved with it soon - ours was virtually empty, but it won't stay quiet for long.  Next stop: Creek Ferry ride!

Monday, May 02, 2011

From Duchess to Dutch...Not Everyone gets the Fairytale..

Dating: A bit of a gamble
I'm going to eschew a post about the Royal Wedding...there's very little I can say that hasn't been said already.  Suffice to say, I am STILL rifling through some commemorative issues of UK papers that my parents brought over with them. LOVE.

Instead I thought I'd share an experience of a friend, who shall remain nameless for soon-to-be obvious reasons.  I received her message the day after Kate became a Duchess, and it served as an able reminder of what real single women have to deal with.

Let's just say it was an interesting contrast to the fairytale ending that Kate enjoyed....read her summary of her date and weep, dear reader. Or laugh hysterically, as I did.  I've popped my comments in under her points, for ease.

1 - Went dutch on bill. Not being funny and I am totally modern and don't expect anyone to pay for me whatsoever, but it would have been nice to have offered to pick up the tab? Non?  
Agreed. We're all high-achieving high-earning modern independent women who can and will pay our own way in every area of our lives. The first date is the last bastion of male chivalry. Pay, boys.
2 - He ate REALLY fast - which boys do in general - but it still irks me.
Not attractive.  And shouldn't you be chatting so much that food is eaten slowly?
3 - He is very lovely - and good looking etc - but I suspect he is as dumb as a box of hair.
Often the case. A cruel trick that the universe plays on us. Obviously this does not apply to me or my gorgeous friends. Ha!
4 - If I do date him (very doubtful) I don't think that I can admit to the world that he works at the Tena lady factory as a programmer (cue howls of laughter)
I can't stop laughing at this and am awaiting further details.
5 - They always seem to like me much more than I like them - though to be fair I am amazeballs.
6 -Saggy old pants (him not me)
7 - This point has been removed due to indecency!
8 - I had a lot of sex but I didn't actually either a) come or b) pretend to, and he didn't seem that aware of this fact.
As in point 3, very sadly this can often be the case....
9 - Boys are weird generally
10 - I do have more points but feel really mean documenting them.

My favourite points are number 4 (really?!) and number 8.  I didn't mention, but this was a UK date. Comforting to know that it's not only Dubai men that are clueless in some departments!