The London Diaries: Discovering Sophie

Your Coffee Break - The London Diaries

My new life project, “Discovering Sophie” didn’t start all that great. Monday morning found me with a terrible headache and feeling quite depleted.

After I had dragged myself downstairs (I was still staying at my parents’), I forced myself to a healthy breakfast. If I was to change something, I thought, I might as well start with the first meal of the day. Despite my long lasting habit of leaving the house for coffee and even then mostly resorting to just coffee and no food, I allowed my mother to give me some porridge with cream and fruits.

Actually delicious and quite uplifting, I thought and felt more cheerful already when I left the house for London. The tube was the usual nightmare full of city workers wearing suits and glum Monday-morning expressions. Carefully I watched the people getting in and out of the compartment.

How would I be able to tell if I liked a guy if not according to looks and bearing? And judging from my past performance, my visual filters didn’t seem to be the most helpful… I spotted a gorgeously handsome dark guy, wearing a tailored suit and an expensive looking briefcase and watch. Hmm, he did look yummy!

But then. Was he also nice? If my experience was worth anything, I thought, he was probably a conceited bore, who only spoke about himself and the fantastic things he had done and the cars he owned. Not good.

Next, my eyes fell on a short, plump-ish guy, also sporting a tolerably good-looking suit. He was wearing glasses that gave him the air of someone who spent a lot of time poring over books. I had not considered intellectuals handsome before, but why not. Maybe, I thought, he was a terribly clever scientist on his way to win the Nobel prize.

He pulled out a book called “Why Nations Fail”. Hmm. That didn’t sound much like a scientist’s read. Maybe he was an accountant and dreadfully boring, I thought and immediately checked myself. These thought patterns were part of the old Sophie. Surely, I would do best to begin from scratch, forgetting all I had ever believed about interesting and attractive guys?

Whilst I was still scolding myself for my short-sighted arrogance, shortie got up and left. Phew, that was lucky… but then, there was no need to jump straight into the deep end. I would simply watch and try to actually see people, without prejudice without conceit.

Your Coffee Break - The London Diaries

I continued my new studies Tuesday on my way home. Instead of the tube, I took the 19 from Green Park Station. The bus was already tightly packed with city workers on their home and tired shoppers and tourists alike. However, I couldn’t see a single eligible guy (that is between the age of 25 and 50).

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that a couple of guys got on at Hyde Park Corner. Dark suits mostly, some foreign looking (the guys, not the suits), well cut. Interesting.

A thin, tall man presumably in his late thirties, carrying a doctor’s bag and a walking-stick umbrella caught my attention. No ring, no watch – maybe he was really a doctor, though the bag looked more like a Prada fashion accessory than a tribute to his profession. His shoes were muddy, which gave his otherwise pristine appearance a slightly neglected and rather sloppy touch.

What roused my curiosity was the readiness with which he volunteered to help an old lady alight with her walking frame. His eyes creased at the corners when he smiled and gave him a mischievous, almost boyish look. Before I could avert my eyes he had caught my intense observation and there was the shortest of moments when our gazes locked.

I blushed and turned away quickly. What must he be thinking to find me staring at him on a bus! Simply embarrassing.

When I dared look again (at around Pont Street), he was gone. Relief mingled with perfectly unexpected disappointment washed over me. But when I got home I found myself smiling.

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s workload didn’t allow me time to continue my observations and apart from the gay front desk guy at Atmosphere Spa on Sloane Avenue, I saw no man.

In spite of myself, I had found myself wondering if the doctor-bag carrying fellow had been interesting and if his laughter lines meant that he was funny and nice. I assume this was part of the reason why I chose to ride bus 19 again when I made my way home from a long meeting in town on Friday (actually quite a detour).

I hadn’t expected to see him again, but was curious what else I would observe on this thirty minute bus ride (at good times) through some of the nicest parts of London. What sort of men, I asked myself, live or work in Mayfair, St James, Knightsbridge and Chelsea? And how did this influence their amicability.

It is funny how you often tend to date people from similar backgrounds and social classes. Naturally, factors like education and the past-times you are accustomed to from your earliest childhood make for an important divide. When you grow up, it depends on where you work and play, which is often down to your education and family background as well.

Looking back, I have mostly dated highly educated, well-bred men (with the occasional exception of an exotic. There was this actor once, whom I saw for a very brief spell and I remember a particularly yummy tennis-coach – although he might have been rebellion against my mother’s careful conservatism more than anything else…).

Apart from these observations, I have had a completely undateful week – actually quite a relief. I begin feeling more relaxed and I am enjoying the spectator’s role. I think I will start listening to my more relationship-successful friends and their seemingly dull stories. Surely, there is a lot to be learned?

Let me know, how you get on and have an amazing start into the week,


xx, Sophie


Having skidded headlong into my thirties, completely unprepared for what was expecting me, has probably been the best that has ever happened to me. Dating has never been more intriguing - life has never been more amazing! Laugh and cry with me on my way through the often fantastic and sometimes abysmal London dating scene…