Yes, that’s right. But not for me; his family live here so predominantly he was here for them, although we managed to plan a few days (and nights) together too.
Dubai guy, as he’s aptly known to my friends and (select few) family, will be familiar to you if you read this blog. Look for ‘the best date yet’ post.. Anyway we arranged the first U.K date at STK restaurant. I waited anxiously in the lobby of the ME hotel on Charing Cross, constantly crossing and uncrossing my legs wondering how to sit ‘cooly’ while he was in a cab on the way over. Blank thoughts running through my head and empty glances to the marble floor while the main door constantly swang with guests entering. I didn’t really know how to feel. He arrived after ten minutes and we embraced a familiar hug, resumed from six weeks ago.
We made our way to the restaurant and he soon slid next to me as opposed to opposite me, taking my face into his hands and kissed me. I playfully pushed him back to his seat weary we were putting off the other diners, and he reminded me that public displays of affection are a no go in Dubai, hence making the most of it here.. without getting arrested. Liberating eh?
After dinner we made our way up to the Radio rooftop bar, my absolute favourite spot in London. We shared a bottle of wine (I think) and caught up on anything we’d missed since I was in Dubai.
The next date was epic. His job allows perks, perks that entail reviewing hotels. Before he flew over he asked what new hotels there were in London that he could blag us a stay at, so I did some digging and asked him to check out the Edition hotel, a place I take clients for breakfast and would only dream of being able to afford to sleep there (or rather, not sleep).. He secured the date and we met there.
He had already checked in and came down to get me when I arrived in the lobby. Conscious I probably looked like a very underdressed prostitute, I smiled back at the receptionist as she addressed us both and greeted him knowingly. He told me they were extremely attentive- of course, they want an amazing review. I wasn’t complaining.. that meant we had the most amazing suite!
He opened the door and ushered me in. A bright, airy, huge room stared back at me, it was amazing. A (probably real) fur throw draped on the bed along with hundreds of scatter cushions, a couple of sofas in the corner next to a table stacked with huge coffee table books, and a tardis of a bathroom with a roll top bath and a huge shower (god, I should totes review this place) along with a monster TV.
We decided to make the most of the hotel room, by using the facilities of course (dirty minds) then went for a drink downstairs, and another on nearby Charlotte Street.
I had booked dinner at the new Hawksmoor in Knightsbridge (can you tell I love a steak?) as it would be his birthday the following day so managed to get us on the soft launch. We got our glad rags on and headed there.
I had emailed the restaurant weeks beforehand to inform them it was his birthday; at Hawksmoor they usually stick a candle in the dessert, however I was so full that I felt sick but I really wanted to show that I had remembered it was his birthday, so I ordered a peanut butter shortbread (the most incred thing on the menu FYI) and although he was also full to the brim, I made him commit to sharing with me.
The dessert came out.. candleless. So I was there forcing this bloody peanut butter shortbread down my throat which I really, honestly, did not need after eating a 300g fillet steak with all the trimmings, on top of a bottle of Malbec and glass of champagne, it’s making me feel sick re-living it. Anyway, after dessert I grab my chance while he’s gone to the bathroom. I tell the waiter he forgot the candle and he apologises profusely, telling me he will get us another one with a candle. Noooo we don’t need another dessert! I ask for drinks instead, so he gets us drinks and after another five minutes, a candle stuck in salted caramel rolos (another Hawksmoor speciality). He looked genuinely touched.. and I love seeing a happy face.
We leave and get the last tube back to the hotel. On our bed is a menu laid out asking us what breakfast we would like brought to us in bed and at what time. I felt like I was in Pretty Woman (without the cash or otk boots). This shiz happens in films, not to me. Living the dream.
The next day is his birthday, our breakfast arrives on the dot and we eat it in our robes while he opens a couple of gifts. We then go to Carnaby Street for some retail therapy and to kill time before he meets his mum in town. I planned on disappearing when that happened.. did my plan go to plan? No.
We were in Dune while he looked for shoes and I see him giving a wave out the door. “Is that your mum?” I ask, “yep”. SHIT, I’m meeting Dubai guy’s mum after staying in a hotel with her little boy. Classy.
She’s very glam and I don’t want to be too forward by going in for a hug or kiss, so I smile and she smiles back before asking how the hotel was. All I’m thinking is *I cannot believe I’m meeting his mum in Dune and she knows full well we stayed in a hotel.*
I make my excuses and shoot off. Not how I envisioned meeting the mum, then again I didn’t ever envision meeting the parents. We aren’t a couple after all..We’re just friends, who have messaged every single day since 4th May, and stayed in two hotels, been on holiday and had dinner out about ten times.
The rest of the stay consisted of him staying at mine a few more times. It kinda went like this: We went on a ‘double date’ with my friend and her boyf, spent two afternoons in different parks just chilling and lying in the sun, ordered Dominos in bed, walked through Brixton Splash crazy Reggae festival to retrieve a Nandos takeaway, and not to mention him attending a house party of mine, meeting my brother, housemates and friends while earning all their affections.
Tonight he leaves for Dubai and I won’t lie, I’m a tad emosh. Be it a great summer romance, it was definitely a whirlwind and maybe just what I needed after the abundance of weird dates. It reminded and reassured me that I can still feel if I need to.
‘Dubai guy’ was one to remember.