For the past three months, to celebrate the one year anniversary of my 30 Blind Dates Challenge, I’ve been revisiting some of the boys who kindly took me on blind dates last year, and seeing how much their worlds have changed in the last 12 months.
The idea for the feature actually came from the Fake Pimpernel, who wanted to share the story of how he met his girlfriend with blog readers, and thought some of the other 29 might also have interesting stories to tell.
I immediately loved the idea – one of the great things about 30 Dates, is it’s allowed us to form a real community. To put faces to single life, and to understand that other people go through the exact same stuff as you, no matter how alone you feel. It’s obviously also great to hear a particularly cute love story, if you’re holding out for your own Happily Ever After.
For those of you who don’t remember, the Fake Pimpernel, or ‘F-Pimp’ as he became affectionately known, truly raised the bar on first date expectations. He sent me cryptic clues, and the photo of a corner of a ticket stub, before meeting me on the South Bank back in July last year. You can read the story of how he got his name in The Original Pimpernel’s return to the blog a few weeks ago. F-Pimp introduced me to the incredible Limbo Circus, where we sat in the front row with Madonna, and then took me to the infamous Evan & Peel Detective Agency, where the case which needed to be solved was why all the men I was going on dates with only ever lasted one date!
I got on with F-Pimp immediately. He was energetic, and excitable, and his general love of life was infectious. I was so glad to have met him early in the Challenge – Date 8 of 30 – because he really injected the whole Challenge with the spirit it needed. This wasn’t to just be 30 Dates sat in nondescript pubs. London was a dating adventure playground. F-Pimp was one of very few of the 30 Dates who posted their date write-up on Facebook immediately, and I loved that within an hour both his mother and sister had posted proud comments on the blog!
The week after our date, the Fake Pimpernel headed off to Vietnam. We kept in touch, and I got the following Facebook message on his return!
So how did he meet her?
Well, the Fake Pimpernel was in a backpackers’ hostel in Hanoi. In his words “I’d bought a crappy fake Northface backpack and was about to head off on a weekend trip to Sapa for my last few days in the country. As I was coming down the stairs, the cheap backpack snapped and everything came out – you name it – clothes, underpants, my electric toothbrush started vibrating across the floor. This guy at the bottom of the stairs, Mark, started laughing, and helping me pick stuff up. We got chatting and he tried to convince me to change my plans and go to a snake village near Halong Bay with him and two Canadian girls instead.”
He wrote those words over a year ago … and it seems it really way destiny!
F-Pimp describes it as “love at first sight”. (with Erin, not the snake in the photo above, obviously!!)
“I never believed it would happen like that until it did.”
Erin is from Edmonton, Canada, and within two weeks of returning home he’d booked flights out to see her in Canada, at the end of October. He then flew out again for Christmas and New Year, spending a month out there. She came over in March for his birthday, and brought some of her things with her, knowing she was planning to move over to the UK for good in June.
Three months ago Erin moved over to the UK to live with the Fake Pimpernel, and they started her European residency with a six week road trip around Europe.
When I asked what his best date has been with her, he answered honestly for someone who has been in a long-distance relationship for the best part of the year – “There’s no one particular date. Just the normality of having her over here. It’s so nice to wake up next to each other each morning.”
So what advice does F-Pimp have for anyone trying to make a long-distance relationship work?
“Speak a lot – speak every day. Phone, text, whatsapp, Skype – there are ways of staying in touch which don’t cost anything. Go out there as often as you can. I was in the lucky position that I could afford to, and I had the time thanks to the nature of my job. Keep in contact and keep working at it.”
Has he learned anything this past year? Apart from the fact love at first sight can really happen?
“Take opportunities. Have as much fun, while you can!”
Huge thanks to the Fake Pimpernel for returning to the blog, and for sharing his incredible international love story with us. I think we too quickly dismiss guys as being unemotional and unromantic, so it’s great to see just how excited men can be when they think they’ve met the right person. F-Pimp’s enthusiasm was there right from the start, when he sent me that email about Erin back in September, and it was still there when he chatted to me about her this week on the phone.
I’m really glad it’s all worked out for F-Pimp. He’s a great guy, and Erin is one lucky lady! I wish them all the best with their fairytale story 🙂
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
Have you missed some of the other 30 Dates, One Year On … ?