I’ve been in Belgrade for two months now. Things, at first, sailed along at a decent pace. A string of blow outs as long as my arm in the first week proved to me I was as hopeless as I ever was, so I was overjoyed to see the old magic was still there. The second week, I stopped acting like a puppy with a new toy and I started to get a couple of minor wins, a few dates. I was quite happy with what I had built for myself; bearing in mind I was working a modest pace of 43 sets in 31 days, around 1.3 sets a day.
Then multiple ‘disasters’ struck four weeks ago.
Disaster 1- The Covid conversation kicked off in Serbia again, driving people off the streets and re-introducing some lockdown rules. The footfall in the streets was decimated and the hustle and bustle of the people who were out was greatly dampened.
Disaster 2 – The Serbs then started rioting, over something a politician said. Tear gas was being thrown around like confetti for a few nights. Like many things in life, while it was a good laugh in the moment, we all paid for it later. The streets were dead for a few days afterwards and Nick even got ill off what we thought at that point was the tear gas.
Disaster 3 – It wasn’t the tear gas. It turned out that Nick, and now I, had caught Covid. He obviously caught it and carelessly passed it onto me. We didn’t get tested; it would have been a huge mistake to end up in Serbian Covid jail, so we can’t know for sure that we had it, but all the symptoms matched; the fever, the weird cough, the muscle aches, the loss of taste and smell, dizziness. The loss of taste that was the worst to bear and when Nick turned up for lunch in white socks and beige sandals, I knew we were in big trouble.
Two weeks on from that and we now appear to have flushed Covid out in what appears to be record time. So although we have had no game success, we have stumbled upon the answer to the pandemic and saved the world! How to survive Corona.
Obviously Corona cannot survive for long in the body of banging top lads. That much is now clear to see. We’re just too mad for it for the virus to be able to get comfortable and settle down. The virus is, in virus terms, a dork. Dorks (and apparently my neighbours) don’t like the Stone Roses or Billy Idol, especially not first thing in the morning. We do. We fucking love it. Dorks can’t handle it when we sit around talking about boxing and football, they talk about sitcoms. Dorks don’t wear cool clothes, they dress from Asda. When I open my wardrobe to a full squad of terrace originals, the virus panics, as the last thing it wants is a day on the beer with lads, 90 minutes standing in the rain on the Turf watching the football and then a fight and a pint on the way home.
We’re far too mad for it for the virus to survive.
The proof of the pudding came when we asked our mate in Australia, Joe O, if he’d had Corona and he said ‘not even close, not even a sniff lads’. My jaw dropped when I heard those words and I put 2 and 2 together. He’s so BTL the virus can’t go near him! Nick and I recovered in record time too so there’s that and none of my mates in Burnley has had it and they all love the Roses. We all went to the Heaton Park gig and some even went to Spike Island, though not me I was too young.
Then I started to think… who does get Covid a lot and who suffers a lot when they do get it. And the answer is… not banging top lads. Bald and Bankrupt got it really bad, but where’s he from? Manchester? Burnley? Manchester? Somewhere cool like Burnley or Manchester? No… he’s from Brighton. He’s a great bloke but… Brighton… Prawn sandwiches, Chardonnay and Natasha Bedingfield?
Then I really saw it. What is the one town that is currently relocked down at the moment with too many cases?
Blackburn, the shittest town in the UK!
Case fucking solved. If you’re mad for it, you’re immune, simple as that. If you’re a horse fiddling scruffy cunt, you’re going on a ventilator.
We’ve nothing to worry about us day game lads. Literally the more sets you do; the less you get Corona.
What pisses me off is that that personal trainer Nick’s been using told him some bullshit mix of pills and supplements for us to take, so we snecked a load of that last week. Now in hindsight it looks like we didn’t ever need it as we were immune all along. Total waste of money.
Back to the disaster movie. Disaster 4 – As a result of the overall Covid situation, Serbia got taken off the ‘safe list’ by the EU and now it’s much harder to leave Serbia and go elsewhere. There are options, but they’re pretty inefficient. For example, we could go to Croatia but it’s a 14 day isolation period. We could go to Bulgaria but there’s also an isolation period and I hear now that Covid is kicking off over there again anyway. On balance, it has been better to stay here and sit it out in a dead town than try and fuck about looking for alternatives.
Disaster 5 – It’s now late July and coming into August, awful weeks to be in the Balkans any year. The cities empty considerably. So it does look like we’re in a lull no matter which way we turn.
So the last month has been a lost month for game. We have done 1 set each in all that time. Even when we were well enough to be out, Belgrade may as well have been Accrington for all the game there was to be had.
This week has got better, I can say that. There is some fun to be had now if you’re casual day-gamer just cranking notches and can be liberal with your targets.
Sad to say, I am no longer a casual day gamer, so it’s still a bit tougher for me as my market is very much shrunk from what I enjoyed in the casual past. I can’t simply hit on any hot girl that walks past anymore and just see what happens. Not all hot girls are long term dating material. Buying a car is a very different mindset to renting one and from day one here in Belgrade, I have been faced with a totally different set of internal pressures than I previously was. So I thought it would be interesting to talk about.
From the very second I began here, two months ago, I was letting some girls walk past. I would wonder why I’d let a reasonably hot girl go by asking myself, ‘she’s hot, why not stop her’? I’d answer, ‘I just can’t see myself dating her’. But then I would go back to, ‘she was young and beautiful, so why not’.
The fact is that many girls are now simply not an option for me, no matter how tight her hot pants are, or even how much she likes me. But why?
Take a look at these examples. Both worth a notch, but for long term dating, can you see why one I would naturally scare away from? Not so much as who is hotter, or who is most up for it, but what signals they’re sending me.
It is obvious to me which is no and which is go, but it wasn’t obvious why.
We eventually teased it out. I think we’d both been feeling it. But Nick identified it mostly, this is mostly his rational explanation of what I knew by instinct, but couldn’t explain.
Let’s say there’s simply two types of female I’m now filtering against:
Group 1 – ‘Girls’
Group 2 – ‘Women’
‘Girls’ are like a spinning bottle, in that period of their life where they’re certainly no longer a child, but they’re not yet a ‘woman’. While the bottle is spinning they don’t fully know what they want, what they believe or what they like or what they eventually are going to want, believe and like. They may try many different things in order to find out. It may be music, fashion, drink, older men, but only once the bottle has stopped spinning and it points solidly in a direction, only then do she and I know more about what direction she is going in. At that point, for the purpose of this theory, she becomes a ‘woman’.
When they are a ‘woman’ you can sense it in them and it’s that sense, that trigger, that is part of what I’ve been seeking. That’s the green light I’ve been waiting for, but when I see ‘girls’, I don’t get the green light, I actually get quite the opposite.
There are things in the way they move and the way dress and present themselves that show where they are in their maturity. The spinning bottle can be seen in their fashion and their manners. A girl in Converse, dirty jeans and a check shirt has maybe just got into music and started going to gigs on the local music scene. She’s still into fads; she tries things out to see if she likes them. That’s a warning sign to someone in my position. I don’t want to risk being the next fad for 8 months. I don’t fancy risking a ‘girl’ who isn’t yet sure of who she is and to some degree what she yet wants. It could be a disaster. And that danger is what I have been sensing, without really understanding.
At 42 I have time, a year or two yet, to cash out on my SMV on a gem, but I have to be careful how I choose to spend that precious time. I haven’t got too much time to waste on, for example, dates with girls who are still wearing a t-shirt of their favourite band. Am I really going to walk her down the aisle a year from now? Am I really going to go home and tell her parents I am going to marry their daughter?
The time on dates is wasted time; a casual fling is more wasted time; I do have some time to waste, I can drop a few hours here and there, but the real disaster scenario for me would be this: I meet a ‘girl’. We date X months. We move in together. X months later we buy a dog. Then, X months later she changes and her priorities are different. She gets cold feet or just becomes a different person. She decides she wants to go to Prague and become painter. For her, it’s hard for her to cut her losses with a tear in her eye, but for me, I’m now 44, I’ve just burned up two years of prime juice and I’m left with a dog to look after. I don’t want to be doing another reset next year.
In female years I am guessing I am 27. Maybe for a man 42 – 48 is similar to a woman’s 27 – 30. I don’t know. Something like that? You tell me. But you get the picture.
I know you can date early-20 year olds when you’re 50. I saw my dad do it. But he didn’t want to marry them and start families. That would have been insanity. There’s so many tricky logistics to deal with there.
I’d want to put this project to bed at the young end of middle age. I want to be confident that the young women I’m dating are ‘women’ and capable of being keen about where this is going. These outward signs of maturity that I am recognising are reassuring to me and the outward signs of immaturity that I am recognising are dangerous to me.
So now, understanding this, I wait patiently for the streets to open up a bit more. There are plenty of ‘women’ out there, it does cut the market down, but they are there.
There’s also a huge, huge upside to this situation I am in. The upside is that when you’re younger with time to waste on anything hot with two legs – or even one leg if she’s hot enough, then you want lots of results and multiple notches matter to you. 1 girl a year would be a total disaster.
However, in my case, it only needs to be 1 girl; it just needs to be a good ‘1’. One good stop, one great girl, one good date is all it takes. I may be operating in a limited market with less to open, I may have to filter much harder, but I only need 1 result to bank a lifetime win.
And as we know, the next set can always be the Golden set. That could even be tomorrow afternoon in dreary old Belgrade.