Public relations – the holistic process. One topical example, Donald Trump

I’ve worked for a PR company in my long and chequered career  and they had a great definition  posted up on the wall, wish I could remember exactly how it went, maybe someone can remind me? It was based on a first date

He tells her ‘I’m the best dancer / cook / lover / (pick one) you’ll ever meet’ – that’s advertising

He tells her ‘ask that woman over there, she’ll tell you I’m the best dancer / cook / lover you’ll ever meet’ – that’s marketing

She says to him ‘I hear you’re a wonderful dancer / cook / lover ‘ – that’s public relations.

We of course insisted PR was the best way to package anything.

It can go either way, once the word is out there it takes on a life of its own. Donald Trump, then and now, is a wonderfully topical example. Three years ago if anyone had said ‘Donald Trump’ you’d picture that bizarre hair, the hectoring thuggish image, oh yeah I heard of him, Ivana Trump’s ex? Today, whether you’re a supporter or bug-eyed that he has supporters, you know the guy better than you know your neighbours.  Power of publicity.

Right now I’ve got three areas of my life that need work. Dating, looking for a new job as redundancy is happening early next year, and selling books.

Dating, the advertising part is setting up your website profile, sure, but marketing?  It’s an area where you don’t really want to promote the fact you date a lot, that doesn’t imply permanence and that hand-in-hand walk into the sunset!  And frankly, double standard is still double standard, is it really good PR if a man says hey, I hear you’re hot in the sack? So the trick would be to find a website with a public forum, set up a good profile without over-selling, make engaging comments on the public forum, and build up exactly the right image so that others find you fascinating and queue up to date you. What could possibly be easier?

roll eyes

Job-hunting isn’t something I do very often and I suspect I am both very good and very bad at it. My ad, the old faithful CV, is good. My record is good, and my verbal references are great – I rarely go for an interview without being offered the job but, here’s the crunch, I never get offered top salary. Ever.  That needs salesmanship or amazing PR and I am rubbish at selling.

doh

Take selling books, oh, I know the process. Putting link after link on social media and trying to word them exactly right to hit that elusive demographic, the reader who clicks and buys, is the learning curve.

Marketing, that even more elusive demographic, the reader who reviews, who is prepared to put on record that they (a) bought the book (b) enjoyed it and (c) will buy more  – oh how we love them. That gets abused, too, especially by the professional publishers, within minutes of a book going on sale several hundred, or thousand, readers (numbers depending on budget) rush to record it is the Very Best Book they ever read ever EVER.

PR is the reader who tells friends about the book they enjoyed. The priceless word-of-mouth  recommendation. Dream world, that friend tells friends, conversation starts and spreads like wildfire.

daydream

I did write a how-to book about dating as a mature single. Perfect world, it could sort out the employment and increase sales of my other books as a by-product. Any PR gurus out there – call me? And oh yes I do realize putting Donald Trump in the headline was an odd attempt at a demographic. Politics aside, though, he’s a type of older man us autumn roses would come across and seriously, picture him without the billions, would you date him? Should you?

help

mr-will-do-nicely

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Don’t accept the first offer, haggle. Apparently. Does that cover first dates as well?

I have been offered job relocation to a much more expensive part of the UK, but it wasn’t a very good salary offer, so I said no. The offer was instantly pushed up to around 25%  more than my existing salary.

Hang on – if you want me, why make a mediocre offer to start?  I said I would think about it but all I can think is hmm, should I refuse again and see if it goes higher? Push my luck?

As it happens, my car insurance just came due. 9 years no-claim bonus, 16 years with the same insurer, £400. In the same post I got a letter from Saga offering car insurance starting from £109 a year. So of course I got an on-line quote. Like for like, plus lower excess than my current insurer, plus a couple of handy extras, the quote came in at £258.

I rang my current insurers to say I wouldn’t be renewing and they instantly dropped my £400 renewal cost down to just over £300. Pass.  But I did ask why, with 16 years loyalty, I didn’t get the best possible offer to start with?

Like why, with my existing proven track record with my current employers, who do want me to relocate, I didn’t get the best possible offer to start with?

How far does this haggling thing go, anyway? Has it spilled over into all sides of our lives?

I’m a mature single on a dating website (write books about it and all) but have I missed a trick here? When someone suggests a first meet over a pub lunch somewhere, should I be responding ‘not unless you send a taxi and make it a proper lunch at the Ritz Grill with you picking up the tab’ just to start the negotiations?

I looked on Amazon – with over ten million titles available, I reckoned there’d be at least one book on the subject. There was one on how to haggle to save money on everything. It was quite expensive – I emailed the author a counter-offer.

But there was no book I could see on haggling for the BIG things.

  • Income.
  • Politics afloat on a sea of money but offering us crappy choices.
  • Lots on religion but nothing comparative, you know, to compete for our patronage and donations.
  • The start of love has millions of books, but none on haggling up front. Once love is launched, there’s some financial advice but most books covering finance are reserved for the end of love, the really expensive bit. May the best haggler win.

It seems that for the really big things  we either have no choices at all, or need iron nerve and bluff.

That’s seriously worrying because my how-to book on successfully meeting mature single men is already on pre-order and if I missed an entire haggle culture, it’s not going to be as seriously useful as I thought it was.

sigh


mr-will-do-nicely

Are you a glowing autumn rose? How-To meet a Mr Will-Do-Nicely … coming soon.

A couple of the reviews on Rainbow, while friendly enough, remarked they had bought the book thinking it was a guide to flourishing as a mature single. Well, in a way it was, the men (and women) Dorothy came across were exaggerated for fictional purposes, but they are distinctive types to be found on every website for mature singles.  A small cross-section in a very large field, you could say.

I’ve written blogs about the types, and I certainly had plenty of material. Write another novella, pulling in more types, and more advice? Or do a how-to book?

I went with the how-to. Well, I went with two. There’s one coming out On Meeting Mr Will-Do-Nicely, and there are times you’d think I was trying to keep all the single mature men to myself, it is so crammed with cautionary tales. I’m not, honestly! The fact remains that most of them pass from hand to hand like hot potatoes (leaving burned fingers in their wake) because eligible men in their fifties and sixties, especially the ones who have been single for a while, are a whole new ballgame.

So why even bother, risk being hurt, heartbroken, scammed, poorer but wiser?  Because we are gorgeous, and still fizzing with life and adventure, and forewarned is forearmed. Go have fun. Do no harm.

As I wrote Mr Will-Do-Nicely I kept adding bits of advice I’d been given, or discovered for myself, which have nothing to do with dating and everything to do with making the best of the totally unexpected surge of energy and sunshine suddenly lighting up life and turning us into autumn roses.  It’s an odd reality that women in their late forties, even early fifties, menopausal and irritable and mourning the loss of fertility, are the most resentful of our Indian summer. You’re how old? You cannot be feeling healthier, fitter, more interested in sex and life generally, than we are, we feel old, you are old!

Ooooh, ffssssssssst.  Whether they like or not (well, they don’t) you can feel better than them. You do. They’ll find out, if they can shake that attitude. Sometime after the menopause the rush of life comes roaring back, for at least a while, and it is wonderful. It is so easy to waste it, with the wrong mind-set. Eventually I’d added so many notes about that it was diluting the singles book. So I moved them to another, On Perfecting The Indian Summer.

Am I an expert? No. Qualified to give advice? Only by experience. These aren’t books that order you about, lay down the law, they are How-To books based on reality.  I’m in my late fifties, I didn’t expect the Indian summer myself, and I did waste the start of it. I briefly joined a mature singles website to research one of my whodunits (Five Six Pick Up Sticks) and later I joined another for Nine Ten Begin Again so I could ask some fairly direct questions, and eventually I wrote A Second Rainbow. I’ve had a lot of fun, in the name of research, along the way. As for the Indian summer itself, I’ve met many women enjoying the sunshine, including my own half-sisters over a decade ahead of me in age, and they’ve all been generous with sharing advice. I played with the subject, in Eleven Twelve, where I called it the gloaming, and that put me in touch with more autumn roses. There are a lot of us quietly out there.

It will be interesting to see how the books do but if a single reader, just one, enjoys herself more as a result of reading either, they did their job.

Out sooooooooooooooon

Men on understanding women

Well, men don’t. Even mature single men who have known many women over many years have a formula they cling to, and they duck and run when that stops working because they’ve given up trying to understand women. Women don’t always understand women. You’d think as we all got older we’d mellow but it doesn’t seem to work that way, we get a little bit weirder. Or, as we all, men and women, like to think, more interesting.

I like men, some of my best friends are men, and I sometimes envy them their confidence. But every now and then they ask me, usually sounding a bit bewildered, why their woman, (or the woman they would like to make their woman) acts irrationally.

(Okay that sounded like that old joke, “my girlfriend thinks I’m a stalker. Well, she isn’t really my girlfriend yet”)

The thing is, half the time I can only take a wild guess. Women can be bonkers. So can men, but that’s another blog.

I wrote a book about second-time-round (mature) singles which is mainly for women – lots of advice and warnings wrapped up in a story with sexy bits – and you know what, men could do worse than read it for a sneak peak into how women think.

Oh, and if you got here too late for the special in the next blog, click on the cover in the margin – see it? A Second Rainbow? that’ll whisk you off to your closest friendly Amazon. Read the sexy bits, sure, but then re-read the bits about how women think. You’ll thank me. Tell your friends. Don’t tell your rivals.

Ever researching on your behalf.

Elegsabiff.

 

Grumpy Old Men – grumpy? Make that raging …

I wish, I really wish, I could triumphantly produce the sure-fire way of avoiding the worst types of Angry Single. Whether you are twenty-something and know nothing, or fifty-something and think you know it all, you are going to bump into these men and women, and they are hard to spot because we all have a trace of Angry Single in us. Some of us need a hug. Some need a lobotomy!

I ended the last blog saying anyone meeting a single through a website should keep an emotional distance until they’ve met his or her friends, family and, ideally, ex. This is absolutely the only way you can hope to escape being blown up by the full-blown, psychologically damaged, destructive types. Hang on to that emotional detachment.

Most of the regulars on my favourite singles website know that I am fascinated by their stories, and everyone loves a listener. I’ve learned, and am still learning, things that would make your hair stand on end, yet none of us can yet define the full-blown nut-job from a straightforward common-or-garden selfish single. The latter are bad enough, granted, but they aren’t deliberately cruel and you can look back at the relationship, spot what went wrong, learn from it. The nut-jobs will send you crazy wondering what you did wrong. The answer? Nothing.

Angry Singles range from the resentful to the psychotic, and you could reject someone having a few adjustment issues as easily as you can overlook the warning signs of true disaster. Unfortunately the only true way is in retrospect. If he or she behaves well during, and after, the break-up, they were okay. If he or she is utterly indifferent and even vicious if cornered, ouch.

Okay, that’s not much help! But it is why meeting an ex is so important. There are three sides to every breakup (his, hers and the truth) and some breakups are seriously toxic. The guy you are keen on could have met an Angry Single last time out, and most definitely will not get a good report there! But if he or she can’t produce one person from their past who will speak well of them, be afraid. Be very afraid. (By the way, can you produce someone like that yourself?)

This blog isn’t, for once, personal experience, despite my adventure, but I will say his ex wrote to me at toxic length when she saw a pic of him on my Facebook page. I already knew his track history was dire and he was as much frog as prince, there was nothing she said that he hadn’t already told me, and no horrible surprises. It was oddly reassuring, and it also kept me properly centred. Speak to the ex!

The only warning signs seem to be too much, too soon:  yet we all hope for that magical flare-up, the driving excitement. Being older simply adds to that pressure, we all have one eye on the clock. It isn’t easy to keep your head when being swept off your feet, but it is the only way you will survive and the true Angry Single doesn’t hang around long – a few months. So many singles, after all, is their philosophy, so little time.

Pure Angry Singles are obvious:  controlling, domineering, jealous almost from the first exchange of messages, fiercely sorry for themselves, and nothing is ever their fault. Don’t kid yourself: a hug isn’t going to sort this one, the future will not be rosy. Abusive relationships are abusive relationships, however you met. Back away at the first warning sign, and the earlier the sign, the faster you should run.

The Rebound Single has been suddenly dumped back on the market after an unexpected breakup, furious that life has short-changed them, determined to catch up the lost years and cram in every experience, every ounce of attention that they know they are owed. Was it Mae West who said the only way to get over someone is under someone else? Not so funny when it’s personal, and not at all funny when you find yourself with a full-blown Angry Rebound Single. The first quarrels, even the first hint of criticism, and boom, they are rushing on to the next adventure, one resentful eye on that clock. They are the worst of the Selfish Singles, and the more recent their last relationship was, the more careful you should be about getting involved emotionally. That baggage is heavy, and sometimes it is loaded with dynamite.

It’s sometimes hard to define whether all long-term singles are damaged, or instead that all damaged people are destined to be long-term singles, but sociopaths and malignant narcissists do love the singles websites. Hang on to your detachment until you have met the background people normal folks have in their lives. Chances are you will be dumped just for insisting. Ouch, yes, but better to be bruised than eviscerated. That’s about the only test I’ve been able to come up with, despite asking a lot of questions.

The ONLY warning therefore is, again, too much, too soon. Angry Singles will rush you, ‘love-bomb’ you, pour attention and passion over you. If you kept that emotional detachment, rode the wave instead of going under without a struggle, then you can pick yourself up when it dumps you on the beach, put a touch of arnica on the bruise, and try not to become an Angry Single in turn! It wasn’t your fault, there was nothing you could have done to change things, and you’ll know better next time.

I don’t make a penny from this blog, so hopefully will be forgiven for linking that anthem of the bewildered victim: Ti Amo

I write for older singles, those at the far end of middle age, no longer young, not yet old. We have no definition for our age, yet as baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, we are a huge group, and entering what is for most of us the best time of our lives. Divorce rates have never been higher: many of us are single, but we can’t and won’t let that imprison us in our homes, right?

My blogs on the subject have been warnings, for the most part, because there is an euphoria about this Indian summer which can take us in all innocence down the wrong paths. My books, on the other hand, are a celebration of this lovely age, and my blogs will be focused more on the positives from now on. The best really is yet to come!

Grumpy Old Men: telling porkies

I took some flak from a Grumpy Old Man about my dating website blogs. He says I don’t underline the dangers and the risks enough, I make it sound fun. Most singles, he says darkly, are single for good reason, scammers are a real danger, and psychopaths, sociopaths, malignant narcissists, and a whole range of people with psychological disorders stalk the websites looking for victims.  Older singles (or if you prefer, those of us who have been young for a long time) returning to the singles world in a flurry of hope and nervous excitement are prime targets.

I did think I had made those points, but fair comment. He’s a Cynical Single and he has been on my favourite singles website a while longer than I have, using the same name throughout, which is in itself both a point in his favour and a reason to give up on him immediately. Only one of the characters in my books, ironically enough considering they are all single and in my favourite age group, would fall into a website type: Donald would be a Cynical Single, and it’s a type I find disastrously attractive. Edge did enter the world of Mature Singles in Five Six Pick Up Sticks as bait in a murder investigation: if any of them were to go onto the websites again, it would be Donald who kept them out of trouble and chased off the liars and chancers.

Dishonest Singles are everywhere.  Nobody, nobody, is totally honest on their profile or in the first exchanges. Even if they have no agenda for deliberate misrepresentation, they want to present themselves at their best.  They’ll say they’re separated, for example: they won’t say it’s their fifth divorce.

As a rule of thumb, you can be pretty sure anyone who has been on a singles website for more than a year is no longer a straightforward single person looking to meet another straightforward single person, no matter how beguiling the profile. At the very least they have unrealistic expectations: it’s got to be perfect, the potential partner has to be without peer and without flaw, rich, successful, good-looking and adoring, or will be dropped like a hot potato. And those are the honest ones!

Dishonest Singles with an agenda know that to remain too long on the website shelf is a warning sign, so they create new profiles, with new photos, every 8 to 10 months – or when they are in a relationship, so that the unsuspecting other half doesn’t realize they still have their fishing lines in the water.

Some Dishonest Singles are, of course, pure professionals.  I still find it hard to take the scammer threat seriously, because their approaches are so obvious, and their follow-up so weak, but let the point be made again. Don’t get smug, or feel you can spot a liar a mile away. Some are good. My Cynical Single says he learned of a man who took a year preparing the ground, then lifted fifty thousand pounds off his victim.

I say my Cynical Single but that’s wishful thinking. He’s remarkably good-looking and has a wonderful dry sense of humour, but that three years on the website has made him Teflon. Men are scammed more often than women, and he’s had some incredibly convincing approaches over the three years, successfully parrying them all. He eyes all and any approaches with such deep scepticism that although we are friendly, I suspect he thinks I’m playing a long game.  As if. He’s honest enough (unless, of course, he is softening me up to take money off me and frankly good luck to him, because I’m a writer, I don’t have any) but Cynical Singles are a dead end on the websites as far as romance goes.

The disappointments, the less skilful scams, the cynicals, are part of the learning curve. The most destructive are the Angry Singles, and they can be the hardest to spot, the most charming, the most insistent. I’ve bumped into a few along the way, and one featured briefly in Five Six Pick Up Sticks but I have learned so much more since then that they will get their own blog.

The safest route, with any single met through a website, is to keep an emotional distance until you’ve met their friends, their family, and, perfect world, their ex.  If they don’t have any friends, and family, and are tight-lipped or irrational on the subject of the ex, move on. That can be easier said than done, but you will, in the long run, save yourself a bad experience. Trust me on this. I have talked to a lot of single people of both sexes. You don’t have to make your own mistakes, there is no law against learning by the mistakes of others!

The last of the warning blogs follows shortly. Then it becomes time, and more than time, to start exploring the wonders of this lovely age we’ve reached, and the opportunities that it opens up.

Love in the Global Village – journeys end in lovers meeting

One thing about being older is realizing life isn’t going to deliver everything you once hoped, and when you look back at your decisions you regret more the things you didn’t do than the things you did. You do get braver.

I’ve done lots of research on second-time-around single life, and there are pitfalls aplenty (follow back the tags on website dating), but whether you want to meet a man for company, or just wish you knew more people, the dating websites are a useful resource. Life isn’t going to drop Mr Right straight into your outstretched hand – Mr Will Do Nicely is the most you can really hope for – but don’t waste your wonderful Indian summer in vague restlessness, sitting lonely at home.

The idea of a singles website, especially for mature singles, is that you look for people near you, read profiles, and if you like the look of someone, shyly indicate interest by whatever means the website provides, or send a cautious message. When you’ve exchanged enough messages to feel fairly confident this is a real person, not a scammer, you might exchange purpose-specific email addresses, phone numbers . . . the usual process towards meeting.

I do know a lovely woman who spotted a man in her own village and cut through all the conventions. She sent a message saying ‘tea at 3.30 tomorrow in the Ivy café?’ She is sixty one, he is sixty four, and they got married seven months later, shining with happiness. Those are the stories that fuel the huge singles market, and although they are the exceptions rather than the rule, they do happen. As often as lottery wins: but like the lottery, got to be in it to win it.

Every older man on a singles website can tell you he gets messages, practically daily, from gorgeous young women far far away, speaking slightly fractured English but so charming that he can’t resist replying. Pretty early on she’ll suggests something like, ‘I come to you. These are my bank details. Send money for flight, I love you long time.’  There are genuine success stories, men a little long in the tooth proudly posing for photographs with their lovely young golden-coloured wives, but most of the time money flies, the girl doesn’t.

However, this blog is for us autumn roses, and that exciting moment when a rather nice bloke is showing a really flattering amount of interest. Trouble is, he’s hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles away. Blast. You really enjoy his messages, he’s funny and interesting, and he looks out eagerly for yours and responds promptly. The attraction is instant, and mutual. Phew. Suddenly the local guys look rather boring. And you do need a holiday . . .

Whoa, Silver, don’t get carried away. There are a lot of conmen out there, and some are very good at their job, and make a nice living from women who are flattered and susceptible. There are also a lot of damaged men a sensible woman wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. An eligible man coming on the market gets fixed up so quickly by his friends’ wives he barely touches ground between the last relationship and the next, never mind having time to sign onto a singles website. The only way this lovely man you’re flirting with hasn’t been snapped up locally will be because either he isn’t actually lovely, or he’s blotted his local copybook.

But the man you found is different – yes, I know he is. Just don’t, to continue the horse metaphor, rush those fences. You like each other’s messages, emails and texts. You’ve exchanged flattering photographs, and you like those too. Stage one is going well. However, some LDR  relationships never move off the launching pad, and I wrote a blog about those. Do you have matching expectations? Not all men want to meet up. Lots of women don’t. Don’t assume, never assume . . .

Stage two: you do need to talk on Skype. Go buy a webcam, if you don’t have one. You’ll look hideous on camera but everyone does.  When you’re over 50, webcams can be downright spiteful. They seek out folds, creases and sags that you never even noticed you had! Experiment with lighting before you go live – sometimes the best is the brightest. Not exactly mood lighting, but at least you won’t look like Deputy Dawg. I’ve said this before, by the way, but never, ever, do anything on Skype you don’t want photographed – the facility is built in, you won’t even know the photo has been taken.

Create a separate Skype account for experimental chats. Use the name (and password) you use on the singles website for maximum convenience.

The webcam really is worth it, even if you go off each other instantly. (Well, especially if you go off each other instantly!) It is impossible to hide during a live conversation. Maybe he can’t meet your eyes, or his mouth hangs restfully open between sentences. Those wonderful flowing speeches in his letters are now halting conversation, with lots of ums and ahs. You sign off after a polite half hour with a sigh of both relief and regret.

What if you don’t go off him, but the mutual attraction increases? If this continues to grow legs and keep moving, you are going to have to consider stage three, and we aren’t talking tea at the Ivy. Because of the distance, this is a weekend. Or a week. Phew!

Others may disagree, but I wouldn’t invite him to your patch. An attractive, available, ideal, man is rarer than hen’s teeth and you are about to learn why this seeming catch is on the market. Don’t assume, never assume . . .He’s definitely flawed. He’s probably dodgy. He could be a full-blown nutter: do you really want him knowing where you live?

You can meet halfway, on neutral territory. The convention for that is that each pay their own flights, and the man pays for the accommodation. You’re both mature adults, and the accommodation is likely to be a double. In your position, I would discreetly contact the hotel and check other rooms are likely to be available at short notice. Just in case. Even if he is otherwise wonderful, he may turn out to snore like a foghorn.

If he lives in a part of the world you particularly want to visit, or you want to be sure he’s not married, going to his is the third option. It is the most alarming: you will be in a country where you know no-one, may not speak the language, and are risking spending time 24/7 with someone who could be truly scary. At least we autumn roses are unlikely to be sold into sordid slavery, but he could drink, do drugs, have dangerous mood swings, be subject to violent rages if thwarted.  Of course that’s true of any older single man you meet, even the guy in the next village, and you’ve talked so much, written so much to each other, that you know him far better, in some ways, than you will ever know the man in the next village. There is something about him, and you could wonder, for the rest of your life, if you should have taken the chance.

Take it.

Tell someone where you are going, who you are meeting, all the safety stuff. Arrange to be in touch with your safety back-up every day. Don’t assume, never assume . . .

By now you’ve been pretty honest with each other. Whatever you’re thinking, he’s definitely hoping there’ll be a little nookie. You’ve discussed your expectations, right? Your preferences, your absolute no-no’s, your maybes? This is important. Even learning that he rises with the lark and likes an early-morning five mile tramp before breakfast, while your holiday preference is to get up around ten, doesn’t need to be a deal-breaker. For a week, you can both compromise, but it is so much better to know in advance. You aren’t giggling, blushing, hopeful teenagers. Talk things through like the mature adults that you are. Don’t assume, never assume . . .

Whatever you say to each other, whatever bright hopes you have, accept that statistically this is not going to last. Don’t pin your hopes on true love, and golden years to follow, or that first holiday will be a terrible disappointment. The chances for a permanent happy ending are miniscule: frankly, about the same odds that you will be brutally murdered. Most LDRs end with the first holiday, although some may limp to a second. Bear that in mind, and set your sights on enjoying your holiday, being good company, and enjoying his.

As always in these blogs, I have done my research, although it was far more thorough than I ever intended: I was as surprised as anyone to find myself actually heading off into the blue, and vividly remember the shock of seeing the man I was about to spend a week with. I had assumed that talking and laughing every night on Skype for three months had been enough preparation. For a moment I nearly bolted back into the airport, as reality kicked in (what was I thinking?). Be prepared for that panic reaction, too!

A few LDRs do thrive on long separations and occasional meetings. We had several increasingly successful holidays as I worked on Thirteen Fourteen Maids a-Courting, which is set there, but a mutually genuine attempt to spend longer together here on home turf proved too much for something as pretty, glittering, and durable, as a soap bubble. We were temperamentally suited to short bursts of togetherness, and anything longer was definitely too real. Whether the underlying friendship will survive the ruffled feelings is anyone’s guess, but I wasn’t his first LDR, and won’t be the last. I have no regrets, put it that way: and some interesting memories!

In Thirteen Fourteen, Olga introduces her long-standing LDR friend, and regular readers learn Donald had an LDR too, which ended abruptly when he found someone closer to home. I don’t research this stuff for fun, you know. It’s all about the books. Nearly all about the books.

Ever researching on your behalf,

Elegsabiff