I’ve just got back from the gym. I’m an absolute gym addict. I had a great body when I met my son’s Dad, Liam, but then I became a bit of a Stepford wife and developed a penchant for cooking 3 course meals for him every night. We used to smoke a lot of weed together too so the combination of that and my ridiculously calorific cooking was lethal and I put on A LOT   of weight. I’ll save the story of why for another blog, but I was 1 week pregnant when we split up (we obviously didn’t know). I was already well over weight at that point and I continued to pile it on throughout the pregnancy. I had a close friend at work who told me that it was a Jamaican superstition that you have to eat everything you crave otherwise your child will have a birthmark shaped like the food you craved but didn’t eat, so I used that as my excuse for consuming everything in sight. I saved J from having a KFC Bucket birthmark on his face though so it was worth it.

Being 5ft 3 means that I can’t get away with carrying a lot of weight plus I’m rounded and curvy anyway so I do not look good fat. I think women are sexy in all shapes and sizes but personally I feel better when I am slim. I nearly had a stroke when I got weighed at my final ante-natal appointment and they told me I was 15 stone. I secretly hoped that I was having the world’s first 3 stone baby so I was pretty gutted when he only weighed 7 pounds. Pregnancy wrecked my body to the point where I could not look at myself in the mirror for months, I had an emergency C section so there was a huge purple scar right across the top of my pubic area. My breasts had ballooned to an i cup! I didn’t even know that an i cup existed until I had to get specially made maternity bras. I stopped breastfeeding at a year and my i cups went back to their original F but they did not go back to their original bouncy beauty.

They were like wrinkly old Sainsbury’s bags with a melon in the bottom. If I bent forward they would collapse inside my bra, occasionally I’d forget, and then see photos where you could visibly see my crepey skin sagging on my chest. I had gained 1000 new stretchmarks on parts of my body that I didn’t know could stretch. My bum had spread and lost all shape, there was no distinction between my bum and my thighs or my bum and my back. The whole area had morphed into this weird looking flat expansive mass with a line down the middle. I looked like that naked Donald Trump statue but with tits and better hair. I disgusted myself. The fact that my vagina had remained intact was my only saving grace.

The night that I conceived my son was the last time that his Dad and I slept together, and that was the last time that anyone had seen me naked (apart from the midwives who fisted me) for nearly 2 years. I’d been with Liam for 5 years and we had deep intimacy, we lived together, we farted in front of each other,  and I was completely comfortable and unself-conscious being naked around Liam. I couldn’t contemplate a stranger seeing my current naked body. That was a scary thought. Becoming a Mum is a head fuck, your whole entire brain, body and world gets hit by a crazy, beautiful, incredible, stressful tornado. It’s like being given a job as a Neuro-Surgeon without any training in a country where you don’t know the language. You’re a hormonal sleep deprived mess and despite all the many wonderful, wonderful things about Motherhood, it’s fucking hard work. I highly rate anyone who has more than one child, you women are brilliant but crazy. It takes over your whole life.

After the tornado of the new born and baby stages had finished I started to think about men again. I wanted to meet someone, it had been too long, I needed some testosterone in my life and I needed to get over Liam, he had broken me. I was 24 when I met Liam and since then my life had changed drastically. Now I was a 31 year old single Mum heading out completely blindly into a world of dangerous Fuckboys, I was vulnerable as fuck. I wasn’t going out much and so it seemed logical to jump on to Plenty Of Fish to try to meet new people. Instagram wasn’t a big thing then so photos weren’t as slick, I was mainly an annoying Facebook user. I know I was annoying because my Facebook memories keeps showing me old statuses and reminding me that I was a DICKHEAD – in fact today’s memory from 2010 is a good example:

‘Friday night getting wasted with the girls loool, Saturday 3 course meal with my pal, love ya chick, Sunday ikea trip, then mum’s for a Sunday roast. Not a bad weekend’

Why did I think people wanted to know that? Anyway, my Facebook picture selection was limited. I hated how I looked and so I didn’t jump in front of the camera much. If I set up a Tinder account now I’d struggle to narrow it down to choosing 6 of the best pictures of myself to display, I’m confident that at least 1437 of my pictures have the capacity to lure men. I’ve learnt my angles and where the best lighting is in my house. Filters are my best friend. Not just filters, filters upon filters, take the pic on Snapchat, filter it, put it on Insta, filter it. My initial POF profile pictures were absolutely dire, I looked like a middle aged, over weight, plain, frumpy, recently divorced Mum of 3 in every single one. My preferred age range for men was set at 26 to 36 and my distance was set at 5 miles. That doesn’t sound like a lot but I’m not looking for a long distance relationship. I will reject you if you live in 20 miles away in Croydon, I don’t care how well we’re suited. On POF you were able to state what ethnicity you were looking for so I set mine to mixed race. With that criteria my options were pretty limited but on I trudged.

Profile pictures are important. If the first one is bad I won’t look at the rest. You can tell a lot about a person by the pictures they choose to put on dating apps. If a guy only has selfies it’s a no-no, guys shouldn’t even take selfies but one is just about acceptable on a day when they’re feeling themselves. The background is also extremely important. A selfie of a man standing in front of a single bed, with flat looking, non-matching duvet and pillows, in a room that has one of those emergency escape route stickers next to the door (therefore indicating that this is in fact a hostel), taken on a grainy Nokia 7650 is not going to be the profile picture of my soul mate. I am sure of this. I want to see pictures of a man with friends. I need to know that he has friends, but not girlfriends or friend’s that are considerably better looking than him, and I want him to write enough in his bio so that I can establish whether he is literate and if we have common ground.

I don’t remember what I wrote in my first POF bio but if it was anything like my Facebook statuses back then, then I’m not surprised that I didn’t attract many decent men. After ploughing through countless pictures of men with no friends in hostels, I eventually stumbled across a really good looking guy with great pics. I messaged him something that I probably thought was funny and I waited excitedly for his reply. It came 1 minute later. Yay, he’s ON IT, I thought. ‘Looool, this must be a joke right? You’re punching well above your weight love. Looool’ was his response before he blocked me. I don’t think I’m a good enough writer to put into words the feeling that hit me when I  read that message. I felt the pain stab at my core. I looked at my profile pictures and I felt so sad. And then I took off all my clothes and looked at myself in the mirror and I sobbed, loud gasping sobs, big huge tears spilling down my face. I lifted up my rolls and looked closely at my scar, I held my boobs up and tried to make them look how they used to, I studied my veiny, mottled looking thighs. I had lost myself. What had I become?

The next morning I got up and did Insanity and a week later I joined a gym. I needed to become a buff ting, it was my mission in life. I’ve got an addictive personality and so I started going to the gym 6 days a week, improvements started to show quickly and so I put a few more pictures on POF. This generated a message from Darren. Darren had 3 decent pics, he was my type, 6ft 1, athletic build, stubble, decent looking but nothing special. What attracted me to him mainly was his bio. He was a mental health nurse, I have a psychology degree and I work in that field so I thought we would have a lot of common ground. We chatted briefly on POF before exchanging numbers and having a phone call. The call was good, he had a sexy voice and there were no awkward silences. We arranged to meet a few days later for drinks and I put down the phone with a grin.

I was so excited for my first date in 2 years that I went all out when it came to getting ready. I swear it must have cost me about £300, I bought a whole new outfit and shoes, I had my hair blow dried and make up done, nails, toes and brows were ready (but those always are anyway, I might not always brush my hair but I mainly stay immaculately groomed) and I bought a set of £75 quid spanx. We were only going to a Whetherspoons in Islington. I felt really good, I had only lost a few pounds but it made such a difference to my confidence. I couldn’t wait to meet him.  As I pulled up in the cab I could see him waiting outside, I had butterflies in my stomach. I could only see a side view of him but I was thrilled to see that he looked far better than his pictures, my efforts had been worth it. I walked up to him and he gave me a hug, he smelt great and he told me that I looked lovely as he took my hand and led me inside. I had a good feeling about this!

Once inside we found a table in a quiet corner and we sat down. As he began talking to me I noticed that he had two large white clumpy bits of saliva in the corners of his mouth, they were wet and shining every time he turned his head towards the lamp and caught them in the light. I was alarmed by this to say the least. He pulled his chair round and sat closer to me, he locked eyes with me and held my gaze, it was fucking awkward, mainly because I could not look at his face without becoming completely nauseated by that Pritstick looking shit round his lips. I looked away and talked about something that had happened to me that day and he maintained full on eye contact with me throughout, not taking his gaze away even to blink. My story must have been relaxing because Darren had started rocking back and forth and never stopped. It was at this point that I excused myself and went to the toilet to call a friend.

‘Katie, I’m on a date with a guy who I thought was a mental health nurse but I think I must have misunderstood because I’m almost certain that he’s a mental health patient. You need to call me right now and tell me there has been an emergency, I need to get the fuck out of here safely right now babe, CALL ME RIGHT NOW KATIE, do you promise?’

Katie was in hysterics. I was not amused. I went back out and sat down with Darren who had been laughing to himself joyfully while he waited for me. Katie didn’t call me for 6 minutes, it was the longest 6 minutes of my life. I was fuming. When she did call I put on a dramatic performance. I said that my friend had left her keys at mine and I had to go to meet her urgently as she had a young baby. Darren was deeply disappointed, he told me over, and over, and over again. I told him that it was a massive shame but I really had to go, annoyingly he insisted on walking me to the cab station. As we walked down the busy main street I saw a homeless guy walking towards us, he had a duvet wrapped round his shoulders and he was definitely an addict, he was skinny and completely dead behind the eyes, his skin was covered in acne and grime. He was doing a rapid junkie march towards us and I held tightly on to my bag, as he approached I could hear him calling Darren’s name – Darren looked straight ahead and pretended he couldn’t see or hear this Trainspotting character who was now directly next to him and basically shouting in his face:

‘Ohhh I see you Darren, hanging out with me today doing bits and now you’re with your girl you think you’re better than me, Ok then, Ok’.

‘I’M NOT HIS GIRLFRIEND, I DON’T EVEN KNOW HIM’ I shouted so that anyone within earshot could hear.

Darren and the guy started arguing and I walked off hoping that neither of them would notice. I had made such a massive effort and now I was standing in the road with two crackheads having a row, this is not how I expected my date to turn out. Unfortunately Darren noticed me and chased after me. I spotted a Black Taxi coming towards us with an orange light and I star-jumped in the middle of the road to ensure that he noticed me. As the Taxi pulled up a very frail elderly man with a walking stick walked towards it and opened the door, I approached the man as I was going to suggest that we shared the taxi, but before I had the chance Darren barged him out the way and started shouting at him.

‘Fam, why you taking the piss? That’s my girl’s cab and you just disrespect her and try jump in, naaaaaaaaaa man, move innit, move, move, blud, move, …..’

As Darren became more irate the little man looked like he was going to die of sheer terror, I don’t think he had ever been terrorised by a demented Roadman before. I was screaming at Darren to stop but he just kept ranting uncontrollably. The driver got out and threw Darren to the curb by his collar. By this time a number of other random men had spotted this ridiculous incident and had run over to hold Darren down on the floor while the Police were being called. I was comforting the old man who appeared to be in a state of shock. I was crying hysterically, with every tear costing about £2 quid of my expensive pre-date make over. I could barely breathe in my spanx and it had started to rain so my blow dry turned to frizz. I didn’t stick around to watch Darren get nicked, I hailed the next black cab and fled the scene as fast as I could.

I got home and collapsed on my sofa after peeling off every tight, uncomfortable layer of clothing, jewelry, and make up that had been a part of that night. I couldn’t believe that I had gone on a date with a deranged crackhead. How had I not spotted any signs before? Surely deranged crackheads give off quite strong vibes, even on the phone. After that I became much more safety conscious online. I made sure that I saw a guy’s Instagram and Facebook before exchanging numbers so I could get a feel for what they were like and I’d talk to them for ages on Whats app and on the phone before agreeing to meet. That didn’t prevent me from having loads more disastrous dates (great blog material though) but I never had one with such an insanely psychopathic substance misuser again, so I must have been doing something right.

The quality of men that I started dating increased significantly once I finally shifted the last of my extra five and a half stone and loved myself a lot more.   Before the effects of the gym kicked in I had gone for a consultation at a Harley Street clinic to inquire about getting fat transferred from my stomach to my boobs (which has got to be the best operation ever invented). The Doctor told me that I had too little volume at the top of my breasts and so the only option for me would be an uplift which would cost £6,000 so I needed a little while to save up before I could get it done, but I am so unbelievably glad that I didn’t get it done, because I am now the proud owner of a pair of really great tits. My addiction to weight training at the gym eventually paid off and my boobs literally bounced back to about 70% of what they used to be. They are not perfect, slightly droopier than before I had my son and with a few more silvery stretchmarks, but I’m quite proud of that damage, it is evidence of the fact that I nourished a human being with my breasts alone for 4 months. Breasts are fucking magical. I love my boobs and apparently the lucky Fuckboys who have had the good fortune to see them do too.

I’m telling you this because I think every woman should know that if you train the shit out of your chest you will give yourself a free boob job, this is gold dust advice  for which you can thank me later. The gym changed my whole love life because it changed me. Now I look in the mirror at every opportunity I can get, I love my body, I still have a flabby looking belly but the rest is really OK, no saggy skin at all. My bum has found an acceptable shape again, my thighs are toned and no longer veiny and I’m more than happy to be seen naked with the lights on (but only if I’ve done a fake tan and had a wax). Self-love is often hard to achieve but once you do it’s without a doubt one of most powerful tools in your Fuckboy avoidance kit. I have still dated Fuckboys (accidentally) since finding self-love, don’t get me wrong, just better quality ones who had developed an ability to hide their Fuckboyisms for at least the first few weeks, but more on them in the next blogs .

Oh, and before I go you also need to know that the hot guy who sent me the devastatingly upsetting message that kicked started my weight loss contacted me the last time that I was on Tinder, I recognised him straight away but he definitely didn’t recognise me. He said:  ‘Wow, you are literally the best looking woman I have seen on this app in long time, I’m honoured that we matched’, so I replied saying ‘Whoops! That must have been an accidental match, sorry to be rude but you are punching well above your weight’ before I blocked him. Karma is good.