When the last post finished I was standing on the stage at the ICC feeling more than a bit shell-shocked. I was holding my award aloft and looking past the blinding stage lights at an audience of a couple of thousand people. It was all very unreal.
In this practically perfect moment there’s a tall celebrity with perfect teeth (that I’ve just been enthusiastically hugging) standing between me and Angie. She’s been staring at him throughout the proceedings like he’s made entirely of chocolate and I’m wondering if anyone has a crowbar to separate them.
After she finally let go of Rylan we headed offstage where there was a small gift bag waiting for each of us.
I forgot to ask Angie what was in hers (I think it was a necklace) but mine contained something rather lovely – a pair of onyx art cufflinks with three Slimming World red crystals inlaid in a row!
This is a little gift that would probably have been totally lost on some people (I don’t think many men wear cufflinks any more) but regular readers will know that I’ve become something of a cufflink collector – and have more than enough shirts to pair them with and the willingness to make regular use of them.
I also think they look rather classy!
My official award looks darned nice as well – and I think it will go really well with my other two from Slimming World (I already had a 3rd place in the greatest loser competition and a semi finalist one from the MOTY event in July) but boy was it sharp and heavy!
This is a tricky trophy to hold!
If I was mugged on the way back to the hotel then my assailants were going down! My newly acquired monolith was a solid glass shooting star with my name and title engraved at the base.
I absolutely totally flipping love it!!!
I think it also looks rather nice when it’s offset by Angie’s simply stunning dress – which I’m sure you’ll agree she looks awesome in!
There wasn’t much time to take it all in though, because almost immediately after we stepped off the stage the Woman of the Year 2018 finalists gathered behind us to find out who out of the three would receive their coveted award.
I have to say (although I can’t tell you who actually won until it’s officially announced in the press) I totally called it!
All of the three on stage would have been very worthy winners – and looked amazing both in person and in their before and after videos as well as coming over as really nice people.
This lady however was someone that I immediately liked – she (for me anyway) was a great choice – and I’m convinced she’ll have a fantastic year!
You’ll all see her in the media soon enough and I’m convinced you’ll agree with me. She’s lovely inside and out – and this was confirmed when I got to talk to her and her partner later on.
Once the huge red tickertape of glitterbombs had gone off and Margaret had said her final closing words we all gathered on stage one final time to have a little moment before the food was (finally!) served at the tables.
It wasn’t meant to be Slimming World friendly (oh the irony) but by that point I really didn’t care.
It was 9pm, I’d barely had more than a cherry tomato all day long and would have eaten a scabby camel if it had wandered past me with ketchup behind its ears.
Thankfully this was fine dining and there was no need to gnaw furry humps.
- Starter – lentil and coconut pate, harissa ratatouille, peppers, apricot ketchup and smokey paprika crackers.
- Main – a daube of beef & brisket croquette, spinach, leek and carrot rösti with a green peppercorn sauce.
- Dessert – trio of dark chocolate mousse & cherry compote with chocolate cookie, Bailey’s cheesecake with fudge and candy floss and a lemon curd with raspberry dusted coconut dipper.
At this point all that was left to do was dance and mingle!
I wasn’t really ‘feeling’ the music played by the (admittedly excellent) band – so I decided upon the latter option, and headed for the photo booths with my party (another SW consultant Jodie and her friend had been with us for most of the day and we were all keen on marking the occasion) where I had the chance to discover how I would look in a really tiny policeman’s helmet and a pink elephant hat.
I’m sure you’ll agree the answer is ‘very fetching’….
As we waited in line for the booths the conversations with the surrounding people started to follow a theme and began to underline what would be the other two main features of the evening.
- Endless selfie requests
- Enquiries about whether I was looking for love with men or women – as I had clearly looked very comfortable hugging Rylan and was rocking a rather Graham Nortonesque beard…
I acknowledged to those intent on confirming my preferences that I’d accidentally doubled my target audience of stage – but told anyone who wanted to know that (despite how lovely Rylan was) I was definitely looking for a lady.
I then agreed to anyone who wanted a selfie that they could have one and upload it wherever they chose to.
In some cases I also got one in return!
If you want to see who these people are you’ll find more about some of them on my instagram feed (link) (which they were all happy to appear on – which is why they’re on here) as well as plastering me all over their own!
It was around about this time that I finally ventured onto the dancefloor (‘Uptown Special’ by Mark Ronson caught my ear and engaged my rythm) and realised the extent to which the ladies nearby me had taken it upon themselves to introduce me to other eligible women.
One person in particular (you know who you are) had appointed herself my unofficial ‘wingwoman’ and was doing an absolutely epic job of vetting every possible applicant that passed nearby for the position.
I have absolutely zero ‘wedding ring radar’ and since I approach every interaction with men or women as a potential friendship I’m totally useless these days at any kind of chat up or come on.
I’m absolutely paranoid about appearing like a pest or a lech by the opposite sex – and this (I think) usually leads me to be ‘friend-zoned’ in an instant. The truth of it is that this needs to change, and what better place to start learning about this side of myself than on a dancefloor in a room with nearly hundreds of women who all know I’m single?
I’m totally done with being alone.
I need someone to share my life – and I’m actively on the case.
My wing-woman was clearly a pro though, and rather than just pointing ladies in my direction she was also performing ‘forthright vetting duties’ and clearly had no fear about doing so.
‘Are you single?’ she asked them. ‘Are you looking for a partner?’ she replied if they nodded. ‘Would you like a selfie with the Man of the Year?’ she offered. ‘Maybe that photo would look better if you were kissing?’ she hinted if they did.
Much to my complete surprise this actually worked!
I can’t fault her enthusiasm for the task at hand (or indeed the results because she did a sterling job) and she quickly went from being a completely unknown person at the start of the evening to my favourite new friend!
The night went really well – and I felt like a million bucks when the dancefloor and hall finally began to empty at 1am. It wasn’t until quite late the following morning that I finally hit the sack, after being awake for around 24 hours…
When I did I had a big smile on my face.
The day (and evening) had been awesome.
But my adventure wasn’t quite over – and the experience wasn’t fated to end quite the way I expected it to because before long I’d be in hospital – and it was an altogether pretty scary experience.
Join me next time internet for the final part of this story – the epilogue….