The Tomato Stand

I love John Lewis Food Hall. It is the easiest place to spot single men and since they're coming from Soho and Harley Street - they're just my type.

I say it's the easiest way to spot single men because of these key observances...

Most likely his hands are exposed. If he's holding a basket or reaching for the squishiest avocado, you can easily see if he's wearing a ring.

If he's carrying a list... he's taken. What guy do you know that carries a list to do some grocery shopping at lunch time? Probably not a single one.

Is he with his girlfriend/wife/etc? Grocery shopping is an intimate time for couples. They often go together.

What's in his basket? Meal for one?

This isn't to say that I only go to the Food Hall to catch fellas. On the contrary, my eye is on the food, not the people. JL has some of the best ingredients and I often can't find them anywhere else - not to mention the bakery section is to die for. (Baklava people... baklava.) I only discovered this menagerie of career driven men about a year ago, and have been in a couple of relationships so the theory was never really put into action. But last week it all fell into place.

I was hanging out by the tomato stand admiring produce and about to grab some pasta when I bumped into a gentlemen who was standing right behind me.

I gave my apologies and laughed at my stupidity and scuttled out of the way to find some linguine. I looked back to get a better look of the person I'd just trampled on and saw he was dressed in smart/casual office attire carrying a basket in his left hand filled with... 4 ready-meals. Interesting, my mind thought. Then a quick glance at the empty ring finger, very interesting.

This happened in a brief second then I quickly looked back to the rows of pasta and pondered if I should get spinach, whole wheat, or regular pasta. I bucketed the spinach (to get my five a day) and made my way to the queue.

Sometimes the JL check-out queue is around the store but luckily it moves pretty quickly. I dilly-dallied around the chocolate biscuit section before adamantly abandoning the custard creams and moving to the end of the queue.

I'd been standing for about 10 minutes without moving too far, so I decided to check the time since I'd probably been out for at least 45 minutes of my 1 hour lunch break. I dug around in my bag and couldn't find my phone. I checked my pockets, my coat pocket, my bag again, my back pocket and nothing.

Oh my god, I hope I didn't leave it in the dairy section. I think I checked the time there last. Did I put it down when I picked up the sample of pain au chocolat?

I felt around my pockets again when I got a tap on the shoulder.

"Excuse me, miss, are you looking for something?"

Hellooooo guy from the tomato stand...

"Oh yes," I said in surprise and trying to suppress a smile, "I think I left my phone somewhere. I thought I put it in my bag, but it doesn't seem to be there. I'm always leaving it around."
I was still feeling my pockets and looking around in embarrassment.

"Oh," he said whilst looking around on the floor. "Well, do you want me to ring it?"

"Good idea, please do."

"Okay, what's your phone number?" he said, and smiled.

I could only grin back. Realising this could possibly just be a friendly gesture, and what the heck, he's cute; I gave him my number and he promptly called it. I felt my bag start to vibrate and dug my phone out from under the latest hardback I was reading.

"Ah, here it is! Thank you so much -"


"Gavin, yes, thank you. I'm Josie"

And we shook hands then made our way to separate check out counters. He told me to give him a call sometime.

I haven't, but I might.