When a long-term relationship ended, fashion stylist Sarah, 29, decided she was done with the one-guy approach. Here she reveals how she finds the time – and sets the boundaries.

During dinner with Tom, a sweeter-than-expected banker whose jokes were as dry as the wine we were steadily getting through, I suddenly heard another man’s voice. “Sarah? Hey. Er, what are you doing here? And, um, who’s this?” Bumping into Mr. Then when you’re with Mr. Now is a fear faced by every girl with a dating past. Bumping into Mr. Monday Night when you’re with Mr. Wednesday Night is the reality of a girl with a dating present that’s in double figures.

Description: At last count, I’m dating 20 men

At last count, I’m dating 20 men

At last count, I’m dating 20 men. I don’t see every guy every week, but in the past seven days, I’ve been on three dates, declined four offers and had conversations with seven others. It was never a conscious decision to date this many men. In fact, I used to be a serial monogamist. But five years ago, when I found myself single, 24, and leading a hectic life as a stylist in one of the world’s biggest cities, New York, I decided to replace Just The One with The Sporty One, The Funny One, The Musical One, and, er, many others. Twenty is a record high. I don’t think I could fit in any more, though I am very good at multi-tasking!

If you’re thinking, ‘How? I struggle to meet one guy!’, being open-minded helps. My men don’t fit a ‘type’: they range in age from 25 to 46, they all look different and they have different jobs. The only thing I go by is whether there is any chemistry.

Secondly, always, Always sit at the bar. Dot it! Move there now! On a date, it means you can turn to each other, touch, flirt and set a more relaxed vibe. When you’re with a girlfriend, it’s a magical guy-meeting place. Thirdly, instead of fixating about whether a guy calls, ask yourself, ‘Do I actually even want him to call?’ the best thing about dating several men is that if things don’t work out with one, you have a Plan B (or C or D). The knowledge of that alone sends your confidence soaring. And once your confidence soars, you can walk into a bar and think, ‘I dint need anything from a man here’ – an attitude which, ironically, usually makes the men come running!

If the idea of dating multiple men feels alien, never do anything you’re not comfortable with. That’s never fun, and fun is the whole point. It’s important to date for the right reason (for me, increasing my chance of finding love), rather than for bragging rights or to get back at an ex.

I’d never lead a guy on, not even to be ‘nice’. I usually know in three dates if it could grow into ‘something’; if it’s not going to, I end it, just as I would if a guy was getting emotionally attached. I’m not secretive about dating more than one man. I simply day I’m not look for anything serious, that I just want to see how things go.

Description: I simply day I’m not look for anything serious, that I just want to see how things go

I simply day I’m not look for anything serious, that I just want to see how things go

I only ever sleep with one guy at a time. That’s just my personal choice. I would go on dates with two guys on the same day, but I’d never kiss both – though, at some point, I have kissed all 20. At the moment, I am sleeping with a guy, and while we have great chemistry, I don’t see it going anywhere – so I’m careful not to let him think we’re a couple just because we’re having sex. All you can do is be honest; if it does develop into more, it will do so all of its own accord.

Dating 20 guys has definitely improved my intuition. If I don’t get a good feeling, or they don’t seem nice, I say goodbye. And I feel like I’m really living. I’m learning jokes, being introduced to new music, making great memories and learning all about boy stuff, like whisky and sports facts! The hard part isn’t fitting the dates in. In the city, we’re great at finding time – a coffee here, a lunch there, a quick drink. The tough part is the worry that I’m missing what’s under my nose. Mr. Perfect could be there, but with all the choice, it’s hard to make a decision on one. But for now, my 20 fall into the ‘not deal-breakers, not deal-makers’ category.

And that’s dating for you: you win some, you lose some, but you’ve got to keep on playing, because one day, Mr. Right will step forward. I’m not sure what my magic number will be – but, in the meantime, there’s a lot of fun to be had with a lot of sexy guys.

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