City Lawyer’s Dating Directness Pays Off – Despite Kidnap Ordeal

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By Alex Aldridge on

“Only go out with me because you want a baby and to settle down. I’m in my late 30s and that’s what I want.”

During a brief spell on the London internet dating scene a while back, I encountered some direct individuals. But the above ultimatum, issued by Latham & Watkins solicitor Paula Gourley (pictured), is the most cut-to-the-chase dating strategy I’ve heard of yet.

The recipient was Maziar Bahari, a journalist who Gourley had met at the Frontline Club, a hangout for war reporters in Paddington.

So what happened?

Having been granted a deadline of June to decide if he wanted to make a child with Gourley and settle down, Bahari came back with the following response on the first of the month: “I’ve made a decision. Let’s have a baby.”

As the Sunday Times tells it, Gourley got pregnant soon after. However, then Bahari, who’d popped over to Iran to do a spot of reporting for Channel 4, was arrested and thrown into the country’s notorious Evin prison. After 118 days of captivity, during which time he was tortured, Bahari was released just in time to witness the birth of his daughter.

Two years on, Bahari has a book out about his ordeal – ‘Then They Came for Me’ will be released in the UK next month – and Gourley remains a lawyer specialising in bank finance and securitisations.