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Our Mutual Friend

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I can’t wish I’d never met youCC Image courtesy of Thomas Leth-Olsen on Flickr

That you hadn’t appeared

Hunched

A little shy

Around the corner

I’m looking for Anna

I think you said

And proceeded to tell me of our mutual friend.

 

That I hadn’t sat beside you in the kitchen

That first day

And listened to you talk

And thought you the leader of the group

And felt a little awed.

 

That I hadn’t read your words of congratulation

And smiled so wide

Because you were the first to write the way I felt inside.

 

I can’t wish I’d never met you,

Only wish I’d met you sooner.

CC Image courtesy of KayVee.INC on Flickr

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Laughing Matters

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‘Oh shit. Am I going to have to buy you a coffee?’CC Image courtesy of Phil W Shirley

I laugh. ‘No Ryan, I said I had a comedy story about OkCupid, I didn’t say I had a date!’

It’s not until early evening that we get a chance to speak properly.

‘So,’ I begin, ‘it was the section where you admit something private about yourself and I read his and realised… we must be related!’

‘Ohhhh.’

‘Yeah and I figured out… he’s my… third cousin, so quite distant. So the question is, Ryan, is it OK to fancy your cousin – third cousin – and date them?’

Ryan reckons not.

‘Ohhh but he’s funny!’

Ryan and I are on the same page when it comes to this one: we both only want to date men who make us laugh. The way he actually puts it is, ‘I HATE people who don’t make me laugh’. I don’t feel quite so strongly, but I do think it’s a bugger that the first funny, good-looking guy I’ve encountered in the virtual world (or the real world for that matter) since VP also happens to be a blood relative.

I try a different tack, though my tone isn’t hopeful.

‘We’d probably have a lot of things in common.’

Ryan gives me a look.

Chromosomal DNA for one.

CC Image courtesy of B.C. Angell on Flickr

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Anything Goes

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CC Image courtesy of theirhistory on FlickrYou know your love life is in trouble when at 2am on a Monday morning when you have work to get up for in 6 hours you find yourself googling ‘third cousins marry’. You almost didn’t – it would be a hard one to explain away if anyone happened across your search history – but then you think what the hell. Because it’s 2am and at 2am pretty much anything goes.

 

Three hours earlier…

I’m browsing an online dating site, the only one I’ve ever stuck with. I still have the same embarrassing username – a throwback from my student days – and no picture, so we’re fighting on all fronts. I’ve updated the profile text though, just now in fact, and decided it was therefore the right time to see what was out there.

Three seemingly perfect profiles later (they can SPELL and they’re FUNNY, this is amazing!!) I find myself on one which frankly I find a bit weird. Shades of only looking for sex contradicted by the ‘looking for’ section and a weird intro – it’s just weird. I scan the last paragraph and am about to leave when something catches my eye. I stare, then I laugh and clap. ‘No,’ I say. ‘No!’ There’s only one thing to be done. I send him a message. It’s true that he probably won’t remember me. I only remember him because he was male and a bit older than me and so I fancied him a bit. But it’s too good an opportunity for comedy to pass up.

A couple of lines later I sign off Cousin(?) Anna. Which is probably the second worst way to introduce yourself to a potential love interest.

CC Image courtesy of inertia_tw on Flickr

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The Birth Of Love

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CC Image courtesy of DBradshaw on FlickrFriday night, which once upon a time meant PARTY!! And which nowadays means alcohol with Tristan and Co followed by an almost-desperate-verging-on-furious Tinder marathon in a bid to get a date for Saturday night.

Nonononononononononono

I’m not even looking at the pictures.

Nonononononononono

Why aren’t I getting any matches??!! Let’s try a different approach.

No no no no no no y-no, no, no…

***Break for food***

 

Except for last Friday. That was different. For one, I was working from home, which meant a day off from Unrequited Love. Secondly, Tinder got kind of interesting. That can only mean one thing of course: people come up who I KNOW and FANCY.

First is Nick, which is an exciting moment. I consider my response for all of like three seconds. The only reason for not ‘liking’ him is ego (read: stupidity) i.e. I strongly suspect (read: know) he won’t ‘like’ me. But as he’ll never know my verdict for sure if he doesn’t ‘like’ me, I swipe right. I wait for a few seconds – nothing – before telling myself he probably just hasn’t got to me yet. It’s not that he doesn’t fancy me.

I resume no-ing. I’m on a roll! So much so that his picture is already spinning off the screen when I realise – that was Karl. Oops. Or is it oops? My mother would say it was fate, so I go with that, like I do every time I accidentally swipe left.

 

Later that evening I find myself on Nick’s Facebook profile, which takes me to lots of interesting articles. I wind up reading Stendhal’s theory on the birth of love, which funnily enough doesn’t involve Tinder. Stendhal’s analogy is fascinating and beautiful. You should read it in full but in essence he’s saying we fall in love with the perfect idea we have of someone rather than the reality. Which sounds about right.

CC Image courtesy of Clio20 on Flickr

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Lifted

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CC Image courtesy Brigadier Chastity Crispbread on FlickrThere are two entrances to the office building where I work. The first you come to walking from the tube is the main entrance, a pair of sliding glass doors. A little further along the street is the back entrance. I usually go in this way: it’s quieter, the lift is bigger with a mirror to check for stray porridge and you don’t need to have your security pass to hand.

Friday morning, I’m walking from the station. The glass doors come into view. I look down at my bag. My pass is in a side pocket, where I stowed it whilst rooting around for my iPod. Looking up, I catch a glimpse of a familiar face through the crowd. He’s still a little way off but walking in the direction of the glass doors. I remember the hard time I’d given myself the other day – I’d had stern words with myself in the lift mirror – after making the frankly bonkers decision to avoid a lift ride with the guy by keeping walking (an act of self-preservation, I called it). I know better than to do a repeat.

The main entrance has always struck me as oddly and illogically designed. The glass doors give straight onto London’s busiest thoroughfare, offering a minimal sense of separation. Passers-by looking in – and they do – can see a small unfurnished foyer with yellow lighting and a narrow pair of silver lift doors.

This morning as I approach, I see the lift doors open and two people enter the narrow space beyond. I hold my pass to the sensor and the glass parts. I don’t look round – why would I? – but walk quickly in the direction of the closing doors. I put out a hand, a little slower than I normally would, to hit the button to stall them. He gets there first.

I half-turn. ‘Oh, hello.’

‘Hey.’

I don’t recognise our fellow passengers. The doors close on the four of us.

‘You’re not dressed for church today.’

He puts a hand to his throat. ‘No…’

 

It’s been a running joke since he expressed concerns that his jumper made him look like a vicar. The next time I see him I’ve just been given a roasting by someone in our Paris office – undeservedly I might add.

‘Are you off to church?’ I say, at the very moment that he crosses himself.

We laugh and he proceeds to tell me what we’re going to do about Paris.

‘I’m glad we’ve got God on our side,’ I say, laughing, and turning red.

 

I wish I could say the sexual tension skyrocketed with the lift. That, when the two strangers left us at the fourth floor, he leant in closer. That my mind didn’t go a complete blank and waste the opportunity to ask him something – anything!

We emerge onto the landing, laughing at some silliness. I put my pass to another sensor and he pulls the door open. As we enter the office side by side I try to ignore the feeling, the wish, painful almost, like a tug at the heart, that it was always this way.

CC Image courtesy of BasiliskSam on Flickr

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