It was the summer of ’07; I’d just been assigned my parents. My father was a fellow English student. Kind, caring and sensitive, he was in many ways the perfect mentor. Never mind that he hadn’t taken any of the papers I’d opted to do; he would put me in touch with his friend, a ‘very nice guy’, who’d be happy to answer my questions.
Questions like ‘fancy seeing the new Bond film sometime this weekend?’.
That was Christmas of first year. Nice Guy sent back a polite decline. Shortly afterwards, I found out he was dating one of my peers, probably was at the time that I sent the message. I felt stupid – par for the course at Oxford – but after a few awkward encounters in the library, it was back to our usual routine of blushing and saying ‘hello’ when we passed each other in the corridor.
It wasn’t the first time I’d asked someone out on so slight an acquaintance. But I knew enough: that he was clever, calm and funny. And he had beautiful grey eyes and, as he would describe it six years later, walking down a street in Clapham at 1am, ‘good hair’. Big hair, even.
(TO BE CONTINUED)