Sex: How to do Everything is open on my lap when I notice my phone flashing red: a new message. It’s probably Rachel telling me she’s been held up at work, which is annoying, but at least I’ve got something good to read in the meantime.
‘What do you think?’ Editor says.
I tear my eyes away from ‘Flirting’, a.k.a. ‘how to get to the point where sex might actually happen’.
‘Yeah it’s good,’ I say. ‘And even the pictures are decent – well, you know what I mean…’
His phone rings; I go back to flirting. Which reminds me: Rachel’s text.
Rachel has to be the most proficient flirt I know. Many’s the time I’ve been with her in a bar or pub and watched transfixed as she works a circle of men: the kind of men I’d say this, or this to, before wishing a large rock would fall out of the sky and put me out of my misery. I sometimes think about asking her for a few tips. I probably will. And I might, if I’m feeling generous, share them with you.
I reach for the phone, and open the message. My face breaks into a smile.
It’s not Rachel. It’s from a guy who also knows a thing or two about flirting.
We met about a year ago, and I liked him immediately. With friends and interests in common, we continued to see other fairly regularly, though always in company. Earlier this year I went to a party I knew he’d be at with the express intention of finding out if my feelings were reciprocated – as one does. And, based on his behaviour, decided that no they were not.
Then the next time we meet, he compliments me, the bastard, and asks me for two dances in a row which even a novice reader of Austen knows is a no-no unless you have serious designs on someone; and so the merry cycle begins again. And it is merry, in a way, because we’re now at the point in our ‘friendship’ where I’m completely transparent about my feelings for him. When I see him, my face lights up. Last time I almost ran over and hugged the guy, but settled instead for grinning from ear to ear and kissing him on both cheeks.
I scan the text. My smile broadens. It’s an invitation to see a film, just the two of us. Finally, time alone with the guy in a darkened room. Who knows what might happen?
I reply, saying I’d love to come, then turn back to the book. I skip ‘Conversation’ and ‘Eye Contact’ – limited opportunity for both in a cinema – and jump straight to ‘Physical Contact’.