In Search of Perfection

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‘I’m giving you a cheque,’ my grandmother says, folding the slip of paper, ‘but if there’s anything else you want…’

‘Like a wedding dress,’ my aunt puts in.

I laugh. I don’t know how long my relations have been suppressing the urge to quiz me about my love life but today, finally, they’d cracked.

‘Has your brother got a girlfriend?’ is how it starts – a complete non sequitur to what we’d previously been talking about.

‘No,’ I say, ‘not as far as I know.’

‘He needs a strong woman,’ my aunt says.

I laugh. ‘I doubt he thinks that!’ I take a sip of my drink. ‘What do you think I need?’

‘I don’t know,’ she says slowly, ‘but I suspect you’re looking for perfection.’

‘Why do you think that?!’

‘Well, you can’t even choose a draining rack!’

The draining rack had gone back, hence the cheque.

I laugh. ‘Mmm yeah. But it was too small! There were things wrong with it!’

My aunt doesn’t say anything. I take another sip.

‘So there’s no one…?’

This from my grandmother.

I think of my Saturday dateTall, charming, successful… looks a bit like Tom Hiddleston: I know better than to mention him after just one drink.

‘Hmm no,’ I say, ‘but I’m trying!’

‘Is there anyone at work?’

‘I have some wonderful colleagues, but they all have spouses or long-term girlfriends.’

My relations look almost as disappointed by this as I am, which is saying something.

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Taste the Difference

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(Continued from Feelin’ Good)

‘What’s your thing?’ he says. ‘Dancing?’

Only in times of crisis.

‘I’d say… writing.’

‘Like, creative writing? Short stories?’

‘More like… memoir?’

‘Wow. I’ve never met someone our age who’s writing a memoir.’

‘Sorry, no, not memoir, that’s the wrong word. They’re more like… vignettes, of life, about things that have happened to me.’

With a heavy – make that total – bias towards scenes of a romantic nature.

‘How many words are you at?’

‘Oh it’s – it’s not that kind of format. I….’ I think of Todd’s words, take a deep breath and go for it. ‘So I write an anonymous blog.’

‘Why’s it anonymous?’

Yes why IS it anonymous? And why did I feel the need to mention this fact?

‘So I can write what I want.’

‘And, what kind of thing would you write about?’

‘Erm…’

‘Give me an example, of something you’ve written about.’

I think. A wedding, a ballmy four very attractive colleagues.

He goes on, ‘Might you for instance write about this?’

I barely hesitate. ‘Potentially.’

‘That’s all I wanted,’ he says, with a grin.

I laugh. I have no idea what he means.

He makes as if to unfold his jumper.

‘Are you going?’ I say, looking at it.

It occurs to me I might have just done something very very stupid. The sort of thing that would elicit a sigh and an eye roll and a ‘Well, what did you expect to happen?’ from my mother.

But I like this guy. I really like him. And by some perverse logic that makes me want to tell the truth.

He laughs. ‘No.’

 

Half an hour later, we’re outside Sainsbury’s.

‘I don’t know – if you want to do this again? Or you can tell me on WhatsApp,’ he adds quickly.

‘Yes,’ I say, ‘and you let me know too.’

I go to hug him. And there, in the afternoon light, on a busy South London pavement, we kiss.

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In a Nutshell

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CC Image courtesy of Jim Surkamp on FlickrTuesday night. Emerging from the tube, I pull out my phone. A new message from a new match. I tap the icon and read:

Good day. Good day?

It takes me a moment to process and another moment to laugh. This is already the most promising Tinder interaction of 2016.

 

As the conversation goes on I realise something incredible: that here is a man who writes longer messages than I do. I’m half-tempted to send Adrien screenshots for all the stick he gives me at work for being verbose. Sam too for that matter: he once told me he only reads the ends of my texts.

 

Saturday, my new correspondent sends through his standard essay. Halfway down:

I’m not so familiar with Tinder etiquette and I’m not sure if we are supposed to exchange X number of messages or words or inches of text first…

If we are, then I think it’s safe to say the threshold has been crossed.

… but I find it very interesting and pleasant talking to you and I have an inkling that we would enjoy chatting in person…’

He asked me out. In a nutshell.

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Lost For Words

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CC Image courtesy of tnssofres on Flickr‘What do you write about?’

‘Err…. ermm… errrr….’

This is me, one Wednesday night back in January. Two cocktails down and a nice software engineer is asking me about my writing. I might complain that none of the men I go on dates with seem to be remotely interested in my life, but it’s a damn sight more complicated when they are.

‘What do you write about?’ ‘What sort of thing do you write?’ ‘Is it fiction?’

And I am lost for words.

I explained this dilemma to a male friend the other day.

‘Why don’t you just tell them?’ he says.

‘Because… it would take a very confident guy not to run for the hills, wouldn’t it?’

‘But don’t you want to date someone very confident?’

There’s a pause.

‘Yeah I s’pose.’

‘So what have you got to lose?’ He starts to laugh. ‘You can begin your next post, ‘Last night I decided to be honest…’.

I join in laughing. So this is what it would be like, discussing the blog openly with a clever, funny, attractive man. And it’s not so bad.

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Little things

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CC Image courtesy of Pensiero on FlickrIt was such a little thing

When you came and sat beside me

But I felt safe

And quiet

And like I didn’t have to speak

You didn’t speak

At first

Only smiled

A small, secretive smile

And stole a glance

 

Your question

When it came

Was simple and kind

My mind a mess with yes and no

And everything in between

You could have made me feel small

And low

 

At the end of the evening

I went out onto the balcony

And found you there

Two empty chairs

I took the one to my left

And saw your mouth twitch

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