Everyday for about a year I woke to the same piece of dating advice. Written in pencil on a scrap of lined paper blue-tacked to my bedroom wall, it read:
If you’re attracted to a guy who isn’t pursuing you, DON’T EVER BE AROUND HIM. It’s masochistic.
At some point, perhaps because I thought it had done its work or because it didn’t meet my stringent standards for interior décor, I took it down.
‘Did he invite you?’
I laugh. ‘No… no, it’s never that simple.’*
Beatrice smiles. ‘No. So, what, he said, ‘I’m going to this thing, you should come’?’
Cue puzzled face. He ‘might’ be going so, what, I ‘might’ turn up and find he wasn’t there? I recalled a guy friend’s insight into male dating behaviours (‘there are no hidden meanings’), waited a few days, then replied in a similarly ambivalent fashion.
By some miracle we are both in the same place at the same time on Saturday night, dancing. Well, he’s dancing. I’m sitting on the sidelines with Beatrice.
‘So, what do you think?’ I say. ‘Does he fancy me?’
‘Do you fancy him?’
‘Right. Well… why don’t you suggest going for a drink and see what happens?’
I stare, then spout the usual guff about how it should come from him.
‘Yeah, but what have you got to lose?’
Apparently nothing because an hour later I’m sitting opposite the guy in a pub, laughing more than I have in months. Then we’re walking to the bus stop. Then we’re saying goodnight.
And the next morning I’m contemplating reinstating the scrap of lined paper.
*For the record, I am aware that sometimes it is that simple.