Writer’s Block

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Beatrice comes back in. ‘You don’t have to leave.’ CC Image courtesy of kuchingboy on Flickr

‘No, it’s fine,’ I say, reaching for my bag. ‘It’s only… I don’t know what to do!’

‘How did you leave it?’

‘He said he’d be in touch today, to arrange where to meet.’

‘Does he know where you are?’

‘I said I had a thing in Old Street til, like, 8.’

‘And you haven’t heard from him all day?’

‘No.’

‘Hmm.’

 

I should have learnt the first time. Or the second time. Or last night, when he rang…

‘So,’ he says, ‘I’ve ordered food for two, just in case.’

I laugh. We’ve been here before. I say no, he asks why, and I say I’d rather meet for the first time ‘not at one of our flats’.

‘So… bye?’ I say.

‘No!’ He steers the conversation in a different direction.

We leave it that the following evening, after my friend’s birthday party, we’ll meet for a drink. Somewhere public, though he does joke that he’ll book the whole place out.

*

Beatrice, one year older and definitely wiser, tells me what only good friends do. That I’m worth more than this. That he knew I was busy til 8 and he still hasn’t been in touch to make a plan. That I shouldn’t contact him.

 

Wednesday night. I’ve just got into bed. My phone buzzes into life. I recognise the number, partly because of our call history, partly because of the number of times I’ve deleted it from my phone. I let it ring out.

When he calls again, I do a quick Google and install the relevant app.

CC Image courtesy of ant.photos on Flickr

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No Reply

What I’ve Learnt From Tinder

28 Days Later


#nofilter

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CC Image courtesy of oddsock on FlickrI discovered the filter function on OkCupid the other day.

I was having brunch with Tristan, Tristan’s girlfriend (don’t ask), Ryan and a couple of others, who were incidentally also a couple. Conversation turned to dating.

‘How did you two meet?’ Tristan says to The Couple.

They laugh. ‘OkCupid,’ they say, at the exact same time.

‘Yeah, when I applied the filters that really mattered to me,’ the girl says, looking fondly at the residue, ‘you were the only one left!’

The residue smiles. I frown. Filters? That’s only available on the paid option, no?

No, so the following evening, remembering this conversation, I start filtering like a SWIMMING POOL, trying not to think about how much time I’ve wasted scrolling through unsuitable profiles.

Single, straight, at least 5’10” (my height), university-educated non-smokers – that’s all I’m asking for. Oh and in the interests box I put the name of my favourite band, believing – perhaps mistakenly – that there’s a much greater chance I’ll hit it off with a fellow fan. I start scrolling through the results. One guy catches my eye.

There should be a name for it, when you’ve seen someone on every online dating platform going, you’ve consistently ‘liked’ them because, y’know, they’ve got great bone structure, are funny and like all the same music and books as you. And they’ve been consistently unresponsive. This time I copy and paste his interests section for when I feel like browsing Spotify for new music, before returning to the search results.

I continue scrolling down, only to be met with the words that there are no more results and that I might want to consider revising my criteria. The band gets the axe and, what the hell, alcoholism and smoking – they have a certain charm, right?

A short while later I find myself back on a familiar profile: a chain-smoking heteroflexible* divorced father of two who lives on the wrong side of the Channel. And who I’m pretty sure I’ve already spoken to.

CC Image courtesy of [Rossco]:[www.rgstrachan.com] on Flickr

*Defined on Urban Dictionary as ‘I’m straight but shit happens’.

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Doctor Love

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5pm, Friday, I’m undressing for a man.CC Image courtesy of heipei on Flickr

 

I make the call at lunchtime. ‘No bookable appointments for two weeks’, they say. I’m about to hang up.

‘We’ve just had a cancellation. 4:40.’

‘Today?’

‘Yes.’

I vacillate. Work is quiet. Pub drinks are in the pipeline. I should go, alleviate my concerns. My health is more important than a gin and tonic with Tobias and Co.

‘Hmm today’s a bit tricky.’

 

‘Are you busy this afternoon?’ Gus says, when I’m back at my desk.

‘Errr… why?’

I should be going to the doctor. I shouldn’t be taking on a ton of Gus’ work so that he can leave early for a wedding.

I start Googling symptoms. Ten minutes later I’m convinced I have a solitary mastocytoma. I grab my phone and go out into the stairwell.

‘Is the 4:40 appointment still available?’

 

‘Come in.’

‘Hi.’

‘What can I do for you?’

I tell him about The Rash.

‘Did you start doing anything differently when it first appeared?’

That’s a vague question. I mean I wasn’t having sex if that’s what he means, though that sure as Hell would have been different.

‘No… no.’

‘Have you been away anywhere recently?’ he says, examining my back.

‘Err… Berlin in February? Other than that, I’m probably the most stationary person you’ve ever met…’

It’s like a date, this, only I can be way more candid. It’s also 5pm on a gloriously sunny Friday so I should probably stop with the glib remarks.

‘And… Yorkshire, last October…’

I think he’s trying to establish if I’ve visited anywhere where I might have been exposed to tropical diseases. Yorkshire is probably not top of the list.

‘And, what do you do?’ he says, resuming his seat.

This really is like a date. Date slash Tinder conversation, which is about as close to a date as I’ve got recently.

‘Copywriting,’ I say.

‘So you’re not exposed to any toxic chemicals…’

Lots of things about my job are toxic but…

‘No. Most of my office is permanently ill but I think that’s because we’re overworked.’

He manages a faint smile. ‘You want to try and avoid stressful situations.’

I take the prescription for anti-fungal cream – this bit is less like a date – and thank him as I leave.

CC Image courtesy of r0b1 on Flickr

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Say It With Clip Art

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CC Image courtesy of CameliaTWU on Flickr

I’d never told a guy ‘I love you’. I came close with my sixth form boyfriend.

‘I love… your hair.’

Close shave.

 

VP asked me, was I in love?

‘What – with you?’

It was a pertinent question since at that precise moment I was in love with several different people: Tristan, Max (always), Tobias Menzies (the real life version and probably the blog version a little bit), not to mention several people who have never existed but been dreamt up by various novelists.

I ummed and ahhed a bit, thanked God that we’d opted to Skype without cameras, recalled my mother‘s advice never to tell a man you love him (‘What, never? What about Daddy?’ ‘Oh yes, well, I might’ve, in a moment of weakness…’) and wound up:

‘I’m not not in love with you enough to keep doing what we’re doing.’

Which made sense in context, sort of.

 

Four minutes until the next train.

‘Damn.’

I’m getting later everyday.

In the lift I mentally rehearse an excuse which I know I won’t use, rather I’ll slip into my seat hoping my arrival has gone unnoticed. As long as I get my work done, I tell myself, it really doesn’t matter when I start the day.

I power up the computer, deposit my lunch in the fridge, get a glass of water. Back at my desk I find a new email waiting. In the subject line, ’09:53′. The body of it is blank. I do a quick Google, copy, paste and send. And there it goes: ‘I love you’, courtesy of Clip Art. That wasn’t so hard.

CC Image courtesy of MAGIC CHARM GRAFIX 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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