Better Men

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CC Image courtesy of alexis mire on FlickrGoogle ‘how to stop obsessing over a guy’ on my laptop, and you’ll be met by a wall of red.  Frustratingly, I keep getting the same answer: something about being happy with, and confident in, your life as a single person.  Looking for a man shouldn’t be your priority, Google tells me.  Bit rich coming from a search engine.

Another piece of dating advice I frequently stumble upon is know what you want in a man.  Until recently, I’ve been fairly clueless on this front.  (Male and… male?)  But then a couple of things happened.

I had coffee with a colleague – a girl – and we discovered we had loads of mutual friends, including Will.  It was through Will that I met Joe.

‘So do you know Joe Buckley?’ I say.

She frowns.  ‘No, I mean, I know of him, but no, I don’t know him well.’

I hesitate.

‘And… Tom Randall?’

Joe’s flatmate.

Her face softens.  ‘Aaaw yes, he’s so lovely.’

The praise keeps coming.  I tell her about Joe and I.

‘It’s annoying because the night I met Joe, I also met Tom, and, well, I can’t help feeling Tom’s the better man!’

The kind of man I’d be looking for – funny, kind, passionate, artistic – were I not happy in my life as a single person.

She nods, smiling.  ‘He is a really decent guy.’

She promises to introduce us at some point.

Then at a party a few weeks later, I bump into Very Pretty Girl, and she gives me the lowdown on Nick.  He’s calm, she tells me, gentle, romantic yet down-to-earth, has beautiful manners and a terrific sense of humour.  Oh and he’s writing a book.  Correction, a publisher has asked him to write a book.  So there you have it: what I’m looking for in a man.  Or would be, were I not happy etc etc.

CC Image courtesy of aulusgellius on Flickr

Love Poetry

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‘You’ve only come so you can write about it,’ the guy says, with an irritating smile.CC Image courtesy of dichohecho on Flickr

I scan the room.  ‘Hmm.’ 

It’s a birthday drinks.  I don’t drink, and I don’t like the birthday boy.  And the guy I’m speaking to, I was mildly obsessed with for about a year before he hooked up with my best friend – two days ago.  So I’m having a whale of a time.


The only dating potential I’ve found so far is propping up the bar.  He’s got a slight paunch – the mark of the mature student – and is wearing a t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘I love Cromer’.  Get too close and he starts spouting poetry.


I’ve had enough of ‘elephant in the room’ conversation with smiling guy.

‘I’m gonna head.  Goodnight.’

I do head, to the bar; I’m in the mood for a poem.  Since we last spoke, Paunch has communed with a couple of beers, and I find him in high spirits.  He might be gay – did I mention? – but he’s also frighteningly clever and well-read, and, well, you know what they say about opposites attracting.


Three missed Byron references later, I’m stammering out an apology/explanation, whilst he writes down, not his phone number, but a reading list.  Yep.  I leave the joint with the following prescription:

  • Geoffrey Hill
  • Kipling (not the cake – I checked)
  • Some obscure poet
And orders to watch Azerbaijan’s Eurovision entry.  Did I say might be gay?
CC Image courtesy of PanARMENIAN_Photo on Flickr