Double Standard

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‘I’ve never had a double bed before!’ I say, clapping.london eye 1

Rachel looks momentarily dumbstruck. ‘Well that’s why you’re still single, luv.’

‘No, because its never got to the point where it’s been an issue with someone… in London,’ I add.

Whereas in Oxford I had them hanging from the rafters. Not.

‘And,’ I frown, ‘why does it explain why I’m still single?’

I’m worried now.

‘If you can’t invite guys back to yours… that’s why you’re still single.’

‘Yeah, but having someone back to yours does not a relationship make,’ I say, my tone serious.

‘So spake the prophet,’ she says, adopting a prayer pose. We laugh.

‘And anyway, I’ll have you know, having a single bed doesn’t stop you inviting people back to yours! It just means you end up with a few more bruises!’

We laugh. Rachel starts to choke.

‘Please don’t die on me,’ I say, patting her on the back, ‘cos if you do I’ll have to tell people what I said to make you choke! And then I’ll sound like a whore!’

CC Image courtesy of jules on Flickr

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Civilised Company

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(Continued from Crowded Room)CC Image courtesy of jjMustang_79 on Flickr

I push the door open with my foot.  Its trajectory is blocked by a sewing box which usually lives downstairs.  ‘Coffee?’

‘Thanks.’

‘Would you like milk?’

‘Err – if you’ve got it.’

‘Sure.’

His costume is back in place, and he looks a little uncomfortable.  I go back downstairs, add milk to both mugs, and linger there a moment in case he follows.

Flatmate’s step on the stair makes me start.  I wait until he’s passed the entrance to the kitchen, before making my way back upstairs.

Ben takes the cup.  ‘Thanks.’

I sit down on the bed.  He follows suit, perching on the edge.  This is foreign territory.  I’ve never been offered coffee at a guy’s place after staying the night.  On the contrary, it’s usually a race to leave before (God forbid) he notices my presence.  It’s why I don’t do it anymore: that feeling, like you’re nothing; and on his side, a palpable desire to erase you from his life as quickly as possible.

I don’t know if it’s Ben, or my desire to civilize the whole thing, or the fact that I want a coffee so naturally make one for my guest; but here we are, nursing mugs which are still too hot to drink, making polite, if not entirely relaxed, conversation.  It’s like a date in reverse.

We discuss our plans for the weekend; he tells me about his parents’ work; we exchange restaurant recommendations.  There’s no suggestion that we might at some point visit one of them together, which saddens me a little, but not too much.

‘Well, I’d better get going,’ he says, rising.

We both have trains to catch.

‘Yep.’

My hand on the latch, we kiss.

‘Goodbye.’

‘Goodbye.’

I close the door on his retreating back.  He didn’t ask for my number; I have no expectation that I’ll hear from him again; and I feel… OK about it.

CC Image courtesy of chichacha on Flickr

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Out Of The Blue

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‘What do you make of Tinder?’ CC Image courtesy of ant217 on Flickr

I take a sip of mulled wine.  ‘Hmm not a fan.’

‘Oh – why?’

Tinder Guy, Simon, Viable Prospect, and Daniel.  Especially Daniel: that made no sense.  But because I don’t know how to articulate this within the accepted time frame of a drinks party conversation, I say:

‘I think the emphasis on location means it lends itself more to casual hook-ups, and if that’s what you’re looking for then fine, but I’m not….’

No, I’m looking to meet the love of my life on an app, which is much more realistic.

We’re interrupted.  A short while later I head home.

*

Be-ep. 

I shut the front door behind me.

Be-ep.

I find my phone in my bag, and bring it to life.

You have a new Tinder message from Viable Prospect.

Huh?

‘How’s your Christmas prep going?’

I scroll up.  Two months have passed since my last message.  He must be either very bored or very drunk.  I consider not replying.

Tapping on his profile picture brings up the strangely familiar set of photos.  Clear blue eyes, and the bright white smile of someone who always brushed their teeth when they were younger – or just has good genes.  He’s cute, no two ways about it.  I consider making some kind of witty reference to his poor response time in my reply, if I reply.

The next day, I reply as if no time has passed.

‘I give him a week – two because it’s holiday season – to suggest meeting in person,’ I tell Beatrice that evening.  ‘After that, I give up on him.’

Him, Tinder, the lot.  Until next year.

CC Image courtesy of ToastyKen on Flickr



Hopeless Situation

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CC Image courtesy of ulterior epicure on FlickrThis has been going on for about three days when I decide to do the one thing which I know will stop it in its tracks.  I ask Flatmate.  Not ask so much as, tell him the situation and assure him that I know what he is about to say, but go on, spoil a girl.

‘Don’t read anything into it.’

‘No,’ I say.

‘He might get drunk and try it on.  He might want a one night thing…’

A girl can dream.

‘… but don’t hope.’

But – but – where there’s life, there’s hope.  Hope springs eternal in the human breast.  Hope is what gets me out of bed in the morning.  That and breakfast.

‘But…’ I begin.

How to phrase my next question without sounding hopeful?

‘Do – do you think… do you think there’s such a thing as wrong timing?  As in, can you like someone but it’s just not the right time?’

He looks thoughtful.  ‘I personally think, no, but…’

This is new.

‘… I know some people say there is.  I’ve heard girls say, ‘it’s not the right time’ or–.’

‘Have you ever heard a guy say that?’

‘No.’

‘Then, I’m not convinced.  If you say that, it means it’s not the right person or you don’t want to go out with them badly enough.’

‘I would agree,’ he says slowly, ‘but conceivably it could be that it’s not the right time, for whatever reason.  It might be you’re not ready for a relationship blah blah blah….’

This is worrying: the man’s starting to sound like me.  I tune back in for the reassuringly familiar conclusion.

‘… but yeah, don’t hope.’

CC Image courtesy of bomb_tea on Flickr