The Final Act

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CC Image courtesy of Toxictea on FlickrAll I can think about is the scene in When Harry Met Sally.  Meg Ryan is sobbing onto Harry’s shoulder, wailing about the fact that when Joe said he didn’t want to get married, what he actually meant was ‘he didn’t want to marry me!’

FFS gives my hand a squeeze.  ‘What are you thinking?’

What to say?  That this is all bullshit?  That I’ve seen the films, hell, I’ve even experienced it in real life.  The last man to use this line was Max.  The circumstances might be different, but the bottom line’s the same.

FFS is looking at me steadily.  I shrug.  ‘Well, that’s that.’

He hugs my legs to him, rests his head against them.   I run my fingers through his hair.  Not big hair.  I want to kiss him, take him to my bed, but I know that come the morning it will feel so much worse.

He draws me towards him, cradles me.  We kiss.

I draw back.  ‘I’m just going to the bathroom.’

When I get back, I don’t rejoin him on the sofa, but remain standing.

He looks up at me.  ‘Do you want me to go?’

No.

‘Yes.’

I perch on the arm of the sofa, rest my chin on my hand, and stare ahead at the sea of used wine glasses.  Some are half-full, most are empty.  I can feel him looking at me, and turn to meet his gaze, force a smile.  He pulls me onto his lap, caresses my neck.

‘Don’t worry,’ I say, laughing.  ‘I’ve got an excellent track record of crying on my birthday, and I have no intention of breaking with tradition!’

He looks surprised and laughs, hugs me tighter.  It’s a strange thing, to be comforted by the one who is the cause of your distress.  I know I won’t let him stay, but still, I don’t want to be alone; because I know that, once he leaves, I’ll cry, and I don’t want that.

His hands are wandering.  I lie there, passive.  I want it to mean something, I always do.  This time last year, I was in Milonga’s bed.  I woke the next day and went on my way.  The hot spring sun beat down upon the pavement as I walked to the station in my ballgown.  I’d heard the term ‘the walk of shame’ but never for a moment thought that this was it.  I stopped at a supermarket for a bag of apples and a bottle of water.  On the train, children stared as I stared out of the window, feeling the first twinges of embarrassment.

A year on, I see more clearly.  I know that, come the morning, he will have everything he wants, and I will have nothing.  I will feel empty and alone and used.  His hand strays to my thigh.  I think back to how he was earlier in the evening, so cold, so uncaring, and twist myself out of his embrace.

‘Shall I look up night buses?’ I say, rising from the sofa.

There’s a pause.

‘If you don’t mind.’

I retrieve my computer from where it’s lying on the floor, and run the necessary search.

 

In the hallway, he dons his coat.  We hug.  His arms are still around me, his face set in a frown.  I want him to un-say everything, to change his mind.

‘I really like spending time with you,’ he says, ‘and I’d like to stay…’

I smile.  ‘I like spending time with you too.  Like you said, we have a good laugh…’

What he’d actually said was ‘we do laugh a lot’, which made me feel really sad.  We’re always laughing, and it’s what I’ll miss most about him.

‘… but,’ I go on, ‘you’ve said you only want something light and ‘detached’, something on your terms…’

He shrugs and doesn’t deny it.

‘… and, well, it’s not that I want something serious…’

Would it be such a crime if I did?

‘… it’s just that – I’d like – a bit more contact!  I don’t want to have to act ‘detached’!’

‘Fair.’

‘And so, at the moment it’s a good thing that we have a laugh together, but eventually it will become a problem…’

He nods.  ‘Yeah.’

‘So,’ I say, sighing, ‘for the above reasons…’

CC Image courtesy of LaVolpe Photography on Flickr

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Bloody Buses: Part II

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(Continued from Bloody Buses: Part I)CC Image courtesy of Duncan Brown (Cradlehall) on Flickr

I can dance rock ‘n’ roll.’

Accountant is full of surprises.

‘You’re on!’

Next thing I know, he’s jumped ship to head home to his girlfriend.  Ben too decides to call it a night.

This leaves the less enthusiastic dancers, and me.  I’d be happy enough dancing alone in the corner, but the music is so bad even I don’t recognise it, and there’s a constant stream of traffic knocking my elbows.  I can see Michael and Eligible Bachelor sitting at one of the tables and go over to them.

‘I think I’m going to head,’ EB says, rising.

We kiss on the cheeks. ‘Good night.’

I flop down next to Michael.

‘Everyone here’s very tall,’ he says, looking around.

‘Mmm.’

And very young too.  I glance at my watch.  It’s past my bedtime.  ‘How are you getting back?  Night bus?’

*

‘This is us,’ I say, rising.

We find seats at the top.  A space that would normally easily accommodate two adults, suddenly feels very snug.

‘You should go back on Tinder,’ Michael says, giving me a nudge. ‘I might like you!’

‘Hmm. I am on a dating site.’

‘Which one?’

I tell him.  ‘But only because I was paid to do it!’

‘That’s the best reason,’ he says, gravely.

‘Is it?!  Yeah, well, I haven’t been on any dates from it…’

*

‘I noticed there are no typos in your texts.’

FFS slows his walking pace. ‘Well, I don’t remember any in yours.’

‘No, well, when you spend most of your time editing what you write…’

It’s the blog I’m thinking of, but I might as well be referring to my texts: the drafting process isn’t so different.

‘… and commas are important!’

He’s almost at a standstill.  ‘We had a lecture on punctuation the other day.’

‘Really?!  I’d have liked to have given that!’

He laughs and turns to face me. ‘Really?  We’d have hated you if you had!  It was really boring.’

I swat his shoulder. ‘But you don’t know what I’d have said!’

Which is when he kisses me.

CC Image courtesy of Leo Reynolds on Flickr

This post is part of the 3 Dates, 3 Months! series.  Just Singles challenged its favourite dating bloggers to try three different methods of finding a date, and write about the experience.  

This month: A night out.

Last month: Just Singles.

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Negative Feedback

FFS



Solitary Woman

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CC Image courtesy of Moyan_Brenn on FlickrMy online dating journey gets off to an inauspicious start.  The site invites me to write a profile.  I chew the proverbial pencil for a few minutes before beginning:

I like solitude.

Something tells me this isn’t a winning approach.  I think some more.  In the end I punch out a few lines indicating that I like dancing, writing, and cake, I don’t much like art galleries and museums, and, bottom line, we need to have a laugh together.

60+ messages in my inbox later I’m realising there are things I like even more than cake.  Things like punctuation, spelling, and not being addressed as ‘Babe’.

Things like real life.

And with that thought, I close the tab, shower, get dressed, and go out.  To a gallery perhaps, with a cafe that serves really good cake.

740px-Claude_Monet_022

This post is part of the 3 Dates, 3 Months! series.  Just Singles challenged its favourite dating bloggers to try three different methods of finding a date, and write about the experience.  

This month: Just Singles.

Last month: Argentine tango classes. 



2013: The High (and Low) Lights

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CC Image courtesy of hoangnt on FlickrFor me, the best part of blogging, aside from writing the wretched stuff, is hearing that someone enjoyed a post.  So today, because I figured I deserve a holiday, I’m posting the best bits of 2013 according to you, my beloved (and for many of you I mean that quite literally – be worried) readers.

 

First up is Bright Star, a favourite of James’, in which I explain to Toby why I like Joe’s flatmate

‘He’s funny,’ I say.

Or rather he thinks I’m funny, which is much more important.

A grilling from Sandwich comes a close second.

‘I thought you were great friends.’

He actually said great chums, but it wouldn’t do to alienate readers.

 

Glossing over the surprised tone with which he said it, Flatmate pronounced No Sex and the City to be ‘quite witty’:

‘He doesn’t believe in sex before marriage,’ I say.

‘Oh God.’

‘He’s kinda the problem.’

CC Image courtesy of knowhimonline on Flickr

New Initiative made Lucy laugh out loud, twice:

Beatrice is Tinder-happy…

When they can spell, even if not attractive, I continyue writing.’

And learning to spell, presumably.

… whilst MBE is feeling increasingly cynical about the whole thing.

I’m bored of openers like ‘How are you?’ (bored), ‘Any exciting plans for the weekend?’ (no, I prefer boring plans), ‘what are up to this evening?’ (I’m not going to sleep with you just because we live three miles apart) – and the rest.

 

A compliment from my harshest critic always makes my day.  My mother’s top 3 for the year:

Story of My Life, in which Beatrice and I join stalking forces.

Flatmate gives me a dose of reality On The Couch.

And,

Love Poetry, in which I fancy a gay man.  Like you’ve never done the same thing.

 

So there you have it.  Written (fittingly) proof that this writer is neurotic, needy, insecure, and in dire need of validation and praise.  And that’s just the writing.

CC Image courtesy of PRINCESS THEATER - Raising the Curtain on Flickr


New Initiative

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CC Image courtesy of Hialean on FlickrI have – or had, until recently – exercised a ‘no initiating’ chat policy on Tinder.  A very different approach from Beatrice

‘I message everyone I match with,’ she tells me over Facebook one evening.  ‘Then I see if they can spell.  When they can spell, even if not attractive, I continyue writing…’

And learning to spell, presumably.

So my complaint that the only two matches I’ve been tempted to contact in as many weeks, I am not allowed to, doesn’t meet with much sympathy.

I explain my logic, that if they’re not interested enough to chat to you and you initiate a conversation, it’s unlikely to go anywhere: the same logic which this blogger, my mother, and my flatmate apply to real-life situations, and which I buy into on the whole.   Beatrice is unimpressed.

‘STOP INTERPRETING NOTHINGS.  They mean NOTHING.’

That being so (which it isn’t), nothing would induce me to contact Simon, NOTHING.  If he can initiate a chat with Beatrice (which he did, but that’s another story), he can do the same with me.  And since he hasn’t… The capital letters make another appearance.

‘SO WHAT?  DO IT.  STOP BEING SO RIGID.’

Am I rigid?  No, just doing what’s required to avoid unnecessary pain, rejection, and disappointment – and yes, the slim, nay, minute possibility of something really good.

And it’s probably that slim minute possibility bollocks which makes me do what I do next: pick up my phone, open the app, and scroll down to the only other match I really hoped would get in touch.

By this stage in the game, I’m pretty jaded about the whole thing.  I’m bored of openers like, ‘Hi, how are you?’ (bored), ‘Exciting plans for the weekend?’ (no, I prefer boring plans), ‘what are you up to this evening?’ (I’m not going to sleep with you just because we live 3 miles apart) – and the rest.  And I have no reason to suppose that this guy will be any different, none at all.  But he is attractive, our mutual friends are what Freddie would call ‘sound fellows’, and his Facebook profile, which I might have had a quick look at, is better than good.  So what’s the worst that can come of dropping him a line, besides pain, rejection, and disappointment?

‘You’d be proud,’ I tell Beatrice later that evening.  ‘I sent the only other viable prospect a message.’

‘WELL DONE.’

Does she know Caps Lock is on?

CC Image courtesy of reticulating on Flickr

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