In Search of Perfection

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CC Image courtesy of Rev Stan on Flickr

‘I’m giving you a cheque,’ my grandmother says, folding the slip of paper, ‘but if there’s anything else you want…’

‘Like a wedding dress,’ my aunt puts in.

I laugh. I don’t know how long my relations have been suppressing the urge to quiz me about my love life but today, finally, they’d cracked.

‘Has your brother got a girlfriend?’ is how it starts – a complete non sequitur to what we’d previously been talking about.

‘No,’ I say, ‘not as far as I know.’

‘He needs a strong woman,’ my aunt says.

I laugh. ‘I doubt he thinks that!’ I take a sip of my drink. ‘What do you think I need?’

‘I don’t know,’ she says slowly, ‘but I suspect you’re looking for perfection.’

‘Why do you think that?!’

‘Well, you can’t even choose a draining rack!’

The draining rack had gone back, hence the cheque.

I laugh. ‘Mmm yeah. But it was too small! There were things wrong with it!’

My aunt doesn’t say anything. I take another sip.

‘So there’s no one…?’

This from my grandmother.

I think of my Saturday dateTall, charming, successful… looks a bit like Tom Hiddleston: I know better than to mention him after just one drink.

‘Hmm no,’ I say, ‘but I’m trying!’

‘Is there anyone at work?’

‘I have some wonderful colleagues, but they all have spouses or long-term girlfriends.’

My relations look almost as disappointed by this as I am, which is saying something.

CC Image courtesy of m-louis on Flickr

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The Sound of Silence

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CC Image courtesy of H.J.Righolt on Flickr‘How was your wedding? Not your wedding…’

I laugh. ‘No. Yeah it was fine.’

I try to think of something funny or interesting that happened, besides slicing my legs open with a men’s razor in my haste to get ready, calling for a very attractive patchwork of plasters.

‘How was the party?’ I wind up.

 

I’d missed Tristan‘s house party for the wedding – a couple I knew from university. For the first two years of our degree he had a long-term girlfriend and she we pined. For the third year, they dated and, on graduating, moved in together. She looked radiant with happiness standing opposite him at the altar.

 

‘It was good,’ Tristan says. I get the feeling he’s also struggling for material.

There’s a pause as we apply ourselves to our lunch.

‘So did you meet anyone?’ he says.

I frown. ‘You mean…?’

‘Did you meet the love of your life?’

I laugh. ‘Well I only had about four men to choose from! There was one guy – he had his own mobile home – but he wasn’t the most interesting company. Actually the bride messaged me today saying ‘I hear there was some excitement’ and offering to help, which was very sweet given she’s on honeymoon. But anyway, she misread the situation…’

So much for confining myself to the funny or interesting.

What the bride had actually said was ‘I hear there might be something for the blog’, but Tristan doesn’t need to know this. He’s not listening anyway; at ‘mobile home’ he’d started to laugh.

‘Was he wearing a wife-beater?’ he says. ‘And did he have long sideburns?’

‘No,’ I say, also laughing. ‘He was quite good-looking, but that’s pretty much all he had going for him.’

I could go on, tell him how the groom had come over to us and said with a meaningful look in Mobile Home’s direction, ‘I don’t think Anna needs to worry about accommodation tonight.’

How, faced with the story of my taxi crisis, Mobile Home had offered me a cup of tea in his van (he preferred to call it ‘The Van’).

How I declined in favour of a good night’s sleep, went home to my own mobile home and cried for I don’t know what.

There’s another pause.

‘Tell me more about the party,’ I say.

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Memories

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CC Image courtesy of kcr@in on FlickrThe most precious – and arguably the most delusional – thing VP ever said to me was over dinner in a restaurant just off Trafalgar Square. It was our third date. He was asking me about my job and I was being vague, unwilling to reveal the mindlessness of my day-to-day employment to this dazzling Renaissance man. And that’s when he said it.

‘I imagine you’re well-liked at work.’

I resisted the urge to pull a face. ‘Er… I hope so.’

 

I went to a wedding the other day. In her speech the bride said of her husband, ‘He makes me be the best version of myself’.

 

Now, when I’m having a really shitty day at work and a colleague comes over to ask me a perfectly reasonable question and I want to snap and scowl, I remember VP’s words.

 

After dinner we crossed the river, walked west and sat on a bench kissing and sharing stories in the shadow of Big Ben.

 

I’ll never forget the nights we spent together but I’ll treasure more what he said to me as we sat across from one another, my hand in his, fingers interlacing.

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Lost For Words

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CC Image courtesy of tnssofres on Flickr‘What do you write about?’

‘Err…. ermm… errrr….’

This is me, one Wednesday night back in January. Two cocktails down and a nice software engineer is asking me about my writing. I might complain that none of the men I go on dates with seem to be remotely interested in my life, but it’s a damn sight more complicated when they are.

‘What do you write about?’ ‘What sort of thing do you write?’ ‘Is it fiction?’

And I am lost for words.

I explained this dilemma to a male friend the other day.

‘Why don’t you just tell them?’ he says.

‘Because… it would take a very confident guy not to run for the hills, wouldn’t it?’

‘But don’t you want to date someone very confident?’

There’s a pause.

‘Yeah I s’pose.’

‘So what have you got to lose?’ He starts to laugh. ‘You can begin your next post, ‘Last night I decided to be honest…’.

I join in laughing. So this is what it would be like, discussing the blog openly with a clever, funny, attractive man. And it’s not so bad.

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#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.

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

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