I like to think of myself as fairly rational in matters of the heart. I remember women who fell hard and fast in my youth, often for men who had about as much respect for them as a bag of Wotsits. They’d invariably get hurt, limping off with battered, bloodied dreams whilst Mr.Wotsit coaxed a new woman into bed. I didn’t get it. Where was the slow burn? The prudence of a love that begins with an amble rather than a sprint?
I’ve heard the old joke about gay women of course – that we bring a moving van to the second date. Everything is supposed to happen at warp speed: dating, falling in love, moving in, engagement, marriage.
“Where should I put the aloe baby? Next to the…wait…Daily Mail? You’re a Mail reader? Oh, hell no. Get the movers back!”
We become surgically attached to one another, two loving limpets bobbing through life hand in hand. Having a party? Sweet. As long as my girlfriend gets an invite too.
I thought I was immune to all that but the truth is, I was just immune to it with men. As soon as I learn the Swiss is coming to London, all bets are off. I whip out my heart, dust it down, give it a polish and wait to offer it up to her on a silver platter.
During those few weeks before she comes I spend every evening with her: intimate suppers late into the night; lazy breakfasts late into the day. She nicks chips off my plate; I sneak sips of her coke.
Over drinks a wise friend counsels me.
“Don’t. Get. Carried. Away. Or you’ll end up being disappointed when she’s not what you imagined.”
“No, no” I nod absentmindedly as we cheerily wave our firstborn off to school.
I know I’m in dangerous territory but I can’t help myself. Everyone says your first woman – whether it’s a night, a kiss or just a look – is special. I’ve met many beautiful, smart, funny, accomplished women in my time and yet she was the only one to make me think that maybe there was something missing in my life. She’s warm, funny, curious and kind; being with her is like easing your aching muscles into a hot spring on a chilly winter’s day.
“Maybe she’s the one!” a friend exclaims over dinner.
“Maybe…The thing is I’m not actually 100% sure she’s gay…”
“Well how sure are you?”
“Why do you think she’s gay then?”
“Because when we were in the sea she undid my bikini top.”
“Great. And that’s all you’re basing this on?”
We’ve arranged to meet for a night out with two mutual friend and as the fateful day draws closer I brief them on the plans for the evening.
“Right ladies, this is a military operation so pay attention. I need at least an hour alone with her so don’t even think about showing up before 7. If I say ‘I think we need another round’ that’s your cue to go to the bar. Stay there for at least 20 minutes. If things look like they’re going well just…you know…leave for a bit. If she starts talking to anyone else TAKE THE BASTARDS DOWN.”
“Jeez dude, I hope she’s gay after all this.”
“So do I sweetheart, so do I.”