I’m meant to be meeting E17 girl for another date. Sadly, the day before we’re due to meet, her grandmother passes away. I leave her a voice note telling her how sorry I am and that I’m here if she needs to talk. A couple of days later I send her a text saying that I’m sending good thoughts.
I don’t hear anything at first but I don’t expect to. I don’t know her well enough to be her shoulder to cry on, I’m barely an elbow she can sniffle into. Sometimes a loss like this can throw into sharp relief the frail intimacy between two people. She needs family and friends now, not some 5-date wonder.
I leave her to grieve and head to love instead – and the wedding of one of my best uni friends. We dated once, years ago, back when his walls were plastered in tits and arse and I still saw them as a threat rather than a thrill. It was a brief, wild few months that happily settled into a life-long friendship. I can’t wait to see him get hitched and spend time with some of my favourite people in the world.
18 hours later:
I wake up hotter than hell, my mouth dry and dusty as a warthog’s arsehole. Where the fuck am I? A log cabin. A log cabin that’s been set on fire. I reach a hand out from under my sweaty duvet and rifle in my handbag for a bottle of water. Why does my thumb hurt? I bring my hand up to my face and squint at it in the light of my phone. Jesus Christ, my thumb’s doubled in size!
I’m still trying to piece together the origins of my giant thumb when my friend walks in. “Eugh, coming in here is like walking into a wall of alcohol,” she says, wrinkling her nose.
“I feel like shit,” I moan. From the bunk bed above I hear an odd gargling and then the whimper:
Slowly, the night starts to come back to me in fits and starts: the priest intoning about modern day dating and how single people are engaged in a “desperate”, “fruitless” and “empty” search for love; the unwanted slither of a man’s arm around my waist, the first time a man’s touched me in a sexual way in years; the best man’s speech where he jokes about how the groom managed to “turn his university girlfriend off men for good;” the ensuing hysterics and the craning of 200 necks as the entire congregation turn to goggle at the woman the groom turned into a lesbian. The wine. Oh, the wine.
As I start to retrieve clean knickers, jeans, dignity from my suitcase, my phone rings: E17 girl. I take her outside.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. The thing is, I’m just very emotional at the moment. You know, losing my gran has been really hard and this new job is so stressful and…basically I’m just not ready to date anyone. I’m so sorry, when I first got on Tinder I didn’t realise this would happen.”
I assure her that it’s all fine, that I appreciate her letting me know, and hang up as fast as possible. My friend comes out and pokes her head round the corner of the cabin with a tentative thumbs up and a questioning look. I shake my head.
So there it is: lectured, fondled, outed and dumped all in the course of one wedding. Even for me, that’s a sterling day’s work. I get home with a pounding head, an inexplicably large thumb and a best mate who promptly throws up in my bathroom.
Still, you’ve got to look on the bright side: