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92. Dear Santa

I think I’d like a girlfriend for Christmas.

I know, I know I should be a fabulous, independent woman: shakes tits aggressively. The thing is, I’d love to have someone to shake my tits at. And not just temporarily for a few nights or months but in a long-term, soft, loving sort of way; more like a very gentle tit wagging in front of the telly.

I’d like a partner for all the usual reasons –  the kisses and head stroking and lazy late night cuddles – but also for the less usual reasons, the practical reasons, that tend to be forgotten in an age where everyone’s googly-eyed with romance.

Sure, it’s nice to have someone to hold hands with in the cinema but what about someone who can write a really superb angry complaint letter? And yes, I like surprise flowers as much as the next person but what about surprise home insurance renewal? Or surprise fixing of the boiler? “Surprise! I checked land registry records and you do own the extra 3 feet of garden you’ve been cultivating into a tiny orchard.” “THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE THE MOST HELPFUL HUMAN I’VE EVER MET, PLEASE MARRY ME.”

Maybe I’ll start a range of really honest wedding cards:

Congratulations on finding someone to freak out with when a huge poo gets stuck in your loo

Hooray! No more sexually transmitted diseases unless they cheat

Mrs & Mrs & a whole bunch of tax breaks.

Congratulations on your marriage! Now people are more like to visit your grave because it feels like less of a hassle to visit two dead friends rather than one.

There are times when I feel with a painful pang this lack of another person in my life. Like when I get sick one weekend, the kind of sickness that upends bottom and bowels and leaves you weeping into the toilet bowl. I shuffle from bed to bog and back again with my dribbly arse and wish desperately that I had a contractual arrangement that would force someone to, literally, take responsibility for this shit. Or, at the very least, go get more food so I don’t have to strategically time trips to the supermarket in between poos.

Or the times when I have someone round who’s thinking of renting my second bedroom and I worry because it’s a man. What if he attacks me? The belligerent single woman in me thinks I CAN PROTECT MYSELF but the truth is I can’t. The only exercise I do are dance lessons. What am I going to do, stun him into submission with a wobbly 3-minute sequence to Lady Marmalade? Hip thrust my way to safety? It’s times like this when I feel intensely vulnerable, when all the romantic claptrap and fanfare seem so arbitrary against the basic human need just to feel safe. I don’t need a hero in my life, but sometimes I’d really like a heroine.

So there it is. This Christmas, I’d like a girlfriend who can write complaint letters, renew my home insurance, fix my boiler, check land registry records, look after me when I have chronic diarrhoea and hide in the cupboard with a knife when I’m showing strange men round my house.

Any takers?

 

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

 

 

91. The truth is out there

There are few things more nebulous or slippery in this world than the truth. Two people might experience the exact same thing, yet somehow one can see a pond and the other an ocean. Whether the truth is a pond or an ocean doesn’t matter. When there’s no one to vouch for you, every truth is just a story you hope others will believe.

Sometimes we misuse truth. We abuse it. We rip it to sheds and sew it up differently, then hide the needle and thread so no one knows what we’ve done: Look what you did we cry, pointing at this new thing whilst the other person stumbles and stalls and tries to remember.

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90. Baser instinct

Waking up with the older woman, there’s a sourness in the air. I feel vaguely disgruntled that I’ve come all this way and paid all this money and given myself to someone for nothing. If I had a bed post, I’d carve her notch lightly – just a shadow in the wood, a whisper, something you could easily forget.

All morning she irritates me. She makes bad coffee and sniffs constantly and it takes her so long to do her hair and make-up that we end up having breakfast at 12.30. Being hungry is a running theme for the weekend; the night before we had dinner after 10. That fact alone would be enough for me to never see her again. If I’m not going to come, I’d at least like a delicious breakfast.

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89. Sex on the beach

I’ve come to the coast: to sea air and fish suppers and my third date with the older woman. She’s invited me to her holiday home, a flat with very high ceilings and a sliver of sea view.

“It’s not quite finished,” she says self-consciously on arrival, “the bathrooms aren’t quite to my taste.”

“It’s beautiful,” I reply.

We have a quick drink before we head out, softening the evening in white wine. She’s wearing a low cut top and her cleavage winks at me from across the living room. “Come sit next to me,” she says, patting the sofa and I duly pad across the floor.

Drinks finished, we head out for the evening. She’s made plans for us to watch a bonfire show: a mad, visceral thing where pissed villagers in frilly headdresses wave lit torches around and set off fireworks worryingly close to one another’s beards. The whole thing is hot and loud as hell and I get a brilliant flash of schadenfreude as, one by one, crying children have to be taken home.

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88. Putting the kids to bed

I like dating older people. Back when I dated men, my boyfriends were often older than me by 4, 5, 6, sometimes 7 years.  It’s not that they were better, more that they knew themselves better. They had experience. They knew what they liked and what they didn’t and sometimes they could see things I couldn’t – a mental or intellectual spark hovering between us like a firefly.

They also didn’t mess about. They were frank about their feelings: I like you, I love you, let’s live together. There was rarely any drama or bullshit or games with older men because mostly they had no time for it. Being with an older man was like stepping off a merry-go-round and feeling the world slowly right itself.

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87. Watch out for the stingers!

Two days after our third date I text the Francophile asking when she’s free. I’m planning to take her to the darkest, booziest, filthiest bar I know, where the seats are so tiny she’ll practically have to sit in my lap. It’s always rammed full of couples with hard liquor and hard ons. If we don’t kiss there we’re not kissing anywhere.

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86. I’ll see you – and raise you a kiss

It’s funny how much scarier it feels to like someone when you’re older.

When you’re young, liking someone is so easy. It’s a walk in the park or a sigh through the cherry blossoms. It’s not just keeping your heart open, ready and willing but actively thrusting it at people with glee – shoving it through letterboxes or chucking it at heads across a classroom. It’s scribbling someone’s name all over your textbook and dreams, not caring if you’ve accidentally grabbed the permanent marker. You’ve never been hurt, after all – what’s to say this isn’t permanent?

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