When do you know it’s time to go? When do you decide that this job or this partner or this home or this country or this version of life isn’t for you anymore? When do you say – enough? I have a low threshold for misery. I will walk away from a job or a relationship or a friendship that’s making me unhappy. No. Scrap that. I will run away. I won’t just throw in the towel, I’ll throw in the kettle and the 3-piece bathroom suite and the keys to the Ford Escort and the pension and I’ll leg it screaming blue bloody murder. But I’m not like most people. Most people are patient. Most people are triers. Most people work at things. They don’t give up or give in. They give it time. They give a shit. They cut their life some slack. Is that better? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe sometimes.
Last week I had 2 dates. Two! I’m like the Hoff. I’m like the Heff. My pecs were positively quivering with anticipation. It feels good to get back into the swing of things. Sometimes when you’re busy, the search for love can get rudely shoved to the back of the queue. It’s time to shove it back up front again. The first date is all curls and soft cheeks and a laugh as naughty as a wet thigh. I take her to a Spanish bar where we drink wine at pre-Brexit prices that tastes like piss and bludgeons the back of my head the next day. “Sorry,” I say mournfully and she laughs. She’s a bit posh and well-to-do and buttoned up, but in a way where if you undid all the buttons you wouldn’t be surprised to find a pair of nipple tassels leering up at you. She likes “the penis museum in Iceland,” and “the sex museum in Naples,” and when I head to the bathroom her eyes cling to the curves of …
How do you know when you’ve hit your romantic rock bottom? Is it losing your date and then finding her tongue in someone else’s mouth? Or blushing in the doctor’s room as they confirm you’ve contracted your third STD? Maybe it’s taking someone home who looks and smells and tastes like vomit and not realising until you catch their soiled scent the following morning?
After our night of passion, the genius and I part ways. No one’s hurt or angry. There are no bad feelings. But we both recognise that this isn’t and probably never will be love. There’s no point flogging a horse that, if not quite dead, is very unwell. She does leave me a parting gift though when she messages later to say: “I had fun last time so feel free to call me in an emergency 😉 x” I smile and slide the gift under the bed. Just in case. The truth is, there’s another reason this won’t work: Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Thai. At the time, I was so hung up on the Friend I never gave us a proper chance. Every time we kissed or laughed or got close I’d feel guilty and back off. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see it was the Thai who made me feel good, who treated me kindly, who left me in no doubt that I was the one she wanted.
I’m getting political. I’ve decided to start a campaign to make people’s lives better. I’m sick of life being all me me me. I want to be civic minded. To fight for the issues that matter. To take a stand where it counts. I’m finally going to do my bit like a brave, fierce, towering suffragette. I’ll be sending out emails shortly and I hope you’ll join me in the struggle because, frankly, I’ve had enough.
And it’s over. 10 days. 15 messages. I’m not even sure I can use the word over – did it ever really begin? It was all going well until I suggested meeting up. We’d ticked off friends and homes and passions with no major upsets. We’d had a cheeky flirt – just a flash of thigh, a spot of conversational cleavage – to up the anticipation. We’d swapped our real names, which in the world of anonymous internet dating is, well, keen. Then I ask about meeting up and she goes as squirmy as fish in a bucket.
From famine – to feast. I’ve joined a dating website and things are finally hotting up. Well, I’m talking to three people. Maybe things are warming up. Taking the chill off? I’m wearing a light cardigan in the Arctic. Either way, this is good. It’s been 4 months since I last shared a bed with someone – time to get some flesh on these pallid bones.