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? But as you grow up you grow wary. You start scribbling names in washable ink, then pencil, then you stop writing them down all together. You weather so many cuts and bruises the chip on your shoulder gets bigger and bigger until your arm’s dangling from the socket on a couple of shaky tendons. You think twice about falling for someone in case you belly flop and make a fool of yourself.
I like someone. I met her a few weeks ago on a dating app but I didn’t get excited then because I know how fickle these apps can be: here today, gone tomorrow – or tonight or this afternoon or sometimes even by mid-morning before you’ve had a chance to open the hobnobs. That’s the worst. Please, let me eat my hobnob before you reject me. But she persevered and I persevered and a few days later I’m having a glass of wine with her in the bar of a five star hotel. It’s her choice and a good one. The room is beautiful, all done up in grandeur like an old royal, but sexy too, like she’s got her stockings on show. There’s also something seductive about being in a hotel, as if at any moment we could finish our drinks and slip into a four-poster upstairs.
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.
Does anyone get the perfect amount of sex? My friends and I talk a lot about our love lives and so often sex is a bone of contention even in happy relationships. There seems to be a lot of mismatched expectation and negotiation: a lot of pleading, begging, gnashing, blocking, sighing, yearning, weeping, scrabbling, silent mounting and tearful pleas to “get off me so I can go to sleep.”
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.
Writing a good dating profile is hard. There’s so much pressure to cram your whole self into a couple of sentences and a photo. What if you miss off some vital bit of information that could have elevated your profile from a ‘no’ to a ‘maybe’ or even a ‘yes’? What if, off paper, you and the other person are perfect for one another but none of your words fit together as they should?