I’m out with my mates on Friday night buying a round when the barman says I have a beautiful smile. “Thanks…” I say, “that’s very kind.”
Whoever coined the term “Summer of Love” has clearly never tried to date women in London. I’d somehow imagined that all the smart, witty, lovely women who’d been hibernating through the winter months would suddenly burst into my life in a storm of glitter and jazz hands. “Fooled you!” they’d cry, whisking me off to some fabulous muff convention where everyone drinks champagne in swishy skirts and coos over me.
It’s the day after my bruising encounter with the Swiss but sadly I have no time to wallow as I have to haul ass to one of my best friend’s weddings. My mate and I forget our invitations in our hungover panic and end up toddling around London in 30 degree heat looking for the venue. We arrive with just minutes to go, sweating like a pair of boiled hams.
It’s my night out with the Swiss and my mate and I are running late. We trot up the hill with a light, sweaty sheen on our faces, my side boobs jiggling angrily in my sundress. We finally arrive at the pub 15 minutes late and, as per the plan, by friend potters off to a nearby park so that I can spend some time alone with the Swiss. I head out to the beer garden but she’s not there. Shit.
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?
Let me tell you a story about a girl who came out. Once upon a time there was a girl living in a Kingdom far, far away. She wasn’t a princess and she certainly wasn’t the fairest in the land, but she had a wonderful family and she was happy.
Doubts have begun to creep in, like ants crawling over a summer picnic. It starts with a relatively innocent request: a sexy photo for her to moon over late at night. So one evening I get home from the office, wriggle into a slinky LBD and dim the lights ready to titillate my paramour.