I’ve invited the Thai for lunch with my friends. I don’t often introduce the people I’m seeing to my friends. It’s not that I’m sniffy or pompous about these things. It’s that I rarely date anyone where I can see a possible future and so don’t want to insinuate a closeness I don’t feel. When I eventually introduced Blue Eyes to my friends it felt like more obligatory than celebratory – the grudging culmination of 6 months of rocky dating. I’m also protective of my friendship group. I’ve worked hard to cultivate it, collecting my friends over the years like beloved bric-a-brac. Some I found myself, others I borrowed and others I stole, stuffing them in my pocket and legging it before anyone noticed. Ha! They’re mine now, suckers!
When you’re single, one of the best things about a night on the lash is the delicious, tingling anticipation of meeting someone. As you shimmy into a silky top or scarlet lip, you wonder if later on a cheeky hand will sneak under a hem or a pair of tipsy lips undo your perfect pout.
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 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.
After my first few unsuccessful attempts to meet women in bars, I’m dubious as to whether it’s even possible to meet people in real life anymore or if I’ll eventually be telling my kids that “mummy met mummy on a seedy dating app.” So when my token lesbian friend invites me to a night for gay women I think – what the hell, let’s give it another whirl.