The Writer suggests we meet at her local for a drink. I’ve buggered up my train times so arrive 15 minutes late with a damp face and wild hair, gasping apologies. “Oh no problem” she says smiling, “thank you so much for coming to me.”
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.
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?
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.
When I meet the artist at a quiet pub near Bankside I’m immediately attracted to her. Her long, dark hair falls to just below where I imagine the curve of her breast lies under her white shirt, her hazel eyes peppered with honey in the late afternoon sun.
I’m intrigued that thus far I haven’t been on a date with any bonafide lebians. Tinder seems to be awash with the curious, the bewildered and the confused, the kind of women who use the ‘two girls’ emoji on their profile and then collapse into paroxysms of doubt when they get a message from an actual girl.
When you’re dating women there’s a pitifully small pool to choose from. I’m not even sure it can fairly be called a pool. It’s more of a pond or a puddle or a light drizzle or an egg cup full of water. Where’s my girlfriend? I think mournfully, prodding the egg cup.
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.
The Northerner is an absolute knockout: green eyes like springtime and warm russet locks – it’s like she’s been plucked straight from my lesbian dreams. I meet her outside the bar, slightly flustered after trotting from the tube and feel like I’ve been sucker punched in the stomach. Holy shit – it’s my future wife!