Friday, October 12, 2012

Date with S (and the tooth fairy)

You're saying it, I'm saying it: what the f*ck am I meeting S again for?

A brief flick through earlier posts delivers the reminder that he is a charming womaniser who is 20 years too old and has previously made it painfully clear he doesn't want a relationship with me. To make it worse, I have – in true pushover style – agreed to go for dinner at a Japanese restaurant when I can’t abide Japanese food.

Unfortunately S is also a fantastic kisser, kindly, entertaining, easy company and I fancy the pants off him despite the grandad zip-up cardigans and being, essentially, an only slightly hotter version of Sacha from Holby City (a clear sign that I have got it either "really bad", or just "really wrong"). 

Thus I regress to age 16, step into my semi-gothic charleston outfit, and find myself supping half a barely swallowable blackthorn in a dingy pub in Camden, having arrived early and nervous.

Dinner, S style, consisted of him ordering a banquet of a thousand starters (“to share” – yeah right!) as well as a couple of mains. Some of them were surprisingly edible (not the rubbery fluorescent seaweed which made a gallant effort to resist peristalsis), and the game of blind-testing beers helped me with some of the more inedible items – e.g. gelatinous shitake mushrooms - the clue’s in the first syllable. We also sampled a Colico - "Japan's favourite drink" – but certainly not mine (something akin to an effervescent aspirin).

However, greater culinary problems were to be in store when I realised the crunchy texture of my aubergine was not some crystal of carelessly strewn gravel, but actually my once-again-broken false tooth. Cursing myself for having allowed S to sit "gap-side", I attempted to surreptitiously regurgitate the offending piece of porcelain and its plastic bridge into my napkin and deposit the articles into my handbag (for a fifth super-gluing on the morrow). This manouvre was somewhat impeded by the plate being securely wedged between the roof of my mouth and a large mouthful of semi-masticated soy-flavoured sludge. I battled on. The only consolation of this grotesquery was that S’s dislike of my new haircut was no longer of any consequence!

Should I be generous and believe that S graciously chose not to notice this ineptly executed and – frankly – disgusting performance? Or, in the light of previous posts, would it be more accurate to record that he was too engrossed in the morsels between his chopsticks to notice? You reader, may decide.

Either way (or perhaps it was pity), he unleashed the charm. Sample: “You can have any man you want”;  “You’re really one of the smartest women I've met” (clearly a lie – he lectures at one of the world’s top universities) and – in an infinitely more self-sacrificing gesture – gave me the last lychee.

Over jasmine tea he laid his hand on my arm. Over double cointreaus he took my hand and started playing with my fingers. Although this time I had come fully prepared with my week’s wages in cash, he generously treated me to dinner (for finishing my MA, he said).

“I was hoping you'd be wearing a basque,” he said, a little coyly. Yes, I thought, then I’d really look like your prostitute. “You’ll need to meet me on a Friday instead then.” I deadpanned.

We got up to leave. He pulled me forward for a kiss as I was heading to the bathroom. Then mumbled a sweet nothing into my ear. What were these beautiful words of wooing? Let me record it verbatim: “Those glasses really do absolutely nothing for you.”

In the cold light of the bathroom, I wondered had he also reflected that the newly-acquired Mr Greedy-style potbelly did similarly little for him?

I decided to score points instead through a virtuoso display of crossword-completion on the tube, and treated him to a bag of maltesers on our way back to his.
Oh my! What a lot of toothbrushes you have!

After furnishing me with my own new toothbrush (later I wished I’d checked to see how many he had – I have visions of a full pirate’s chest). 

In bed, I took his glasses off. “I'll put them back on thanks!” My '20s haircut was even "growing on" him. 

Well, I barely slept a wink (two causes both beginning with 'S', the second being "snoring"), but he made reparation by making me comfortable on his shoulder, bringing tea and biscuits in bed, offering to iron my shirt for work, and providing me with a mini-packed lunch.

Feeling confident I later texted: Fancy an encore? 

His reply: Yes please, followed by a standing ovation!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Old flames

Ok, so I didn't think I'd catch myself doing this, but one night at a loose end (since my dissertation and I had finally parted company for good) with a friend beside (and a bottle of prosecco inside) me, I was persuaded to email a one liner to all those men I had previously gone on dates with who did not have anything sincerely wrong with them.

Obviously this didn't take long.

The email was short, sweet and scripted by my infinitely more sexually-successful friend: "I've just finished the dissertation from hell and wanted to let my hair down... fancy a catch up? x"

I sent five emails, and received four replies. There was Y, a prominent psychiatrist, extremely handsome, demeanour of ice, but nonetheless charming and certainly interesting to talk to (great kisser). Then H, cute French engineer, who I met about 5 times, and argued about feminism with, but I never felt that he particularly fancied me (as such, am unable to comment on kissing ability).  S, despite being dangerous waters as detailed in previous posts, made the cut (well, why not, I foolhardily reasoned), and I threw in an old school chum for good measure.

(M, the charismatic Oxbridge lecturer for whom I could have dropped everything (including knickers) in a shot (were I simply given the chance not to be a blithering buffoon) alas, did not reply.)

So, 2 dates lined up and 2 more pending. Hey - if it was this easy, why didn't I do this a year ago?!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Internet dating? How about just getting drunk like normal people?

Internet dating? Had enough of it.  Exes? Had enough of them.  Male friend who keeps muttering about leaving his wife for me but is never going to? Had enough of him. Other male friend who occasionally deigns to flirt with me, but is currently bragging about his "super hot date"? Had enough of him.

Having tired of the inane pointlessness of searching for an articulate, affectionate and available man, I spent the rest of the summer in the more entertaining company of my dissertation, and accidentally hit on a novel plan to find a man the old-fashioned way: booze.

Firstly, the plan was not to find a man. The plan was simple: to get eye-wateringly drunk. And at that, by gad, we succeeded!

 I do have photos from that night. They are worse than this, and I'm not putting them up.
We decided to go to a burlesque night. Three bottles of wine later we hit a bar. No one else was in burlesque attire. Kate realised that beneath her mac she had basically come out in her underwear. I hazily recall telling her to feel my boobs to confirm they weren't fake, but I'm not sure whether that was post-grovelling on the toilet floor looking for the missing lens from my glasses (indicated to curious onlookers by poking my finger through the frame, in what would have been a highly sexual gesture were I a 15 year old boy), or indeed before or after men started requesting photos of us with our fingers in our mouths, etc (photos with which we were only too happy to furnish them).
You'll find this is me, actually.

I had the requisite sobbing fit at some point around 1am ("I broke my tooth again!" Kate's reply: "In that top, do you think anyone will be looking at your face?!") but this was quickly quelled by the sudden realisation I was snogging an extremely hot youth who had a not even elementary grasp of English.

Through the medium of gesticulation I ascertained he was approximately ten years my junior. However, as previously noted, extremely attractive and a most rewarding kisser! He seemed to be trying to tell me he liked my eyes. I also remember him courteously asking permission to put his hands inside my basque ("Is ok? [gesture]"). I recall finding it unaccountably quaint that he would even ask. And yes - we were still in the bar.

I'd prefer not to tell you how the evening ended. However, as I have little sense of shame remaining, I will do so anyway. We went back to his house on an endless bus ride, where once ensconced in his student flat I treated him to the twin horrors of my actual age, and the sound of me vomiting (in the toilet with the door locked, at least). After five minutes of fervid squeezing-tube mimes I managed to procure toothpaste (it's not the same in Spanish!), and then passed out on his bed until sheepishly waking up and trying to sneak out at around 7am. At which point he kindly led me to the station and dispatched me towards home.
Give me more of that creamy goodness!

And that, my friends, is what I call a successful night out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Summer of Discontent

After calling it off with T (Calling it off? Nothing had happened anyway), I disconsolately turned to my dissertation for solace.

Actually, there was none of that Romance of the Intellectual crap. I had to write 55,000 words in 3 months because, having previously been more interested in snogging than studying, I'd pretended it didn't exist for the first half of 2012.

Oh the misery!

What did I need to relieve me from the burden of the lonesome scholar and the full-time job? Someone affectionate, easy to be around, undemanding. Someone who knew me inside out (and still found me tolerable), and was therefore willing to cut to the chase (thus representing a good investment of my minuscule amount of free time). But who could this demi-god be?

A-ha! An ex!

In timely fashion one got in touch. Ex (as I shall henceforth refer to the being) sent me an extremely romantic birthday present, out of the blue. From thence I fell into a pining and a sighing. Hadn't he always been my One True Love? Wasn't this, finally, the very pinnacle of moments for Ex and I to reunite in a metaphysical merging of both body and soul?
Stop wasting my time!

The short answer: No.

We met for drinks, things seemed encouraging when - and I must admit a level of presumption on my part here - he turned the discussion to the possibility of having children with me, how he had never stopped fancying the pants off me, how he'd never met anyone he could get on with as well as he got on with me, and what a wonderful mother I'd make. Six or seven long phone calls (and holiday plan-making) later and...

Well, reader, I feel such a fool. You see, I had interpreted the above outpourings (articulated after one measly pint) as an indication he was still interested.
scratch 'n' sniff

However, one month down the line he kindly informed me this is how he talks to all his female friends. Yes, that's right - "I want you to be the mother of my children" appear to be words used as a mere token of friendship in Warwickshire...

Following his suggestion that we now be bestest of best friends ever, and maybe swap sticker albums or something, I decided that the time to be hankering over commitment-phobes 20 years older than me was past*: in short, the Era of the Ex was over.

Time to reinvest my energies in the more emotionally thrilling "Panic" stage of the dissertation.

Back to old faithful...

*you will enjoy my upcoming posts, if you believed that...

Monday, October 1, 2012

T: 4th and final date

"The bells, the bells!" my subconscious cries.
So, he fucks up, and he sends flowers.

I love getting flowers. It's sweet he bothered. It's great he realised an apology was required.

BUT as a male friend pointed out - send flowers to show someone you care, not as a buy off when you've done something wrong.

On balance it seemed another chance would only be polite. However, warning bells (and friends) clanged "Don't trust him."

Nonetheless, I met him at a London museum Late (not the ice-cream parlour that he'd have preferred), and we spent an awkward hour examining exhibits that he feigned no interest in, thus inhibiting mine (except for the string quartet playing pop hits in 1800s style and costume - nothing could have dulled my pleasure in that!).
Was this the offending article?

We didn't discuss the problem - it seemed too early to be having that kind of intense conversation, but I no longer felt free to be myself as I didn't trust him. He then revealed another present. This made me extremely uncomfortable.  Not least because I sensed it might be something that would exacerbate rather than rectify the problem. He admitted that he had initially purchased an instructive 1900s manual on etiquette for women. Does this guy never learn? Would he have liked me to gift him a book on subordinating the natives in colonial India? It was at this point I gave up.

The present in fact was extremely cool, but this man just seemed to be too much hard work. He wanted to go for dinner. I wasn't hungry, and there seemed little left to say. I declined. His face fell. He asked if he could give me a hug goodbye, and left me at the tube.

And he strode off to get his long awaited ice-cream.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

T and I fall out...

The next few days were a flurry of witty texts and emails (I was still riding on the wave of date 3: the positive interpretation).

I would recount them here, but 1) my phone had an epileptic fit and deleted all my texts, and 2) the emails are extremely intense and still make me blush (despite the fact we hadn't even kissed) - e.g. his creative responses to my task "25 uses for a stethoscope" or the more dramatic (and let's face it, immensely flattering) sign off: I want to kiss you. Deeply. For ages. And for time to stop.  

Phew! Pass me a fan!

As he was wading (Darcy-esque) into the marsh of "risque", I had the inspired idea of sending a book with the addressee "Dr Fifty Shades of T" (this was when the book had just been released and the wider populace were still deciding whether it was acceptable to read or not). 

When I requested his address, he sent his work one. Why not his home one?! What did he think I was going to do? Turn up uninvited? Hmmph!

Undeterred, I ordered the item on Book Depository (in fact simply a harmless miscellany) and, egged on by my housemate, addressed it accordingly. 0.2 seconds after I had submitted the order, my housemate (also a hot ambitious male doctor) informed me he was only joking, and of course I should never dream of sending such a thing to a man's workplace, particularly if it were a hospital, as the internal mail system meant the entire staff would get a laugh at it before it made its way to his pigeon hole, thus rendering him the subject of undermining smutty jokes from his entire team.

Oh fuck.

This became less than my key concern however, due to what happened next. 


Whilst I was unequivocally relishing the bosom-heaving sections of the correspondence, other areas were causing me serious dismay. Here I'm talking about the references to the "simplicity" of women, attention-seeking being "clearly more prevalent in those with two X chromosomes" (he who had sent me a text that morning, when I hadn't replied instantaneously to his first two, in capitals, demanding "GIVE ME SOME ATTENTION!") and more on the "my best friends fall in love with me" theme.

In particular, comments such as "What is it with women?! Are they simply unable to listen to men talk?! Or are they just too shocked when they come across a man who knows how to communicate!" had started to grate to much to be ignored.  

What to do? Clearly no amount of bodice-ripping correspondence could make this sort of hogwash tolerable. I wrote a cautious email asking if he could go easy on the casual sexism, positing it as a personal tic of mine to be over-sensitive in such matters, in an effort not to offend.

I received an apology, followed by a summary of a couple of my failings (I'm perhaps unable to love, it seems), and the following facile question which he seemed to think as a trump card: If a woman refers to "man-flu" is that being sexist? (Of course it is!! But if that's the worst it gets, are you truly going to compare it to e.g. the wage gap, being told you're genetically predisposed to being hysterical by a qualified doctor, or Todd Akin's rape comments?)

Somehow he then rationalised the entire situation through reference to the Oedipus Affair (i.e. as it was unintentional he was innocent - an excuse one can unfortunately never use more than once) gave two examples of times he harassed female colleagues to the point of them making official complaints about him, and a request for us to put the matter behind us. The email returned to the apologetic, before this grand finale:
Anyway dear, I also hope that on reading this you will have calmed down. You must have had a terribly stressful day at work. Maybe your stilettoes might have broken and you had fallen over. And clearly you are on your period.
I'm sorry, what? 

Did I write back, "Whilst reapplying my lippy I reflected that I must be careful not to irritate you, or you might stone some women to death, strap yourself to a bomb and then blow yourself up"? 

No, I did not.

I wrote back briefly, saying that I'd thought it over and despite enjoying his company when we'd met up, I didn't think we were compatible enough to take it any further: good luck with the search.

What happened next...

Response 1: curt email, "No problem, good luck."

Response 2: apologetic email with the admission the quoted paragraph was inappropriate and a request not to end it in this way and give him another chance.

Response 3: the next day a box of red roses arrived at my workplace, with a thoughtfully written card.

To be continued...
And then I remembered the "50 Shades" book hadn't yet arrived... [Clasps hand to forehead]