Is it enough to really like someone, to love someone even? If you're dead certain that this person is good and brilliant, they're the last person you want to see at night and the first person you want to kiss in the morning, morning breath and all, is that enough?
What if the someone you’re loving isn’t good for you? Is it still enough?
I met him of course how any normal self-respecting single does, this side of the millennium and fully charged battery life, on Tinder.
Although when friends ask I will usually employ the phrasing, 'Oh, we met at work... Well I was using Tinder while I was at work.'
How isn't important. What happened next is more interesting.
When was the last time you had a drink with a stranger and it wasn't terrible? You didn't turn up and wish immediately that you could blend into the pub wallpaper. Send the auto abort message to that good friend who would then reply with the 'emergency phone call'?
But, have you ever actually thought, 'Hey, that profile picture doesn't do you justice'?
Well how about, 'Fuck I really fancy this guy'?
But, follow that with the less shallow realisation of here we are: Two people who make each other laugh and get each other (as horrendous as that sounds).
That night we both started to work the other out, and actually began debating the big stuff, long after our glasses were empty sitting in the deserted pub garden.
"I'm just not a Feminist"
I declared blazon with self indignant rightness and aware of how bold I sounded. We were shivering now, long since turfed out into the late August blanket whether. It was gone midnight but neither of us wanted to say goodnight. He laughed at me and told me that everything I had said to him that evening was exactly why I was a feminist and indeed completely wrong.
Oh but I love a man who can prove me wrong... Wait, wasn't that my point?
That first kiss however was the most awkward of all of my first kisses. Worse even than that time a French guy in a Parisian nightclub had French chipped my front tooth.
As usual I'd been saying entirely the wrong thing, half aware of it too, but unable to stop myself from digging.
“Haven't you ever felt that awkwardness of someone wanting to kiss you on a first date and you not want them to?”
“Christ, I'm not sure if I'm going to ruin everything now.”
He looked at me for a moment, terrified. I hadn't realised I had the ability to terrify. So I grinned and shook my head, no, a mixed signal if ever I had given one, but somehow he got it, just as he had all evening. Then he kissed me.
The dates that followed were standard, ordinary, save for one detail. I actually liked this guy.
He was so there. He read books, he got contemporary comedic references, he wasn't adverse to the theatre and he watched the news. The News! And not just because he thought he should. For fun, he watched the news!
He made me feel stupid in a really great way. Not stupid, maybe just a little naive. We would talk about current affairs and human rights, and God, it was the hottest dirty talk I have ever heard.
Over the next couple of months we developed those disgusting inevitable in jokes, rituals and rules. If I said something cute or just correct he would squeeze my hand or kiss me hard in public. If he just happened to look extra adorable I would lean up and kiss the corner of his mouth.
It happened, I went from a ‘me’ to a ‘we’.
But wait, had we? Or was I the only one ‘weeing’ all over the place?
The first time I realised was one Friday night around 9pm when I found myself scared to text him to confirm our date that same night.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that sanity is the number one attractive quality in any woman. Actually, strangely in men this seems to be preceded by a sense of humour, or a large.... bank balance.
So that Friday night instead of texting, double texting and God forbid phoning I instead waited. I was doing a lot of waiting in those days. Waiting for him to say yes, or give me a time or an answer of any kind.
Slowly it was occurring to me that whilst I was giving up my Friday nights and my plans to make loose arrangements with him, his life had changed very little. He was still single and doing as he pleased, but with the added bonus of a guaranteed orgasm at least once a week. It was the classic tale of girl waits by the phone whilst guy has his cake and fucks it too.
Don't get me wrong it was still great whilst I was around him, all the classic in jokes and disgustingly cute moments but, ok, maybe I should go backwards for a moment.
Since the launch of this blog I think it's been fairly evident that I have been, by one definition or another, single. There have been guys but what have they mattered? Not a whole lot other than the next edition to this website. However, I was now dating someone with a completely different dilemma.
One Miranda Hobbs, a controversially fictional character, once said;
"Men are like cabs, their lights turn on when they're available."
As someone who's coming around to the idea of admitting to being a feminist (it seems to have become a whole lot more fashionable label since Watson’s heart felt speech reclaimed the definition of Feminism from the disturbing image unsurprisingly promoted by the white middle class male.) I would like to amend this statement and suggest that 'people are like cabs...'
And whilst my single self's light is now blazing, this lovely guy who had been in a relationship for the five years prior to our awkward first kiss, had his switched off.
So I thought about it, I wasn't the kind of girl who had those kind of talks, but I needed to communicate. Crazy or not I needed to know where this was going and just how far his fare was going to take me.
And whilst I chewed this over and got up the courage to ask for what I wanted things went on as usual, although now I was the one who was terrified. I wasn't sure where the line was, if there was a boundary, or even a time limit. But on the day he panicked and introduced me to his ex girlfriends best friend, upon a chance encounter along Clapham high-street, as his 'friend' I knew I had to ask.
“I think I need to be with someone who really wants to be with me, and right now I feel as though you're just going along for the ride. I think that when people start out in a relationship, which I'm scared to even call this by the way, I think they should itch to see each other. Not just offer up what's left of themselves at the end of the week. I think that I shouldn't be nervous to hold your hand in the street and I think this isn't going to work if it stays this way.”
Of course I didn't say it all quite so much like a monologue but I was proud that I told him everything that I felt.
We broke up in the pub at the end of my road. He told me he was really sorry. He told me that he couldn't go straight back into a relationship. He told me he thought he would hurt me.
It felt as though I had been kicked in the stomach. I had to cling on to the mantra in my head: 'This is your decision, and it's the right decision.'
The saving grace to his much shorter monologue was him telling me how crazy this all was. That he thought it was madness to be breaking up with someone he liked and cared about so much.
The saving grace or the bullshit?
I had always thought that if you like someone, you really like them, then it doesn't matter. You just make it work. If they're not giving you what you want it will be over ridden by the fact that they are what you want.
Then I told him something which I had found harder to admit to than admitting to being a Feminist:
"We want different things, and I'm not going to change, so I shouldn't expect you to either."
For the first time I wasn’t willing to compromise for him, so why would I ask him to do the same for me?
Perhaps I wasn't what he wanted. Or perhaps, sometimes, you just have to give yourself what you need. You need to be there for you, even if that means turning off your light.