One thing I should say from the off:
This post contains (moderate) sex references. We’re rating the following as 12A.
But the kind of 12A for which you’d cross legs whilst watching and wish your parents weren’t in the room.
So, Dad, close down the blog and switch off your laptop. Thanks.
Ok, I think we’re alone now.
To me the idea of casting men as ‘Players’ (And, let’s assume we all know that the word ‘Player’, popularised in the late 80s within western culture and HipHop music, means: A man who not only has, but takes his pick, of sexual partners) is a little ridiculous. It’s old fashioned, it’s anti-feminist, it’s creating the idea that women are less in control of their sexual goals or that they in fact have less sexual goals to begin with. Let me tell you, none of this is true, and as I found out, it is extremely naïve to believe that anyone has the energy to really pull off being a ‘Player’.
But last week I decided to have a little time off from my feelings and just generally do whatever I wanted. Or as it turned out, whomever…
The problem with this first idea is the second, in that; it wasn’t a ‘little’ time at all. I went on a dating binge and it completely took over my week.
So I gave into a second date with a guy who I knew would never make it to a third. A great start to my week off.
On our first date we’d drank cocktails and talked about some of the ‘big stuff’. He was a film director with property in Battersea and he kept his cap on for the entire night.
We’d met on Tinder and when I’d read his self-proclamation as a film director I laughed out loud. Please, everyone calls themselves writers or directors, but who actually writes or directs? But he was good looking and this was my time off. Who cared what he did for a living?
After hitting it off and talking film most of the evening I realised he was in fact the real deal (Not quite a big cheese but definitely far from a deluded Baby Bell.) We kissed. A lot and it was good. Almost get an Uber back to his place good. Almost.
But last Sunday, when he invited me over to watch the film Drive, I knew that was just code for what that’s always been code for. Of course I said yes.
We talked until 1am and I realised, whilst this would never go anywhere, I did like this guy. I liked him for what he was. Which, at that moment, was a guy I wanted to go to bed with.
We never even switched on the TV.
I woke up comfortably in the arms of the Director. He’d finally taken his cap off somewhere between his jeans and my bra. We laid naked, a mix of limbs and bed sheets. He played me his favourite vinyl and I soaked in the feeling of feeling satisfied. Until he climbed back into bed.
I’d barely slept when I finally caught a bus back to my place. But I felt good and ready to set myself up with a large coffee and my laptop.
As I walked into my flat I headed straight for the bathroom to wash the night before’s makeup. Then I bypassed the shower in favour for my baggiest pjs and warmest slippers.
My phone buzzed.
An old fling I had never quite flung off. Not that I had wanted to either. He was easy and casual and way out of my league. The kind of guy who hypnotises you with his oh so beautiful lips so that you forget to listen to what they’re saying. He’s pretty much always been in the background, although not anymore, now he was on my phone. There was only one reason he’d be calling.
“Hey what’s up?” I asked with caution.
“I’m at work but I can’t concentrate, what are you doing today?”
“Well I’m just about to start writing and I can concentrate.”
“But wouldn’t you rather me come over and distract you?”
I giggled at his brazen disregard for any preconceived rules about modern courtship, or even the regulations surrounding the ‘one nightstand’. This was the middle of the working day on a Monday!
When I couldn’t make up my mind he made it for me.
“So I booked an Uber”
“Yeah I remembered your post code so it’ll be here in 5 and I’ll see you in half an hour? You better be ready for me.”
I launched myself at my shower trying to push from my mind the burning thought that, perhaps two guys in the space of 12 hours was just way too many. I mean it is… maybe. But I’m a feminist and apparently also an adult who works from home. Surely the only real concern for the modern woman should be thrush…
In no more than 20 minutes I was ready. Matching lingerie and dressing gown. There was clearly no point in getting dressed. As I opened the door to him and failed to get even a ‘Hello’ out before his lips were on mine I realised I’d been right.
The whole thing was over quicker than his decision to book that Uber. But laying on my bed, out breath and giggling I was glad he had.
We’d never usually ‘hang out’; all our previous meetings had coincided with drunken nights out or lonely late nights in. Talking never really featured.
Well hello there, funny, sweet, intelligent, witty and all those other ticks on every single girl’s list. In a couple of hours we covered more ground than we had in the months I’d known him.
“Oh did I tell you I’m moving to Dubai in few weeks?”
“No you didn’t. For… For long?”
“Indefinitely if this new job takes off… blah blah blah” I wasn’t listening. I was probably just staring at his lips.
Oh. Goodbye wonder crush. Looks like the fling may had just been flung.
Remember the blue-eyed Aussie from Shhh Silent Speed Dating? So Tuesday was to be our first date. Words and all.
I was kind of nervous. I never date guys who know that I write about dating. It makes me feel as though there’s some kind of pressure to be better at it than I really am. And lets just get one thing straight, dating is one of those games where, practice doesn’t usually make perfect.
En route and I was faffing and fluffing and doing my makeup on the tube, as per and running late, of course. As I made the dash up the escalators at Clapham North I rummaged for my mobile.
Then I rummaged some more.
Oh Christ. I rummaged…
Nope. Phone gone. No insurance. No hope.
Sad but true, our lives are on our phones and mine’s no exception. I felt ridiculous but as I met the Aussie I was almost in tears.
“It’s gone, no one will hand it in, no one’s that nice in London!” I wailed.
With typical Aussie optimism he calmed me down and was generally amazing. Eventually we rang my phone and got through. A man’s voice picked up and after much shrieking and almost crying again, from my end of the line, we arranged to meet early for the phone the next morning at a coffee shop. Done.
The date was still on and in spite of my sporadic bursts of excitement, at knowing my phone was safe, we settled into the patter of two people sussing each other out on a first date.
He took me to a bar I’d never heard of where he’d actually put money aside earlier in the week to cover cocktails and tapas. After a stressful ordeal the whole thing was pretty dreamy.
He walked me back to my tube and I don’t know whether it was the cocktails, his broad shoulders, or the way that he’d constantly stopped me from walking into people, or cars, or puddles, or from toppling over pavements and railings and bar stools, (which should have been annoying but just wasn’t somehow and simply made me wonder in a new way about my incredible clumsiness.) But, I felt so safe and assured in his company. Yet when he paused as if to kiss me as my tube arrived I couldn’t bring myself to let him.
A clear sign and a precursor to what I will refer to from here on as, ‘The Test’.
‘The Test’ is one simple question:
‘Can I imagine this person going down on me?’
One of two things will now happen.
Of course first you’ll imagine it. And yes you’ll be able to. You could be standing in line at a super market and picture the 50 something checkout assistant giving you head if you let your mind wander far enough. But next you will either ‘Cringe’ or ‘Swoon’.
And that’s how you know.
“What are you doing next week? I’d love to see you again!” He asked placing his hands on my shoulders to steer me out of the way from the bustling crowds leaving my tube.
After just a split second I cringed and told him I’d let him know, darting into the carriage, just as the doors began their beeping.
He waited on the platform for my tube to pull out and waved. Oh I wish I hadn’t cringed!
6am my iPad woke me. It was the Aussie, who actually face timed me to ensure I got up in time, in order to meet the man with my life in his pocket. Sweet or scary, I’m still not sure.
I headed out to the coffee shop to meet my phone’s saviours. I arrived at 7am, feeling lost and oddly nervous. I had no idea what he looked like but I realised he’d know my face from the tube. Urgh, he must have thought I was such a dick. All flouncy, makeupy, tarting myself up, then rushing away and leaving my belongings behind.
“There you are!”
I had my back to the door eyeing up a cappuccino and wondering whether I should offer to buy him one when he arrived. When I turned around I was confronted with a builder holding out my mobile.
“Thank you so much” I gushed. “Please let me buy you a coffee or something.”
He wouldn’t accept and instead after we both ordered large cappuccinos ‘to go’ he told the Barista that he’d get them both.
“Oh don’t be silly. I can’t let you buy my coffee too!”
“It’s not a problem.”
He fixed me with his stare and it was the first time I’d properly looked at him. He was younger than his heavy workman’s outfit and broad shoulders would give away from a distance. He had light eyes and rough skin, the face of someone who spends most of their time outdoors. My stomach did this odd little pull, it wasn’t a cringe.
As we took our coffees I smiled through my embarrassment. Why was I embarrassed, could he read my thoughts? I added sugar to my drink whilst we made polite small talk. Once I replaced the lid I sighed, all done, how long should I carry on this exchange?
“You looked sort of nervous last night, where were you going?”
Lie. You need to lie. You can’t say date. Anything else. Anywhere else. To give a speech, go to a convention, you were going to meet an old friend.
“I had a date”
“Oh well that explains it.”
He laughed making me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t know why. Maybe this was that serendipity moment which never happens because we’re all glued to our smart phones and steeped in apps full of virtual people. And there, I’d just ruined it, with my ‘I had a date’ line. Or maybe I was in heat or something and just imagining it.
After a bit too long he broke the silence “I better get to work. Nice meeting you.”
I guess I could always get his number from the Aussie…
I spent most of Thursday clearing and sorting. Balling together my socks, putting on a dark wash, defrosting the freezer. It felt like an exorcism. I now had three guys messaging me and I had fourth date to get ready for. This time, thankfully, with Miss TV a regular wingwoman of mine.
Quizing and dating and pubs, oh my. Three age old concepts thrown together on this occasion by new app True View. The event had somewhat of a desperate tang, but we decided it could be a fun night, and it was free. Why not?
Well it turns out the reasons why not were, an incredibly tedious and long quiz, teams full of strangers who weren’t all single and a rotation system which meant I actually sat with almost the exact same set of strangers all night.
Miss TV and I didn’t get much time to catch up, we didn’t pull, and the event was in fact largely uneventful, although under the circumstance that was probably a blessing. My phone was now constantly buzzing. I’d had it back around 12 hours and was now heavily in the throws of date admin with three boys.
Another day another dating event. This time with a brand new wingman. But hold on. Scratchy throat, watery eyes, a heavy head and aching limbs. Urgh! How does any Player sustain the energy to actually play?
I was deep into screening the Aussie, lethargically searching for conversation, which wasn’t too heavy, with the Director and desperately trying to remind myself that the fling was in fact flung (to Dubai). Now with something resembling the plague I had to meet this whole new boy and go to a trendy launch party for a dating app with many other singles. What was more I had to be the expert again, The Dating Blogger, and the last thing I now wanted to do was date.
The only way I can describe it is when you eat too many Oreos and feel sick, but you know, you’re probably going to finish the packet anyway.
Shamefully I reached for my dry shampoo for the second night in a row, contemplated then laughed at the idea of false eye lashes, and then dragged myself down to the tube station. Late again.
I met my new wingman: Tall, dark haired and with a strong grasp of English grammar, which I knew from reading his blog. In short, he was just my type. Too bad I already felt sick.
Dad, if you did read this, please never let on. Thanks.