For those who have been with me since the beginning you will recall that at the start of last year I stated that 2007 was “The Year When Things Will Happen.” Well, I was right, but after a year of solid dating and man-chasing I have decided that 2008’s resolution will be to Calmly Wait And See. Here’s why.
We pick up the frayed string of this narrative after my usual Wednesday night public lavatory grope. After such an auspicious start to a relationship I had no choice buy to accept the Guardian Date’s offer of a three-course dinner on his 80-foot boat that Saturday night.
Awash with images of 80-foot Mediterranean pleasure cruisers moored in the Thames Estuary I disembark from the train at Strood. As I walk through the Morrisons carpark to the marina flashes of tanned skin and helpful smiles from the onboard staff pass through my mind. Even as I step across the mud flats onto the renovated dutch barge I continue to hope for a semi-nude Italian butler, but there is only an old cat to wait on us. And the rather lovely Date of course.
Dinner is amazing. The man sure can cook, and is full of interesting conversation to boot. Sure he’s older, but that simply means he’s very influential in his government job, can hold a rational debate and has a beautiful house. Boat. Whatever.
Dessert arrives, and more wine from his cellar. It is like eating cute little babies. As we finish he leans back in his chair, fixes me with those clear blue eyes, and embarks.
GD: “So HW, I have this friend who has a theory about gay relationships.”
GD: “He thinks they can be broken down into five categories.”
HW: “How interesting.” Let’s see; The Broken Streetlamp, The Randy Morning, The Drunken Fumble, In Stationary Traffic and The Cold Food Section. Or how about…
GD: “Yes, I thought so. He thinks they are; 1) Random Hook-up, 2) Just Dating, 3) Boyfriend and boyfriend, 4) Long-term relationship, and 5) Civil Partnership.”
HW: God, how dull. “Gosh, how interesting.” I wonder if there’s any dessert left?
GD: “Yes, I thought so. Anyways, so clearly we are not relationship type 1…”
HW: “Yeeees…” A sinking feeling accompanied by the screech of fingernails digging into the table.
GD: “And clearly stage 2 has been reached.”
HW: “Yeeeeees…” Adrenalin causes the legs to spring in anticipation and beads of sweat to prick on the lip.
GD: “I just wondered if we were at stage 3 yet?”
HW: “[NO NO GOD NO] Well, I think after knowing each other for [FOUR FUCKING DAYS] such a short period of time it would be [TOTAL INSANITY] foolish to [LOCK ME IN A CELLAR AS YOUR PLAY THING] rush it.”
GD: “Yes, you’re right. Fine.”
You see, after a year of dating so many not-quite-righters I had come to the conclusion that I give up too easily, that I am too quick to find an excuse to break up. Breaking up means not having to change or accommodate the needs of others, and I can be a little selfish at times.
So the Guardian Date was the one I chose to stick with. What’s wrong with being keen and committed, I asked myself. Isn’t that what I was looking for? Champ down on the Flight reflex and go with Fight for a change; Fight for Truth, Fight for Honesty, Fight for Love.
And some more wine. I definitely need that.
The Next Day.
As fresh-faced Dawn throws her silvery veil across Albion I am woken by the singing of birds across still waters, and feel the warm arms of a strong man holding me close. It’s hideous. I want to retch. Wait, I AM retching; heaving as my body attempts to dislodge the dehydrated llama turd that has been deposited in my mouth overnight.
In an attempt to disguise my convulsions as the pangs of love I roll over to identify the owner of the Warm Embrace. I am welcomed by a too-close-for-this-hour grin and the glazed eyes of new love.
“Morning beautiful.” Oh god, the retching again. Will it never end? And also, what a big fat liar. Beautiful? I’ve seen this face in the morning and there is nothing beautiful about the unidentified eye leakage, the blotchy skin and the KFC-family-bucket hair. Oh, and what’s that? Ah yes, we also have Pillow Drool this morning; some still wet, some crystallised on my cheek for later.
Wait, he’s saying something again… Oh fuckit, I can’t concentrate at this hour. Let him waffle on. Besides, I have bigger problems. Let’s see…
Wednesday: first date
Thursday/Friday: flirtatious texting.
Saturday: fancy dinner at his house with a side order of sex.
Fuck. I slept with him.
I. Am. A. Slut.
Up until this point I had managed to maintain a sense of dignity and proportion in all my emotionally abortive liaisons. I had rules, structures. Only Kiss On The First Date. Never Order Cumquats For Gay Dessert. Don’t Mention Growing-Up-With-My-Nine-Cousins- And-Grandparents-In-An-Isolated-Outback-Community Until Drink Has Slurred Their Speech. The Lucky Pants Are Reserved For Will Young. What happened to the man of dignity who once coined these rules?
Hang on, he’s talking at me again. In some strange language. What, it rhymes? Pillow talk in rhyme? Huh, two can play at that game. How about...
Jump out of bed and get me a coffee,
I’ll rip off your head if it doesn’t come promptly,
Bring it to me on a platter of gold,
Now scurry along and do what you’re told.
Oh! How I amuse myself. Wait! Here comes another, bubbling up from the depths...
Thy hand, it moveth towards myne groin,
It creepeth and seeketh my most sacred loins,
Desist! I resist thy insidious approach,
And express with a hiss myne deepest reproach.
Oh the hilarity! If only I could date myself, life would be so much easier. And think how hot the sex would be. Sigh. God, he’s still talking. On and on and on. Hang on, that’s not speech. He’s not talking, he’s spouting fucking love poetry! In bed the morning after date numero duo! Oh my god quick abort abort find something heavy and blunt that won’t leave a mark no no no it’s too late for that go for something sharp between the eyes like a knitting needle or a Renaissance dagger or an oversized tent peg what the fucking use is that brain an oversized tent peg you say why I happen to have one here in my pyjamas oh no what are the chances I’m naked you fucking idiot…
Stop. Breath. Breath and count to ten. Remember, you always run away. Give him a chance.
No, give him a chance. He’s just a bit keen.
I’ll remind you of that when we’re being hacked up and put through the boat’s “convenient sewerage grinder that empties straight into the Thames, permissible because we’re moored within its tidal pull.” When we’re a mixture of poo and brain protein floating paste the Thames Barrier I expect an apology.
Just breath for me.
Fine. We’ll stay for now.
Unsurprisingly it only lasts three weeks. I stick it out until after Christmas so as not to ruin his festive break at home… alone… with the cat. Not even I am that evil. But I couldn’t bear him carousing in the New Year with songs of new love and hope that springs eternal, so I dump him on the 27th.
May the Spirit of 2008 have pity on my blackened soul.