“Good things come to those who wait.” Or, an exercise in the unexpected.

You know that moment, in the films, when The Girl walks into a party, spots The Boy from across the room and the rest of the world disappears around them? Complete fiction, right? Well, I used to think so too. Until this weekend, when it happened to me.

To set the scene properly, it’s probably important that you know a couple of things:

1. It wasn’t the first time that we’d seen each other. I’d met this particular boy – let’s call him Ciaran – at a mutual friend’s house party around 18 months ago. We had – of course – spent most of the evening together, fuelled by too many drinks and the pursuit of innocent-enough attention. But he was living in Leeds at the time and I had gone home with Robbie (that friend-with-some-benefits who you might remember from this Valentine’s post).

2. I had spent around 90 not-exactly-sober minutes on the phone to an ex-boyfriend the previous evening, discussing how we probably shouldn’t hook up the following night, but that we were very good at spooning and my house would be quite convenient after the party… (In case you were wondering, this ex- would be James, also name-checked in this post. Sigh.)

For complete disclosure it’s also worth pointing out that I had already had to put myself to bed that afternoon as a result of one-too-many mimosas at brunch, but had somehow found a second wind and been at the pub for several hours before stumbling into the Uber across town… I am nothing if not committed to the cause.

Clearly, then, as I arrived at the party and threw myself into acquiring (even more) gin, Ciaran couldn’t have been further from my mind.

And then I saw him. And he saw me. And then he was rather closer to my mind (read: face) than he had been in a fair while.

And that’s how I ended up taking him home at 6am.

To tell you the truth, I don’t even know how it happened. He was (so I am told) far from the most attractive man at that party and (one thing I do remember) he was absolutely not who I thought was going to be waking up next to me on Sunday morning. I had even agreed with my housemate that we’d “call it” at midnight as to whether this ex- of mine and the man she is on/off sleeping with would both be waking up at our house!

But it was almost as if it was a done deal from the moment we saw each other across the room. (Albeit a bit less romantic than the films would have you believe.)

Perhaps it’s because we’d never quite managed to meet for a drink (read: hookup) although we’d spoken about it quite a few times. Perhaps it’s because we were – at last – just in the same place at the same time, after missing each other at several parties since that first one. Perhaps it was just the easiest option because we live in separate cities and there could be no expectation past that night?

Or perhaps it’s because neither of us have any self-control.

Whatever the reason, it just goes to show that not everything in those films is made up That time-stands-still moment can happen in real life. It’s just that the real life version ends with a kiss in the taxi as The Girl waves The Boy off to get the train back home. And that’s happily-ever-after enough for me. For now.

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Relight my fire (or, Dating an ex-)

Picture the scene: it’s the Saturday of August Bank Holiday and it is a glorious day. Heat is pouring out of a festival tent on Clapham Common inside which I am (sweating profusely and) dancing, £6-gin-in-a-can in hand, with one of my #BFFs and Tom (the very same!) It’s SW4 weekend and on the stage is a band(?) I can neither remember nor probably pronounce.

As the beat drops I swing around to my right and, in one of those peculiar twists of chance, find myself about a foot away from a group of boys I’ve not seen since since we were in school. Reckless with gin-fuelled abandon, I find myself actually instigating (ever-so-slightly slurred and shouted) conversation with them, learning in the process that the man who just Happns (see what I did there) to be that same ex-boyfriend is lurking somewhere in the festival.

I KNOW.

Now, the chances of me bumping into him on a regular Tuesday (for example) are – relatively speaking – quite high. We both live in London and we have a number of mutual friends. We both work in the same area of the city and – as I discovered quite recently – I walk past his office twice a day in order to get to and from mine. (The fact that that office is next door to that of The Boy who Caused the Blogging Absence is a coincidence that I can’t even think about right now.) But we’ve both been living in London for eight years and after that length of time, you rather get used to the fact that there are enough other people in this crazy town to not see a specific one of them.

So it was a little bit of a surprise when we walked smack-bang into him upon leaving that tent.

Thankfully, Tom and this boy (let’s call him Nick for now) are familiar with each other from years back so I had a few moments to force the sick feeling back down into my stomach before I was forced to look at him. And then:

He looks exactly the same.

He’s looking at me in exactly the same way.

Is he… smiling?

This, as I’m sure you can imagine, was a problem. Throughout our not-as-brief-or-awkward-as-it-should-have-been chat, I was driven half-mad with questions. Was he flirting with me? Was I flirting with him? Were we holding eye contact for longer than is strictly necessary? Was it all the gin?! What on earth was I doing?! It felt just like before. And that was a little bit of a surprise too.

All I can say is, thank goodness for Rudimental. With just enough time to grab (what should have been) the last four gins of the night before throwing ourselves into the masses waiting for their set, #BFF and Tom gave me a loaded shove towards the bar and we headed off into the night, leaving Nick et al. to watch the other headliners. What I didn’t bargain for was the WhatsApp that arrived midway through that set from a number I’d not seen since we broke up…

A couple of weeks later we met up for a drink.

And it was delightful.

Path-crossed lovers

You might remember (or can scroll back down the page a couple of inches to see) that back in January I said there was “absolutely no reason at all to do anything differently” when it came to Tom. What I didn’t mean was that there was no need at all to do anything else. Or anything more. January is also (more often than not) the time for taking things up (running and other such active pursuits, for example). So, in the spirit of being fair and representative of all that January offers – and keeping in mind his Tinder exploits – this is exactly what I did: I downloaded Happn.

If you haven’t ever heard of Happn, let me start by saying it’s like the Marmite of dating apps. I’ve spoken to quite a few people about their Happn experiences and all were either raving about its brilliance (including an ex-colleague who managed to find her current boyfriend in about three minutes on there) or raging app-deleters bemoaning its creepiness and complete uselessness.

Back in January, I’ll admit that my experience fell firmly into the latter category. I dutifully kept my GPS on wherever I roamed and – given that I had only dipped my toe in the online dating scene at that point – had high hopes. There were beautiful men (literally) at every turn! But a week in and I had not one single Crush (that’s what Happn calls its matches) and I’ll admit – I had been steadily dropping my standards to see whether I was aiming unrealistically high. Still, nothing.

Now, I am not the kind of girl who gives up on love easily (think: Louise from the Sex and the City movie) but nor was my self-esteem at such a low ebb that I was convinced it was me that was the problem. I started swiping on every man that appeared across my path (and we’re talking into the hundreds). Then – success! A Crush!

One of six I had in the space of about two months.

Based on those statistics, I might as well be a troglodyte. I’m not (I swear) so I too deleted the app and moved on. (More about that later. Along with the Storage Men; I’ve not forgotten about those.)

Fast forward six months and – being a big believer in second chances – I resurrected my profile.

And the first person who crossed my path was an ex-boyfriend (of four years, about four years ago). What?!