“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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Why I only want bad dates

Last Friday, I woke up 45 minutes earlier than usual to get ready for a date that I was almost certain wouldn’t happen. As utterly ridiculous as that sounds (and is!), after almost a month of looking forward to it, I wasn’t going to let that doubt win – just in case I was wrong. Of course, as I was stumbling for my nail varnish in the dark and cursing the bad lighting of the winter as I struggled to shape my eyebrows, I tried to pretend I was putting in all of the effort for myself (“I like painting my nails and doing my hair” and “It’s nice to wear matching underwear just because!”) just in case I was right. But the cold, hard fact of the matter is that I wasn’t risking being unprepared for a date that was intended, undeniably, to be a hook up.

This date was going to be a third date. I want to make that clear for two reasons – not just because it’s typical third date behaviour but because it’s important here to acknowledge that I’d seen this man – let’s call him Liam – twice before. What’s crucial to this particular tale, though, is that I’d had the most incredible date with him the last time we’d been out. We went to a rave, for goodness sake! We talked through the night and fell asleep at 10am, curled up together on his sofa. We spent the day learning about each other, casual, comfortable, entwined under the duvet. He walked me to the station, told me to stop playing games and to reply to his messages faster (!) and he kissed me goodbye.

I couldn’t wait to see him again.

So of course the date didn’t happen.

We exchanged messages constantly in the run up. He asked me questions in every single one, replying fast and often. When I then didn’t hear from him for 24 hours (I was going mad, of course, but we can talk about unnecessary emotional attachment later) I asked him outright if he wanted to see me again. Of course he did! He suggested the third date. He suggested that we have some drinks at his place because we were both struggling with money this month. He sent me messages about looking forward to it.

And then he vanished into thin air.

I texted. I WhatsApped and then, I called. As I was leaving work, on that Friday evening, just to be sure. And then I took my bag packed with overnight things, home. And cried.

Because it doesn’t make sense. Because it isn’t fair. Because I had asked him outright and he had said he wanted to see me again. Because he made the plans. Because he wrote his birthday in my calendar and it’s next week. Because I thought he was brilliant and because he told me he thought I was brilliant.

But most of all because it’s not just him, is it? The best date I’ve ever had was with The Boy – we shared the most perfect day at a festival – and that was our last date before he told me it was over.

So bring on the bad dates. Because at least there might be seconds and thirds. Because I’m now almost certain that having a good date means I’ll never see them again.