“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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“The best way to get over someone is to get under someone”

A couple of months ago, I found myself in a Holiday Inn Express in The North (don’t ask) glued to Ibiza Weekender, listening to that line and shaking my head woefully at the youth of today and their glorious ideals of sexual abandon. Believe me, it’s not a moment I’m especially proud of. But it is one of an increasing number of late that are reminding me that The Big 3-0 is on the horizon (albeit still quite some distance away) and marriage, children and eternal happiness are, well… not. Not that this is a problem, mind you. That’s not the point. The point is that I think – gulp – I am reaching the stage where one night stands with strangers make me feel much worse than I will imagine and so, I’ve kind of… ruled them out.

Don’t get me wrong- that’s not to say that I’ve ruled out all casual encounters. I’ve not completely lost my mind. It’s just that the strangers bit doesn’t appeal like it may once have done.

Given the world of online dating (which I’m painfully aware I’ve not really talked enough about thus far – must do better) you’d be forgiven for thinking that this might make things a bit difficult. After The Boy who Caused the Blogging Absence (are you keeping up?) I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I downloaded Tinder with the express intention of finding someone to screw myself cheerful. But I also promptly invited Tom to visit over SW4 weekend (see: LINK) and drank about 4 bottles of wine. Only one of those actions led to the desired result and I’m not at all ashamed to admit that it wasn’t Tinder. (You’re right – maybe the wine had something to do with it, but we’ll gloss over that…)

Let’s be honest here: not everyone feels the same. I’ve certainly had my fair share of seemingly charming young men disappear into the night when I’ve made it clear he wasn’t getting any as part of (or in one instance, the sole activity of) our first date. But I’m also – thankfully! – finding that Tinder isn’t a one-night-stand one-stop-shop for everyone. And, unlike Happn, it’s not through lack of matches, but rather an active choice to at least go for a drink or two first. (That almost sounds like a good decision, eh?!) Perhaps it’s that it’s still considered a bit of a taboo, to meet up with someone from the internet, for sex. It’s somehow different from taking someone home from a club. Perhaps there’s the fear that you’ll end up hooking up with someone who looks nothing like their pictures and you feel obliged to follow through? Or perhaps it’s the realisation that it’s just not going to be really good sex, is it? And surely that’s what you want, if sex is all you want?

Back in The North, as the kettle boiled for my camomile tea (!) and the Ibiza Weekender ended with a WKD-fuelled disappointment of a fumble (sigh) I realised that maybe, actually, they were right. Maybe the best way to get over someone is to get under someone. Just someone you know a bit. Someone you like. Because everyone deserves the best in life, and that includes in the bedroom. Make bad decisions to go home with inappropriate people, but not because you’re desperate to feel something. Compromising yourself and lowering your standards is the worst kind of bad decision, and the depths of self-loathing that follow are an unnecessary burden after you’ve (probably) just endured some terrible sex with a 3/10. You’re a 10.

Leaving the house at 7am on a Sunday morning is nobody’s friend, but – if I have to – I want to be walking out with my head held high. I mean, I should be walking out at midday, bad decision in tow, to grab some food before returning to the safety of the duvet, but I’m trying to be realistic. At the very least I want to wear yesterday’s makeup proudly, and not be ashamed to be on the Tube in the clothes from the night before. I want to own that bad decision, not be someone else’s.

And after the second date, they’re not a stranger anymore, right?

(I would also like to take this opportunity to confess that I woke up next to Tom on New Year’s Day. And then I showered and got breakfast and went home at 4pm. What a winner.)