Reconnect with an old friend, or an old flame, a lost chance. Chat one day on Facebook. Comment on how many years it’s been. Accept when he suggests you meet up for a drink. Know it’ll be a once off. Put it out of your mind until the day arrives. Be nervous whilst you fret over what to wear. Don’t understand why. Eventually settle for the outfit you first chose. Go.
Smile when you see him. He hasn’t changed a bit, and yet there’s something different about him. Talk over one another at first, in the rush to catch up. Resolve to let one another take turns. Laugh at the things he remembers about you, and the one and only date you ever had. Smile slightly when he tells you that he’s recently single. Say good night eventually realising that six hours have passed and you didn’t even know it.
Be thrilled when he messages you to say how good it was to see you. Tell him the same. Say yes when he suggests you do it again. Go out drinking together almost every night for a month. Find yourself, on every one of those nights, in a drunken haze of happiness. Wonder why he hasn’t tried to kiss you yet. Try to grin when he tells you time and time again how happy he is to have found a friend like you.
Pluck up the courage one night after another drink-filled night out and ask him to kiss you. Sit with your heart pounding in your chest. Wonder if he can hear it as loudly as you can. Listen out for the beat of his heart, too. Wait for him to do or say something. Practically faint when he finally leans in and your lips touch. Lose yourself in the 3, 4, 5 seconds that you kiss. Hide the disappointment you feel when he pulls away again. Search for a sign of emotion; a sign that it meant to him what it meant to you. Ignore the awkward silence that’s settled in between you. Say good night without seeing a sign of anything at all.
Wait to hear from him all the next day. Jump out of your chair every time your phone goes off. Ignore the pit in your stomach each time you realise it’s not him. Hang around on Facebook on the off chance that he’ll log on. Get butterflies when he does log on. Ignore the sinking feeling in your gut when he doesn’t message you and then logs back off.
Regain hope when he eventually messages you. Ignore that he calls you ‘dude’, ‘bud’ and ‘friend’. Make plans to go out with his group of friends.
Spend the whole night checking his face and body language for a sign. When you say good night, notice that there’s something he wants to say to you, something that’s been on his mind. Hold your breath. Keep a straight face when he tells you how glad he is that the drunken kiss didn’t ruin the friendship. Try smile even. Say goodbye. Cry as you drive home.
Find yourself waiting for him to realise how he feels about you. Go on dates to makes him see. Feel confused at how he seems genuinely disappointed for you when the dates don’t work out. “You’ll find someone,” he says, trying to reassure you. Hate him in that moment because you have found someone.
Try not to let him hear your heart break when he tells you he’s met someone. Feign excitement at the chance to meet her. Hate her before you’ve done so. Hate that you like her from the moment you meet her. Hate how beautiful, intelligent and funny she is – love that she’s the exact type of woman he deserves. Hate the way he looks at her; the way he places his hand on the small of her back; the way he leans in and whispers in her ear. Hate that they have eyes for no one but each other. Hate that you have eyes only for him. Hate yourself. Love him even more.
Kiss me, stupid. And you’ll wonder why it took you so long to do so in the first place. You’ll blink when we finally stop, before kissing me again. Just because you can.
It’s come to my attention that my dating life, up until now, is being used as the example section of “how not to do it” in the conversations of my family and friends. I’ve become that girl. The girl that’s invited to tell the horror stories of her past relationships to make other women feel better. And I’m sitting here wondering when I let it get this bad? I mean, did my mother read me one too many fairy tales, instilling in me a deep desire to kiss a frog (or 100) and find a prince? Never disheartened, I’ve resolved to come up with a few guide lines for myself, and any other ladies, who can’t seem to take the psychotic glint in our potential partner’s eyes as reason enough to run.
1. If he uses his cell phone whilst you’re on a date – especially the first date – even if he apologises. Come on! He carries his phone around with him 24 hours a day and can’t take an hour or two off to meet your eye line and actually hold a conversation that isn’t punctuated with message alert tones? What, must you learn to mimic the sound his cell phone makes in order to come top of the charts? How about no. Next please.
2. If he uses any one of the following to describe himself: asshole, commitment phobe, serial monogamist, jerk, free spirit, lone wolf, etc. Come on ladies, I know this guy. I’ve been there. A man who’ll tell you that he’s one of these, but adds that “perhaps things will be different with you,” had said this line before. And guess what? It won’t be different. It’s never different. Take him at face value. He’s giving you a warning, so dodge the bullet honey. Let’s not run face first into this brick wall again expecting a different result.
3. If he’s flaky. Are you constantly waiting to hear from him so you can arrange to see him? And when you do make plans, does he cancel them last minute or just never get back to you because he was super busy? Well, maybe he’s busy, but I’ve yet to meet someone who can’t send a text that takes all of thirty seconds to type to ensure you don’t sit around feeling worthless. If you have time to pee for Heaven’s sake, then you have time to send a text! And ladies, this guy, the one for whom you’ll make excuses to yourself and your friends, he’s actually sort of magical. Want to know his most effective trick? The moment you stop making excuses for him; stop texting him; and stop waiting around for him, he will disappear from your life for good. Kinda neat, huh?
4. If he never compliments you. Now, I know what it’s like to wish a guy would like you. You’d be wiling to do anything – ANYTHING – and yet, you can never quite NOT get upset when he tells you how beautiful he thinks another woman is. She may be in a film, a magazine or walking passed you on the street. Either way, when you’re trying to be the best you can be, and that STILL isn’t deemed worthy of a compliment from this cheap and insensitive waste of time you’re seeing, I have one word for you: run. You’re incredible. You’re beautiful. You’re sensitive, and your capacity to love – as a woman – knows no bounds. So dammit lady, give yourself the compliments he won’t, and move on.
5. If he won’t hold your hand, give you a hug, or kiss you unless it’s the prelude to sexual intercourse. Enough said, it’s that simple.
Relationships are tricky as hell, and Lord knows I remain in square one when it comes to them. But if we’re the ones in control of our lives and those we let into them, I think we ought to resolve to be a little bit smarter about these decisions, don’t you? I’m done chasing, and I’m done giving everything for nothing in return. I’m going old school. Chivalry is not dead, and it’s the least I demand. I am woman, hear me roar. No more grey area, no more murky, no more “it’s better than nothing.” I do well by myself, and I will not be tamed. It’s never too late to not settle for anything less than you deserve.
I know the start of something new can be scary. It can be incredibly daunting. Every ‘first’ is so shiny, so new, and the exhilaration of sharing these firsts with another human being – a human being that you could grow to love – is quite unlike any feeling we experience in our lives. It’s not always perfect, and realistically, every relationship you have WILL end until you find the one relationship that doesn’t. And in the end, this may even be a relationship with yourself. However, as homage to the hopeful romantic inside of me (and every one of us, I believe), why not make a few promises on what I feel, an ‘us’ might be like…
I watched a RomCom last night. I know you told me not to, I know it gets me footloose and fancy free. I know I begin to daydream, losing my head in the clouds of romantic moments and the proclamations of love. I know all of this. But I did it anyway. And you know I kept my feet firmly on the ground. Barely. My big toes clung with all their might, and in the end I managed to bring myself back down to the ground. And it wasn’t because you told me to.
I slept in your hoodie last night. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, I mean the zip was cold and scratched against my tummy. But I persevered. You never told me not to, but I can’t imagine your being one hoodie short with Winter coming was your idea of facing the change in season. Still, I saw the chance to take a tiny piece of you home with me, and when you asked if I was cold, I nodded yes – knowing I’d get more than just warmth out of it. And then I slept in it. And willed my hair and body to leave the sweet scent you say you smell when I’m near. I know it sounds romantic but it isn’t. I slept in your hoodie because it was cold.
It wasn’t because you told me to.
My heart skipped a few beats this morning. I know you find it dramatic when I say such things, but I can’t help the way you make my heart jump. And it never jumps just once, but flicks and flacks its way through five or ten minutes, during which I fear I may pass out. And it wasn’t because of anything you said, or did. You never say, or do anything worth messing with my heart beat. In fact, were it to up to you, my heart would flatline every time. But – with thanks to the RomCom and hoodie clouded dreams – I woke with the memory of your arm across my stomach whilst we slept and your lips against mine in a kiss. And that was all it took to set my heart a-beating. And I sat and missed you and then (unsuccessfully) resolved not to. And it wasn’t because you told me to.
I began a blog. A blog in which to pour my meandering thoughts and views as I weather the stormy seas of our single-sided love affair. You like me, alright, but not as much as I like you. And you did warn me, to your credit, you did. You told me not to fall for you. And I did.
And it wasn’t because you told me to.