Love is a battlefield

Man alive, this weekend was a bloodbath.

So first of all, B and I were supposed to see each other on Friday but, unsurprisingly and for reasons that are too boring to go into, it didn’t happen. So that’s it – he’s officially on the Island of Lost Men. He’s battled his way off the Island a few times before but this time I’ve taken away any semblance of a flotation device and his relocation is permanent.

Second of all, the Triathlete is REALLY VERY KEEN in a way that’s making me suspicious of him. We’re seeing each other on Tuesday but on Saturday night he texted me and was hinting really quite heavily that we should meet up (which, of course, we didn’t) and then on Sunday (which was his birthday, for Christ’s sake!) he texted again and asked if I was free later (which, of course, I wasn’t). It’s all a bit much. But he’s hot and he’s a great test subject so I’m not ruling him out. I think I’ll just arrange to meet him in a very public and very well-lit place.

Third, I went on a second date with the Kiwi last night. In many respects, he is like the Baby Bear’s bowl of porridge – he’s not too hot and not too cold, he makes plans in advance and turns up on the day but he doesn’t call incessantly or push too much. So really, he should be Just Right – cute and funny and interested but not overbearing. Unfortunately, as soon as I saw him I realized that I had no interest in having sex with him.

Also, the date was a bit of a disaster.

I had a text from him Saturday: “How do you feel about tapas, sherry and stand up? Meet at 6:00 tomorrow by Tate Modern.” Despite the fact that I actually strongly dislike all three of those things, I was impressed by the plan as it showed foresight and thoughtfulness.

When we met up, he looked slightly worried. “I’ve just realized it’s a bit early for tapas,” he said, “Shall we go for a beer first?” I was still stewing in Saturday night’s whisky so a beer was just what I needed. We headed over a tourist trap pub on the river and had a couple of pints. We talked about everything – the awkwardness of parental mid-life crises, the fact that Americans don’t understand cricket, his strange affinity for overcast, dreary weather – and the whole time I thought, “C’mon! Surely you fancy him a little bit! He’s so great!” Nothing.

We didn’t have time for tapas so we ate overcooked pub food and then shot off for the comedy.

I should slip in a caveat here and say that, on the whole, watching stand up makes me extremely uncomfortable. Sure, I’ve seen some funny comedians in my time but on the whole I would much rather see them on a television screen in the comfort of my own home. I just spend the whole act with a rictus grin on my face, willing the guy to be funny and cringing when he’s not.

We got to the venue and it was strangely labyrinthine – lots of levels and empty rooms and doors leading nowhere. The bartender pointed us downstairs and Kiwi and I sat in a large empty room for 15 minutes, wondering when the hell the comedy was meant to begin. Finally, Kiwi flagged down another member of staff.

Kiwi (in hilarious, Jermaine-from-Flight-of-the-Conchords accent): “Yes, do you know where the comedy is meant to be?”

Staff member: “Yeah, it’s just through there” [points at a desolate looking area behind the stage]

Kiwi: “Over there? So can we see it from where we’re sitting?”

Staff member: [quizzically] “No. It’s behind those doors.”
Me: [laughing really quite hard]

Staff member: [pointing at me] “And now she’s laughing at you.”

So in we went through the hidden door to find ourselves half way through the set of a nihilistic Frenchman telling the story of losing his virginity in a Parisian brothel. It was actually quite funny. “Hmm,” I thought, “This isn’t so bad! Also, that comedian is kind of hot. I wonder if I can make eyes at him from the back row…”

After his set had finished, Kiwi and I went to get another drink.

“Do you want to stay for the second act?” he asked.

“No,” I thought.

“Whatever you want!” I said.

“Let’s stay. Should be good!”

We filed back into the humid, tiny room and onto the stage bounded a large golden retriever of a man who then proceeded to talk, incoherently and ad nauseum, about sex. There was a whole lot of talk about fucking and the cost of fucking and repercussions of fucking and all the while sweat is just pouring off of him and he keeps having to refer nervously to his massive pile of notes. “I have really got to cut this act down,” he said repeatedly. “Yes, please start now,” I thought.

I’m fairly certain that for the majority of the act, the expression on my face was similar to if I’d been strapped into one of those g-force testers – grimace plastered on, teeth bared, eyes half-shut, just holding on for dear life and hoping it would be over soon. Not only was he spectacularly bad, but it was also spectacularly uncomfortable listening to a sweaty, unpleasant man talk graphically about sex for an hour and a half whilst sitting next to someone I’m meant to be considering having sex with in the near future.

When it was finally, mercifully over, Kiwi and I walked to the bus station. I could feel the unhappiness radiating off him. He was blaming himself for the way the night had gone, which was unfair – he’d made a hell of an effort and I would never judge someone based on a series of unfortunate mishaps that were beyond their control. To be honest, I’d probably go out with him again just to reassure him that the terrible night hadn’t reflected badly on him.

But my mind was already made up and as the bus pulled up, I offered him my cheek, babbled “thanksforeverythinghadareallygoodtimeg’night!” and literally ran onto the bus. On the ride home, I was filled with guilt and self-loathing. The thing about letting them take the lead and decide everything and pay for everything and work so freaking hard to get you is that when you realize you don’t particularly want them (despite their best efforts), it makes you feel shallow and cold. I suppose the comedian did raise a good point about the sexual economics. The whole thing feels like a strange mathematical equation: Money + effort = pleasure of my company and possibility of sex. I just wanted to shake Kiwi and say “Go find yourself a nice girl to settle down with! I’ll only end up chewing you up and spitting you out! Don’t waste another £3.40 on a pint for me!”

That said, it’s entirely possible that he got on the tube and thought, “Jesus CHRIST, thank god that’s over. That night was terrible and it was ALL HER FAULT.” I guess you just never know.

Date with Triathlete tomorrow night. Let’s hope he’s as good as he seems and I don’t end up locked in a meat freezer in Chinatown

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7 Comments »

 
  • Penny says:

    This is by far my favorite post to date. I love the idea of the Island of Lost Men, I’ve sent a couple there myself in the past few weeks. Your B reminds me of my Happy Bachelor a bit.

    I’m very much enjoying the blog!

    • Love by the Book says:

      Thanks! Yes, I think everyone has a B/Happy Bachelor (love the name Happy Bachelor, by the way!) in their life. I actually blame this on romantic comedies – secretly we all want the caddish n’er-do-well (played by Matthew McConaughey) to see the error of their ways and fall madly in love with the flawed-but-charming heroine, but in real life they just continue to be jackasses. Which eventually gets dull.

  • Meows says:

    I think I also have what I suspect is a B/Happy Bachelor… though I am still reluctant to call that spade a spade. Instead I call him Confused. :)

  • Ruk says:

    What’s the next book? have you started reading it yet?

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  • Patience says:

    Yeah that’s what I’m talking about baycn–ibe work!

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