I'm sitting by that pool again, with my long suffering best male friend Steve. Because when I feel the need to have a good moan I like there to be hot young waiters bearing martinis a mere arm's length away. The sun is going down but we are laying indulgently side by side on sun loungers with his and her's Ray Bans clamped firmly in place.
'You're not crying are you?' he asks anxiously. I'm not, but just his saying that makes me think I might.
'I've messed up' I say, 'seriously, things have gone really wrong. Even more wrong than usual'.
He looks around urgently for the nearest waiter and I tell him the sorry tale of recent events.
'So I was seeing the cool Tinder guy, and annoyingly I was really falling for him, even though he was perfectly clear he just wanted a little rebound fun. But we'd message and chat all day long, and I mean all day long. We got on so well, and he really made me laugh which is such a rarity. There was one night I went to some silly party which wasn't that busy, so all the waiters - you know, those hot resting actor types - were really bored so they were dancing for my friend and I, and basically plying us with booze as there was nothing better to do. But then it all ends about 9 and I'm really not ready to go home... So I message him and he says he's just leaving work, and shall he come over. Of course I agreed and we end up having this mad drunken night at mine, resulting in very little sleep.'
I swear Steve actually winces at this point, but I ignore it.
'So the next day I wake up and realise that not only am I hungover to hell and have to go to work, but also that tonight is the night I go on the grown up date with sporty guy that I met at the party I wasn't invited to. I am SO tired that I actually have to have a little sleep in my lunch hour in an empty meeting room, I haven't done that for YEARS. It kind of worked and I met him on time, and we had a nice dinner, although there was this massive piece of lead shot in my pheasant which caused a bit of a bit of a to-do...'
'Long story short please' interjects Steve, who is way past being polite when I start to ramble.
'Sorry. Anyway the restaurant is really near his house and we go for a drink afterwards and he asks if I want to stay at his. I mean, the date had gone ok, but I felt like I was on my best behaviour the whole time, and not really being 'me''
I can see from Steve's expression that he reckons this might have actually been a good strategy.
'In the end - and I KNOW how bad this sounds - I agreed to go back, for the sole reason that I was so damned tired I could have fallen asleep, sitting up on my bar stool. But of course he thinks this is a green light to a nice of, erm, romance, and was probably quite shocked that I was in a coma approximately 5 minutes after getting undressed. The other reason was his flat. A flat that could have been so lovely - was completely full of... stuff'.
'What kind of stuff?' asks Steve, looking worried.
'Just stuff. Piles and piles of junk and the biggest flat screen tv I have ever seen in a domestic setting! Like, serial killer material. Every latent OCD tendency I've ever harboured came racing to the fore and if I hadn't been so knackered from my night with Tinder man I would have made my excuses and left.
The next morning he was obviously quite irked that I blatantly only stayed with him because I was too lazy to get my arse home and was really quite cold towards me. We walked to the tube through the park which could have been a lovely romantic little stroll but he was just boring on about his divorce which is not really want anyone wants to discuss after a mediumly disastrous night out.
The best bit was just before we got on the train - I think we were both calculating when we could legitimately ditch each other - and my flip flop goes and breaks, and I mean really breaks. As in unfixable. And we're nowhere near anything resembling a purveyor of shoes. People were laughing at me in the street - and I was kind of laughing too, because what could I do? All the while, he has a face of absolute thunder, he was not remotely amused. About then I mentally slotted it into my top five worst dates ever. He tried to bundle me onto a bus to the nearest shop but I decided I wasn't going to buy new shoes when I have about a hundred pairs under my desk at work, you know?'
'Oh god' says Steve simply.
'So I get on the tube with him, making sure I carry one of the shoes so people understand the situation and don't just think I am some freak that only wears one shoe.'
Steve raises his sunglasses momentarily and gives me a 'look'.
'It all made perfect sense at the time' I plead, 'and you have to remember that I had a two day hangover AND he made me get up really early AND he didn't even offer me a shower..'
'Finish the story please' Steve says, with a look of complete incomprehension.
'So I make the whole tube journey - with one change - from there to my nearest work tube and then a 10 minute walk to the office with people laughing at me the whole time as I am walking along with one bare foot trying to avoid broken glass and dog poo. Actually I ended up totally styling it out by pretending to be on the phone. Although thinking about it, it probably looked even weirder...'
Steve chokes theatrically into his mojito and raises his eyes to the heavens.
'And then all my colleagues happen to be standing in the kitchen as I walk triumphantly past with one shoe in my hand and last night's dress on. It could only have been funnier if I was holding an empty bottle of gin or something. One of my colleagues laughed at me ALL DAY. Honestly, I don't know what they'd talk about all day without my car crash personal life.'
'So I'm guessing that was the end of that' says Steve, chewing on his straw.
'Oh yes, definitely' I reply. 'But more mysteriously it was the end of tinder man too. The last conversation I had with him was a couple of days later, it was just chit chat, like we always had. He was hungover and being very sweet, telling me how funny/sexy/cool he thought I was. In fact the disaster date just made me realise what a great time I was having with him. But then it suddenly stopped without warning. Just like that' (I click my fingers dramatically even though I can't make the sound) I'd love to know what happened. Maybe he got back with his ex...'
I trail off, feeling a little despondent again.
'Well he always said he didn't want anything heavy' Steve says consolingly.
'I know, and I wasn't in bunny boiler mode, I was being, well, as breezy as you like! I just really liked hanging out with him, and it's kind of annoying, not to mention plain RUDE that he just buggered off like that.'
I realise that Steve is doing the international 'bring the bill' signal to the waiter and that we probably don't need to be wearing our shades any more because it's dark.
'Well I'm sorry and everything, but at least you aren't still mixed up with that awful Serge'
'No' I reply. 'There is that'
I'm suddenly glad that my eyes are hidden behind dark lenses, because I've always been absolutely rubbish at lying.Suggest a correction