The path of true lust has not been running smoothly AT ALL. Set this within the context of three weeks of boozing, a two-day birthday bender and ample forced festive bonhomie and we're looking at a recipe for social disaster.
First up, the slippery and ever-more mysterious beau. By some mystical premonition (or more likely Facebook stalking) he texted me on the evening of my birthday, by which time I had been drinking solidly for eight hours and happened to be on the exact dancefloor where we had gone on an early date - back in the glory days when he actually wanted to be seen with me in public.
He whinged a bit about everything in his life being "hectic" but I was in no real mood for chitchat. I established that he was at his Christmas party, but that he wasn't in the City where we were, so I suggested he make his way there sharpish. It was one of the three days of the year when I had good hair and I was feeling unstoppable. The result: a total fob-off, some vague rubbish about his mates being there but him having to stay in W1.
When I told my friend Lu about this she was outraged.
"He refused a booty call? ON YOUR BIRTHDAY? I say instant red card."
Maybe she's right, I'm not going to make excuses for him. I consoled myself for the rest of the evening hurtling between some enormous bloke who kept picking me up and running round the dancefloor with me in an awkward fireman's lift (the novelty wore thin amazingly soon), and a rather more amusing new friend who spent much of the evening telling me about his wonderful girlfriend, then let himself down by trying to ram his tongue down my throat come 2am. I left, despairing and alone, and walked home in the rain. It wasn't how I'd imagined the birthday fabulousness would unfold.
The next night however, I had another outing planned - a late lunch with friends and then an event at the Barbican to which I had invited M, the beautiful yet ultimately unbearable actor who had slurred not very sweet nothings in my ear at Bar Italia the previous week. He had lost his swagger somewhat by getting drunk three nights after we met and sending a 1am text bluntly asking if I wanted to 'meet up'. I slept through it and laughed heartily the next morning at his faux pas. Not so enigmatic and unavailable now, stupid hat man!
He texted to apologise and on the spur of the moment I invited him to the aforementioned birthday part deux at the Barbican. He sounded very keen and said he was intrigued and would meet me there. But he didn't turn up, so I guess that was one all. I was rather less than bothered and partied with my pals till 4am. Birthday: done.
The next day I felt rather deflated. Who are all these men who delight in wasting my time? In a nostalgic mood I decided to be more proactive and ask out an old flame, otherwise known as The Man I Hook Up With Once A Year.
Now this one really is in a different league. The very definition of an eligible batchelor - own hair, money, house, classic car and most importantly of all, a brain. He's witty and handsome and a true gent. But oddly seems to do his best to steer clear of any kind of relationship when he must have a queue of lovely ladies lining up to snag him. We were matchmade through a mutual friend who arranged drinks a few years back in Primrose Hill. I sat down next to him and were still talking and laughing a good 10 hours later. All our other friends had left and we snogged passionately on a windowsill before getting a cab back to his. I didn't leave for three days.
I was besotted and wondered what would happen next. All that did happen was that we were destined to hook up every six months or so for an intense little rekindling of affections, then... nothing. And this has been the case for about three years now. The last time I saw him was the day of the Royal Wedding, after I had consumed far too many vodka jellies (the extent of my culinary prowess). Somehow he had appeared in my friend's garden, picked me up more or less bodily, and taken me back to his, where thankfully I sobered up enough to thoroughly enjoy our own little Royal Bedding. A few days of texts then back to radio silence. Well, I decided to carpe whatever and ask him out.
He emailed back straight away in his usual friendly, funny tone.
"A drink sounds great" he concurred, "but I'm off to Miami tomorrow for two weeks so can we postpone till the New Year?"
I agreed of course but let's just say I'm not holding my breath for a January invite. Reluctantly I accepted the dreaded truth - he just really isn't that into me (and is too polite to tell me to get knotted).
Just when I was wondering if any man can stand my company for more than one day a year, my phone rang. It was G, the stunt man/actor/racing driver that I met randomly at the strange gallery afterparty! I waited for him to leave a voicemail. He left a textbook message - smooth, confident, amusing and suggesting we meet up - I admit I was impressed. I left him to stew for a few days then arranged to meet up with him this weekend, after he has returned from seeing family abroad. I think he will be a fun date and quite frankly, he's looking like my only option for some proper New Year frolics.
He'd caught me at a good time - I spent New Year's eve at a posh party, wearing a mask that one of my friends said "looked like roadkill" and chatting to a bloke who seemed funny and go-getting. Once again I was there until the lights went up and agreed to go back to his pad in trendy (but undeniably horrible) Dalston. Except it was such a horrific, convoluted journey, by the time we got back to his I was bored stupid by his company. (Fickle is my middle name). Fortunately he let me sleep off the sambucas in his bed without complaint and I woke up just in time to meet some friends for lunch.
"Don't I even get a phone number?" he whined as I grabbed my coat and desperately tried to figure out an escape route.
"Oh god no, dear", I replied, "that really would be a whole world of pain", and with that I was gone, once again wondering how on earth I get myself into such daft situations.
Just as I finished my lunch, G rang me again. I was still slightly drunk enough to pick up. He'd just stepped off the plane from Spain. How eager! We had a nice chat and I lied with practised ease about what I had been up to of late.
We've arranged to meet this Saturday. And if this one goes wrong then it really may be time to start googling local nunneries...
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