After an unfortunate encounter with a young French boy, I had sworn to myself I would garner some 'me time' and step away from the fray. So I am wondering quite how I seem to have the grand total of four young men, of varying degrees of eligibility, all vying to arrive down my chimney this Christmas.
First and foremost is my beautiful beau, who I first ran into (literally) during the summer. I confess I'd given up on him - I could tell it had been some time since we communicated since the last of his racy texts had sadly dropped out of my BlackBerry inbox.
But arriving back from work after a cheeky week off, there he was once more in email form, staring back at me in black and white. I've now come round to the idea of him being a rare treat rather than humdrum: a big fat Montecristo to be savoured after a mediocre meal. I dread the day that he will no longer arrive at my door, just so I can look at him. We ask very little of each other but there is an unspoken bond - he might just be the best not-boyfriend I've ever had.
Number two is a guy that doesn't live in London, but whom I met through friends at a 40th birthday party, let's call him D. My friend Maria is a self-confessed demon matchmaker and got it into her particularly feisty head that we would be perfect for each other (although this was largely based on him being "tall and a bit dodgy"). I think I said about two words to him the whole party - he seemed pleasant enough but there was no great spark on my part. I ended the party walking around Bloomsbury until 4am with a rather more interesting man who I rapidly learned was married, so a bit of an own goal there. Apparently D begged to differ and begged Maria for my number the next day and proceeded to send me some surprisingly amusing texts.
I didn't think much more of it until I was making my way home recently from yet another birthday party at 2am a few weeks later and heard a beep from my phone. By some weird coincidence he was not only in town, but also in that postcode and wondered if I wanted to meet up. Well it was that or another half hour of trying to flag a non-existant cab so, beguiled by the serendipity of it all I agreed to meet him. Unfortunately he was so excited by the prospect of our early morning date he rushed out of the place he was staying at, neglecting to take either the keys of any record of the address (and yes I do believe him).
We went to a bizarre late night bar in Kings Cross, where the DJ had apparently stumbled across my sixth form record collection and spent quite a jolly few hours. It did mean however that I was duty-bound to invite him back to mine, although to his credit he was the perfect gent and didn't fling himself upon me, to my great relief. And when I woke up in the morning he had vanished - just the way I like it. We've remained in touch and I admit, I'm intrigued.
Number three - I'll call him G - I spotted at an after-party for a dodgy exhibition of naked z-list celebrities. The party was at a members bar I hadn't frequented in some time so I decided to scope it out in a quest to find out where the action was. Taking a turn round the smokers' terrace I homed in on a tall rugged type blatantly checking me out. I hovered by him coquettishly and it was no surprise when he turned away from his group of friends to introduce himself.
I was immediately taken by his air of self-assurance, and the fact that he seemed to know everyone in there. Turns out he's ex-forces turned actor - now that's something you don't meet every day. All his friends were of course 'in the biz' and had no hesitation in approaching the A-list Hollywood actor who had sneaked out for a sly ciggie. Well there are worse people one might hitch a ride with I thought to myself, and 30 minutes later I found myself hurtling toward suburban west London with G and three of his actor posse in tow.
"Can I just say how lovely it is to have your company this evening?" one of them chirped in my direction. Coming up on an E or a sincere sentiment? I wondered, but the novelty of the situation began to wear a little thin when we settled into G's living room to watch DVDs of them all acting in various films, one by one. Needy is not the word, I pondered, as they all lavished praise upon each other's technique and nuance whilst polishing off quite extraordinary amounts of vodka and coke.
I finally crawled into bed with G around 5am and was just becoming more acquainted with him beneath the duvet when the door opened and one of the gang walked in and started taking his clothes off then climbed into bed with us. I sat bolt upright in horror before realising I had no clothes on then hastily lay back down again, painfully aware I was naked, in a postcode I had never before visited, in between two men I had known for all of four hours. But rather than G ushering him out, he simply murmured something about how they used to share a flat and that it was "normal".
I begged to differ but fell into a fitful sleep from sheer fatigue and had to wait until the next morning before G finally shoved him in the direction of the spare room. Not entirely sure where this one might go, (he's away on location lots - hurrah!) but it was one hell of an adventure for a Thursday night that was supposed to be "one drink then home."
Number four is the most recent acquisition; he will be known as M. I met him at a Christmas party on Saturday. My friend Kay discovered him wandering about on his own and had engaged him in some banter. She introduced us and as our eyes locked there was a palpable jolt. He was wearing a '40s three piece suit complete with toning Fedora and I was dressed as a disco spy - it was a themed party I hasten to add. From that moment onward we didn't leave eachother's side. There was no getting round it, the boy was beautiful. And another actor!
"Gosh you have the exact same eye colour as me" I stammered like an first-date idiot (an unusually flat slatey grey-green since you ask) as we drank in every detail of eachother's visage - and this was to be a recurring theme for much of the night. I found myself telling him about how I had had to cut off an ex recently after a huge and upsetting public showdown; he correctly perceived that there was a lot of feeling there for me to be that upset about it. We had an official photo taken together, then we decided to try some menthol snuff that had been left out for sampling. Someone he knew asked him what he'd won in the raffle. "This little thing" he replied, putting his arm round me and squeezing my shoulder. I admit it, I beamed like a simpleton.
The lights came up and he needlessly asked 'Where next?'
Within five minutes we were in a cab to my friend's subterranean tequila bar in Soho. It was packed and he was immediately set upon by a gang of predatory (drunk) females all wanting to wear his hat. A shock of glossy black hair was revealed underneath, just when I thought he couldn't get any more attractive. We settled ourselves with drinks in a corner, a little away from the 3am mayhem unfolding all around. Then he kissed me...and it wasn't actually very good.
I looked up at him in dismay though all I could see was him smirking. I felt the bubble pop and suddenly the night had overstayed its welcome. We stayed for one more drink then slumped up against eachother in Bar Italia, weary from the night's dizzying events.
"I might be looking for a lover and a muse", was his opening gambit as he fetched me some sparkling water from the bar. By this time I was beyond badinage and just wanted to go home.
The dream date had turned slightly sour and I just longed to extricate myself from the increasingly pretentious situation. I listened to him drone on a bit more then made my excuses and headed off, although we did exchange numbers. I recall noting that he had a very modern phone for someone so beloved of vintage fashion.
So there you have it, like some horribly messed up edition of Blind Date, a fortnight in my life. Who will phone and who will earn their place in the gallery of one night horrors?
Your guess is as good as mine.