A couple of years ago when I was last in a 'proper' relationship I had therapy once a week and cried every day. The therapy didn't really help: I soon realised that I could never fully open up to a man wearing Jesus sandals. My ex cajoled me into it, thinking it would "fix me". But I didn't need therapy, I needed to be single and away from him.
It's been a while now, living what I imagined would be a "sassy single life" but just recently things have felt a bit flat.
I calmed things right down after having to eject the seedy Serbian from my flat. The Stuntman has gone silent after a recent half-hearted text exchange where he stressed how busy he was on his new film project. It didn't really take a genius to read between the lines: I'm just not quite bothered enough to make any time to see you. As it happens I wasn't that bothered either, just mildly dismayed that our fling could fizzle out so weedily. What was the point of that exactly?
A quick social media scan tells me that the Beau is on holiday with the 'beautiful family' from whom he continues to pretend he is estranged. He'd got quite courageous in the weeks leading up to it, calling me on weekend lunchtimes to say he "happened to be in the area". I didn't take up his offers, refusing the man who noone dares refuse, just to wind him up a bit. I'm keeping him as an occasional treat, and relishing having some microns of moral highground. I've invited him out in a couple of weeks time however, to a swish new bar opening. Predictably he accepted straight away. Having had a minor tv career some years ago, I think he likes to be seen in the 'right places' just in case anyone recognises him. Doubtful.
So for the the last few weeks I've been on my own and pretty happy with my lot. The one thing I did take away from the boring hours of therapy in an airless, Glade-fragranced therapist's office was to not be so hard on myself. So I made a conscious effort to do 'happy things'. I virtually paid my wages straight to Planet Organic and cooked elaborate healthy recipes, I swam for miles a week, I looked up forgotten friends... But soon it became apparent that there had been good reason to ditch said friends and the taste of unsweetened soya milk started to make me actually retch. Then suddenly the Olympics were in town...
The idea of different nations taking over venues in London was little short of genius. A girl could traverse the globe in a single night! Gaining entry to their hospitality proved a little harder but Kay was on hand to hustle the crucial invites.
She rang me excitedly to say she had been promised an 'in' to one of the grander hospitalities.
"They said to just come down!" she shrieked, "Any night we want!" So up we rocked, on a fiercely hot evening, heels in bag and intercontinental mischief on our minds.
As it happened we were several hours early and after a frosty set-to with the PR we decamped to a nearby bar to drink martinis and make a plan.
"Oh we'll just go for half an hour," we agreed, "show our faces."
However the martinis kicked in quickly, and by the appointed hour we were virtually kicking the door down. Once inside we marvelled at the expanse of acid-wash denim and vulgar handbags. We were suddenly very far from London. We also had to suffer the indignity of a 'VIP' table being set up next to ours - we almost wept as it was loaded up with bottles of vodka and champagne whilst we fingered our measly two drink tokens each. A band came on, featuring two blokes who looked like they'd just got off a shift on the bins, and stated playing terrible, terrible music.
Drastic action was called for, namely a charm offensive on the bar staff. A couple of speciality concoctions later we were up dancing and revelling in the fact we were patently the only Brits there.
I latched on to a trio of blokes in gaudy tracksuits who looked like they knew how to have fun. We screamed as they whirled us round the dance floor and even though we couldn't speak their language we seemed to all be getting on famously in the name of Olympic FUN.
I excused myself to go to the loo and had just shut the cubicle door behind me when there was a terrible splintering sound and the door was wrenched inwards and off its hinges. I could only look on in horror as one of the lively trio of boys appeared - thankfully I hadn't got as far as pulling my pants down. He grinned inanely and I swear he might have been very slightly foaming at the mouth.
I screamed and ushered him out, and a commotion ensued in the rather compact ladies loos. Staff were alerted but somehow I managed to weave my way back into the main room. I told Kay what had happened and she wasn't sympathetic.
"What did you expect?" she barked. "You were totally SEX DANCING with him!"
Was I? I didn't think I had been, but by this time not much was really making sense. We stayed a bit longer but sensed we were on borrowed time. The tracksuit gang mysteriously disappeared, perhaps not by their own volition. A guard was installed on the toilet door and we were politely asked to "make our way out" by a stern looking member of staff. We weren't overly fussed since the bin man band had disappeared only to be replaced by the worst DJ on earth.
But we weren't ready to go home. A plan was inexplicably hatched that we should try and get into the dive-bar-we-try-never-to-go-to. No danger of any ludicrous sportswear or crazed eastern Europeans there.
By a stroke of luck the owner wasn't there - he hates us and has been known to let us in just so he can slag us off to our faces. We tumbled down the steps to find the place surprisingly busy for 2am on a Tuesday. We were soon twirling round the room, making new friends and air kissing old enemies. Some film producer guy with a stupid moustache took a shine to me and kept trying to put his card into my bag without me seeing, whilst Kay settled down for a chat with an older grey-haired gangster type who was drowning his sorrows having lost large amounts of cash at a casino. But before we knew it the lights were being turned up and the barman - the only remotely sober person in the room - was hustling everyone out.
Kay wafted off into the night, by this time making little sense, and I was about to follow when the gangster-type pulled me aside.
"You're not waiting around for that bloke are you?" he enquired, gesturing disdainfully at stupid moustache man.
"God of course not!" I replied - I'd long since tired of his lame efforts to amuse me.
"Good. He's a bloody idiot. Come with me back to the casino" he offered, "I need to win back some of that money."
Even in my dishevelled state I know this probably wasn't a good idea, and we compromised on going for a coffee round the corner.
We certainly turned heads as we walked in; I could see everyone wondering what exactly the deal was here. We ordered drinks and I realised that I felt oddly relaxed in his company - I knew that he wasn't trying to sleaze me and just wanted to talk.
As I sipped on my water his face softened and he looked me right in the eye.
"You're special you know," he stated, and I stared right back at him, slightly bemused.
"You think you'll never meet anyone decent... But you will. I'm telling you."
I didn't really know what to say, but I felt oddly cheered by his prediction.
He then went back to clowning around like he had been in the bar, pulling funny faces and saying that he'd been a handsome man when he was younger.
"You're a handsome man now!" I replied, but once again it didn't feel remotely flirtatious, just one of those mad moments where you can meet a stranger and tell them anything that's on your mind, safe in the knowledge that that you'll probably never see them again. Now this was my idea of therapy. There is nothing better than hearing all about an enigmatic random's life and loves. He told me about the wife he is drifting apart from, the flat in Mayfair he can't afford, a whole hour passed, I was gripped - but I didn't even know his name.
We eventually finished up, he paid and offered to walk with me to find a cab. We parted with a polite kiss on each cheek and I watched him toddling off down the street, head slightly bowed. It had been a very long night.Suggest a correction