My love life, which had seemed so bountiful and exciting at the end of last year has now narrowed to a two horse race - and quite frankly I'm not sure I really care who wins.
January has been a long unending slog to organise anything and no-one really wants to be out, going mad and dancing on tables. Progress with the two men who are (just about) in my life has been little short of excruciating. Once again I'd written off The Beau, after he blew me out on my birthday then disappeared off under the radar, but come mid-January there he was again, popping up on a jaunty text.
"Merry new year! How are you? This is my new email address" which, like a fool, I immediately set about replying to. An afternoon of fairly harmless banter ensued and he casually mentioned he was out in the City that Friday and hell-bent on "tearing it up".
"Ooh I might be out that night too! Watch your back..." I emailed back. I had absolutely no plans to do so but I thought I would implant the idea in his head and work something out around it in my usual conniving manner.
As it happened, I ended up being invited to a friend's birthday party on that evening so I trotted along, my head full of plans. The party wasn't in the City but I calculated I could show my face then move on later with minimal travel hassle, if need be.
The party was fun and packed, with most people there ending their vows of new year sobriety to raucous effect. However I had forgotten that R would be there - he's a lovely young man and excellent company and not once but THREE TIMES I have ended up back at his flat after parties, more out of fatigue and locational convenience than passion. He latched onto me as soon as he got there which made me uncomfortable, as I had faithfully promised myself that that particular hook up would never happen again, though he clearly hadn't got the memo.
Just as I was untangling myself from him to nip to the loo my phone beeped and it was the Beau, right on time and utterly predictable.
There was a telegram-like precision to his intentions. "City. F*cked. You?" I read as I smirked inwardly.
I established where he was - some god awful City mega-bar as is his wont - and said casually that I would 'probably swing by' all the time congratulating myself on my Derren Brown-esque mind control over him. I touched up my make-up, grabbed my coat and hightailed it out of the bar, only feeling slight remorse for leaving R holding my drink and blissfully unaware of my plan.
When I got to the appointed venue I was horrified to discover that I was expected to pay! Since when did nafferoo meat markets come with an entry fee? They should be paying ME. But no amount of doorman flirtation did any good and I handed over a suitably grubby fiver - actually a small price to pay for my night of fun.
I finally tracked him down and we fell into each other's arms with genuine affection - he looked as hot as I remembered and suddenly it seemed like, for once, everything was going my way. He was with two friends who were so drunk they didn't know their own names so I took the chance to kidnap him and go downstairs to the woeful attempt at a nightclub annexe. I couldn't keep the grin off my face - I think we lasted about three songs before we were out of there and heading back to mine.
This was two weeks ago and in that time some idle and rather convoluted tittle-tattle has come my way that he might not be quite be as single as he makes out. A little bit of my own detective work later I grudgingly conceded that The Beau is far less separated from his wife than previously thought. I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach: in a few minutes I had gone from lover to mistress, entirely not by my own volition. Suddenly everything made sense about the girl who had kicked off at me in a club when I went to meet him last year. My friends could barely contain their glee, having had him down as a bad boy since we met, but I'm just left feeling vulnerable and confused.
I ended up doing absolutely nothing about it save turning my attention to the other runner and rider, the stunt man who has been in and out of contact since we met in December.
I arranged to meet him at another, rather more glitzy birthday bash at a plush club in Soho last Saturday. When I spoke to him in the afternoon he was already out and about, drinking bourbon with his merry band of mediumly famous British actors.
In my head I weighed him up versus the Beau. The only things they have in common I mused, is their lofty 6ft 4 height (crucial for when I wear stupid shoes - no girl wants to tower over their escort like a lanky giantess) and a motley collection of tattoos. The Beau, however, can get away with the latter as he has the body of an Olympic athlete, which is lovingly honed daily by hours in the gym.
G, on the other hand, has the physique of your average hard-drinking, catering-van fed, mid-30s white British male and would be ill-advised to try tucking his shirt in. G is desperately 'posh' whilst all the time trying to play it down, whereas the Beau relentlessly aspires to bettering his humble origins. G smokes and drinks his way around Soho, as opposed to the Beau who treats his body as the proverbial temple (apart from his periodic Friday night blow outs in hideous night spots). The Beau speaks in a soft, low voice and can be endearingly shy and controlled, whilst G rarely less than hollers. He rounds off his voicemails with phrases like 'Big snogs!' whereas I don't think the Beau has ever even put a kiss at the end of a text. I concluded that they each appeal to the opposite extremes of my somewhat bi-polar personality.
I finally met up with G in the melee of the birthday shenannigans and he seemed pleased enough to see me but I couldn't help but feel he was constantly looking slightly past my ear for a more exciting and/or famous person to latch onto. He kept mentioning a mysterious 'business meeting' he had to go to at midnight - so I suggested I tag along.
'No,' he said bluntly, 'it will be really boring, full of producers drinking cranberry juice and boring on at each other.'
It didn't really add up but I let it go and he made me promise to let him know if we went on somewhere so he could catch me up. And with that he slipped off into the night, leaving me shrugging into my martini.
The party was so good I stayed until the end and by the time I got home I was completely exhausted and fell into bed without texting him. I was awoken the next morning by him asking where I'd got to. I explained and he launched into a rambling tale (he was clearly still drunk) about how he'd spent the wee hours sitting on a roof, naked, in someone's hot tub and how I'd "really missed out." Not quite the boring evening he'd refused to let me come along to. I lay back, hungover and in faint despair. When did dating get so ridiculously complicated? And do I really care enough about either of them? There's playing hard to get and just plain unavailable. Maybe it's time to step back and just take a little time out for myself.