The thing about dating in your late thirties is, after a poorly needed rebound fling, my thoughts were in need of something else.
Ten years ago, when my marriage was having a rocky patch, I decided to spend the weekend with a single friend. An evening out with her employees was arranged and we all met at a local bar in the village. One of her employees brought along his best mate. He was very easy on the eye, but boy, did he know it. He sat opposite me, lay back in his seat and flashed his well used smile. Oh God I thought, you're a bit too pleased with yourself. Somehow he got my number and despite the fact that he knew I was married he asked to meet me. I did not comply with his request.
Fast forward to two years ago and he hears that I'm now single. Facebook messages were exchanged. The conversations continued. He wasn't what I had originally thought. We just clicked. We liked the same things, we both loved the beach and played tennis. He kept asking to meet but the timing was never right. He told me he couldn't imagine a future without me, that he'd even imagined living with me and what our life could be like. He asked me if I wanted more children because he did. And I did too.
Then, by the time he sent me tickets to see Duran Duran for my birthday, I was already quite smitten. He couldn't be there at the concert because he had to stay on for some business in Chicago. "Don't worry, use the second ticket and take a friend."
Which I did. I took my lovely Amy, a jewel of a girl in every way.
The concert was bloody amazing. One of the best gigs I've ever been to. Seal was the supporting act and he began his set with Killer. If you've any doubts, he can really sing, what a voice. He was outstanding. Duran Duran were superb and they sung all the old stuff plus the new album which, if you've not tried it out, definitely give it a go.
By the time I got home that night I realised I was sort of, kind of, falling in love with the pretty boy and his killer smile. I had that lovely realisation of something special, I was definitely hungry like a wolf.
Then I discovered something else. He had a girlfriend. One he lived with. One I knew nothing about.
Well that's one way to kill a mood.
So I had it out with him and he tried to explain, "Suzi, we've not had sex for two years, it's over but she's financially dependent on me and we hardly speak, she sleeps in the spare room. I just want to help her move on. You're really the only one for me."
It was a long time before we spoke again. I was not amused. However, some time later we met for a coffee, he had a latte with a triple shot of moral ambiguity and a slice of hedging his bets pie.
So nothing happened but he kept telling me what he wanted and that was to build a life with me.
I waited. I let things go. I got on with my life.
Then he phoned to tell me that his girlfriend had moved out and could we meet. I said no. It was too soon, so we stayed chatting until three months had passed. Then we had our first date. He told me everything. I told him everything. And so it went on. He called me one night to tell me he loved me, couldn't stop thinking about me and could he take me away for the weekend.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking.
I arrived at the hotel just before him and he drove in at speed in his Range Rover, spraying gravel all over the grass.
The he jumped out and flashed that smile. Oh, I thought, you're a lot shorter than I remember. We spent a lovely weekend together. Was easy, simple and when he fell asleep on the sun lounger I covered him up with a blanket.
Then came the night. The big reveal. The moment of truth. After a two year chase and multiple declarations the anticipation was overwhelming.
Sadly, I had to pull off my best 'When Harry meets Sally' acting performance.
He certainly didn't have a strong serve, let alone any decent ground strokes. He was a UHT imitation, one that's not worth boiling the kettle for.
We parted with a kiss just as a call from my friend Jay came in.
"Well?" She asked.
"Umm." I said watching him drive his Range Rover off at great speed.
"Well?" She repeated.
She laughed for some time and then said, "oh darling Suzi, sometimes a man has it in the lips but not in the hips."
"But it was such a disappointment Jay, I mean how could it be that bad?"
"Oh sweetie don't you see?"
I didn't, I waited.
"Darling, he was a tiny man in every way, he was all Range and no Rover."
And this is the thing about social media, it makes the world very small. I got talking to an old friend and we laughed about our relationship woes but when I told her about what had happened with the tiny UHT man and his killer smile, she said something I wasn't expecting.
"Oh my god Suzi! You do know what his nick name is?"
"Everyone calls him paddy pants down, he's a total c**t hound, I know of three other women he said that all to."
"You're shitting me?"
She screen grabbed the chats with the other 'fell for the bullshit women' and it was all the same lines. All the same declarations at the same time he had a live in girlfriend and at the same time he was talking to me. Messages between the various women were exchanged. One told me a funny story that no sooner had he declared his love for her and shagged her, when she made a comment about seeing him again, he said 'well, the thing is, I'm just not looking to be in a relationship right now.'
She said it really hurt at the time because she'd been led to believe they too were, 'going to build a life together.'
We were all able to laugh about it. At least it wasn't just us.
'Pity the next girl who's head he fucks with though.' She said and we all agreed.
Last month I happened to bump into the cretin as he was getting into his car.
'Hi,' said the UHT smile. 'Fancy a drink?'
I looked down at the tiny middle management man child and said,
"Darling, next time you get a chance to walk out onto centre court with a woman like me, remember to bring a fucking racket."
NEW BALLS PLEASE!
Dedicated to J xxxxx