The weather is finally, FINALLY on the turn and so it seems is my love life, although the outlook for the latter is not necessarily very sunny.
The Stuntman has hilariously (and predictably) not troubled himself to get in touch since his effusive offer of the free holiday we were never, ever going on. Not a peep! The Beau too has faded into the background - I quite miss the Saturday midnight texts when he would miraculously find himself round the corner from my flat, all the taxis in London having apparently vanished. We had a good two years but perhaps this is a natural end. No bang and not even much of a whimper. Posh Boy is clinging on by his fingernails, sending me random unsolicited emails every so often detailing his recent movements, and if I'm really lucky, the latest 'erotic' dream he has had about me. I suppose his undiminished ardour is flattering but I never trouble myself to actually reply.
The strange little affair that I am having with Serge rumbles on but lately he has been somewhat cooler towards me, and memorably tried to leave me at his friend's house last week - the same friend he swears he isn't trying to set me up with, and who patently isn't interested anyway. And he may have played an absolute blinder in that the more he backs off the more desperate I am to win him back. Like some sort of awful Stockholm Syndrome cliche now that he has stopped kidnapping me and telling me in great detail (and in THAT accent) what he'd like to do to me, I'm verging on distraught. The days of him driving round town with one hand clamped possessively round my thigh are few and far between and he even got rather irritated when one of his friends made a comment about how much time we spend together.
The only other player in the game has been Mr Email Sex Pest, a man I have vaguely known for years, who confessed, out of the blue some months ago that he has always held a torch for yours truly.
I was flattered - he's a good looking, together kind of bloke with a 'cool' job, not to mention being several years my junior. I confess I did little to discourage his lusty late night emails and texts. He sent me so many pictures and videos of himself that I created a special secret folder to store them in. I recently looked back over them, wondering how long this had been going on. Six months! There have been several half-hearted attempts to meet up and put his ideas into practice, but for one reason or another they have never come to fruition.
But the internet makes detective work so damned easy, and last week he came a cropper in fine style.
I was idly perusing his Facebook profile the morning after a particularly hot session, and noticed that he had popped off abroad, seemingly on a whim. He's a prolific user of various social media, one might say obsessive, and perhaps the warning bells should have sounded some time ago. I don't trust people who spend every waking minute tweeting and shouting about themselves into the ether. (And yes, I am aware of the irony of this statement).
He posts endless arty Instagram pictures, usually of himself in various glamorous scenarios but the one that caught my eye this particular day was of a boy and girl in a bar. I thought I recognised the girl but this was probably because it was like looking in a mirror, albeit a slightly distorted one. She had the same colour hair as me but it was cut into a mumsy bobbed style, adding years to her. Her face was like mine but as if someone had sanded down the features to create a blander, 12A version of me. Her nose was broader, her frame was bulkier, (and her choice of top was frankly hideous).
Out of curiosity I clicked on her profile. What I saw made me feel slightly sick. Like some sort of poster girl for needy fools her entire newsfeed consisted of her 'checking in' to bars and restaurants with Mr Sex Pest himself - she even had a picture of his cat as her profile! I was overcome with a wave of entirely unexpected fury. The one thing I had clung to as a plus point with him was that he had always claimed to be single. Hell, we even had a good laugh about noone being able to put up with us! But her roll call of desperation told the story of a relationship that had been going on for more than the six months her boyfriend and I had been 'chatting'. I clicked back to his own profile - not a single mention of her.
But now I was confronted with a truly odd moral dilemma. What right did I have to be so annoyed? I'd been honest with him from the start about Serge, because basically I couldn't be bothered lying. Dishonesty takes a lot of energy and I'm rubbish at it anyway, but he obviously hadn't returned the courtesy. And on top of that, Mr SP and I had never actually DONE anything in real life. And it wasn't like I had ever envisioned him as a future relationship. Far from it. Is 'sexting' someone (god I hate that word) actually cheating? And why was I ok with carrying on with Serge, when he was even more of a love rat - a wife and family being involved?
I prodded away at my keyboard with renewed curiosity and wondered whether it was too late in life to retrain as a criminal profiler. After half an hour I felt like I had known her for years.
Still fuming, I defriended Mr SP with some satisfaction, decisive that this grubby little encounter was at an end.
A few nights later there was a familiar ping from my phone by the bed and I just knew it would be him. In the following hour he tried to refriend me, sent me ten emails and several texts, all pleading for my attention. Did he really have no idea?
I stared at the screen, a million sassy put-downs flooding into my mind. But incredibly, I opted for the sensible, dignified solution and just ignored all of it.
The grand plan was to erase the whole thing from my mind and move on. But I couldn't resist one last look at her picture. The puppy dog eyes, the doting, pliant expression. I admit, I judged her. A girl that looked a bit like me but couldn't be more different, I decided. I actually felt a bit sorry for her - there she is, broadcasting her love to the world, without a clue as to what her beloved gets up to with too much whiskey and time on his hands. I trust he finally gets the message and leaves me alone. It would, after all, be entirely unseemly for any of those emails to see the light of day.