I totter out of the dank venue out on to the street without looking back. I head for the nearest main road and away from the annoying woman with the clipboard and the rictus grin. I'm careful not to look back as I know she'll ask me if I've had a good night and in situations like these I'm not sure I can lie convincingly. I catch sight of my reflection in a window. I realise with a sigh that the fur coat and long dress that the mirror assured me earlier was elegant and slinky actually makes me look like a badly-lagged boiler. I come to a clattering halt under a street light and in the sodium glare I swear I can actually see my toes turning blue.
Not for the first time I ask myself what on earth I am doing. How did I get to this place? I used to be quite moral and proper - I cringe when I think of all the abuse I heaped upon Zoe when she went through her phase of sleeping with married colleagues (seemingly in alphabetical order). But now it just seems normal. Totting up the figures I'm shocked to realise that I've been seeing Serge for almost a year and a half, the same time I was having a very much more off than on 'thing' with the Beau. Though in fairness the latter blatantly lied about being separated - it was only my investigations that blew that one apart. But did I confront him about it? No. I was having the time of my life and I couldn't bear the thought of giving him up. Those two men alone were responsible for me giving into my inner selfish bitch. Well if they want to put their marriages on the line who am I to stop them? Next I'll be trotting out that hoary old mistress defence - 'I'm the single one, I'm not doing anything wrong'.
In my defence the last relationship I had was downright horrendous. What should have been a giddy two month fling somehow turned into a torturous and soul-destroying two years, with an especially horrible final showdown. As I came crawling out from the wreckage I was finally ready for some flighty fun, and well, I'm still having it.
Last year was my year for getting back out there and I still laugh about how many men I had on the go at any one time. My antics became so notorious at work that every day at 5pm a group of girls would make their way surreptitiously to my desk for a daily update. As well as Serge, the Stuntman, Email Sex Pest and Posho I made a brief foray onto an internet dating site - lets just say it wasn't quite Christian Singles - and in two months encountered a truly bizarre cast of characters.
There was the priapic young student doctor from Chelsea, who would send me videos of himself walking around naked and various other attempts at amateur porn. My gay friends were big fans of his and couldn't believe I never took him his offers of a house call - quite frankly I found the lack of mystique something of a turn off. Then there was the banker who sent me an endless 'selfies' of his (admittedly impressive) abs, which prompted one colleague to declare that she'd never known a man with such an extensive pant collection. He actually seemed quite sweet and I arranged to go for a drink with him. That afternoon I suddenly realised I didn't actually know what he looked like and requested a pic. If I tell you he was henceforth known only as 'wiggy' you might get the picture. He had a truly odd 'coiffeur' - thick dark hair that hung in unforgiving curtains framing his face and brought to mind some sort of nylon fibre. 'That CAN'T be real' we marvelled, and I confess I spent most of our meet up examining it for seams or glue. He was a nice enough bloke but the suspicious thatch teamed with an enthusiasm for euphoric trance music that belied his years meant that another date was unlikely.
I also made the acquaintance of two seriously rich financier types, one of whom was jaw droppingly handsome (and very aware of it) and also very married. He had the good grace to be honest at least. 'I just miss the passion you know?' he told me, whilst to the outside world it must have looked like he had the most utterly perfect life. And people wonder why I am cynical about fidelity! Our relationship never progressed beyond messaging each other. The fact that he found me very attractive and would beg me to send pictures was an enormous ego boost, although one hot summer's day he tried to 'sext' and it was about as erotic as a smear test. His messages read like a biology text book and you could tell he was a complete novice at such a sport.
The other potential sugar daddy was a more complex proposition. He was a tax exile and I counted seven houses that he owned across the globe. Defiantly unmarried. He wooed me from around the world, sending tantalising glimpses of his amazing lifestyle - the interior of the private jet, the servants setting up for dinner, the elephant he was thinking about adding to his private zoo. I was fascinated and we arranged to have lunch when he was next in town. Unfortunately the tube I was on got stuck in a tunnel and I was very late as well as bursting for the toilet when I finally arrived. I searched in vain for a pub to duck into on the way there but there weren't any so I dashed into the restaurant red-faced and sweaty, dumped my bag at the table and muttered a garbled explanation before hot footing it to the loo. Emergency over I composed myself and returned to the table with a winning smile in place. I found him staring at my chair grim-faced, unable to take his eyes off the tampax that was waving cheerfully from within my handbag.
Excellent first impression. The date went downhill from there really - when I enthused about the Chanel boutique across the road he gave me a withering look and said simply 'No darling, not with your figure'. We parted awkwardly as soon as was polite and unsurprisingly all communications ceased thereafter, followed shortly by my subscription to the dating site.
I'm still having a little chuckle to myself about Wiggy and the hideous hedge founder when Serge finally pulls up in the car. I now have no feeling left in my feet but all this is forgotten as I clamber into the car as elegantly as a full length dress and several vodka tonics will allow. I let out a little squeak as I realise he has heated my seat in readiness. I smile and say hello, and start to tell him about my terrible night out. He smiles back and kisses me and says I look amazing. He may not really be mine, and I know he never will be, but for now I'm surprisingly okay with it.