Let’s start with the previous men in my life:
One of my first boyfriends was a chap by the name of Neville. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but he was nice. Sweet. Treated me like his little princess. We met one sunny afternoon in Stratford. We walked for hours, talked for ages, and that was us, joint at the hip, for a majority of the following three years. Our relationship, which had been a rather big secret – much to his disgust – fizzled out when my parents made sure that I was never to receive another letter from him once he was sentenced for car theft. A Mercedes-Benz, no less. Some people have no taste.
There was James. James. Ah, James. Turns out he was lying when he said he’d split up with his girlfriend. When he finally came clean (!) and admitted as such, he was also lying when he said he’d split up with her a few weeks previous too. A week or so after New Year, after he’d spend an hour on the phone to his brother – something that confused him immensely because he didn’t really speak to his brother at all – his mum casually said at dinner, ‘It’s strange that it’s been almost a couple of weeks since New Year and your brother still hasn’t called.’ He probably should have put reigns on his mother’s mouth because after he turned down the invite to come out for Mother’s Day, for obvious going-out-with-his-mother reasons, he said something mother-related at dinner one weekend and his mum said, ‘What would you know, you weren’t here for Mother’s day!’ Following my ditching of the lying toad, he promptly became my stalker for a few weeks.
Derek not only forgot to inform me that he was married, but following his divorce, he forgot to inform me that he’d moved in with another woman. I went from being his mistress to his bit on the side. I had my suspicions, but they were cemented when his girlfriend started texting me pretending to be him. My biggest hint: “he” was being romantic. He’s flaming well Scottish! His idea of romance was a trip to KFC! Six years I was on-and-off with him, I know his romance levels well. I challenged “him” on it and she started to threaten me because I was sleeping with him. Obviously she hadn’t spoken to him about it because otherwise she would have known I wasn’t. Women are such conclusion-jumping irrationals at times.
Four and a half years with Mike was my downfall. He was, and is, a lovely guy, but he was definitely not into me. It would take him being almost on his deathbed with beer for him to be almost interested. Still, although we don’t really speak anymore, I love him a great deal, and even when he’s throwing his irrational-woman hissy fits, he remains in my heart as one of the best friends I’ve had. After all, we never had a relationship that could be determined as boyfriend and girlfriend. We were that in name only.
I was told to get into the universe of online dating. This has taught me a great deal about men. Men, you’re all weird. Why do you blame us for it?
The first guy I met was really nice, actually. Calm, paced… I rather liked him. Tall, fit, quite the handsome lad, divorced, reads his kids to sleep each night, whether or not they’re at his ex-wife’s. How could a woman resist? However, here is where I start to wonder about the online dating. Where do these “success” stories come from? Despite getting on like a house on fire, we now only chat every now and then. Turns out that his big ambition for the first date was to get laid. Not gonna happen, babe!
Date number two happened with a chap of 48, separated, three rather hyperactive kids. I was introduced to them on the first date. Which wasn’t so much a date as a night in. I didn’t mind that much, actually, and it was pretty much for the best.
His daughter decided to thrust us together, and he didn’t mind the way I work as he did a similar thing himself, so we pretty much lasted three months. Well, actually just two because then he started being a little odd, jumped back into the world of internet dating, and told me that he was too moral to go through the love thing because he was coming up to his divorce. All fine, but where was his morality when he was being a randy net-date-hopper?
We still get on – though he’s annoyed that I told him Germany would win the World Cup back in May because it turns out I would be right – and I decline his frequent kind offers to have no-strings sex. Lovely as the thought is…
Date number three was also separated. Of course, alarm bells started ringing because he’d apparently been separated for about 10 weeks at the time and I was thinking to myself no, they can’t all be swines after one-night stands. How very wrong I was!
What started as a man completely in tune with me, sharing my sense of humour, cracking me up at all hours of the day, sharing our music for a few weeks, turned out to be something else entirely. I fell into a bit of a trap with that one, admittedly, but it’s not a trap I hadn’t fallen into previously so I’m well-versed with the signs.
We’d gone out one Friday night and planned to go out the next Friday as well. In the meantime, he received a call from his daughter – he had to go and rescue her from a very ill wife. That’s fine. I get that. The next day he was still being a sweetie but it seemed every reason we got along so well had vanished. At least, from his end. I knew he wouldn’t be showing up that weekend, but I stepped back to think to myself that, no – just because this is what’s previously happened doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but I had this suspicion that very soon he would say his daughter’s sick and then he would be sick too, and that would be that. I doubt he’s the type to use his daughter as an excuse and if he is he’s a vile excuse for a humanoid.
So Monday came and his daughter came down with whatever his wife had had. I felt bad for the poor kid. Might have never met her but from the way he spoke about her, I could tell she was probably the energetic type and being too ill to go to school would probably not be her idea of fabulous. Likewise, it must have been horrible for him – understandably, and beautifully enough, he is a father first, so I can only imagine how much it must have worried him to see his daughter with no appetite, hurling her insides out and not being the daughter he so obviously adored.
When he said he thought he might be coming down with it too, I continued to rationalise it all – perhaps from a need to think not all men are dirtbags. Whether or not he was bullshitting, if his daughter had caught a bug that easily, it stood to reason he’d be catching it too. I was worried about him while he faded further and further away. Last I heard from him, he was feeling a bit better, but fear not, folks! It only took him a week to admit that yeah, we had a ridiculously massive click thing going on but there wasn’t enough in common for him to be tempted to see me again.
Date number four…. This was where things really started to get interesting…