THE WINNING LINES #9: Tales from my dating days (Valentine’s Edition)

I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day. I firmly believe that, if you love someone, you should show them every damn day.

Perhaps you’ve been admiring someone from afar for a while, and think that Valentine’s Day might be the day to show your hand? No. If you like them today, do something about it today. It might not work out, of course, but so much better to get on and get over it, rather than moping around until February 14th.

Anyway. It was Valentine’s Day and I had a boyfriend, although he is not the subject of this story.

That honour goes to an ex of mine. Well, I call him an ex although that’s rather misleading. We’d been seeing each other for a while, but never officially dated; every time we drew together he’d retreat (I’d usually hear him shouting: “I’m not ready for a relationship!” as he vanished into the distance.)

Tiring of this, eventually, I started dating someone else. But the ex (as it were) and I had stayed in touch, agreeing to just be friends.

Valentine’s Day arrived. The first post in my Facebook newsfeed was by my ex. He’d uploaded a video of himself, singing a song “for the woman I love, and have probably lost forever.”

“Oh dear”, I thought, when I saw it. “I wonder who that’s for?”

Then I checked into the website I ran (at the time). He’d posted the same thing there. Oh. It couldn’t possibly… could it?… he wouldn’t?…

On cue, the doorbell rang. The postman needed me to sign for a letter. Turns out, it was a Valentine’s card from my ex.

I watched the video again. Now, you may know “Wonderful Life”. It is a tremendous song, but possibly the worst choice of love song ever. It’s a song abut the singer: how lonely he was. How he needed a friend. How unfair it was. “Look at me”, said the lyrics, “Look at me standing here”. You learn nothing about the person he’s singing to.  Nothing.

None of this was about me: it was only about him. And he’d sent me a Valentine’s card, even though he knew full well I had a boyfriend. What did he think was going to happen, that I was going to immediately ditch my boyfriend and declare my undying love? Did he really think I was that shallow? That’s not love. I was merely a prize to be won, like I was a bloody goldfish at the fair.

I fumed for a while about how to respond. I started composing a restrained “Sorry, but you know I’m not available” text, when I checked Facebook again.

He’d updated his status again. Now it read: “Fuck this, I’m sick of waiting for a response, I’m going back to bed”.

Charming.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

THE WINNING LINES: Tales from my dating days #10

We were in a restaurant. I put the menu on the table in front of me, and leaned forward to read it. As I did so, I rested my hands on my elbows.

Him: “You’ve crossed your arms. You must be feeling uncomfortable”.

Me: “I’m fine. I’m just reading the menu.”.

Him: “But you wouldn’t cross your arms unless you were feeling uncomfortable. I’ve studied body language*. Everything you do means something.”

Me: “Yes, it means that it’s comfy for me to have my arms like this, while I’m reading the menu”.

Him: “But you wouldn’t have done it unless you were feeling uncomfortable”.

Me: “I’m fine, really”.

Him: “Are you feeling uncomfortable?”

Me: “Now I am”.

And so it continued. He kept commenting on my body language and facial expressions—despite me repeatedly asking him not to—until I ended the date, forty minutes after it started.

*This isn’t the first time someone’s commented on my body language; I once lost a job because of it. Perhaps it’s me, after all.

THE WINNING LINES: Tales from my dating days #7

We’d been seeing each other for a while. One morning I awoke to find two texts from him.

The first was sent the previous night: “Just to tell you how beautiful you are, and how much I love you.”

I was thrilled to read it.

Then I read the second text, which had been sent a few hours after the first:

“I sometimes send texts in my sleep. If you’ve received any other texts from me in the last 12 hours, you should ignore them, I didn’t mean anything I said.”

I was no longer thrilled.

THE WINNING LINES: Tales from my dating days #6

“You’re very intelligent, aren’t you? I don’t like to date intelligent women. I find it intimidating.”

Honestly, I’m not Stephen Hawking. Really. But, even if I was, I don’t understand this.

I love meeting people who have strengths that I don’t have. I don’t know the first thing about the night sky, so when an ex pointed out all the different stars in the constellation, it was sexy as hell. I dated someone who played the guitar beautifully; I feel giddy at the memory of it. My boyfriend (not the chap in this story, obviously) is never more attractive than when rolls his sleeves up to fit a new light, or to fix the toilet; jobs that I couldn’t do on pain of death.

I think my date that night must have been quite an insecure person. I wonder, if he’s with anyone now, if he’s told her the good news: that he considers her stupid enough to date?

THE WINNING LINES: tales from my dating days #5

Half an hour into our first date, he looked down at my feet and exclaimed:

“OOOOOOOH, you’ve got lovely big feet, haven’t you? I give a really good foot massage. Some women have got really small feet. I bet I could give yours a really good rub”.

He did not get his mits on my size 8s. Or anything else, for that matter.

THE WINNING LINES: Tales from my dating days #4

We’d been chatting about music for a while. Then, he leaned across the table and said:

“You’re a woman, so how do you know so much about music?” Before I could reply, he continued: “Then again, you’re not really a girly girl, are you? You’re more into the things that the blokes are. I bet you’re still into hair and handbags though.”

Right.

I’m a musician (as well as being a writer, it all helps to pay the bills…) and I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. However, I don’t see music as being something specifically male or female. Frankly, I get annoyed when people try and define interests like that, goggling at the women who likes football or the stay-at-home dad like they’re some freak of nature.

And for the record, I’m not into hair* or handbags**, but so what if I was?

*My hair pretty much does its own thing, it sits on my head, I don’t think about it much beyond that.

**I have one I like, it’s useful for carrying stuff, that’s about the extent of the bag experience for me.

THE WINNING LINES: Tales from my dating days #3

Another internet date. He emailed me several times beforehand to say how nervous he was. (Fair enough, we’ve all been there.) And then the date rolled around:

Me: “Hi, nice to meet you finally. How are you?”

Him: “Still really nervous. This is the first date I’ve been on in twenty years”.

Me: “Well, no worries, we’ve all got to get back in the dating game at some point. When did you and your wife split up?”

Him: “Last month.”

Me: “Oh. Really? Er, OK, but isn’t that a bit soon to be dating, maybe?”

Him: “Well, why not? You never know when you might meet the love of your life! It could be you!”

IT WASN’T ME.

THE WINNING LINES: tales from my dating days #2

We’d been seeing each other for a while, but he kept telling me that he wasn’t ready for a proper relationship. Then, he sent me an email explaining that he really liked me but had some concerns.

Helpfully, he included them as a list.

Concern number 7 was “You’re allergic to cats, and I hope to own a cat someday”.

THE WINNING LINES: tales from my dating days #1

We found each other on some dating site. Turned out we both loved music, so we batted some emails back and forth before he suggested a drink.

Saturday night found me in a bar, staring at my watch. I was on time. I’m always on time. He was late. Really late.

He finally arrived, sweaty and unapologetic. As he slid into the seat opposite me, he said he had to tell me something:

“You know, I’ve never been on a date with someone with kids before. I always knock back the single mothers straight away. I’ve no interest in kids, I don’t even like kids. But your picture was really nice so I thought I’d make an exception for you.”

Ah! Sound the Date-Killer Klaxon; turns out I’m on a date with King Herod.

It was never going to work. I’m a package deal; I come with two kids who are the centre of my universe. I’m never going to date someone who hates the idea of children and being a step-dad. (I made that mistake with another ex, that’s a story for another time.)