Friday night. Somewhere in the North of England:
‘I’ve worked out,’ she said, ‘that if he gives you his number then – if you log in on your phone – you can get on his facebook, like you’re friends.’
‘Maybe,’ I suggested – as she thumbed through his pictures, ignoring me completely, ‘this is not the world’s greatest idea.’
‘Oh. My. God. Look! Some girl’s just posted pictures of them camping together.’
‘It’s probably his sister.’
‘It’s not his sister. I’ve already stalked his sister’s profile.’
‘Do you think it’s his girlfriend?’
‘I don’t know. It could be.’
‘He shouldn’t be fucking about on Plenty of Fish if he’s got a girlfriend.’
‘Well. No. He shouldn’t.’
‘Shall I text him?’
‘That seems a bit extreme. I mean, they might just be friends. And you’ve only been on one date.’
‘I’ve texted him.’
There was a long pause as we sipped on our drinks. I glared into every nook of the empty bar, hoping to come across hot men to flirt with. There were no hot men.
‘He hasn’t replied.’
‘The absolute bastard.’
Women. We are all mental.
I’ve been out the game for a while so I forgot.
No wonder the male half of the species wants nothing to do with us, other than sex.
And if they could glimpse even a fraction of the panicked insanity that infuses every potentially romantic interaction they’d definitely go off the idea of that as well.
Men, you should probably know that what we want is babies and long-term commitment. Even if we’re fucking about with several of you, pretending all we want is a good time. Even if you tell us you aren’t looking for a serious relationship right now. Even if we’re charming and funny and good-looking and confident and sleep with you on the first date.
Especially if we sleep with you on the first date.
Especially if that first date sex results in an orgasm.
It doesn’t matter if you forget to compliment us. It doesn’t matter if you pay or don’t pay for the meal. It doesn’t matter if you’re an idiot, or a sleaze, or lazy Tory with a THC addiction. It doesn’t matter if you dress unfashionably or say rude things about the waiter.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t call us back, or ask us out again.
We’ll just presume you’re playing by The Rules and that will attract us all the more.
If you exhibit the correct amount of interest – not too much, nobody likes desperation, but just enough to keep us hanging in there – we will very likely pour all our hopes and dreams for the future into you, as though you were an empty vessel, and become upset when you don’t live up to our expectations.
I don’t know why God made us this way. But I’ve decided to trust in Him so you’re going to have to deal with it.
Are men like this? Do you screen shot our text messages and send them out to your mates for interpretation? Do you rifle through our old letters while we’re in the shower, trying to work out whether the fact that we’ve kept love-notes from our exes means we’d sleep with them, if they asked? Do you post passive-aggressive messages on our social networking profiles, to mark your territory?
I suspect you don’t – I hope you don’t. Otherwise the world is utterly fucked.
You should probably also know that there’s no way to win with us. If you’re tentative and unsure we’ll stalk your facebook profile and send you intense text messages and put on the pressure until you back off completely. And if you’re honest and upfront and nice and straight with us then we’ll get bored and sack you off for someone more aloof.
I’m trying to step back from my own crazy and avoid allowing it to drive my behaviour towards the opposite sex. I suspect the crazy is why prostitutes exist and I try to remind myself of that so as to have a moral reason to disregard it. But it’s hard. It lures you in.
And ignoring the crazy has meant that I’ve spent the last half-decade virtually celibate, crying into my single malt whisky and watching QVC on a Saturday night instead of bearing my cleavage and trying my luck with the menfolk.
I have no idea how anyone manages to start and maintain a relationship.
I am starting to suspect that whoever wrote The Rules might have had a point. But I haven’t read it so I’ve got no idea what that point might be. Perhaps I’ll buy a copy, because, I’ve realised, if I’m ever going to be in with a chance of giving birth to fat little babies, I had better embrace my crazy and get back in the game.
*Image by imagerymajestic at freedigitalphotos.net