Part 107: Backing Off

back off

“What the fucking fuck,” I typed at my mate Rob one night – via Facebook – after a few too many Margaritas had induced a chronic bout of self-pity, “is wrong with men?”

I decided to ask Rob this because he has been known, in his lifetime, to behave like a wrong ‘un. Here’s all you need to know about Rob to understand what I mean: after I won the Cosmo Blog Awards he messaged me asking if I would review my stance on blow jobs. He was worried, he said, that now I was an influential blogger my tongue-in-cheek outright rejection of them might impair his ability to get oral sex during one night stands.

If anyone can give me insight into the more dastardly behaviour of the males of the species, it’s Rob.

“Um…” He typed back – an answer which was not, unfortunately, unexpected.

And then: “You’ll have to be more specific.”

“One minute they’re all over you. Asking for your number and telling you you’re beautiful and then, as soon as you show an interest, they back off.”

“Yeah,” Rob said. “That’s what we do. We’re backing off all over the place.”


“I don’t know what to tell you. We get all excited, and then we back off. Sorry.”

Rob is an authority on this matter. He is so much of an expert on backing off that he does it to friends as well as to would-be lovers. That is why I believed him when he added the following: “Don’t take it personally. It is definitely never your problem.”

“ARRRRRGH!!!!” I typed. “NO! This is not good enough! I must have a better explanation.”

Rob did not have a better explanation. He could only tell me that it had something to do with the effort versus reward ratio of any given encounter, and try to persuade me that he had, in the years since we have kept regular company, changed his ways.

My exchange with Rob got me thinking about the general lethargy of men. Or at least of most of the men I meet, and all the ones I am periodically attracted to. They have rejected the idea that romance should involve even a minimal amount of effort on their part. Yes, they get all manner of carried away and exhibit the requisite energy when they first realise you might be up for sex with them, but then, it just, sort of, fades away.

And it isn’t only the horrid lazy ones who back off. I know this because one time my brother, who is – and I am in no way biased here – not only good-looking, but kind and hardworking and honest and loyal, came home from a club and told me he had met, “the girl of my dreams. I swear Kate she was incredible. Long brown hair, massive eyes. Really funny as well.”

“Amazing,” I said, “Did you get her number?”


“Have you messaged her yet?”


“When are you going to message her then?”

“I’m not going message her!” He said, rolling his eyes to indicate that I had got the wrong end of the stick.

“Why the fuck not?!”

“She lives in Brighton. It’s too much effort.”

Maybe the men have it sorted. It is possible they are correct. Romantic love is probably not worth the effort, if any effort whatsoever is required to get it going. Accepting this supposition as truth, however, is not likely to end my current stint of involuntary celibacy.

So, please, men of the universe, can you take a pro-plus or something? I’m thirty in less than two months time. I am only willing to wait so long before I take matters in to my own hands.

You should probably know that I am liable to give up on this shit fairly soon, turn to Ann Summers for carnal stimulation, and solicit sperm from one of my gay friends. And it will be you lot who lose out here. (If you’ve seen in me in a leopard print bikini, you’ll know what I’m on about). You will only have yourselves to blame.

I would like to sum up by telling you that I never wanted to write a blog about how I’m single because men are dicks. I realise that this is crass and predictable. But I am afraid I have inadvertently done just that. It’s not my fault though – blame all the boys who have acted unchivalrously towards me. Blame yourself, if you are man who has in any way contributed to my mistrust of your sex. And know that I am willing to be proved wrong. If you can be bothered.

*Image by adamr at


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