My default state has always been to be in relationships. I met my first boyfriend when I was 16 and was in the Lower Sixth and he was in the Upper Sixth. I was madly in love with him for 2 weeks and couldn't eat or sleep. For the whole 2 weeks I thought about him constantly and loved the smell of him, the touch of him and the sight of him. I then spent another 8 weeks trying to get rid of him when I realised he was a complete nerd and irritated me intensely. There are few joys to being a hormonal and moody teenager.
I continued the pattern by then entering a relationship with a much older man which lasted 12 years and lurching almost straight from that car crash into a much healthier relationship lasting 7 years. Oddly, I suddenly found myself on my own aged 36 and felt adrift. For the first time in my adult life I was living alone and had no boyfriend.
Naturally frantic serial dating was the only option. I needed a man. Being single was alien to me. My friends told me to spend some time alone and "get to know yourself". I was horrified by this and guessed I wouldn't actually like myself and was better staying as a stranger.
I started dating and entered a strange and scary world peopled by the desperate, the freaky and the caddish. I met a few thoroughly decent men who were unattractive to me and a handful of men who I liked who weren't attracted to me. I also met a few freaks and oddballs along the way (see Dating 1: The Speedo-phile). I'll list a few of the more outlandish and odd but these are merely a sample.
- The man who was so dull that he described meeting Joan Rivers and made it an uninteresting story. He then told me he was planning to get the 2am bus home from Derby. I persuaded him to get an earlier bus.
- The man who had been thrown out of the Jehovah's Witnesses for being a gay but still yearned for his door knocking days. When I didn't answer a text he sent me a random photo of his (sleeping) willy. I ignored that too. He sent more. Eek.
- The man who showed me a series of photos of his hideous collection of Crown Derby on his mobile phone. He was so dull I almost did a runner. The only thing keeping me there was the fact that his dating profile said he had an enormous knob. I expect it had a Crown Derby pattern on it in garish gold, though. He may also have been lying of course.
- The man who unashamedly told me he'd worked as a male escort and had starred in two porn films but hid the fact that he had a teenage daughter as he thought it would put me off.
- The man who sang along to Beyonce in his car at full volume in a high pitched voice as he drove me home. It was a convertible though. He had money but no style.
- The uptight policeman I dated for 4 months who was insistent on how keen he was on me but was actually dating other men the whole time. He needs a whole chapter of his own to encompass his oddities. He was getting to the point when he was choosing my clothes for me when we split up, so I think it was a lucky escape.
- The sadistic Greek academic...I think he can have his own chapter too. It's a long story.
- The Flamenco dancer who couldn't stop tapping his foot and doing little dance moves all the time
- The History teacher who accidentally sent me a text message intended for someone else then pretended it was a network error caused by a virus. The message told me he wanted to suck my truncheon. It later turned out he was also dating a policeman. I think he lied.
I came to the conclusion that being alone wasn't such a bad thing. I'm useless at drilling and have to pay a man to do my DIY but it gave me more time to read and I knew my house would be the same as I left it when I returned home. It took a lot of getting used to. After spending 14 months as a single man and using all the time and energy I'd put into attending bad dates into enjoying myself instead, I realised it was time well spent. I made good friends, went on a couple of holidays on my own and took in a lot of culture and art. I also read a hell of a lot of good books too.
I've finally met a man, quite randomly, who is making me happy which is fine and dandy. We didn't even go on a date to meet which was a relief. I couldn't have stood another one.
Who knows, there could be a man out there right now talking about this odd bloke called Chris who he met on a date. Now he was a real freak.