As I pulled up outside my ramshackle country abode, less ‘Gone With the Wind’ more ‘Blown Over By the Wind,’ I looked over at number 7. Angela’s car was gone. In fact Angela was gone–for good. No more popping over to borrow her hamster (not a euphemism) when the cat ate ours, no more listening to stories of her latest conquest over freeze dried coffee. She had moved permanently to Lancashire to live with the latest boyfriend, number fifteen in the four years we’d lived along side each other–not that I’m counting! I’d heard about the tinker, the tailor, the serial rapist. They all went by the board.
This was a woman who had online dating down to a fine art. I had to admire her tenacity.Informing these virtual daters that she only had time for a coffee, she’d fit them in between gym class and her job as a waitress, between shifts literally, and then she’d move onto another café and meet another one. It was ‘the café mile’ in the mall at Cabot Circus up in Bristol, and what one café didn’t offer, the next had opportunity stamped all over it. She usually didn’t come home empty handed. In fact she usually didn’t come home at all.
Her one child bore the hallmarks of a transient childhood. As a burgeoning teenager she hated every single one of her mothers’ boyfriends. She would go to ingenious ends to secure their demise. One day I found a voodoo doll under my cushion when I went over for coffee. Thankfully the mutilated genitalia left me in no doubt that this doll was not intended for me as the remains of a penis were just about visible.
Then one night I got a glimpse into Angela’s world…
We started the night with a couple of drinks at the infamous Bristol hangout—Ba Ha—where the student cognoscente come to see and be seen. Gathered around the bar, waiting to order your drink, is where the real hooking up takes place. Except I managed to hook a woman. Gay may be the new straight, but call me old fashioned: I like men. I was more interested in her friend, Johnny. He was tall, dark, and decidedly handsome. He could even pull off a green T-shirt. No mean feat in the casual wear department. And his equally casual brown loafters didn’t put me off either.
As Barney Stinson in ‘How I met your Mother’ would say, “I usually want to barf when I see brown loafers with a black suit”. This guy could have been wearing a day-glo Borat Mankini swimsuit with those casual loafers—sense of any kind goes out the window when you are looking into the eyes of ‘handsome’.
“Suddenly the elephant in the room has a face, a name, and you’re standing in its watering hole.”
So I reeled out a couple of what I thought were cute lines, and he reeled back a few of his, he bought me a glass of wine, and just when I thought everything was going smoothly (not just the red wine) he has to go and….mention the girlfriend.
Now I’m no stranger to casual conversation, the art of verbal seduction, or a badly handled pick up or put down, but is it flirting if he has a girlfriend? When a man engages in prolonged, flirtatious conversation with a woman is it fair if he has a girlfriend back at home? And if she’s so damn relevant why isn’t she holding his drink or his hand when he is out?
Megan told me she was half way out of her bra the other week with the electricity man—or at least in her mind she was—when he cooled her hot flushes with the line about his girl back home.
There is nothing that brings down a single girl/guy more than engaging in what seems like promising dialogue with an intended only to have it bludgeoned to death, mid flagrante, with the fait accompli of an existing partner. Suddenly the elephant in the room has a face, a name, and you’re standing in its watering hole. That smile on your face is feeling out of place, stilted, and sullen. You would like to be wallpaper, carpet, his jock strap—anything but standing physically in the room facing him/her. And you are the one feeling like you have egg on your face.
But should you be the one feeling like a whore/man-whore if you were being fully flirted with? Surely instead of having to spend another ten minutes flirting as before so as not to look idiotic you should be throwing your alcoholic beverage in their face?
If you are married/shacking up/not single should you be allowed to engage in anything other than non flirtatious conversation with the opposite sex/or same sex depending on your orientation?
Surely all conversations, if you are partnered up, should start with an introduction like, “Hi, I’m Bob, and I’m not here with my other half tonight, but if you would still like to talk to me that would be great?” Surely it is not too much to ask of the attractive and not single population to give those ‘single and looking’ a bit of a heads up, just incase we feel like a complete mop head when we chat you up and get let down?
Or maybe there could be some sort of sign like if you are not single, but out with your friends you could wear a carnation behind your ear, or if you are not single and still up for a shag you could wear a scarlet A on your T-shirt? Seriously, all this seems like the least you could do for being so damned happy and settled?!
Should flirting be reserved for the single? And if not surely there should be some sign that you are flirting with no intention to land it?
Flirting has two basic modus operandi. First it establishes a connection; one that could lead to physical and mental fulfillment, instigating a major release of endorphins and other happy making chemicals. Two, it forms a part of the mating dance, a definite prequel to the real deal; it is sensual teasing; foreplay. So to have to give up the endorphins half way is a real downer guys/gals. It’s like leading a horse to water and then kicking it in the head. It’s like voting Democrat and then seeing the Tea Party get in. Seriously you couldn’t play with a person more; it’s like cat and mouse of the soul.
Next time you are out, in a bar, or visiting somebody’s house to fix the electrics just beware that that ten kilowatt smile of yours could be lighting up more than the neighbourhood.
So when Jessica suggested we hit another bar I was all over it. However, if I thought things were about to get better I was in for a big surprise…I was about to meet the King of the Flirts….