It’s been quite a break between posts, I’m afraid and there are many reasons for that. Well, actually there are two reasons: work and rehearsal. But, I have a morning off today and thought that instead of using the time to watch more ‘Friends’ re-runs (I am writing something about ‘Friends’ soon – that’s why I HAVE to watch them. Its RESEARCH), I decided to do something useful. Something for the ages. I decided to sit down and craft another self-absorbed blog post. Hurrah! And as I was thinking of what to write, I realised that I haven’t written anything about my romantic life recently. I’m sure you’ve all been concerned. I’m sure you’ve all been sitting around at home, flicking through the internet and thinking, ‘oh when oh when oh when will Jenny write some new post in which she complains about not having met any nice boys recently?’ Well, you’re in luck! Because today I’ve decided to broach the subject again. But, first, an explanation.
The reasons I haven’t written anything on this topic for a while are twofold.
1) Things were kind of sort of happening with a person and for that reason I didn’t want to write about it (if you’d met me in person, you would have gotten an earful, but it wasn’t to be committed, in semi-permanent state, to the internet). Reason being it was too complicated but also, inevitably, when I write about someone in my blog and that person actually reads my blog I get complaints, like, ‘I didn’t say that!’ ‘I’ve been misquoted!’ ‘That’s not what I meant!’ (And I’m all like, ‘Dude. It’s not a newspaper. I have no fact-checkers. I didn’t record our conversation. Its merely a slightly amusing blog with half-remembered anecdotes that I’ve jazzed up for my own amusement.’) So, I figured that if things were kind of sort of happening with someone, it was best to just leave well alone and not attempt to record ANYTHING AT ALL.
2) The second reason I haven’t written anything on the topic is because even though things were kind of sort of happening, they weren’t actually happening at all. If that makes any sense. Because the person in question was not actually in the same locality as myself, there were no amusing/interesting/charming/fun/boring/terrible dates to record.
At work, I have a lot of time to ponder things. When you’re rolling napkins or polishing cutlery or cleaning windows for hours on end, there isn’t much else to do except quietly ponder. So, I was reflecting back on the last couple of years of romantic disasters and no-starts and re-starts and thinking, ‘Man, that was not at all how I was expecting single life to be.’
Perhaps it was too much sitcom television at a young, impressionable age, but I kind of expected to be constantly falling in and out of relationships. I mean, when attractive people do it under bright lights in front of a cheering studio audience, it doesn’t seem difficult at all. And, of course, when I was in a long-term relationship, it seemed like all the fun was to be had as a singleton. It probably didn’t help that I was lucky enough to be in such a good long-term relationship very young. I was lulled into a fall sense of security, thinking that every guy in the world is decent, funny, intelligent and equally compatible. But, no. Turns out the single life is not as glamorous as it might be made out to be on a certain hit HBO series of the late 90’s and early 00’s. Funny, attractive, decent men with interesting jobs and who look like they belong on the cover of a knitting pattern do not regularly saunter into your life clutching bunches of balloons or hand-made love seats.
For whatever reason, I got the impression that single life would be a series of enjoyable, short-term encounters with a bunch of decent, lovely men, all of which I would look back on fondly (rather like an eccentric collector or hoarder), thinking about all the wonderful different human beings I had got to meet and got to know briefly and even if it hadn’t turned into anything ‘serious’, well, hadn’t I learnt about life and humanity and love and couldn’t I put it all down in a book/play/memoir some day? But in the absence of anyone wanting me to write my memoir, and having not yet found the non-chick lit type of book (because I’m a snob and if I’m going to write a book, I don’t want someone to dismiss it as ‘chick-lit’) that I could include all these short-term encounters in, I’m just left with a bunch of embarrassing, uncomfortable and, at their worst, possibly painful, memories involving a whole heap of guys that I hope I will never have to accidentally come across in the street one day.
I think, that in the end, I’m no good at being casual and cool when it comes to men (ok, ok, I’m not good at being casual and cool. I’m horribly anxious and tightly-wound. Let me assure you, its as irritating for me as it is for all of you). I think it would be interesting to be one of these people who can get close to someone without thinking it means anything. Without feeling upset if/when it all ended. That would be interesting. Then you could swan around, fondly reminiscing on all the ‘wonderful people’ you’ve had the ‘opportunity’ to ‘get to know’ over the years (people like that always speak in euphemisms, don’t they?) But, in the end, I guard myself pretty carefully, at least when it comes to the bigger stuff (and I know you all think I’m ridiculously open and honest on this blog and I’ve had one friend recently tell me I chat way too much to ever be a spy – something I was unreasonably insulted by – but the fact is, the big stuff is mainly not on this blog. If I’m writing about it, USUALLY, it means I’ve already processed it, have moved on and am now trying to make jokes about it).
So, in summary, I have totally failed at single life (I’m reminded of a conversation from the previously mentioned HBO series in which one character cries, ‘It’s not a competition!’ To which another replies, ‘Oh, honey, of course its a competition. And you won.’ But, of course, I am not a Hollywood actress with a wonderful, eclectic wardrobe and a casting director for my boyfriends, so I have lost). Or, at least, I have failed at the single life I kind of expected to have. And to really hammer the point home, a kind-of extensive list of failures:
1) A series of terrible one-night stands. I told one man that my grandmother had called at 4am and demanded I come home so I didn’t have to wake-up next to him. Another one called me ‘garlic breath’ in an sms the following morning, which is, of course, how every girl wants to be addressed the morning after.
2) A series of awful dates with a series of awful men I met online, including one who texted me before the date to ask me how big my boobs were (presumably so he would be able to recognise me on the date). Another turned out to be a former cameraman for porn, which wasn’t exactly awful, but certainly was a conversation killer.
3) A series of very sweet dates with very sweet men, who I, of course, ran screaming from, because they were very sweet and seemed to like me. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THEM??? One boy cycled me home on the back of his bicycle after our date, which really is straight out of a sitcom, so you’d think I’d be charmed enough to let down my guard, but oh no.
4) A highly confusing incident involving a married man where nothing actually happened but I suddenly felt in danger of accidentally breaking up a twenty-year marriage.
5) The award-winning writer with whom I had my best ever first date. It was, however, completely ruined by a friend who walked past, said hi and then asked excitedly, ‘So, when are you moving to Ireland?’ Said writer then became an absolute prick (one presumes he was pissed off I hadn’t yet told him I was moving), but instead of never calling me again, he decided to keep ringing me up and making dates and then cancelling them, or keeping them and being an absolute prick the whole time. Presumably just to hammer home exactly how pissed off with me he was. Awesome.
6) A series of odd hook-ups with friends. Some of which have ended well (‘so, that was one funny crazy drunken evening, eh? Why don’t we never speak of it again, eh?’) and others which have not ended up quite so well (‘Oh, you were wanting something more? Oh, that’s where you thought this was going? Oh, well now, isn’t this awkward.’)
7) The half-Japanese, half-American music producer who was clearly way too cool for me and who eventually worked this out and stopped messaging me (I mean, he was from California. Can you imagine our conversations? Him all laid-back and ‘whatever’ and seeming like he was high on pot even when he wasn’t, and me babbling a million miles a minute and my hands flying out in all directions).
7) The Irishman who drunkenly kissed me, made a date to meet me the next week and subsequently realised he wasn’t interested in me sober.
8) A couple of incidents where practicalities have completely gotten in the way, like, they’re leaving for a completely different country the next day. Or I am. Or we both are.
And, there you have it. An (almost complete) catalogue of my highly-glamorous, highly-successful single life. Now to figure out how to use it to my advantage.