Hello there strangers (Mum), apologies for the radio silence, alright so it’s been more of a radio coma but I have awoken to offer up more laughs, and better times if you’ll take them. Much like seeing an old friend for the first time in a long time, one coffee will turn into three followed by a bottle of wine, laughing, more wine, then crying, and possibly gin, most definitely gin, but since this is a blog and therefore a rather one sided conversation, I feel I must try and tempt you back with a shorter rendition, so we’ll just skip to the gin soaked crying bit first shall we?
A little while back…
Gin soaked, crying and singing along to Bon Iver like a loser is where I’m at. It’s about two in the morning and I just stubbed my toe on the way to the fridge for more Ribena (I ran out of tonic and apparently my dignity around 1am), which gave me a brief reprise from desolation and a little holiday in blind rage. I am officially pathetic, and now my toe is turning an outraged accusatory red. It’s staring, actually staring at me. Be careful toe or I shall smite thee again! How did I get here I hear you cry? Well, this story begins at the end of Gideon and I.
FYI: Gideon was the frilly shirted Jane Austenite lothario I left you with in the last blog I wrote. After the night of getting soaked and having very lovely sex and orgasms, naturally we decided to repeat that a load more times. Those times turned into us meeting each other’s friends, and going to barbecues together. It’s fair to say that I was in the loved up phase and frankly high as a kite on that stuff. I don’t know about you but when I’m in that zone they could say they like sacrificing baby animals once a year to Lord Sauron and I’d probably laugh and say, ‘That’s so quirky!” Ah sweet biological imperatives, helping animals to get laid the world over no matter how weird they are.
For the first couple of months of our relationship Gideon came to my place because he was always having work done on his place or something. I didn’t delve too deep into this, as I was happy with our arrangement. Happy because I’m fundamentally lazy and I didn’t want to go round to his and find out that the seemingly fastidious Gideon is actually a secret hoarder of mould or that he hangs dolls made out of fried chicken carcasses above the bed to ward off evil spirits. I wanted to keep the gentlemanly dream alive and that could only happen if there were no dead bodies or weird housemates who eat flies for a laugh. However, we all know this blissful bubble cannot last so when we hit the great three month mile stone, which apparently means you’re probably in a girlfriend/boyfriend situation with someone whether you like it or not, Gideon invited me over and I nervously accepted, hoping my rose tinted glasses would see me through any potential disturbia involving vintage Take That posters or imaginary friends. He doesn’t have any housemates – I checked.
Standing outside his door, finger on the buzzer, I was filled with a curdled mixture of fear and hope but before I could dwell much longer, the door opened and there he was, Gideon. Gideon wearing normal clothes but his hair a Georgian quiff fit for any Austenian love interest or maybe I was just imagining it. Wow, never thought I’d type that sentence. “M’lady.” He said as he took my hand and led me through the corridor and into his flat where I was struck immediately by some heavenly scent. I couldn’t believe it. It was like Christmas, Christmas! But more, summery? I could hear country music in my head and picture strawberry pavlovas, meringues for all!
And then he turned on the light…
So no one’s perfect – this is one of a few key wisdoms one needs to be aware of in order to have success in dating and relationships in general right? Like this, ‘Hey, cut the other person some slack, and cut yourself some slack too buddy!’ That’s my inner monologue for no one’s perfect, i.e. pretty much everyone has sharted at one point or another in their lives so don’t worry about it. Etc. So with sharting in mind, you could say that Gideon’s flat was most certainly a minor imperfection, a niggle if you will, or so I told myself. Thing is with niggling imperfections, they can either disappear or they can turn into gaping gangrenous wounds that prove to be fatal. Which this was, I couldn’t be sure at the time – I was in a state of confusion, concerned by what I could see and salivating because of what I could smell.
So it turns out that Gideon likes Jane Austen a wee bit more than I first suspected. I feel like I’ve walked into my Nan’s house, if my Nan was Jane Austen. I’m not kidding, it’s as if I’ve gone back in time three hundred years or I’ve shrunk and ended up in a doll’s house. Both are equally implausible but this is other worldly shit. I’m in a museum! The attention to detail is insane, and also intimidating if I’m being honest. I don’t think I care about anything enough to build a shrine to it. Should I be jealous of Jane Austen? Before I have time to mull over Jane Austen as a potential threat, Gideon proudly sits me down at the table.
In front of us is a bone china tea set. It is stunning, like the one your Nan had but you were never allowed to drink out of for the obvious reason that nature’s law states you’ll break them just because they’re precious and you’re under pressure not to and you’re only seven. Mainly because you’re only seven, and cack handed. Sitting on dainty little bone china plates is an array of finger sandwiches, butter biscuits, and slices of cake. It’s a strange atmosphere reminiscent of afternoon tea at the Ritz and Norman Bates’ bedroom in Psycho. At least there’s no taxidermy. I’d (probably) draw the line at taxidermy – it’s the eyes. I think the rose tinteds are wearing off. Shite. Now all I can think of is taxidermy and an old mannequin dressed as Jane Austen rocking in a chair.
Gideon: “What do you think? I wanted it to be perfect before you got here.”
Me (inner monologue): Is he a latent homosexual? Am I a latent homophobe for thinking that? Why am I not leaving?
Me (outer dialogue): “It’s amazing. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. Did you do it all yourself or did a voice tell you to do it?”
Gideon (laughs): “What? Yes I designed it all myself.”
Silence. It could be an awkward silence or just a stunned one, I’m not sure anymore but those cakes do look amazing.
Gideon: “Well Miss Bennett, are you going to serve tea or are we to die of thirst?”
Me (inner monologue): What did he just call me and why am I not waking up from this bizarre dream? Okay just serve the tea so you can try one of those raspberry cream sponge things you’ve been eyeing up guiltily like a pissed Mum at a 1D concert.
(Me outer dialogue): “Certainly Mr Gideon.”
Gideon (smiles): “Call me George. No really. That’s Wickham’s first name.”
I smile and quickly take a bite out of the raspberry cream thing just so I won’t be able to say anything and it was the best decision I’d made all day, all week! Holy **** it’s ******* amazing!
Me: “Oh my God Gideon that is fucking delicious!”
Gideon: “Miss Bennett please! May we have some tea without the language.”
As I pour the tea I realise I’m five years old again except instead of pouring cups of sand for Mrs Bigglesworth, Badger, and Squishy, I’m on the set of Sense and Sensibility. What are we going to play next? I mean this is lunacy, fantasy madness but I also think it’s kind of romantic? I’m aware that this is a lot to do with the baked goods and the tinteds but still, I could dig this. I could! I’ll pour all the tea forever if I get to eat those raspberry dreams again. I’ve never had crack but I reckon these are better. Yep better than crack.
Me (as nonchalant as I can make it): “So, where did you get the cakes? I didn’t know there was a patisserie round here.”
Gideon: “Oh Lydia, no, I had the cook make them obviously.”
He then breaks character and points a finger at himself to say he made them.
Me (inner monolgue): He bakes??? And who’s Lydia?
Me (outer dialogue): “Well, I must say the cook is extremely talented. Has the cook baked for long?”
Gideon: “Yes. She actually tried to enter Bake Off but she didn’t get through the second round unfortunately. So obviously rigged.”
Me (outer dialogue): “Oh no! Well, I suppose there’s always next year.”
Me (inner monologue): MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA ALL THE CAKES WILL BE MINE I TELL YOU MIIIIIIIINNNNEEEE!!!!!
We sit in a companionable silence while I stuff my face with ginger puffs, fruit clusters, butter crisps, and more of the edible happiness that is the raspberry cakey thing. It’s only when I finish and look around the room, slightly buzzing from the sugar hit that I really take all this in. There’s a grandfather clock Gideon explained was made to size as the flat isn’t that big. Supposedly it was a tough call between that and a piano forte but since Gideon can’t actually play the piano but he can tell time, the decision wasn’t that difficult after all.
So at this stage surely we’re still only in niggle territory right? This in spite of the fact he doesn’t have a television. I ask hopefully about a projector but he snorts and that pretty much shuts that notion down. Then I think well this isn’t bad, we could stay at my place most of the time and use this as our weird fantasy weekend home. Every other weekend. Once a month. Maybe just for Christmas? But those butter crack bites… Maybe he can just bring them round to mine I think, but I know he won’t – he’s using these to lure me in and they’re working, I’m like a moth to a flame, if the flame were edible like crack. Stop saying crack. Jesus Crack. Christ! ARGH.
I’m still in this strange reverie three days later when he invites me round again. I’m trying hard to hold on to the rose tinteds but I’m confronted with embroidery cushions and I wonder if he made them himself. Well, I wonder idly until he produces not butter crack but, sugar cookie smack. Seriously?! Once I’m basking in a biscuity pleasure cloud Gideon produces something else. It’s a dress. Not just any dress either – it’s a period accurate dress. God knows where he got it, and that’s not really the point is it. He asks me albeit very politely to put it on. Yep. What neither one of us sees at this point is that we’re entering into a co dependant relationship built entirely on fantasy and addiction. So naturally I put it on. That corset is a nightmare. My boobs are bruised but I’m not ashamed to say it’s totally worth it for those smack bites.
I share this with Trish about a month further into this freak fest whilst rubbing sugar on my gums (kidding!) I’m desperate to convince myself that this is all fine. Trish looks sad for me, and a bit grossed out if I’m honest.
Me: “Thing is, I do really like him but he does this weird thing right-“
Trish: Weirder than ANYTHING you’ve just described.”
Me: Come off it Trish, as if Thor was any weirder!”
FYI Thor is a Polish builder Trish met on Plenty of Fish. Turns out he’s a real comic book nut although he’s adamant that Thor is his real name. Anyway, he would dress up as super god Thor and call his cock his mighty hammer.
Trish: “To be fair, it lived up to the name and he knew how to wield it.”
Me: “I feel like I should say ‘Oh er missus’ and mime sex with my index finger and an ‘okay’ sign.”
Trish: “At least he didn’t turn his house into a fucking Bat cave!”
This is also true. And I’m not sure the flat itself is the worst bit. The sex talk has just gotten a bit weird. I have to be Lydia Bennett not Elizabeth because otherwise it would be factually inaccurate although I’ve Googled Lydia as a character and I think she’s a bit of an idiot. No sod it she’s a complete moron, which isn’t doing anything for my self esteem. I’m still not prepared to say that this niggle is gangrenous yet but it’s certainly more than a scratch. I think we’re even past oven burn into hot fat up one arm or even a bullet graze. Wait Scarlett, stop panicking.
Me: “He still wants me to call him George. What’s wrong with Gideon?!”
The look on Trish’s face is apparently enough to explain what’s wrong with Gideon.
Me: “I tried to compromise by saying I could call him Wickham but he wasn’t having any of it, saying that calling each other by our surnames during sex would be ridiculous.”
Trish: “Sure that’s the ridiculous bit. Where is he? Right now, where is he Lydia?”
Me: “You know where he is.”
Trish: “I want to hear you say it.”
Me: “This is stupid.”
Me: “He’s on an unofficial Jane Austen appreciation weekend in Bath.”
Me: “This has all gotten a bit mad hasn’t it.”
Trish: “Yeah a bit out of hand mad.”
Trish looks at me. Hard. I look back unsure.
Trish: “Oh for fuckssake Scarlett if you’re that bothered just ask him for the recipes before you dump him!”
Me (I might be wailing): “But they won’t taste the same!!! You know I can’t bake for shit!”
Yep definitely wailing. It’s not just the baking readers, I’m not that shallow and I live in London – as if I can’t find delicious food stuffs at a moments notice. Finding and affording are two different things I realise but still, they’re available if my business ever takes off and I actually start making money out of Body Part Art. To be fair I’ve got a cracking (slip of the tongue) idea for bespoke dildos I’m currently working on that I think will be a real money-spinner. Trish came up with this idea during a night out at G.A.Y and wants to claim 50% of the profits. We’re still negotiating. Sorry I digress, I’m not so shallow or demented as to wail over cake (even if I’m on my period thank you chauvinists), it’s not that, it’s mourning the loss of someone who will bake for you, the loss of someone to go to barbecues with. It’s mourning the loss of someone to watch telly with (albeit Sky Living or UK Gold if Gideon’s round). I hate to admit it but as wrong as Gideon and I are for each other I’m going to miss having someone to cuddle naked.
On the other hand I’m a little relieved at the thought of never having to put on that flipping corset again. No one should have to work that hard to wear clothes or spend an hour putting their hair up on a DAILY basis no less. Unless they want to of course. Masochists. I mean what kind of equalist am I? To be fair it’s Gideon who does my hair so maybe that evens it out a bit. Wow, listen to what I just said. Why am I reasoning with this? I don’t even like Jane Austen! I’m sorry I don’t. I don’t think she’s that funny and I think her male leads are either too grumpy or arrogant except for one dude who appears to have gotten stuck with the name of Bingley as punishment for not being a massive knob. No, I must break it off with Gideon, I’ve been single before and it’s actually fine. I’m actually an independent fully functioning adult. Yes! I shall relish being single once again, I’m captain of my own ship, writer of my own story, weaver of my own dreams, eater of my own crack, CAKE!!!! I MEANT CAKE!! FFS.
Me: “Yes? What?”
Trish: “Get on with it.”
And so the end of ‘Gideon and me’ was heralded. I had prepared my speech, sweet and delicate words mapped out, the rip of a band aid followed quickly by a soothing after balm of aloe kindness worthy of any great author, when Gideon called me.
Me (inner monologue): Just do it, like Nike, just do it! Rip off the band aid then sooth the burn or whatever. No, ease into it first don’t just blurt it out. Coward.
Me: (outer dialogue): “How was the trip?”
Gideon: “Yeah good, really good thanks. How was your weekend?”
Me: “Cool, yeah mine was good.”
Gideon: “I met someone else.”
And now we are back to a stubbed toe, tears and alcoholic Ribena. Am I annoyed that he got there first? Why am I crying when I was going to break it off anyway? I should be relieved damn it, relieved! And this is the daft human condition known as wanting something you can’t have, and at the very least not wanting anyone else to have it. According to Gideon, the new woman’s name is Lydia. Yes Lydia is her REAL name. I can’t compete with that. She knows all the books. She’s basically much better at Gideon than me. And that my dear friends is the point I return to every time a relationship ends, every time I do have PMS, is that I’m crap at Gideon, I’m crap at men, and I don’t know how to be any other way. But you know what? I am good at being me. I’m really good at being funny, ridiculous, pretty little me. Me on my own, me with people I’m awesome and this is something I think is easy for us to forget. Not that I’m awesome, that we’re awesome. We forget because we’re bombarded with the idea that success comes from being a two over a one. And this dear readers, I am happy to say, is bollocks. I’m not saying there isn’t something marvellous about a two, but if I define myself as a loser for NOT being a two, well, I’d have to live with the messed up notion of being a loser for most of my life, which frankly seems a bit of a waste.
As this realisation dawns on me in my 3am drunken stupor I begin to feel lighter. Clarity has come upon me in a delicious warm wave of calm. I pour the Ribena/gin concoction down the sink and take a breath. I look out of my kitchen window and see a fox darting across the road. I think to myself I’m probably the only person to see that fox, in this moment and I feel grateful to be me. That’s when my phone beeps. The light of a notification glows hopefully in the dark. I take a side glance to see that it’s from dear old Tinder. I’m pretending not to care at all. “You’ve got a match!” It beeps. I take another side glance, I’ll just have a look at who the match is I think to myself. Hello Lee from North London. Surely I can be awesome AND date possible lunatics, I mean let’s face it guys, I need something to hope for and simultaneously despair of, right?!
And with that I was back on the flaming dating horse that is Tinder. Awesome old me.