Down the Rabbit Hole

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!!!!!

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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.”

Trish: “Scarlett.”

Me: “He’s on an unofficial Jane Austen appreciation weekend in Bath.”

Trish: “Yep.”

Me: “This has all gotten a bit mad hasn’t it.”

Trish: “Yeah a bit out of hand mad.”

Me: “Bugger.”

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.

Trish: “Scarlett!”

Me: “Yes? What?”

Trish: “Get on with it.”

Me: “Okay.”

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.

Gideon: “Hey.”

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.”

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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?!

Me: Hi

And with that I was back on the flaming dating horse that is Tinder. Awesome old me.

 

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The Longest Date Known to Woman Part III: The Long Walk Home

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So that was awkward. I had to close my mouth and open it again like a fish to cover up my wanton kissy face. Totally worked, and yes, we’re still imprisoned on the bus of doom…

As I predicted, about five minutes in to our half hour imprisonment waiting for the police to arrive, a drunk Barbie vomited on herself and kind of on everyone else in a way as we all had to sit there smelling it along with scents of stale alcohol and desperation. Twenty five minutes later the police were still as yet to show up and the martial law bus driver informed us they wouldn’t be showing up for another half an hour. This proved a little too much for Barbie’s boyfriend who shall be known as Steve for no reason at all who promptly had a panic attack.

Chaos ensues. People are banging on the bus driver’s window shouting at him to open the doors so at least Steve can get some air. The bus driver relents and taking full opportunity of his kindness (weakness) we all pile out, united in our escape. The Youths even form an alliance with Gideon based on our fall out; they all hold the doors open together so everyone can pile out. It is the ultimate act of politeness for Gideon and the ultimate act of defiance for the Youths. For the record, Gideon is yet to forgive me but in the bundle to get off the bus he roughly takes my hand so I don’t fall. It’s weird, I think being gallant is part of his genetic make-up; he literally cannot help it.

We pour out into the night or early morning actually and I have that utterly surreal feeling that this is all a really really weird distressing dream I will wake up from at any point now. Don’t worry readers I wouldn’t pull that kind of literary stunt on you, nope this is all happening and all I want is to go to bed but I fear I am destined to be awake a while longer.

By the time we stop running and the crowd disperses Gideon and I find ourselves standing alone on a street corner wondering where we are. Only then do we notice we’re still holding hands. I pull away first, I definitely have to be first after my parted lips stunt earlier. I get out my phone and work out that we’re actually not too far from my place. Not too far by bus standards except there isn’t another bus due for another forty sodding minutes. Okay Scarlett don’t panic just another half hour walk and you’ll be home and in bed by three. Three?! Yes three you old woman. And that’s after half hour walk through a fairly dodgy area – what area of London isn’t a bit dodgy to a woman at two in the morning?

Gideon: “So what now? How are you getting home?”

Me: “I was going to walk, it’s only half an hour or twenty minutes if I’m being chased. Kidding.”

Gideon: “I’ll walk you back home.”

Me: “No it’s fine honest-”

Gideon: “And then I’ll call a cab.”

Brusque and reluctant though it was, Gideon’s response brings tears of relief to my eyes. Don’t worry I haven’t gone soft on you, I’m just tired and hungry and when I’m tired and hungry I regress to being about five years old. As we begin the amble back to my place I dream of a dirty kebab shop, maybe there’s still one open. Mmm greasy meat and garlic sauce.

Gideon: “You want a kebab?!”

Me: “You can read my mind?”

Gideon looks confused at the childlike sense of wonder on my face. Seriously he can read minds?

Gideon: “What? No you just said greasy meat and garlic sauce with your eyes closed. Like you want to have sex with it.”

Me: “Oh. I don’t want to have sex with it. Just eat it with pickled jalapenos and chips doused in vinegar then royally regret it tomorrow morning.”

Gideon: “Stop closing your eyes like that, it’s disturbing.”

Gideon looks like he’d rather eat his shirt than eat a kebab. I think he should eat his shirt. Or just burn it. Wow that is one black eye he’s got. I want to gently hold a bag of peas to it like I’m Adrian in Rocky. I feel terrible 2am pangs of guilt.

Gideon: “If I’d known how you felt about kebabs before, we could have saved ourselves a whole evening.”

And then I feel less guilty. I want to poke the black eye.

Me: “Are you serious? Having the odd kebab is a full on game over situation for you?”

I say odd, what’s odd in real terms? Every Thursday and Sunday, sometimes Friday as well? Whatever, I’m not going to see this guy again and the kissing fantasy was obviously a moment of high drama delirium as was the Adrian from Rocky fantasy two seconds ago. Shh.

Gideon: “You want to talk game over? Okay, you and the shirt.”

I roll my eyes nonchalantly, slack mouthed like, ‘What shirt?’

Me: “What about the shirt?”

Gideon: “What about it? You shut down the moment you saw it.”

Me: “Is playing dress up on a first date the same as a kebab?”

Gideon: “It’s not dress up! It’s Swiss Voile and I bought it in a legitimate store and had it tailored!”

Me: “WHY?!”

Someone shouts out of their window for us to shut up. Since I’ve had various things thrown at me for not shutting up I shush Gideon and we continue to walk whilst whispering harshly to each other, which is as ridiculous as what we’re whispering about but it all seems very serious at the time.

Gideon: “I only wore it because I thought you’d appreciate it! But obviously the closest you’ve ever gotten to Austen is a film review of Bridget Jones!”

Me: “I read the Bridget Jones books too actually. On holiday. In Greece. And even if I had read Pride and bloody Prejudice I’d still think you were absolutely off your bloody rocker.”

I don’t know why I said that like I’m winning this argument. No one’s winning here. Just two more streets over, and it’s all over. Wait what the hell is he doing? Oh God.

Me: “Put your fucking shirt back on!”

An angry person from a second floor flat: “SHUT UUUPP!!!”

Gideon is now topless. Except he’s put his jacket back so he looks like an extra in a Bros video. I can’t take anymore and I just burst out laughing, the loud hysterical sleep deprived guffawing that proves infectious. Gideon starts laughing louder and harder than me. I think I’m going to be sick, my stomach muscles ache so much and just as I take another look at my date, bringing on a new peel of laughter, Angry Person from a Second Floor Flat releases the piece de resistance in the shape of a bucket of very cold water.

Unusual though it may seem, I’ve never had a bucket of water chucked over me. I’ve had a pint before but they missed because they were more pissed than me, thankfully considering they threw the glass as well. After my screams died down I was pretty philosophical about it actually. I guess if you keep walking the noisy tightrope of shouting in a residential area in the early hours you get soaked eventually. Even Gideon found it funny.

We finally get back to mine and I don’t know what to do with myself. I am very aware of how good this man looks topless. All he needs to do is keep his mouth zipped and he’ll be perfect! To be honest I’m starting to reconsider that last point. I mean, no one else has dressed up for me before. In fact when it comes to dressing up I’m always the person to do it. Every Valentines. Kinky nurse, kinky devil, kinky cat, kinky Hilary Clinton (that’s another story readers), you name it I’ve probably worn it but never has a guy dressed up for me. Don’t worry I’m not man bashing but why is it that girls think to do that more?

I remember once this guy I was seeing asked me what my sexual fantasies were. I’ve only got one and it’s been the same since I was thirteen: James Bond (Pierce Brosnan Golden Eye James Bond to be clear), I’m the Russian lady who can kill with her sexy legs and Pierce Brosnan has to use his wiles to win me over. That’s it. Sorry for the visual Mum. Apart from that, I don’t really go in for men in uniform, it just makes me think of the Chippendales. Do you remember them? Male strippers from the nineties, oiled up to look like Arnie in Conan? Anyway, this Gideon situation makes me wonder if maybe I would have a thing for men in uniform if they took it upon themselves to do it without prompting. Maybe if Gideon was wearing the full caboodle, not in public, maybe I’d find it a huge turn on. I’m definitely finding the idea of taking his clothes off a huge turn on but it is not to be.

I hand Gideon a cup of tea and sit down while he calls a cab. I’m trying very hard not to look at his body. I’m trying to remember that even with all his valour (creeping into Conan territory, be careful Scarlett) Gideon is precious, talks too much, and doesn’t seem to be a very relaxed person. And despite our moments of shared laughter, he’s gone back to reserved mode. I know right? He can actually sit there on my couch, a perfectly composed statue even when he’s wearing a towel like it’s a boob tube and a pair of damp suit trousers. I’m trying not to laugh by biting my inner cheek. I’m half expecting John Cleese to show up in a matching outfit saying “And now for something completely different.” Does he realise his absurdity though, that’s the question. Would sex with Gideon be a quiet awkward appraisal or a bawdy romp? Bawdy romp? I need to go to bed.

Gideon: “Yeah going to Kilburn. Yep… How long? Okay great… Thanks. Bye.”

Kilburn? Okay for you non-Londoners out there, the N38 doesn’t go to Kilburn or anywhere close to Kilburn in fact. He lied about the bus. Columbo Scarlett has her thinking cap on… And also seems to be typing in the third person. Stop it.

Gideon: “Cab will be here in ten minutes or so.”

Me: “Kilburn isn’t on the N38 route.”

Now we’ve got him.

Gideon: “No it isn’t. I think I’ve made the seat of your couch damp. Sorry.”

Me: “Why did you say you were getting the same bus as me? Should I be creeped out?”

Gideon: “There you go again, judging me and finding me wanting.”

I think I’m the one wanting. The towel’s dropped a bit. Oh josh there’s nipple. Stop looking at it. But it’s looking at me! It’s like the eye of Sauron! What is wrong with me? Get a grip woman.

Me: “Okay so you wanted to make sure I got home okay? Isn’t that taking chivalry a bit far? I mean there are hundreds, thousands of women and only one you. You’re not Santa.”

Gideon: “Why is chivalry ironic to you? It’s not a joke. And no that is not why I got on the bus.”

Me: “Why did you get on the bus?”

Gideon: “Because I know I spent the whole date talking and crying and surprising as this might sound I don’t tend to make a habit of sitting in front of women in a frilly shirt crying. Even women with careers in porno pictures.”

Me: “Ha! So you admit it is frilly shirt.”

I’m fucking Poirot. Yeah.

Gideon: “For fuckssake Scarlett I was trying to salvage a train wreck of a date and I didn’t know how to and then you called me gay and-”

Me: “I said that IF you were-”

Gideon: “It was emasculating.”

Me: “Even more so than the shirt itself?”

Gideon: “Well I saw how you changed your tune the moment I got violent. All sins are forgiven’ because I punched someone in the face.”

Shite, that is absolutely what I did.

Me: No I didn’t.

Gideon: “Oh please don’t think I didn’t notice how you looked at me even before you did that weird fish mouth thing. I could have done anything to you on that bus.”

Me: “Well that’s not very gallant is it.”

Gideon: “You’re not denying it.”

I can feel the heat radiating from my cheeks. I’m practically a raspberry. Oh gosh here comes the dry mouth and the wobbly voice. But now I’m kind of angry. Who the hell is this guy?

Me: “Right, and the only reason you didn’t is because of that great big stick up your arse prevented you from moving.”

Too far Scarlett. It’s the bus all over again; the pregnant pause followed by calamity. I don’t think he’d hit me but maybe he’ll just spontaneously combust or implode. I always think implode is a more impressive word than explode but in practise it probably wouldn’t be as visually arresting. It’d be more like watching someone collapse in fast forward mode. There wouldn’t even be a bang but, oh god Gideon’s getting up and walking over. He grabs me and OH! Oh bloody hell, who’d have thought he’d be such a good- OH OH OH THERE’S THE OTHER NIPPLE!

***What followed has been censored for your benefit (Mum) since really knowing who put what where and how many times they orgasmed just seems smug and a bit point scorey. But let me just say this, Gideon did not get his cab, he is a filthy kisser and many bawdy romps were had although at one point Scarlett did a fanny fart and was made to wear the shirt as punishment.***

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The Longest Date Known to Woman Part II: The Bus

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I can hear a voice coming from somewhere faraway or perhaps it’s merely an echo I wonder when there it is again, “So what do you do?” But as I look up from the deep cavern to see sunlight and the silhouette of a man come to save me. Why is he wearing a frilly shirt I ask myself absently.

Gideon: “Scarlett?”

With a crash and a bang as loud as the silence after a thunder clap I am pulled out of this daydream and back to…

Gideon. I am still here with Gideon and after almost three hours, with only my weird imagination to save me, Gideon has finally. Stopped. Talking. Thinking he must be pausing for breath or looking for confirmation for something I make an ‘Mmm’ noise and already I’m drifting back into my daydream although why I have chosen a search and rescue fantasy with Gideon when he’s the one I’m hoping to escape from I don’t know but he is fit no denying. Those eyes. Those darn-

Gideon: “Scarlett!”

Me: “Sorry yes what?”

If he was a mute he’d be perfect. Wait, that frilly shirt! Just as I’m beginning to forget it’s even there BAM! Gideon takes off his jacket or shifts in his seat causing the ruffles to rustle (try saying that really quickly) and I am all too aware of it again. Wait, if he were a topless mute, then that’s problem solved Scarlett!

Gideon: “I was asking what you do for a living.”

Me: “Wouldn’t that just be rubbing salt in the wound a bit considering you’ve just been, you know.”

I mime the word ‘fired’ thinking that’s somehow better than saying it out loud but it just hangs in the air like a damp fart as Gideon looks watery eyed again. I am apprehensive about sharing my new job if I’m being honest. I mean, I’m excited, it’s certainly different but telling someone I barely know? How to phrase it, how to phrase it…

Me: My friend and I have started a business.

Gideon: Wow, cool is it a pop up?

Patronising git, no it is not a pop up. Pop ups – as my angry inverted snob chef friend Eddie says, “Are for public school wankers with Mummy and Daddy’s cash who fancy a new hobby.” And I should know, I’m inadvertently friends with a lot of them.

Me: “No, no it’s not a pop up we’ve got a long term lease in Bow.”

Gideon: “Nice. So what’s the business?”

Me: “What?”

Gideon: “What’s the business? What do you sell? Honestly no wonder I’ve been carrying the conversation this evening, you’re harder to crack than a clam.”

Me: “Nut. It’s a hard nut to crack whereas ‘one can ‘clam up.’’ And dominate is different to carry.”

Gideon: “Are you going to tell me or not?”

Me: “Yes, fine. It’s called ‘Body Part Art’ and-“

Gideon: “Sounds like a taxidermist, as owned by Sweeney Todd.”

Me: “It is live body parts. Live. Live!”

Note to self – stop saying live. You sound creepy and unhinged when you say it in this context.

Me: “Live attached body parts, I’m not running an abattoir.”

Gideon: “Then you should probably change the name.”

Me: “We can’t we’ve already got the mixtape design business cards printed. Look, people come in and my friend Jake – he’s an artist – paints on their body and then positions them on paper and then elaborates on the shape they’ve made after they’ve gone and makes personalised art work they then come back and purchase.”

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Gideon: “You got mixtape business cards? You should think about getting more grown up ones.”

This coming from the man playing dress up, really? As I look up at the clock behind the bar I am both relieved and crushed by the fact that somehow it is past midnight. This means two things: I can reasonably ask for the bill and I have also missed the last train home, which means getting on the dreaded night bus. For those Harry Potter fans who have never traveled on a London night bus before, it is sadly absolutely nothing like the night bus Harry gets on. Replace the warm blanket and hot chocolate with a dribbling lunatic falling asleep on your shoulder and having a WKD dropped in your lap by a seventeen year old girl dressed like a prostitute Barbie. Anyway, needs must and the major silver lining is I finally get to leave Gideon.

Me: “And we should get the bill. It is finally late and you clearly have bigger things to worry about than my job description.”

The rest of this scene is short and goes along the lines of yet another awkward silence with Gideon. He’s sighing passive aggressively (if there were subtitles they’d read ‘whatever, jeeze’) and I’m trying to pay my half of the bill whilst putting my coat on just to try and speed up the process. It doesn’t. I end up getting caught and Gideon has to help me. I look like I’ve lost motor control of my upper body. In true British fashion, it’s drizzling when we get outside and suddenly I’m thinking about topless mute Gideon again.

Gideon: “Well, thanks for listening even if I bored you.”

Are those tears again? Nope false alarm, just the drizzle on that face. Those damned beautiful eyes. That resentful, arrogant mouth. The shirt’s getting wet. Oh Jesus Scarlett.

Me: “You didn’t bore me, I never knew how tough it is out there for um, fooorrrr uuuuuummm-“

Gideon: “Project architects.”

Me: “Exactly. Right well, lovely to meet you I’d better get going. Catch a bus.“

Gideon: “Me too, which way are you going?”

Whywhywhywhywhywhy is he prolonging this?

Me: “Erm that way?”

Okay there’s a 25% chance that he’ll be walking in the same direction. Only 25% Scarlett.

Gideon: “Me too.”

Classic.

So off we go, walking together as if we’re a couple. A couple who wear matching shirts in public. I think I’d feel better wearing matching onsies right now. We get to Oxford Street and I think to myself well, this is it, at least I can take my chances with puking seventeen year olds in peace and block out my sex fantasies regarding Gideon. Awkward, rude, arrogant Gideon.

Gideon: “So which bus are you getting?”

One in six chance Scarlett. There is a one in six chance this guy is getting on the same bus as you.

Me: “Oh, the um, N38?”

Gideon: “How novel, me too. Wait, are you stalking me now?”

I pray to baby Jesus to help me out by making me disappear but he must be asleep or something because I am still in this reality. Yes, I say tiny inward prayers to Baby Jesus whenever I’m feeling particularly desperate, it’s a weird habit I have okay? Like counting the stairs in German when I walk down them to stop myself from tripping? You don’t do that? I’ve just overshared haven’t I? Shit. Moving on…

Me: “Clearly if anyone’s doing the stalking it’s going to be you.”

My flippant remark doesn’t go down well, I mean it really doesn’t go down well, which I personally felt was an overreaction. If you can dish out the jokes, frankly, you need to be able to take them too.

Gideon: “I can’t believe you just said that. I’m not stalking you! That’s really harsh Scarlett, really harsh.”

Gideon commences to sulk until the bus arrives, leaving me to mime outrage and confusion at this behaviour to my fellow bus stop strangers who make a point of not making any form of eye contact whatsoever.

Gideon: “After you.”

I mumble a thank you as Gideon ushers me on first. We sit in silence for a little while. I look out the window at some guy seeing his kebab for the second time that evening, almost forgetting Gideon’s even next to me. He decides to make conversation somewhere between New Oxford Street and Angel. Got to give the guy his due, he’s still trying to be polite, to the end.

Gideon: “So what do you then? If your friend’s the artist what’s your contribution to the business?”

Me: “Oh, okay I drum it up – the business and look after the cash. In theory anyway.”

Gideon: “What do you mean in theory?”

Me: “In the six weeks we’ve been open we’ve had exactly two bookings i.e. my parents who paid for the full body – I didn’t stick around for that one but I appreciated their support, probably a bit more than Jake did at the time. So I’m clearly not doing a good job of drumming up business and an old biscuit tin with hole cut in the top would do just as well for looking after the cash.”

Gideon laughs, and I don’t mind. It’s the first time I’ve actually voiced my genuine concern over this business venture and when I use the word concern I really mean gut wrenching fear over failing and falling flat on my face. Wow, I realise that Gideon and I have just shared our first joke of the evening when a group of (mime the word now) ‘youths’ get on the bus. They’re drunk and lairy, adding to the overall hellish night bus ambience saved only by this newfound banter between Gideon and I.

It is of course at this point the youths or hoodies as my petrified gran calls them, spy Gideon, moreover Gideon’s shirt. Then they see my shirt and the pointing and the laughing begins so we do that typical middle class thing where we try to ignore them.

Me: “So when did you become a fan of Jane Austen?”

Gideon: “Of all the questions you have you choose-“

Youths: “Oi isn’t that who wrote Bridget Jones? You f***ing gay or something?”

Gideon: “No-“ Then the rest is mumbled, “And I’m not f***ing gay you f***ing idiot.”

Youths: “What did you say?”

I had to say something. Actually I didn’t but the bottle of red was clouding my judgement.

Me (mumbling a bit): “Leave us alone.”

Youths: “You what Mrs Jones?”

Lots of sniggering from the Youths, they obviously thought that was pretty witty. I felt a one-nil situation so rather than shutting up I carry on even though I’m shaking and my voice is tight and my mouth is dry – I don’t really ‘do’ conflict.

Me: “And even if he is gay or an in-the-closet-gay who cares?”

I give Gideon a quick thumbs-up shaking like I’ve got the DTs and can’t work out why he looks so grumpy. I think the word he was to use later was emasculated.

Youths: “I do.”

Me: “That’s because you’re the biggest gay.”

Boom! I believe that’s one-all Youth. Where the hell did that sass come from? By now the whole bus is silent, we’re all on pause waiting. As the Youth starts to turn a deep pinky red I wonder if I’ve gone too far. When I see a tiny greasy bead of sweat form on his forehead, I know I have.

Youth: “Do you want to say that again you f***ing b***!”

Now I’m scared. Maybe I can use Gideon as a human shield – he started this anyway – no no, I have to face this or maybe I can just start screaming. The Youth is walking towards me with his pack behind him. I’m about to start shouting ‘rape’ when Gideon gets up and quick as a flash lamps this guy right across the nose. Blood sprays everywhere – really just like in the films, alright not quite like in the films but it was pretty grim. I start screaming in earnest because it was really intense if I’m honest, I’ve never seen someone punch someone in real life before, and of course rest of the Youth leapt on to Gideon, and then it all turned a bit high school bundle. I was surprised to see people trying to ignore it, looking at their phones, staring out the window. A girl actually put headphones on and turned her iphone up to full. People are right dicks sometimes.

Realising no one was going to lend a hand I tried to dive in but skirted around the outside hitting their backs. Suddenly one of the Youth Pack raised his hand to punch me – yes actually punch me – and the bus driver speeds up forcing those of us standing to fall on the floor, then breaks so hard he forces the bundle of people on the floor to loosen. He parks at a bus stop and everyone suddenly deflates a bit. I guess we’re all waiting for the doors to open so we can all escape but they aren’t opening. This is turning into a bloody saga now I think to myself, when I see Gideon with an eye in the process of swelling up. It’s at this point the bus driver speaks from a microphone.

Bus Driver: “I have locked the bus and called the police no one is leaving until they arrive.”

Youth: “You better be f***ing joking mate.”

Bus Driver: “In case you think I’m bluffing here’s the situation. I am safely locked in my cubicle with reinforced glass. You can’t get to me and I don’t care what happens to any of you. I am sick and tired of putting up with this shit so I suggest you make yourselves comfortable, they’ll be here in forty minutes or so.”

It’s like someone’s declared marshall law, are we going to kill each other? Turn to cannibalism?! Trapped in here? Someone’s going to puke soon and that smell is going to hurt. Oh God maybe the Youth will finish what he started and punch me. Tears begin to well up, I’ve never been punched, I never want to know what it’s like!

Youth Pack (talking amongst themselves): “Mum is going to go mental if I get done.” “I don’t give a f***.” “As if you don’t!”

What a bunch of pussies I thought as I helped Gideon up and sat him down on a chair. It seemed that we had all reached a stale mate of sorts and I was more than relieved as I looked over at Gideon, his frilly shirt spattered with blood (the Youth’s not his I don’t think, what a champ) when I realised.

Me: “You protected me.”

Gideon looks at me. Hard. Breathing hard. It’s pretty hot if I’m being honest. I cannot wait for what he’s going to say next, I don’t even care that it’s past one in the morning and the chances of getting home before three are slim to none. My lips part slightly, I allow myself the tiniest in take of breath.

Gideon: “After this night is over-“

Me: “Yes?”

Gideon: “Never. Ever. Call me.”

Will they ever get off the bus?

Will Gideon ever forgive Scarlett for being an idiot??

Will Scarlett ever get home???

Tune in next week for the final installment of The Longest Date Known to Woman Part III!!!

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The Longest Date Known to Woman Part II: The Bus PREVIEW INTRO

The Longest Date Known to Woman Part II: The Bus PREVIEW INTRO.

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The Longest Date Known to Woman Part II: The Bus PREVIEW INTRO

LEGO LADY WAY OUT

I can hear a voice coming from somewhere faraway or perhaps it’s merely an echo I wonder when there it is again, “So what do you do?” But as I look up from the deep cavern to see a small circle of sunlight and the silhouette of a man come to save me. Why is he wearing a frilly shirt I ask myself absently.

Gideon: “Scarlett?”

With a crash as marked as the silence after a thunder clap I am pulled out of this cavern and back to…

The Longest Date Known to Woman Part II: The Bus COMING SOON TO THIS BLOG!!!

THURSDAY TO BE EXACT!

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The Longest Date Known to Woman Part I: The Beverage.

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Introduction

I do love the internet God known as Tinder. I do. I imagine her as a fiery love gladiator who looks like a fitter version of Xena, no offense to Lucy Lawless I just wondered if she didn’t get a bit broad towards the end of the series. Anyway, back to Tinder, specifically my relationship with her. I’ve done pretty well. I get to decide who I like, and who I don’t, and then comes the glorious moment where she throws down the flaming love heart (why is this piece suddenly turning a bit Mills and Boon I don’t know but just ignore the discomfiture and go with it readers, go with it) and I get a match! A match! And then the pain-I-mean-fun (she is a gladiator after all) can really begin.

I mentioned in a previous piece the advice I got from my mate Trish when deciding to swipe right or left, she said, “Always go by the worst photograph” except she used the word ugliest instead of worst. Now, let me explain it is not about being shallow here, okay well it is a bit but shut up Sis you married for money, it’s about attraction. It’s about what the ugliest photo is saying about that person, what they’re wearing, where they are, who they’re with, how pissed they are, or if they’re in scuba diving gear. Incidentally I have worn scuba diving gear and no one looks good in that. All of this is how we size each other up on a day to day basis anyway, the pot luck factor to Tinder, making her a potentially cruel mistress is the fact that even with all of this information, you still don’t know what you’re really getting until you meet the person. I have discovered that on meeting them, one of three things can happen and you’ll know within about three to thirty seconds which of these it is. 1) You know that whatever happens it’s not going beyond this café come hell or high water. 2) Jury’s out. 3) You experience a Wayne’s World Dream Weaver moment accompanied by a lot of soft lighting and dry mouth. I have never felt all three over the course of date before, until…

The Bit That Comes After The Introduction

So, Gideon and I had been Tindering away for about a week. Tindering is what I call messaging via Tinder as opposed to some terrible euphemism for sex just to be clear and yes, it took an entire week for this to be said:

Monday.

Me: Hey there, nice shirt Mr Darcy.

Just to be clear I now like to add a personal (and more often than not cringey) flirtatious note based on one of their Tinder pictures. In one of his photos Gideon happened to be at what I could only assume was a fancy dress party dressed as a character from an Austen novel. I only know Mark Darcy because of Bridget Jones and my pervy gran so I thought it safest to go for that one.

Thursday.

Gideon: Haha I prefer the roguish Wickham!

‘Bit gay’ I wanted to text – followed by a smiley face to show I’m not homophobic but my mate Trish told me over home made Friday night cocktails (i.e. vodka and orange juice with whatever Christmas spirit/fortified wine was left in the cupboard) not to be a dick and pointed out that this means he’s probably a gentleman and a scholar. Yes she did quote Catcher in the Rye and I know that because I did it for GCSE. Incidentally I did Bridget Jones for A Level Media Studies.

 Saturday.

Me (after googling Wickham, Austen): That’s okay I have a thing for bad boys. Fancy a drink?

Smooth right? Oh yes, Trish typed it for me. I was going to say ‘Oooo naughty! Vino tinto por favor?’ Because in another picture he’s in Barcelona drinking sangria. I hope it’s not sangria and not that red wine and coke nonsense. Clearly Trish’s text was the right way to go because…

 Sunday.

Gideon: Haha sounds good. Tomorrow then?

Bit keen. As if sensing this thought, Trish makes some glib comment about us being wed by next week and laughs until she sees my apprehensive face and promptly clips me upside the head.

Me: Grand. Vinoteca?

Gideon: I love that place.

Definitely a bit gay. 🙂 Kidding! I didn’t say that. I said something involving the time to meet blah blah then I spent some time with Trish choosing an appropriate outfit because it was a Sunday and we’d already watched the Come Dine With Me omnibus.

I decide on skinny jeans and a frilly blouse in honour of the whole Darcy joke so I’m looking smart but casually so. I find myself fifteen minutes early for the date with Gideon so I decide to order a glass of prosecco and just as I’m doing my first inward burp he arrives. He’s wearing the Darcy shirt. Read that sentence again and now read this next one: He is wearing the shirt as part of a normal suit. So, in your mind (you don’t have to close your eyes but feel free to) imagine a regular banker man but just replace the shirt and tie for a frilly period shirt much like the one the dashing fellow in the photo accompanying this article is wearing and you have a basic picture of what Gideon was wearing as he kissed me on the cheek in greeting. I barely noticed how hot he was and I was still holding my inward burp in shock. I was literally on pause.

Gideon (gesturing to my glass of bubbly): “Couldn’t wait for me to order hey? Alkie!”

Now what the hell is happening?

Me: “What?”

Gideon: “It’s pretty standard to wait for your date to arrive before ordering a drink.”

I am still in shock over the shirt, how is it not fancy dress?! It is fancy dress! Oh God people will think we’re wearing these shirts to match! This is the weirdest outfit I’ve seen since I saw Lady GaGa in concert. What? What’s wrong with LadyGaGa? It was the Monster Ball tour! Right, shut up and let’s move swiftly on.

Me: “You don’t seem to be a standard sort of guy.”

I’m trying not to look at his shirt. I’m trying really really hard and I’m failing miserably. Luckily he doesn’t seem to notice, it would seem that he is still attacking me.
Gideon: “I was going to order a bottle for us but that’s ruined-”

Me: “On a Monday night? Who’s the alkie now?”

This is met with an awkward silence I will do anything to diffuse.

Gideon: “I think it’s still you.”

Why didn’t I just walk out there and then? Was it merely that my card was imprisoned behind the bar? Seriously if I knew at that point what I know now I would have necked that glass of prosecco and fled and I don’t care if that makes me a meanie. I want so badly to be that meanie but I didn’t know then what I do know now and I am afflicted with an Englishness (or rather cowardliness) that means I just want everything to return to polite normalcy so this is what I did instead. I mime drawing a line under the conversation, which for the uninitiated looks like a horizontal karate chop.

Me: “Let’s re-ee-wind. When the crowd say…Can we start again?”

Gideon: “What?”

Me: “Let’s just start again. Yes?”

I’m so desperate for him to sit down my voice is almost at a pitch only dogs can hear. I mainly want him to sit down so no one notices the frilly shirt. Why didn’t I just leave? Gideon’s looking at me. Surely he can see how badly this is derailing. Come on fella, let’s go for a fresh start. He pauses for a minute before miming a clapperboard with his arms, for the love of Megatron please sit down.

Gideon: “Okay, take two. Sorry, I think it’s a bit of nerves thrown in with a bad day. So do you want a bottle then?”

I hesitate as it dawns on me that in diffusing this situation I am also wedding myself to at least an hour, over an hour for a bottle of wine, with Mills and Boon on crack.

Me: “A whole bottle? Yes, that sounds lovely.”

He then proceeds to choose a forty five pound bottle of Malbec.

Gideon: “Going dutch yeah?”

Unbelievable.

Me: “Sure.”

I get it now, this guy will happily go Georgian when it comes to a woman drinking alone but is all about equal opportunities when it comes to paying the bill. Should have left Scarlett. Since I consider spending over twenty five to be pushing the boat out I believe it was then that I experienced my first heart palpitation of the evening. Not helped by the fact I had just recently changed jobs from a solid career with a monthly paycheck to an utterly uncertain new business venture that was yet to pay out a single penny. I breathe through the palpitation and we enjoy a shared moment of relief, knowing we’re going to successfully pretend the awkward first greeting never happened.

Twenty minutes later I have finished both my bubbly and my measly glass of Malbec (measurements courtesy of Gideon) when it dawns on me that Gideon, as well as having the most beautiful brown eyes I have ever seen, has quite a high pitched voice. Nothing wrong with that I suppose but as he bangs on about tube strikes or something equally banal I start to wonder if he’s taking steroids and this weird thought process drifts into wondering what it would be like to be a woman with male genitals when I snap back into reality to realise that just ten miserable seconds have gone by and I’m still on this really weird date. He also drinks reeeaaallyyyy slowly. At this rate I’ll be here until the four horsemen of the apocalypse show up. Maybe they’ll want to date me. At this point Death seems to be the most attractive. Shit what’s he talking about now? He’s stopped. He’s looking at me with those eyes. Those eyes. Maybe I can just date them? Nope getting weird again Scarlett.

Me: “Sorry?”

Gideon: “I wore it for you.”

Me: “What?”

Gideon: “The shirt? Since you’re obviously an Austen geek too.”

He almost looks smug. I don’t want to crush his gesture but I’m not getting into yet another web of lies. The way he’s leaning is making the shirt reveal his cleavage. I look sheepishly into my wine glass and mumble.
Me: “I’m a Google geek actually – I googled Austen.”

Gideon: Oh.

Another awkward silence. I want to fill this one with the rest of the bottle but I’m afraid that if I reach for it he’ll shoot me an incredulous look before slapping the back of my hand. My card is still very much behind the bar.

Gideon: So do you even like Austen?

Me: Not really my sort of film.

Gideon: So why did you bring up Mr Darcy in the first place then?

Me: Well I’m trying to personalise my Tinder introductions so more men will talk to me. It’s either that or upload naked pictures of myself and I’m just not prepared to go there. Yet. Plus I thought it was fancy dress. I mean you’d have to be mental to wear that in-

Gideon: I like to think it’s spontaneous.

Are his eyes watering? Nah. Naaaahhhhhh.

Me: I’d probably have to say, it’s a bit more, mad looking? And a bit camp in a strange way. Like a magician!

I smile at my revelation just as he starts rubbing the very real tears out of his eyes. I have just made a grown man, albeit a grown man with a lady voice who wears frilly shirts, cry. I take the opportunity to frantically fill up our glasses (but honestly pouring more in mine) whilst spilling about twenty percent of it on to the table and I don’t even care. Mainly because I’ve been drinking on an empty stomach and am now feeling a bit pissed. I even lick the side of my glass clean but he doesn’t notice. He doesn’t notice because he’s crying.

I should explain that although I have never experienced man-weeping on a date before, some dates can actually turn into a cheap form of therapy. I’ve only known women to take full advantage of this, and I’ll admit I might have been one of those women to work through my parents divorce (two years ago, I was still living at home, it was a very traumatic time) on about ten different guys but genuinely by the tenth date I was alright with it. So if this is anything it’s karmic retribution except poor Gideon has me for a therapist.

Me: So why was it a bad day?

Gideon: I got fired.

Me: Was it because of the shirt?

Gideon: No I changed!

Me: Sorry it’s just my Mums got- Nevermind. So why did they fire you?

Gideon: Do you really want to hear this?

No.

Me: Absolutely.

And so began a story of such overwhelming dullness and tragedy (mainly because of the dullness) that I actually had another panic palpitation at the thought that maybe this would never end. To pull myself back from the brink I had to recall what my wise, if not a bit bleak, mother once said, “It will end. Whatever it is, it always does. End.”

And so concludes Part I of The Longest Date Known to Woman…

Will Gideon ever stop talking? Will Scarlett ever escape? Is Scarlett still on the date??

Tune in next week to find out what happens in Part II: The Bus.

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Nine times out of ten he is an arsehole.

“Maybe he has Asperger’s.” I say to my mate Trish as we serve drinks at a pop up fundraiser she’s holding for ‘Adults with Aspergers’. Trish pauses mid pour and replies, “No he’s just an arsehole. Big difference.” Incidentally I am referring to the used tampon who gave me a seven out of ten a few months ago, I’m not bitter. I happened to bump into him a couple of days previous and it went something like this:

Me: “Heeeeeeeyyyy.” Actually managed to sound stoned rather than strangled, which I’m putting down as a win.

Him: “No way! Hey babe.” Kiss on the cheek like we’ve never seen each other naked, what a cheek! “Whoa, you look tired. Oh shit I gotta go.” Another kiss and he’s gone.

I’m left poleaxed in the middle of Pret feeling like I’ve just been slapped by the Tango Man. Do you remember that advert? Orange fat bloke slaps people? Man the nineties were weird. Anyway, I am also left without the wherewithal to shout “Well at least I don’t have a tiny dick on my forehead like a weird little devil horn!” after him or something else a bit less childish and confused. I still haven’t come up with anything better than that apart from just screaming in his face.

I’m not the only one getting confused with arsehole and aspergers by the way. This is the interesting thing about some women – I use the word ‘some’ fairly loosely because I really mean most but I don’t want to get hounded by my fellow feminists or equalists as I like to call them. Anyway ‘some’ women will even brand a man with a medical condition just to find a way of legitamising and explaining away his inherent twattiness. But no longer. I am starting my own revolution right now. No more excuses I say! The man was and is just a fucking arsehole. What’s fucked up is that instinctively I still want to follow that statement up with ‘Well he behaved like an arsehole to me, sometimes. I’m sure he’s got good qualities obviously! He’s not evil!’ AAAAAAARRRGGGHHHH STOP IT SCARLETT!!! He. Is. An. Arsehole. The End. “Exactly. You just work through it man.” Says Trish. I am unaware that I was thinking out loud. She shows rare physical affection by touching my arm awkwardly (I think it was supposed to be a squeeze) before going back to sorting the dips.

The party is in full swing now and Trish is mingling with all the trendies – you know the ones I’m talking about; they were made in a factory somewhere underneath Shoreditch and they need moustaches and rudeness like we need air. Unlike Trish I am quietly impressing the mirror with my bartending skills whilst getting slowly quite pissed with me, myself and I when I am rudely interrupted. “Hello.” I hear from behind me. I turn to see quite a cute man standing at the bar and he is sans moustache! “Hi” I say. “What can I get you?” I give him my best flirty (although some might say sleazy but they would be utterly wrong) smile whilst playing one handed catch with a corkscrew because I am the coolest. Fact. A one handed game I promptly lose. He laughs and says “My name is Peter.” “My name is Scarlett.” I say, in a weird robotic voice trying to imitate the one person actually showing any interest in me at this ponce fest. Thankfully Peter isn’t put off, he’s merely confused, “Why are you talking like that?” “I genuinely don’t know. Drink?”

I eventually got let off bar duty and Peter and I spent most of the night Dad dancing to fidget house, which is a real sub genre of house apparently. We were busting out all the moves – the hand clap, stacking the shelves, jazz hands – a personal favourite of mine, and moves from Street Fighter II , you know, all the classics. At some point late on I for some unknown reason start trying to talk about the used tampon in that ghastly drunken sad way but what was quite liberating was Peter’s honesty. He just said, “That is boring.” Then, seeing I was a bit taken aback he shouted “You have nice breath. That’s a compliment.” in my ear (it was really loud, he wasn’t trying to deafen me). Now, I did think it was a bit of a weird thing to say at the time especially since I think we’d just done our second jaeger bomb and I’d already smoked about ten fags and a couple of those mini hot dogs but a compliment’s a compliment in my mind – take them when you can. After that it all gets a bit blurry and naked, and then the morning…

“YOU HAVE NICE BREASTS BUT YOU NEED TO LEAVE! PLEASE LEAVE!” ‘Why is my eardrum being perforated?!’ I wonder as time slows while I open my eyes to see Peter shouting in my face. It must be around 7am. I think my heart has just exploded inside my chest cavity and I can taste the jaeger bombs all too grimly in the back of my throat threatening to re-emerge. Dear God stop shouting and please jaeger stay where you belong! In my half conscious fuzzy state part of me thinks it could be a horrible horrible joke so I point my finger at Peter weakly and start laughing, which makes it so, so much worse. I’m not fooling anyone. “Not alright not alright please can you leave. PLEASE CAN YOU LEAVE PLEASE CAN YOU LEAVE!” “Jesus Christ yes!” I say trying to keep my dignity as I clamber out of Peter’s bed. What the hell is happening?! Luckily my underwear seems to be on, a small mercy as I look around for my dress. I will be able to have a proper go at this guy only when fully clothed. How could I have found such an arsehole?! Having now thrown my dress on I’m in the middle of finding my shoes when Peter starts hyperventilating, “Oh panic attack. Panic aaaattttaaaaaack!!!” “Oh for fuckssake I’m going! I’m fucking going!” I shout, “And if my shoes aren’t downstairs I’m billing you!” I slam the door behind me and take a breath. Then like the dawn, a thought slowly comes to the surface; I have an, ‘Aahhhh’ moment as I realise Peter must have said breasts not breath. But I have no time to dwell on this thought as there’s a rabid badger in my head that’s trying to tear its way out via my eardrum. I’m trying to shake it free as I stumble down the stairs right into the furious face of a lady with a blue rinse. Time slows again.

She is a very old looking housemate. Maybe she’s the cleaner. In a dressing gown. Those are the only thoughts running through my mind – I say running, it’s more limping and stumbling in a half pissed state singing Bohemian Rhapsody – as I stand in front of her. I can hear Peter saying ‘Nice breasts’ again from his room. Seriously, what is that guy’s problem? Maybe she’s the landlady, paying a visit on a Sunday? In a dressing gown? Bit weird. Wait a second, penny is dropping slowly but surely, another dawn, “Oh my God are you Pete’s Mum? Pete lives with his Mum?” “Yes he does.” “Well madam, I’m afraid to tell you your son is an arsehole.” Yes I did say that. I was wrong footed and that’s what came out followed by “I’m sorry, but what he just did makes him a major arsehole.” Yes, I simply elaborated on the first terrible comment and this was her comeback, pretty good I think. “My son is NOT an arsehole. He has severe aspergers.” I couldn’t help but laugh at the audacity, what hope is there for us when the Mums are defending their offspring? “Yeah okay lady I’ve heard that one before. I came up with that one.” Hang on a second, wheels turning, brain putting pieces of the puzzle together. Pete joins in again with ‘It is very messy in here!’ Oh. Fuck.

“Well then, now that we have clarified that, if you’ll excuse me.” I say with as much dignity as I can muster, which is about as much as a bride to be on a hen do in Chelmsford at 2am, and leave the house without my shoes. They can keep the shoes, they can burn shoes. I’m tip toeing up the road trying to avoid bits of glass when I feel one of my ballet pumps hit me square on the shoulder, the other follows shortly after courtesy of Pete’s Mum who calls after me, “Is that it then? Fuck him and chuck him now that you know he’s bit different? Unbelievable!” I grab my shoes off the ground and keep walking (implementing the rule that if you ignore someone they’ll cease to exist) with no idea what to say or do but knowing one inescapable fact that I can hardly bear to admit. Peter has aspergers and I, am an arsehole.

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