A couple of weeks ago, my frizzy headed pal (who really should be black with a voice like hers, so shall hence forth be known as Foxy Cleopatra) and I wangled our way into prime seats at the Night Of A Thousand Voices at the Royal Albert Hall. This wasn’t especially hard, seeing as we knew approximately nine hundred and ninety seven of the voices. Some of them intimately.
Post show, we schmoozed a bit with Flutey and the Ex, and throngs of other familiarish faces, and then – considering it was still early AND a bank holiday, blew that popsicle stand and headed into town for some very very bad food. And wine.
Foxy and I haven’t caught up for a while – mainly because she’s usually belting out showtunes whenever I have plus ones to stuff – so we managed to make our way through almost an entire Porchetta pizza reminiscing about the good old days before we got onto the subject of men.
Foxy had a boyfriend when I first met her. He was nice, and safe, and a bit dull, and she was a wrecking ball of unspent energy, bouncing off the cobbles of Covent Garden and through every stage door that would have her. I figured it was doomed from the start – turns out, I was right.
‘You know what was so great about Crash Bandicoot?* He was my best friend. He probably still is really, I could call him about anything. But the problem was, he wasn’t my… you know… I mean, he didn’t have enough… what’s the word?’
Foxy and I want the same thing. We want a man who knows where his bollocks are, and what they’re for (ie, not just for scratching when he’s bored). We want a great big towering man giant to throw us around, and (attempt to) show us who’s boss, before we take him down a peg or two with a snarky comment and an eyebrow raise. Then, of course, comes the hot, passionate sex in the hallway (because we just can’t make it to the bedroom) followed by an offer to get up and make coffee/pour wine.
We’re seriously not asking much.
Bandicoot, however, was a bit of a wet fish. One that just needed flushing down the loo.
‘I could have just carried on, quite happily,’ Foxy admits. ‘But then it would come to an end eventually and then where would I be? How much time would I have wasted that I could have been getting jobs or going to class or spending time with my friends?’
And that’s the kicker, isn’t it? It’s the TIME. Maybe some people have it to spare, and don’t mind spending months and months agonising over whether it may or may not work out. If we go with our guts, we know pretty much straight away. It’s Lemon Law, pure and simple. Truth be told, you know within five minutes whether something has a spark or not. You know within five weeks whether something has a future or not. And you know within five months that you’re wasting so much time you’d be better off gouging your eyeballs out with a blunt eyebrow pencil just to get yourself out of that situation.
‘So now I’m not seeing anyone at all, and it’s a bit scary. Sometimes I would go home and just sit there, wondering what to do with myself, and I’d almost pick up the phone and call him but then I’d remember that if I did that, we’d most likely end up sitting, bored, doing nothing… just together.’
I guess it is scary to suddenly have to do things by yourself, when you’ve spent so long having to think about someone else. For me, it’s the other way round that freaks the fuck out of me.
‘But now,’ Foxy continues, with a big old grin (and a bit of tomato sauce…) on her face, ‘I go out all the time, I do little cabarets and gigs because I can and I have the time, I’ve got a new agent, I could bugger off on tour to another country at any moment – it’s ridiculous. The freedom, I mean.’
Gotta love the freedom. But what about the loneliness? It does happen, from time to time. Your friends are all busy, you can’t find a date, you’re sat at home watching Cougar Town and eating chips and hummous in your sweats on a Friday night because, well, why not? And you’re at major risk of slipping into ‘anyone is better than no one’ territory…
‘I just remind myself how I felt when we were together. It was boring, and unfulfilling. So now, I’m not going to waste my time unless I get that feeling straight away, that feeling that it could be something special. There’s no point hoping it will turn out to be something it’s not – you know, straight away, if it’s going to be good.’
Goddamnit, you know she’s right. Hindsight is a magical thing, but if we’re honest, we all know when it’s happening, don’t we? We have a niggle of doubt, a hint of hesitation. I know I had it with AF, and look how that turned out. And with TVboy, I knew all along it was doomed, but I wouldn’t admit it to myself until he forced it down my throat. Even with the Ex, who at the time seemed all peaches and cream to the outside world, I knew his
dick eyes wandered but still I ignored my gut. What a muppet.
Next time I get myself into this situation, I’m just going to be honest with myself. You can all be my witness to this! Next time I am interested in a guy, I must be able to categorically say that I definitely don’t have that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about him. You know the one I mean, and it ain’t butterflies. It’s the one you push down and down and down until you think you’re ignoring it, but it is going to bubble back up in the end. Usually just before one of you dumps the other.
Ritzi Cortez, revolutionising the dating process one fuck up at a time… maybe by the time I’m forty, I’ll get it right.
*this is what I’m calling her ex boyfriend. You think the fake name is ridiculous, you should hear what video game character his drunken parents actually named him after.