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And never EVER darken my doorstep again, you evil bitch!!!

Yes, tis the season for receiving long scorching letters of disgust and disapproval from disappointed suitors…am I the only one who gets these? Am I really the baddest ass in town?

I seem to do romantic disengagement really badly.  For instance, years ago, I told a guy I was dating/sleeping with that I didn’t see it going any further.  We were in bed at the time – not the best choice of venue – and he’d just given me a red rose to symbolise…whatever red roses symbolise.  But WHY, he asked.  Tell me, I really want to know! Well, after a while, I did – I didn’t find his body shape attractive.  He was nice about it.  He got out of bed and went home.  He slid into a state of serious depression which lasted about two years and nearly cost him his job. Nice work, evil bitch.

Then there was the mad guy I dated a couple of years back who was already planning our honeymoon after two meetings, and who got very annoyed indeed about having romantic phone conversations cut short by phrases such as ‘but now I have to go and cook dinner.’  That ended in an email so excoriating I had to put it behind a firewall for several weeks until it was safe to touch, and a threat that if ever he saw me again he couldn’t be responsible for the demonic fury which would then be unleashed.

And now, there is the letter tucked in my bottom drawer at work, of which so far I’ve only dared to read the first two sentences.  I’ve been dating this man for eight months, and so far we’ve held hands, kissed (with our mouths closed), and walked a few blocks clasping each other’s waists awkwardly.  Enter my beautiful river god, and I soon realised that this dalliance would have to end.  But I don’t know what got into me – instead of just sending a Dear John email, I had to accept the guy’s invitation to dinner and a movie, and then – sitting in his loungeroom clutching his specially bought fizzy grape drink – come out with ‘I’m sorry but I’ve met someone’.  The atmosphere turned in a second from cozy to icy.  And no wonder.  In the ensuing silence, I felt impelled to add that things had been going along rather slowly between us, and so, um, and so…Yeah, quite.  Anyway now I am the Hitler of interpersonal relationships, and serve me right.

It hurts.  I normally think of myself as a nice person.  But clearly, on these occasions, something goes badly wrong. I break rules, I behave with ill-considered callousness – to tell the truth, I get hopelessly embarrassed and then my limbic system takes over and woe betide!

Phew!  Clearly, there is a right way and a wrong way.  But what are they?  Come on, I need a crash course!!

It’s not love but…

I’m entranced.  There’s no other word for it.

The swell of those biceps.  That smiling face, half-moon lips, innocent-cunning eyes, that I could look at and into for hours.  And hours.  That lazy-deep voice, with the funny almost-stilted phrasing that I can’t place.  The thick curly hair that I sometimes catch my fingers in by mistake.

There are more cerebral aspects, if you could call them that.  The easy way he shoots the balls down the pockets at pool – pow, bang, snap!  The way he corners the car, as if he was born at the wheel.  The way he sings along to the blues, and stops and blushes when he catches me looking at him.  The funny little things he says, that leave me with no quick answer.  The slow, easy sweetness of him.

And yet, he likes football and cricket, for chrissake.  He thinks black lipstick is sexy (that indefinable look that says ‘roadkill’ like nothing else can!).  He reads two books a year.  This year one of them was mine.  The other was probably on mud bricks.  But hey.

It’s not like I haven’t got choices.  I could choose the man whose intellectual interests match mine like pearls match a twinset, who is kind and emotionally mature, reads more books than I do and writes them too.  That’d be the right thing to do, I guess.  After all, I’m too old for this impulse-shopping shit.  Right?

Oh but this other man, there’s no other word for him but beautiful.  He shines.  I can’t pass that up, not yet.

What does blogging have to do with infatuation?

Not much – but here’s one major link I can’t ignore.

When I’m infatuated, it’s REALLY hard to blog!

He looks like Mr Tumnus out of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I’m still looking for the nubby little horns on his head, in amongst all that curly grey-brown hair.

He cuddles like a dream.  He doesn’t wear any underpants and has six shirts.  He’s a DUDE, with a dude’s voice, deep and sweet.

He’s worried I only like him for his sex appeal.

This roller coaster is hovering at the top of the curve, with a view of Sydney Harbour and a man-scented breeze tickling my cheek.  Up here, the internet seems very small.

If I start to haunt the net-waves on a daily basis, you’ll know I’m either very dedicated (I am), or I’ve swooped face first into the valley of lost love and sicked-up popcorn.

Right

You may be right.

I am NOT reasonable.

You stayed out till ten.

I was bored.

You lay on your back.

I was wild for a fuck.

I said you were like a brother, somehow.

You said you forgot that I wasn’t your sister, at work.

Last night I ignored your advances.

This morning I apologised.

You said I hadn’t bought any food for weeks.

I gave your side of the mattress a good kick

When you were gone.

You deserved it.

Strange Stories: Boy meets Girl

Yep, this is a love story like any other.

He first saw her at a cocktail party.  She wore a black dress, short, and pearls. So did all the others.  She had long, corn-gold hair and blue eyes.  So did all the others.

He knew she was 25.  In that year, the year when she’d been born, Griselda Dansk was Bollywood’s number one screen goddess.  All the girl babies born in that year had golden hair and blue eyes, just like Griselda, and small cup sizes, which Griselda had made fashionable in her classic role as a flat-chested, gloriously naked Virginia Woolf.

He got there late, and tripped on the hostess’ welcome mat.  As Debonya held out a pale hand to help him up, and waved with the other for a maid to clear up the mess, all the women looked at him, and looked away again, embarrassed.  All except one.

She smiled, then, and there was no trace of mockery in her joyful grin.  She held his dark, long-lashed eyes – born in 2062, all the boys had them – and winked, slowly.  He grinned back,  let go Debonya’s hand, and came to her like a cat comes to sit by the fire.

He told her she was beautiful, in bed, later that night.

“You’re so warm, I could lie beside you in the snow and not feel it.”

“Flatterer!” That wink again.  It was entrancing.

“I’m not!  And you’re so gorgeously clever.  I bet you’ve got a PhD.  Tell me, you have, haven’t you!”

She nodded.

“Historical anachronism, from Harvard.”

In the morning he woke up to find her awake already, her windows wide and open on the world.  He searched for last night’s scene within them: she continued as if they’d never moved from there.

“Do you find my intellect attractive, then?”

“Of course!  Doesn’t everyone?”

She wrapped a long, lightly tanned thigh around his waist.

“Some men would rather make the jokes than laugh at them, you know.  And then, some men ARE the joke.”

He smiled uncertainly.

“Do you know, in my grandmother’s day, THIS would have been the candy to attract the flies.  THIS is what you would have found beautiful.”

She ran a hand over her peach-like behind, flicked the golden hair in disdain.

“Yes but everyone – I mean everyone from 2058 – looks the same.  It’s just a shell – why would I be interested in a shell?  It’d be like falling in love with your dress!”

She sat up.

“Did you say ‘falling in love’?”

He brushed the glossy, careless curls from his eyes.  Was it his imagination, or was he starting to feel the cold?

“I only meant..”

“I don’t do love.  Come to think of it, you’re not really my type.  I prefer the 2040 crop -much less naive.”

He looked into the sea-blue windows of her soul, and saw that he had mistaken the fires of lust for abiding warmth, and cleverness and superficial charm for a complex intelligence she did not have.  She was not, after all, beautiful.  He was not the first man who’d woken up to that conclusion.

Shifting portrait

To him, with indifference

I gave freedom.

He had it already.

Friendship.

He played the tunes we’d listened to in bed.  There was

Comfort against many strangers.

The old intimacy, but not quite.

Fascination, for the shifting portrait I drew.

An unfinished episode.

Sex.

Failure.

But not dependence.

Forgetting isn’t easy, even now with you.

He was a game I couldn’t win.

If I’d had him and you in either palm,

I wouldn’t even keep a silence once a year,

I wouldn’t ever yearn,

For him.

This was a poem I wrote a very long time ago. I was thinking, how little things have changed.  It could have been about so many relationships I’ve had since.  Playing games I couldn’t win.  I have to break the mould!!

Hey you! Yeah that’s right, you with the balls! I need help!

Right now I’m not dating anyone, or trying to. I’m writing.

But SOON – I’ll be done with my book, for now, and then I’ll want a man.

And THEN I’ll have a problem.  Which is:

How do I say ‘I’m not interested in seeing you again’ in a way that makes the guy feel less like the rejected novel on the slush pile?

Because I know how crappy it can feel when you’re internet dating and one of these things happen:

  • You’re emailing a guy, and he’s emailing you, and then suddenly – he stops. What did I say??
  • You send a guy a ‘kiss’ and he sends you back an auto-reply ‘Thanks but no’.  If it’s one in every ten that’s fine, if it’s nine in every ten, you’re like ‘What’s wrong with me then?’ and ‘Couldn’t you just, like, ignore me instead of hitting the auto-reply?’.
  • You meet up with a guy, and you get on alright, and he says he’d like to meet you again, so you email him and…nothing.
  • You meet up with a guy, and you THINK you get on alright, and he doesn’t say he’d like to meet you again.
  • You ask a guy if he’d like to meet up again, and he says no.

So the super-confident person, when any of these things happen, just quotes something out of He’s Just Not That Into You like ‘I’m simply magnificent and you obviously weren’t the right person to see how truly scrumptious I am – worse luck YOU!’.

I’ll buy you one if you answer my question!

But the not-so-confident person, after a string of these rejections, starts to think ‘What kind of loser am I? Doesn’t ANYONE like me?’

Do as you would be done by.  So I want to leave the guys I don’t happen to want, with a feeling of ‘Hey she doesn’t want to go out with me but I’m a hot, sexy, charming man and the right babe is probably sitting there at her computer this very moment having wet dreams about my warmth and intellect!’

But HOW?? Guys, help me here. Only a MAN knows how a man feels – so tell me, how do you like your rejections? What’s the best one you’ve ever had? How can I leave you feeling sweet?