Monthly Archives: October 2018

I am (gently) shaken awake at London Bridge. I’m totally disorientated. And I think I’ve been dribbling. It takes a minute or so to remember where I am.

Apparently the train is being terminated here because of a ‘technical fault’. I stumble off and squint at the board. The next train has been cancelled. I now have a fifty minute wait.

I am hung-over. I still have a painful lump on my forehead. I slept in these clothes. I am wearing what is left of yesterday’s make up. My hair is a mess. Everything is a little blurred without my contacts. I feel dizzy.

All I want to do is go home. Not hang around here freezing my arse off. I am (unsurprisingly) in a really foul mood.

I march up to a railway employee and ask him why my train has been cancelled. He gives me a funny look (I clearly look like the morning after the night before). I roll my eyes and impatiently repeat the question. He shrugs, says “I don’t know” and tries to walk away.

I’m not having that. I pull at his arm and tell him that he is being very rude. And that it is his job to know.

He tries to speak but I won’t let him. I keep a firm grip of his arm in case he attempts to walk away again. I am determined to have my say. Fares go up every year yet the service gets worse. Commuters are effectively held to ransom.

People are milling around and nodding in agreement with me. I like an audience. I get into my stride, delivering an impromptu yet eloquent speech highlighting the deficiencies of our railway system.

Then I let go of his arm and say “Right. I’m finished. You may speak now. What have you got to say?” He smiles, points to a (very small) royal mail emblem on his jacket and says “I’m a postman”. Oh. “Yes, well.......your uniforms are too bloody similar” is the best I can manage before I hastily walk off to (quietly) wait for my train.

I get home, have a bath and wait for the pizza to arrive. I need comfort food. The doorbell rings. I open the door. It’s Anthony. I am wearing big fluffy dog slippers (present from my daughter, Mia). Unflattering striped boxers (that he had left behind two years ago). And a hideous but cosy fluffy leopard print top (present from the parents).

I close the door. Kick the slippers off and rush around like a whirling dervish. Get changed. Put make up on. Smooth hair down.

I open the door again. It suddenly occurs to me that he may not be there. But he is. He says he preferred my ‘eclectic’ look. And that his boxers suit me. He knows I kept them. And that I still wear them. How embarrassing.

He asks me why I left without saying goodbye. I offer him tea. I have to busy myself doing something. I don’t want to have this conversation. Not yet. Not now. I haven’t had time to think.

I need to intellectualise, rationalise and analyse. I can’t just have an ad hoc conversation led by emotion. That would be a disaster.

Thankfully my phone rings. I answer it immediately. It’s my neighbour, Alison. She sounds upset. And she is in urgent need of legal advice (I was a lawyer in a previous life). Perfect. I excuse myself and go next door.

Alison is a devout born again Christian who has abstained from alcohol for twenty years. She is on her second bottle of wine when I arrive. And seemingly intent on revealing every intimate detail of her unhappy marriage to me. Details I would really rather not be privy to.

I interrupt her with a reminder about needing legal advice. She says she wants a divorce. Not really my area (at least not professionally). I write down the name of a firm that specialises in family law. She thanks me. Then lifts her top up and tearfully asks “Do you think I have nice breasts?” This is getting a little too weird for me.

I have to make a quick call on which is the lesser of two evils; going back and having an unscripted conversation with Anthony or staying here and witnessing her descent into alcohol induced hysteria. All twenty pent up years of it. Not to mention the possibility of more random nudity. Decision made. I assure her that they are lovely as I am backing out of the door.

I go back to Anthony, gently kiss him, whisper “I’m sober now, make love to me” and lead him towards the bedroom. He doesn’t protest. Genius. I not only avoid talking, I get to have great sex. But there is one fundamental flaw in my brilliant plan. I still have hairy legs. And a knicker beard.

I tell him I need to ‘de-fuzz’ first. He laughs, “I love you, you mad Turk” then he scoops me up in his big manly arms and his tone becomes serious “I have waited a long time to be with you again and I’m not waiting a second longer”.

We kiss as he carries me into the bedroom. I am swept away by the romance of it all. I swear I can hear music playing in the distance.

Then he trips over one of my hastily discarded doggy slippers and we land in an unruly heap on the bed. We look at each other before bursting into simultaneous laughter. And that one moment confirms it for me. I do still love him.

He looks gorgeous. I must try my best to be cool. I still have time to convince him of my sanity. I casually reverse the car off the ticket machine, put the handbrake on and get out of the car.

I have perfected the art of styling it out. One simply acts as if everything is perfectly normal. People rarely question anything that is done with both confidence and conviction. Even with a throbbing, pulsating, neon lump on ones’ forehead.

I give him a warm hug, slip my arm through his and suggest pre-dinner drinks. Vodka will work just as well in the absence of traditional painkillers. I am nothing if not resourceful.

Several neat shots later and my head is feeling much better. Then I notice that the waitress is paying him too much attention. I ask her a direct question. She looks at him while answering me. I do this a few times just to confirm my suspicions.

Ok. I know that I am having dinner with a friend (who happens to be an ex) but she doesn’t know that. Therefore flirting with him is very disrespectful.

The final straw comes when she leans forward, flicks her hair ‘L’Oreal’ style (no love, you’re actually not worth it) and suggestively asks him, "is there anything else I can do for you?"

This really is too much. He waves her away dismissively and takes my hands in his across the table. I’m not sure if this is a romantic gesture or one intended to restrain me.

If it is the latter, then he has failed to take into account that my legs are still free. I uncross them and kick one out as she is walking past. I connect, considerably harder than I meant to.

She yelps. I smile as I say “Gosh, I’m so sorry”. Our eyes meet and we have that unspoken exchange that women are so good at (and men are totally oblivious to).

She correctly interprets my ‘back off bitch’ expression and hobbles off.

Anthony frowns at me “you did that on purpose didn’t you?”

“Yes” I say proudly, “I did”. I take another gulp of wine. My head has stopped throbbing. But I am starting to develop double vision.

I start drinking water. I am clearly unfit to drive. Anthony suggests I go home with him.

I decide on the way back that I am going to sleep with him. Then I remember Plan B. I deliberately didn’t shave my legs or my bikini line just in case Plan A (drive so I won’t drink and end up back at his place) failed.

I am always a couple of steps ahead of myself. Sometimes I don’t like being such a smartarse.

I knew I would never sleep with him if I had prickly legs and a knicker beard. Unless I can have a quick shave at his place. I’ll outwit the smug sensible sober me yet. I excuse myself as soon as we get inside and disappear into the bathroom.

Where is his razor? It must be in the cabinet. I start emptying it out like a woman possessed. How many bloody beauty products does one man need? There has to be a razor in here somewhere.

Then I’m distracted by his haemorrhoid cream. I remember reading somewhere that it is really good for under eye bags and dark circles. I’ve been meaning to try it for some time but didn’t want to be seen buying it.

I squeeze a little out of the tube and wipe it away with tissue. Just in case he has been applying it directly.

I squeeze out a bit more and dab it under my eyes. No visible difference. It just looks greasy. I lean forward to dab on some more when I spot the electric shaver on the wall next to the mirror. I slip out of my jeans.

Anthony knocks on the door “Are you ok in there?”

I shout back “I’m fine" then “do you have any shaving cream?”

He walks in. I watch as he takes in the scene before him. The entire contents of his bathroom cabinet are strewn all over the floor. I’m standing, half-naked, on tip-toes with one leg hoisted up into the sink holding his shaver in one hand and the haemorrhoid cream in the other.

"I forgot to shave my legs" I offer by way of explanation ‘"And you have to do it now? Why?""‘Because", I pause for dramatic effect “I have decided that I’m going to have sex with you!” – I say this in the excited manner of a game show host announcing the lucky winner.

He doesn’t look remotely interested. He comes over and helps me get my leg down from the sink. He takes the shaver and the cream out of my hands and says "You can have the bed. I’ll take the sofa".

I’m confused and more than a little humiliated. This is the first time a man has turned me down. Not because I’m irresistible but because men do not turn down sex. Ever.

I ask him to call me a cab. He firmly suggests I ‘just get some sleep’. I ask him why he doesn’t want to have sex with me. He says that he would love to have sex with me but not when I’m drunk.

"Don't give me that shit! if you're not attracted to me anymore then just say so! ".

I am about to continue my rant when he silences me with "I love you a lot more than I realised. It has taken me a long time to admit that to myself. And I would prefer you to be sober when we make love. Is that so unreasonable?" I shake my head and whisper ‘no’.

Then my eyes involuntarily start to water. He strokes my hair while I cry silently on his shoulder. He spoons me (fully clothed) all night.

I wake up in the morning with a pounding hangover. And the slow, awful realisation that I made a complete and utter arse of myself.

Then I remember what he said to me. I gently move away from him and out of the bed. I don’t want to be here when he wakes up. I wouldn’t know what to say.

I sit on the train feeling sick. And not just because of the alcohol swimming around in my body. I think I still love him. This could actually work. So why do I want to run for the hills?

I am about to do something I have never done before.

I tell the woman that it’s my first time and ask her to recommend a suitable prep cream. I strip off and vigorously rub it all over my face and body. I feel a slight tingle at first. And I look a bit flushed. I feel a little hot.

Then my face goes bright red. I watch as the redness spreads with indecent haste across my body. I feel really hot. My skin is burning. I’m on fucking fire!

My heart is racing. I feel dizzy. I must be having some kind of extreme allergic reaction; like those poor women who burn their heads with hair dye. Except this isn’t my head. It’s my face and my entire (and I mean entire) body.

I’ve probably got third degree burns. I’ll be disfigured for life. What the hell was I thinking? Why did I want a tan? I’ve got olive skin for Christ’s sake! I’m starting to hyperventilate.

I grab a towel and run into reception screaming. She narrows her eyes and peers at me,

“Oooh, what happened to you? You’re bright red”

I am also hysterical.

“No shit Sherlock! My skin is fucking burning! Call an ambulance! Now!”

I’m frantically waving the bottle of cream around as I speak. She takes it out of my hand and looks at it. Apparently I have used a very strong ‘tingle’ cream.

It works by bringing all the blood to the surface so that you tan faster. I can’t believe people do this shit knowingly. Then expose their bodies to the extreme heat of a sun bed.

I grab the bottle to see for myself. It is for use only by ‘experienced tanners’. And it is supposed to be used ‘sparingly’. I slapped on half the bottle.

The burning feeling isn’t as intense. I start to calm down. My awareness increases as my adrenalin levels decrease. I become aware that I have attempted to wrap myself in a tiny towel that doesn’t quite cover my Mediterranean bottom.

Then I remember that the cafe area is directly behind me. I turn around slowly. Please let it be empty. Please. Please. Please.

Damn it! Why are there so many people at the gym on a Saturday? And why are they all staring at me?

Ok. I admit that’s a stupid question - I am half naked and lobster red. And I ran into reception screaming like a banshee. That is why they are staring at me.

All I can do now is try to style it out. I tug at the towel in a pointless attempt to make it meet across my bottom. I muster as much dignity as the situation will allow. Then I stick my nose in the air and walk off slowly in a calm fashion.

I have a cold shower before I take issue with the lady who gave me the cream. Yes. I know. I should have read the back of the bottle. But she should have warned me. Especially as I told her it was my first time.

The manager offers me a free facial by way of compensation. I opt for the most expensive one. I deserve it. I was traumatised.

The redness has subsided and the facial has ensured that I have a natural healthy glow as I set off for my (non) date with Anthony.

I park my car, take my seatbelt off and bend down to swap my flats for heels. I haven’t driven in heels ever since I drove into a bus stop and wrote off my previous car.

I must stress that I didn’t drive into it because of my heels. I drove into it because I was so deep in thought that I (momentarily) forgot I was driving. The heels just made it difficult to slam on the brakes once I remembered.

As I sit back up, I notice that the car next to me is moving backwards. But it’s empty. I’m fascinated. How is that possible? I’m still trying to work it out when I’m thrown back by the impact of my car rolling forward into the ticket machine.

Balls! I forgot to put my handbrake on. was the one moving. I realise this just as my head is coming forward (with force) on to the steering wheel.

It occurs to me that perhaps my life would be simpler if I wasn’t always looking for the deeper explanation.

I check my reflection in the mirror. I have a large bump on my forehead. I look like a bloody unicorn.

I’ll wait in the car until it goes down. I hate being late but I can’t turn up looking like this. I send him a ‘stuck in traffic’ text.

Then I hear a tapping on my window. It’s Anthony. And he has that look of genuine concern on his face again.

My plan to convince him that I am not, in actual fact, a total head case suddenly seems somewhat futile...