Sunday, February 10, 2013

Women Are Like Buses - But Sometimes You Have To Call a Cab

It's no secret that I've been single for years. The reasons are threefold:

  1. I no longer work for medium to large sized companies staffed exclusively by transient young things, many of whom are ladypersons who in the past have looked favourably/ taken pity on me. Instead for 7 years I've worked in a tiny London office with the same four blokes.
  2. My ageing social life has slowed to a crawl, syncing with one or perhaps two other single mates where together we've accepted our lot in life and boxed any 'fun' into a few drinks at the weekend with a movie or perhaps meal thrown in.
  3. I have the social skills and confidence of a corpse.
I've always known I'd have to do something drastic to change all this and I'd begun with a long and successful diet and a wardrobe revamp, not that I'd manged to quite follow through. I lost the weight and began buying better clothes, but my inner slob has for the last few months been blaming the cold and wearing jeans everyday, which means boots instead of smart shoes, and - oh - eating utter shit since the summer, meaning I've gained all that weight and no longer fit into my new gear.

So now I'm at a crossroads: I had dieted and revamped my image slowly Seizing the Day, and now I've Reversed the Day and Gone Back to Square One, so what does this mean for my 'I'll date when I'm fitter' bullshit? Basically it means I'll have to lose that weight once more before I look into that again.

Except it'll be a 'Tomorrow never comes' scenario. Instead, I've come to acknowledge this is less about my weight, and more about my balls (as in confidence, not my actual balls.) I'm not so fat that I'm consigned to a bed needing to be rolled over by three people so they can wash my back crevices. I'm not even mildly obese and even if I was, no-one should be excluded from being mutually in love. (Yes, I've been watching Undateables a lot)

I could sense for the last few weeks my brain coming to terms with this. It's been clear I can't just walk up to women on the street and talk, no matter what this fascinating if essentially fucking miserable lifestyle claims, so it's back to the equally miserable if infinitely easier internet dating I swore off years ago - as many years as the last time I had a girlfriend, if memory serves.
All I needed was a kick up the arse - and 3 days ago, it arrived.

My chum Ed, of summer holiday to Crete and the last half-dozen New Years' Eves fame, was nearby one night as I finished work. We went for a rare midweek beer where he described a story he was thinking of writing, which reminded me of a tale from my youth. You may recall it - it was one of the stories from the 1983 Twilight Zone movie, a Steven Spielberg segment called 'Kick the Can.'
Ed, to my surprise, had never seen it, yet it remained as vivid in my mind as if I'd seen it in all its schmaltzy entirety yesterday.

'So it's this old peoples' home,' I began, 'with all these old people. A couple of them are feisty types if a bit delirious, and there's this old English guy, or posh at any rate, remembering how he used to run around pretending to be Peter Pan, the "boy who never grew up", right? There's this lovely old woman there too, reminiscing about how much she loved to dance when she was younger, and this one crotchety old guy who complains that his kids never come to visit, and it's no fun being old. Anyway, this stereotypical Hollywood wise, kindly old black guy arrives, and he's listening to their stories. He produces a can - to a Jerry Goldsmith harpsichord, so it's clearly magic  - and says they should all go outside and kick the fucker once the nurses send them to bed. The crotchety guy gets all crotchety and tells him he shouldn't get the others all excited, and tells everyone to act their age, yet they're all up for it. So this Nurse Ratched type calls it a night and gets everyone into their dorm and turns the lights out, and after a pause they all sneak outside in their dressing gowns and into the garden where they're slowly stumbling about kicking this can. Meanwhile the crotchety guy's still complaining, but they're having a great time. They're all laughing as the camera closes in on their feet as they kick the can to one another, then you realise their pyjamas are getting baggy and their slippers enormous, and their laughter and chatting have become chil-'

My throat seized. 'They've all turned back into chi-' I croaked, and had to stop as tears welled up in my eyes.
Ed looked mildly disturbed. 'Jesus christ!' he said.
I looked at him, and shook my head. I couldn't continue, and was now fairly shocked myself as I couldn't recall the last time I'd got emotionally overwhelmed in private. Getting tearful in public, that would've been maybe twenty years ago, at a fucking death.
'I've only had two pints!' I squawked, but it was too late. If I hadn't captured the fluid held behind the dam of my eyelids, tears would've plummeted down my fat hairy face like an overturned lorry down a cliff.

The last time I'd thought about 'Kick the Can', I'd been a child. Now I was half way through my life and nothing in any grand way had changed, and it scared the shit out of me. It was such a daft tale about growing old, the simplicity of youth, and the wonder of life, and there I was single-handedly doing nothing with mine.

I was so shocked that when I got home, I took out my credit card and paid for an online dating agency I've had an inactive presence on for years. I met my last girlfriend of 5+ years ago there, the American lady I'd not been able to commit to due to LDR and cowardice, and despite our flurry of emails at the beginning of the year, we'd reached a kind of saturation point. I woke up one day and finally 'got it', realising I was always going to miss her but enough was enough; it wasn't going to work and we both knew to leave one another well alone. And in the 3 days since I've been back on this website, I've looked at the dozens of emails stored up over the last few years I'd not been able to see before, and sent some new ones off. Tonight, I had two replies back I'd been hoping to receive.

And then, as I'd opened up my email, a new one arrived. It was a picture from my ex, of my ex, apropos of nothing, just to say hello, and I felt a little gooey and stunned. I really didn't expect I'd hear from her ever again. And now I'm full of guilt. I have new angles for the first time in years!
But oh yeah - new guilt.

I know what your advice will be. It's the same as mine and I know what choices I should make.

I just feel bad, and sad, and shit.


digressica said...

The end of this blog post took a weird turn. I was with you until "and now I'm full of guilt"; at that point I had to go back and read the preceding bit again just in case I missed something the first time. Do you mean you feel guilty that you're internet dating because your ex emailed you? Why? You're talking about the mindfuck ex right?

I got a bit choked up when you got choked up over the Twilight Zone story. Jesus Christ. You're such a fucking sap.


Anonymous said...

Make your fucking mind up about this ex of yours. Are you going to pursue her and try to get her back, or are you going to spend the next decade toying with other women on the internet and then casting them aside because you're still obssessed with the American?

Hannah Joy Curious said...

It's time for the C word with your American. Not the rude one, the practical one: closure.

Or not.

Presumably she is still fond of you if she has gotten back in touch? And you are quite evidently still fond of her so...

Anonymous said...

No woman ever cured what ails a man. The man needs to cure himself. Dreaming about this or any other woman is just a big old bosomy distraction from sorting out life's shit. Life only gets better if you work at it and be honest with yourself and not wallow in it. No holiday, woman, job, cat, prostitute, flat, pint, DVD box set or BLOG will do the trick. It's that simple.

luna said...

ah digressica, i like ur tag for the ex pest! very apt, i almost believe fweng made up her latest comeback for another repeat cliffhanger will they won't they get back together and the usual divided opinions amongst us comments.

\hey fweng you've pulled that trick before...and before...and again before that...E_N_O_U_G_H is enough.Find another plot twist in your maudlin spare time.
I'm more in the mind of anonymous, except i think you should practice being happy in small and big things rather than chasing women.
but then i don't suffer from testosterone.

you're going through midlife crisis, maybe through the SAD thing, have you thought about buying yourself a lightbox?

there's no fated connection with the ex, somehow she got wind of your activity on the site and she's trying to put a spanner in the works for you because she can't stand losing her plaything while she's still single and losing some of her market value everyday.


Anonymous said...

Guilt? What for? Moving on with your life one tiny fraction of the amount she may have?
You know when cats bat about a wounded mouse they've caught, just for fun? Yeah, that.
Ignore her, respond to the other emails, and get out and get on with your life.
Those emails from new people are the can, and she's the nurse. You deserve to get to run round the yard before bedtime...

Anonymous said...

Fweng, maybe it's time for you to reclaim your joy and energy and kick the (Ameri)can.

Seriously, it's time.


Anonymous said...

Do it do it do it do it...

luna said...

Read article by Stuart heritage in the Graunad Week end about fake internet girlfriend.

honestly if he hadn't mentioned his real GF I'd have sworn you wrote it under a pseudo!
Especially when he quips:"Name me one red blooded man who wouldn't want to validate his neediness by paying a stranger of indeterminate gender..."
I laughed like a hyena.
Y don't you write in the G week end too...

luna said...

One more pearl from the same above:

"I was chasing a woman who didn't care about me , and realistically might not be a woman anyway.
I was debasing myself for minuscule scraps of affection.This was every single relationship i've ever been in all over again"

See you've got a misery twin!

what are you planning for your birthday?

Anonymous said...

Hadn't ever read the bloke Luna mentions but have had a good chortle this morning here:

fwengebola said...

Dig ~ Back then, yes. I did feel guilty. Oh, how times change (this was 3 months ago).
And watch the Twilight Zone movies. Classic '80s shlock.
Loob ~ Good news about me and the US ex! I hate her! I really properly hate her. Maybe hate's too strong a word but she's toyed with me too long.
So fuck her.
I had to reach the dark side to attain closure and hurrah! Here it is. Pure hat-, sorry, unimpressiveness.
HJC ~ Nah, see above. Over. O-ver. I really don't like the girl anymore. Finally.
Anon ~ Yes, true change can only come from within. Some bloke off Big Brother once said that.
Wise, wise attention-whore.
Oh wait, it was Buddha.
Wise, wise attention-whore.
Lune ~ I am happy to confirm I am now at the point of no return where if she happened to walk into my place of business, I would tell her very calmly she's not welcome... (My god, I want her to walk into my place of business so I can tell her she's not welcome...)
Anon ~ I love mental imagery. I'm her dead rat and she's a bored feline. It's actually very apt. I've thought about that a lot. Thank you.
Anon ~ Not sure if fucking off ex directly correlates with joy and energy reclamation, but it's happening.
Anon ~ And I've done it.
Luna ~ Jesus christ, that's awkward. I am now the living embodiment of 'needy'
Loob ~ Oh motherfucker. I want his job.

Rocky Balboa said...

Curious to know how the internet dating went, and how that whole game isn't, fundamentally, terrifying.

fwengebola said...

I had one date, with a woman who refused to pay for a single drink. So I never saw her again. I guess it is terrifying, but then needs must.