I have three male friends who are romantically interested in me. Now, I know that 80% of you haven’t actually met me but I’m not that scary. Once you get passed the green skin, warts and pitchfork I’m quite nice actually. But these chaps are so clueless about inspiring my interest that I simply must put pen to paper and afford other hapless, would-be Romeos with the benefit of my observations. I’ll begin with the past master of cluelessness. Brigadier bore, aka Tea.
Tea and I go back a long time; we went to school together. While we have quite a bit in common as far as our interests go, there are several facets of his lifestyle and character that I find very difficult to reconcile. Tea is one of the wittiest, most intelligent men I know but he expends his life watching television and playing video games. A magnificent mind that is utterly atrophied on the altar of indolence. Oh, he has a fair share of other hobbies and for years he’s been telling me about his future gaming empire or that house in a nearby village that he plans to buy and restore as soon as he’s done with X and finishes with Y. The problem is that X never gets done and Y barely gets a look-in. Like all of Tea’s plans, they amount to nothing, and he seems content to spend his life on a chilled-out sail to nothing. But that’s his choice. The fact that I find it as sexy as smelly socks is neither here nor there – except that he keeps dropping hints that we should ‘give it a go’. He hasn’t actually ever made a serious attempt to try and win me over. Instead he plays games and exhausts my patience.
Whenever Tea hears that I’m seeing someone, he disappears (which is really hurtful). When I’m single again, he emerges out of the shadows like a cowering buffoon and reinstates his campaign of coquetry and innuendo. When he crosses the line, I tell him, and off he skulks for sometimes weeks on end before deigning to contact me again. When he does it’s great and we have a fabulous time together before the cycle begins again. This has been going on for years. The truth is that I’m very fond of Tea and would hate to lose him as a friend, but really, it’s getting tired. I know he wants me. Then why, sweet hades, has it never occurred to him to try the mature approach? “Wanna go out with me?” Why does he persist in these silly antics, beating around the burning bush and making God bewail the ascent of man?
Now this is a sweeping, daring generalisation, and I’m sure there are scores of exceptions out there, but men are cowards. Let me sharpen this, men of my generation are cowards. They simply don’t have the basic, rudimentary skills to entice a woman. They think that bleating on the brink of blasé irony is the way to secure a woman’s affections. Or her knickers. I’ve no doubt that they are successful some of the time, but I know too many chaps like Tea who are single, lonely and nursing a festering resentment towards women – and this deeply concerns me. So much for the cowardly Tea, who has pulled-off yet another Houdini lately. I wouldn’t worry about him reading this blog and getting all pissy about it, however. That’s another thing about Tea, Tennis, and Buggery, they don’t read my blog. Which never ceases to surprise me. Clearly, they’re interested in me. Clearly, they persist in trying to ensnare my attentions, and yet completely disregard one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle – my blog. I don’t know about you but if I were interested in a man and he happened to be a writer, I would devour his blog. Granted, I wouldn’t go about it in a stalkerish, 9½ weeks kind of way but I would pepper our dialogue with remarks on his latest posts and leave the odd comment. These guys, nada. They’re not even followers of my blog. They have never left a single comment. Oh sure, they could be secretly reading my blog under the duvet with a torch in one hand and their whatsit in another, but let’s not go there.
From Tea to Tennis. I’ve known Tennis for about 4 years now; we even went on a date once. He’s a bit wet, a bit young, though an affable enough chap. He is actually someone that I wouldn’t mind getting to know a little better but he’s so woefully self-absorbed in an artist meets messiah kind of way (is there any other kind?) and yes, I’ll admit, it irritates me that he never takes an interest in my writing. As a fellow man of the craft he should know better. If I thought Tea was engrossed in the adulation of his own hubris then Tennis does one better and has his own fan page on Facebook. I kid you not. The man loves himself so much that there is precious little room left for a biscuit, let alone a girlfriend. As fate would have it, we know many of the same people and often cross paths. Over the years Tennis has made it clear that he’s interested but always in a doing-me-a-favour kind of way. Why thank you, but no, thank you. What is it with men and playing things down? Perhaps they think they’re too cool for school in a James Dean kind of way, but (i) we’re not in school anymore and (ii) you’re about as smouldering as a matchstick. Just because it worked for Mr Darcy doesn’t mean it works for you. Getting a text every three months saying we should meet “sometime” is about as exciting as yesterday’s pasta. And then I hear on the grapevine that I keep “fobbing you off”. Really? Are you serious? Is this your way of invoking my affection? By playing it so cool that even a bloody Eskimo would misinterpret your intentions?
Bloody hell, what do I have to do to get the boys in my life to man up and stop acting like fools?
He wasn’t afraid to ‘act like a man’ and by that I mean what you think I mean, sans reservations and politically correct feminist disclaimers. He was confident, courteous and unequivocal about his intentions. How refreshing.
A couple of years ago I went out with a guy who was totally wrong for me. It was one of the most exciting relationships I ever had. From the word go I knew we had little in common by way of lifestyle and interests, but he had something rare for men of our generation (thirtysomethings); he knew how to treat a woman. He wasn’t afraid to ‘act like a man’ and by that I mean what you think I mean, sans reservations and politically correct feminist disclaimers. He was confident, courteous and unequivocal about his intentions. How refreshing. In spite of our differences, he wanted me to give him a chance. I wasn’t convinced, but then he did something that, after that, there was no question of whether there would be a second date. The question was how soon before it happened. We were standing by the entrance to a tube station, and I told him that while I was attracted to him I wasn’t sure we had enough in common. He moved closer, eyes poring into mine, and traced his fingers along my jawline, finally resting them under my chin, and whispered “yes, we do”. And then he kissed me. Phwoar. Are you taking notes, men? I’m giving you gold here. He was a perfect gentleman who also knew when to take charge and be a man. None of this faffing about with text messages, innuendos and vague, non-committal emails. My relationship with this guy ended after 8 weeks, but not because he was a coward or because he was giving me mixed messages. It ended because we simply didn’t have enough in common to sustain a relationship. And that was fair enough.
Tea and tennis wouldn’t be the same without a spot of buggery. And strawberries. Everyone knows that. Buggery is confoundedly oblivious to the mixed messages he gives me. On one hand he sends flowers each year on my birthday, but signs the card ‘yours sincerely’. And then he waxes lyrical about the pomegranate-vision of my breasts, the delicate curve of my bum and ‘cascading, silken goldilocks’, but has never asked me out. Not once. Every now and again I’ll get a postcard, ‘thinking of you in this cold, Alpine chalet’. I can see him now, rocking a tumbler of Glenfiddich and masterminding his next business venture. A trail of cigar smoke cloying about him in a quiet if sombre air of accomplishment.
I wish he would man up, but until then I have tea and tennis to keep me entertained.