Thursday, 21 April 2011

In which it turns out that all is not quite what it seems

Today was a beautiful day, and with the bank holiday weekend almost upon us, my team decided to treat ourselves to lunch in the sunshine. Wandering back to the office with two of my colleagues, the conversation turned to the colleague who (unbeknown to them) recently asked me out, and the fact that he is dating my schoolfriend.

"Really?" questioned my brunette colleague. "He's seeing someone?"

"Mmm," I responded with forced nonchalance. "It's early days, but he seems to like her. I think he cooked her dinner the other night."

Brunette raised her eyebrows and replied, slightly frostily, that she supposed that it was a good thing he was looking outside of the office for once.

Obviously, my interest was piqued, so I questioned this. "Ooh, no-one you know," replied Brunette, who has worked at The PR Agency for a lot longer than me. "I think he had a thing with someone who left last year, and, well... we did exchange a couple of emails."

I glanced at her but she was staring pointedly ahead. "Um..." I ventured. "I exchanged a couple of emails with him too." Now Brunette looked round, so I continued with a wry smile, "He asked me out."

"He asked me out!" said Brunette, looking surprised.

Now I wondered what I'd gotten into, so I quickly explained that he'd cancelled on me. "He's cancelled on me five times!" said Brunette, now starting to laugh. Just as we thought it could get worse, our companion chimed in, "He hit on me too."

Brunette and I both turned to stare at Blonde, who is married! "We went for lunch," she continued, "and afterwards he emailed saying he knew it was inappropriate, but he thinks I'm really great."

By this point we were all in stitches. "He sent me that same email!" I squealed. "But without the bit about it being inappropriate!"

"He's probably got a template set up in Outlook!" laughed Brunette, and we all dissolved into fits of giggles.

Further investigation suggests that he's been 'involved' with Brunette the longest, with Blonde coming in a couple of months ago and me most recently. We haven't checked the dates exactly, but it seems there may have been some cross-over between Brunette and I - it's not impossible that he was emailing us on the same days. We've decided to put out a few feelers and see if anyone else has been in any way involved - it seems likely, don't you think?! You have to have a grudging respect for him really. He's been putting a lot of trust in the idea that we won't talk to each other about it... either that or, as Forces Wife suggested, he's completely shameless!

The gentleman in question is leaving work in a couple of months, so we have plenty of time to plot our revenge. We'd like to bring to his attention the fact that he's been caught out... and preferably in a fairly public way! As he's dating someone, we don't want to go down the obvious route of asking him out and then all turning up, in a John Tucker Must Die type scenario, but we've got plenty of time to think of an alternative... and if you have any ideas, I would love to hear from you!

Monday, 18 April 2011

In which something changes

In light of my recent disappointments with men, I turned to the one guy I knew I would have fun with: Future Husband. Last time I saw FH was a year ago, and we went for a very expensive lunch at Inamo in Soho (if you haven't been, you must) followed by a wander round Fortnum's to buy gold leaf-encrusted cakes which we later ate in Trafalgar Square. This time we decided to go all out and make a weekend of it, the highlights of which included:

Eating zebra steak at my favourite restaurant. It was so good you could have eaten it raw, which at one point I pretty much did as we were laughing so much I forgot to check it was cooked.

Raiding my parents' cocktail cabinet and staying up until seven in the morning drinking my dad's expensive vodka. I don't remember the last time I saw dawn - I'm just not that hardcore.

Listening to Bruce Springsteen records. If there's one thing I like more that listening to Bruce Springsteen CDs, it's listening to Bruce Springsteen records. I love that gorgeous scratchy sound and the way that replacing the pin on the record is a thousand times more atmospheric than skipping the track on a CD. The records included live versions of 'Fire' and 'Cadillac Ranch', which I love, and while we listened to them we sat outside drinking wine.

Laughing at 'art' at the Tate Modern. We loved the sunflower seeds, but were less impressed by the school coat hooks covered in mud. I mean, what?!

All in all, it was the best weekend I've had in a long time. There's just one thing. Sitting in FH's kitchen, listening to Neil Diamond and watching him do the washing up, I suddenly realised that I might just be absolutely, head over heels in love with this gorgeous man.

Oh, shit.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

In which I ponder the meaning of 'honesty'

Honesty is a prized quality. We all want honesty in our lives, from our friends, our co-workers and our lovers. Nobody wants to be lied to. But the trouble with all this honesty is that people are fickle. If you're too honest, there can be consequences, because what you want today may not be what you want next week.

Of course, I've been pondering this for a reason, and I'm sure it won't take a genius to work out that that reason involves a man. A couple of weeks ago, around the time I was being messed about by The Brazilian, a colleague of mine was having a flirtation with one of my old schoolmates. It turned out that the schoolmate had a boyfriend, and somewhere along the line my commiserations with The Colleague ('Why are all the good ones taken?' 'Why don't men call?') turned to flirting, and he asked me out.

Now, it's always a risk to get involved with a workmate, but knowing that he'd been headhunted and would be leaving soon, I accepted. Drinks with a handsome single man? Yes please. Plus I liked his honesty. I liked the straightforward way he said he liked me and would like to get to know me better. (Yes, it's that word, 'straightforward', again and no, it didn't work out well for me last time but I live in misplaced hope.)

To cut a long story short, the date didn't happen. Deja vu, anyone? The schoolfriend broke up with her boyfriend and The Colleague decided to go out with her instead. He cancelled our date, claiming to be a 'one women guy', which would be have been admirable if he hadn't forgotten that (for the time being at least) that one woman was supposed to be me.

This is where honesty comes into it all, because in cancelling our date, he said, "I know it's shit, and I'm sorry Ruby, but I'm just being honest with you". Do I want that kind of honesty? The kind that says, 'I chose to date someone I'd never met before over you'? The kind that allows him to hurt me and then claim the defence of honesty? The kind that allows him to forget that a week ago he was being honest when he said he wanted to go out with me?

Of course, the honest response to this would be, "Ouch - please excuse me while I go and cry in the ladies"... which is why I chose to lie outrageously, claimed I couldn't care less and then turned up at work the next day in a new dress, seamed stockings and six inch stilettos. What else could I do? I've been asked on two dates in the last month, and neither man has hung around long enough for even one drink. This is not an impressive record.

Still, onwards and upwards! And until then, I have a weekend with my Future Husband* planned. In the name of complete honesty, I've already told him that if he dares cancel on me I'm going Glen Close on his ass.

*Future Husband became a firm friend age four, when we realised we shared a birthday. Looks like a young Bruce Springsteen, dated Forces Wife about a decade ago, our parents would like us to marry. Despite having looks, charm and intelligence, he is almost certainly not my future husband.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

In which I do not go on a date

I decided what to wear to the BBQ. It took a week, but I eventually chose skinny jeans, a loose-fitting vest and sky high heels. I was pretty confident about it. It's a good look. I'm wearing it now in fact, as it is the day of the BBQ. I'm wearing it to watch Cold Feet in my bedroom.

The Brazilian didn't call. It was a promising start, with the texts, and the call, and some more texts during the week, but we never actually managed to arrange anything and I haven't heard from him all weekend. Maybe I'm just being naive, but I wouldn't be surprised if he just had a busy night at work last night and isn't even awake yet. Still, it's disappointing and more than a little embarrassing, given that I told half the people I know that I had a date today.

I hope this isn't what it's going to be like, dating. I'd like to actually attend a date at some point, rather than just spend my weekends wondering if my phone is broken. Of course, it is the 21st century, and I could just call him, but where's the pride in that? I'd almost definitely just end up feeling worse.

In the meantime, Former Love of my Life has been in touch, in a Facebook message to everyone he knows, asking us to his birthday party. He's going to an 80s club, something we'd been talking about for months before we split up. Obviously I'm not going to go. Obviously. But I do now get to be included on the many, many messages from all of our friends, who I no longer see as we have split up, planning a night out I originally suggested. Lovely. Why did he invite me? Surely he doesn't want me to go. Surely he knows I don't want to go. I loved him far too much to be friends. Last time I saw him I burst into tears in seconds.

I would worry about what it all means, but to be honest, as with The Brazilian, I suspect it means very little. I spend my whole life talking to my girlfriends about what men mean and in most cases they appear to be mainly forgetful, lazy or confused. In the meantime, women (or me at least) insist on overanalysing every single thing and we just make ourselves miserable. The game playing is exhausting, isn't it?