Division Two: final whistle

Reinstated this post with an addition, after originally retracting through fear the Her might look.  Despite knowing of this special place, I’m not sure she was ever bothered enough to stop by.

You anguished for a long time over selecting and making an appropriate dish for the female you’d seen three times, but not at all for the previous month.  You collected her from the other side of town, took her back to your flat, cooked a passable meal and heard, among other things, about how she was still obsessed with the smartest guy in the world from university.  About how he made her occasionally confused, heartbroken and depressed.  They had never even kissed because of his long-term girlfriend, but still they meet from time to time and he taunts her with touch: hand-holding, light petting and extravagant kisses all over her face.  A hip young indie guy, he writes for achingly cool websites and magazines, aced academia and will inevitably succeed at whatever he chooses to do as a career.  So she says.  Of course he’s young; as is she.  (You’d started to negotiate the age difference fairly well until then, inside your brain, tucking it away out of sight).  He must be aware how he tortures her to please his ego, if he is this exceptionally intelligent.  She goes away from their meetings utterly destroyed that she can’t be with him.  This partly explained why it had taken her a week to get round to seeing you since returning to the city, despite your being in almost daily contact for well over a month.  She’d been newly ground down by seeing him again, and she’d been busy with other things.  You weren’t a priority and you’d strongly suspected she was losing interest.  Like they do.  Usually long before this stage in fact.  You listened to her tale of infatuation sympathetically, not computing his cruelty until later.  After dinner you sat on your sofa, absently watched television and held her companionably.  You still felt Second Division after hearing all that.  Maybe Third.  You, for whom any genuine sense of ambition had been indefinitely on leave for the better part of two years.  Sick of knockbacks, employment, bosses, you’d retreated somewhere your esteem could get battered less.  She was a regular enough young woman, attracted by swagger and ambition and exhibitionism.  They are basic, primal requirements: a man who can provide and support, a man who can Really Achieve.  And preferably achieve in a sexy way from an impressively swanky office while wearing an expensively tailored suit; not from a room in his flat while wearing slippers.  She leaned against you on the sofa, low on energy, not feeling great, pleased enough for what you’d done, for dinner, for your attention. You didn’t know what else she was thinking.  Maybe nothing else except that Royal Variety Show gymnast’s skin-tight white leggings, or Take That’s repetitive dirge, or her back or the temperature or tomorrow.   There could’ve been something else there but you didn’t want to ask.  Stop thinking too much.  You drove her home before turning round and heading straight back to set about the washing up.  He must be a smarmy over-confident twat, you thought, picking rice from the plughole.  He must know what he does to her.  Yet they’d never even kissed?!  You glanced at your mobile and saw no Thank You message but picked it up anyway.  She was in the middle of a chat about music to some guy on Twitter, recommending her favourite artists.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  Not in the slightest, you idiot.  You sighed, drained your beer and went to bed.


It was chatting to a seldom seen friend on a long, boozy, one-to-one evening that reminded me.  Shortly before full-time, I explained to him in the otherwise entirely empty Sushi bar how she wasn’t really that interested.  He said, in his usual placid manner: “if she’s not interested, fuck her.”  Put simplistically like that, which this friend has an unerring talent for doing – untangling my crazed, pinballing brain – it sounded brilliantly simple and easy and correct.  Albeit still a little harshly phrased.

Basic self-pride: yeah.  If somebody isn’t interested in you, or they grow tired, however much of a slight it may appear, you can’t afford to ponder over it.  You must be selfish.  Fine.  It’s their loss.  If you empathise with their boredom too much – no actually, you’re right, I’m dull and don’t know what I can do to fix it – well, that path leads to unpleasant places.

Yet by taking a breath, looking onwards and upwards, you’re also smartly returned the knowledge that you can’t just snap your fingers for another go.  Chances with females don’t come round that often for you – for various reasons, and the build-up, the chase and the attempted wooing is so tediously long and drawn out.  It wouldn’t tempt you towards late-night drunken text messages or feeble pleas to meet for coffee, but the knowledge of scarcity unavoidably invokes regret.  Regret which slinks in and weasels its way into your positive thoughts of self-pride.   Regret which asks if you could have done more or done differently?  If you can answer it with No, then regret should be banished.  It should be.

We didn’t linger long on that subject or line of conversation.  My friend viewed it unemotionally, an open and shut case.


One Response to Division Two: final whistle

  1. Pingback: doing something « Swashbuckled

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