the perfect angle

You think you can make compromises for potential short-term gain.  It’ll be easy.  So what if there’s an age-gap of some kind or there’s another obvious cosmetic defect?

You think it’s true.  But your friend, or one good friend, he laughs, says ‘no you can’t,’ shakes his head like he knows you better than you know yourself.  All evidence points to him being right and you being wrong, which is annoying.

You thought you might be right this time.  She had years on you, a good decade in fact.  But so what?  This wasn’t marriage.  Just.. whatever it was.  She seemed smart and had other strong features, notwithstanding the baggage.  You can’t get to her age, be single and not have baggage though.  It’s to be expected and is extremely rare if that’s not the case.

So you met.  She entered the coffee shop and you saw her and immediately shrunk.  You wanted to recoil back into your shell and not come out until she’d gone.  This was all wrong..  just, no.  Would you have had this reaction if she was more attractive?  Because you are that shallow, without doubt.  How about if she didn’t have such a dominating brace stapled to her teeth?  Still, you had to be polite and nice and charming and play along for a good hour or more, asking questions, lightly filling in the edges of yourself without giving too much information away in case she was a lunatic.  You liked that she knew next to nothing about you, not even any of your many tragic internet identities.

Yet it still felt wrong and you weren’t at all proud of yourself.  You were embarrassed by yourself, tired and irritated.

You took an early day, went for a wander into town, into a grimy pub, and bought a beer which slid down incredibly well.  Then you texted a friend who was just leaving work and open to the idea of a beer in a sunny beer garden.  You met and went to a better bar where eventually you told him how you’d spent your day and he laughed.  ‘You’re pickier than you think!’  You shrugged, and laughed too.  It was ok now beer and a mate were here to rationalise.

After a couple of beers he was harried home for dinner and you parted.  On returning to your flat with beer you grazed social networks to see a female fancy had gone on a successful first date.  It made you sad because you liked her a lot, although you knew you couldn’t put your lives on hold for the memory of one night, when now a few thousand miles separated you.

You drunkenly pondered other opportunities in the last week or two, times when you could have gambled and risked embarrassment, but who knows?

Champagne-at-dawn girl who was surely too posh for you?  Or not.  Was she expecting a move you didn’t make because you were slightly intimidated and rather drunk?

The Italian postgraduate student in the gym jacuzzi who talked your ears off.  Boyfriend in New York but so what?  (As a terminal singleton, it’s possible to respect the relationships of others too much, particularly if signs point in the other direction.  You have responsibilities to yourself too).  You couldn’t help feeling that one of her own kind, an Italian or Frenchman would have made more of a smooth, cocksure play: coffee or something.

The blonde you mocked in a bar for being so cross that there were only three files in the S Drive.  It was irresistible after overhearing her conversation.  She burst into embarrassed giggles.  As much as you played with it in your head, you only had the nerve to use the line as they were leaving the pub; not while they were still sitting opposite you, firmly ensconced in girly conversation and a bottle of wine.

In real-world situations you should be more daring, not in the safe-haven of the multi-layered and often duplicitous sodding internet.  If you really are clinically unable to compromise on the short-term, learn to take a risk or two.  But that’s easier said than done.  Like watching a football team which plays a neat passing game but never takes a shot because they can’t find the perfect angle.

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