The thing I don’t understand about dating is this: I don’t understand why it is so much of a rush.
Girl meets boy. Boy suggests a drink. Girl says okay. Boy and girl sit opposite each other for the duration of a beverage in a noisy bar, and have to decide if they are going to kiss by the time they finish it. GO.
Scenario one: girl thinks nope. Don’t want to kiss him. Not yet. Boy thinks she is not interested. The story ends as soon as the Guinness does.
Scenario two: girl thinks okay. I’d quite like to kiss him. Boy understands she is interested. The next date, date number two, doesn’t only end with kissing, then, but starts with it too, in order to establish that this is definitely romantic intention.
The kissing, at some point, be it on date two or three or four, leads to sex, because sex is fun – especially when the other person makes you laugh. Except, then the sex becomes sleeping over, because it’s just easier that way, and normally, in those heady early stages, it becomes sleeping over a lot.
The dating becomes an excuse for the sex, at worst, and at best an added bonus. True love happens in 0.032% of all cases. A minuscule amount. I mean – that’s no reason not to play hide-the-salami. Nu-uh. But sex doesn’t always mean love, let’s just be clear on that.
It can be nice to pretend sometimes though.
But. HERE’S THE THING. Scenario one might not mean a girl isn’t interested. It might mean the very opposite. It might mean that she is actually incredibly interested, otherwise she’d go home with you right now and then simply never call again. Maybe the thought of kissing the boy means cementing that interest beyond what she feels right now, though, which isn’t the damp beating of the heart between her legs but more of a yes. I want to drink more beverages with you.
Why is there no option for that on the first date feedback form? No worries of kissing and groping and even come-back-to-mine-ing, just, yup. This was fun. Let’s have more fun at opposite sides of a table without tasting each very soon.
Why is there no option for let me see your life? An option for oh, so that’s how you treat the waitress at a restaurant, and hmmmm, that’s who you spend quiz nights at the pub with, and I’m sorry. I really don’t think your knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more extensive than mine since we’ve watched every season together and your Giles impression still sucks balls.
I think the word I am looking for, way back here in 1953, is courting. I want to know why courting isn’t an option.
I call London dating disposable dating. If the guy doesn’t know his Merlot from his Malbec, or the gal her Kerouac from her Keats, or some other arbitrary criteria goes unfulfilled, it’s on to one of the eleventy bagillion other singles looking for a warm body and a giggle.
I don’t want it. It’s too much, too soon. I don’t want to decide here, in this pub, with the music too loud and the people too trendy, whether this will be the beginning. I want weeks and months of gentle discovery, clues on the treasure map, a journey that we silently agree to take together where first our minds graze purposefully/accidentally up against each other, and then our hearts find the courage to gently hold the other, in the quiet, on a slow walk home in the dark.
Our bodies will be the last piece to fall into place, not the first – neck on the crook of an arm, comfortably nestled up against something real, something genuine, the satisfaction of delayed gratification worn like a blanket of memories already made, histories already entwined, present perfect, looking in the same direction.
I want Javier Bardem to be reading the newspaper opposite me, sneaking glances as we digest yet another dinner jointly cooked before he takes the book from my hands, lovingly folds over a corner to mark my page and says, “Darling, it’s time.”
The second thing is, though, that I don’t know where to find my Javier, my bloke that wants the same. And I know that’s the point- that the very definition of finding him will mean he is the right one to buy trinkets from the museum for, the right one to trouble myself in learning his favourite cake.
But in the meantime I’m waiting. And probably, what I really mean is, is that if you see him, maybe even looking for me too, tell him I’m ready to avoid looking him in the eye, and to have him teach me how to use chopsticks, and to not kiss, out of choice, because I like him so much I’m scared, until the moment when I really can’t bear not to anymore.