“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Brace yourself. I have a lot to say.
Since the atrocities of my previous date, a lot had changed in my life in the span of only a couple of months. As I alluded to in the previous entry, I moved away from the city I was living in, in which all of these previous dates had occurred. And the reason I’d moved wasn’t particularly pleasant, either – my father was especially ill. When I say different city, I actually mean a different city in an entirely different country. Yes, sweet reader, I moved to Wales.
…IN SEARCH OF THE CHARLOTTE.
The timing of the move and the move itself, and the circumstances by which it was required, were difficult environments to adjust to. I moved to a city where I knew no-one other than my immediate family, having come from a place I’d been happily settled in for 10 years. I’d left a great job, I’d left my own freedom, I’d left a set of fantastic people I loved and I’d also left all familiarity behind. Sure, friends could visit. I could visit. But it’s not exactly the same. It isn’t the same at all. Perhaps it wasn’t a big deal, but I’d say all in all, I was on edge emotionally and felt somewhat delicate in my surroundings. I felt vulnerable for the first time in a long time. I felt sad. And I felt scared. For both me and my Dad.
The first necessity once completing this move was to find a job. I didn’t have one to move into straight away so getting one quickly was a crucial thing to do as I’d already ditched my last. Fortunately I’d managed it. At an outbound call centre. Selling mis-sold mortgage claims. Making 350 calls a day. Whilst listening to dance music. Surrounded by 90 other fuckwits. With funny accents. Now, I haven’t tended to beat around the bush thus far and I won’t start now – it was fucking hell. I managed it for only three months before desperately finding something else. But my first day there was special.
“Hey! Made any sales today?”
“Yeah, I totally just ripped off a pensioner!”
It was the day Jane graduated from university, the first day we’d really started texting, and it was a beautifully sunny day from start to finish. And I’d also realised I’d be working alongside Roxy (not her real name, as she now has moved on). Roxy, currently, is the only girl I’m prepared to bring into this ‘blog’ whom I didn’t actually meet on an online date. You’ll understand why.
See, when your office is a fucking dancefloor and the rate of attrition in the workplace is as high as a hippy on a Bank Holiday Monday, you interview people in blocks of TEN. As in, my interview for this job was done alongside and in the same room as 9 other people. At the same time. They were all very pleasant. Sort of. Some had experience doing this sort of thing. Some had absolutely none. Some were quite articulate and clear in their points, some were a fucking mess. Some were very young, some were very old. I like to think I stood out.
“My key strengths are chicken, drinking, smoking and interviews.”
Unlike the above picture, I was the only one wearing a suit, a little bit like date #7 I suppose, although this time it went down quite well. About 10 minutes into the group interview, one candidate wandered into the group late with very little regard as to being apologetic or any sort of of caring about it. I liked her immediately. Her attitude suited my thoughts about the whole process, although I could hide those thoughts whereas she had absolutely no chance or desire to do so. This was the day I met Roxy.
She got there just in time to hear me say my piece – I spoke about me, what I was good at, what experience I had, my ambitions. Lies, all of it. As we went round the table I listened to the utter toss all the other shits had to offer, and then we got to Roxy. I listened intensely. As I did, her words were almost a carbon copy of mine. Apart from the specifics in terms of where she’d come from and her direct experience, all of the words she used were the same as mine. All of the mannerisms. All of the buzzwords. All of the core competencies. As she sat there and spoke, I remember saying to myself in my head, “You’re copying the right person.”
Please don’t think I’m being conceited by saying this – the room was crammed with more glittered turds than a Disco tribute night staged in the toilets of the Dog’s Head. She was clearly smart. Quite intelligent. She just had no idea what was expected of her when it came to things like that, so she chose the one person she thought knew best. Let it be said – I interview like a fucking demon. Like a proper sneaky, charming, well-spoken bastard. Roxy was not wrong.
We all left that interview room at the same time, off to go back to either a) Our other jobs (Christ, God bless them if that was the case) or b) home or C) elsewhere. As it turns out we walked home the same way, not speaking, only I happened to be walking about 30 seconds behind her. And I enjoyed every single second. She had the bottom of an Ebony Goddess and a face the colour of Waitrose Seriously Creamy Vanilla ice cream scooped delicately and intricately from a tub that only angels dare to spoon.
I fancied her a bit.
Not my interview face.
BUT. Bottom line, this post is about Jane Eyre. And mercy me, I was taken by Jane Eyre. Roxy is merely a distraction at this stage, please, let us focus on Jane.
We’d talked for some time. And, for the first time compared to my previous dates, the question was raised about why I had ended up where I was. I’d actually been kind of reluctant confess the real reason as it almost encouraged some sort of sympathy vote which I did NOT want. No need for that. No thanks. We ended up skirting the subject for as long as we could.
From what I’d seen on her profile, she seemed to be a WOW. No other way to describe her than a WOW. It took us a while to meet face to face as Jane was talking to both me and another dude. She had not yet been on an online date and intended to date only one lucky devil at a time. I didnt find this out until a short time later and it turns out that one date, that first date, that lucky devil was me. Apparently I was funnier than the other dude she was talking to. And to this day, two years later, I still thank that other dudes shit ability to be funny via text for Jane deciding to meet me first.
Go me and my texting.
She’d professed before hand that this online dating stuff had lead to a lot of innapropriate pictures being sent to her she felt uncomfortable with that sort of thing. Inappropriate in the sense that…you know…there were pictures of willys. So I felt the need to send her as many ‘close to innapropriate’ pitures as I could. Pictures such as:
All very classy, I know. By the way, all of the above pictures are original content so if you steal them, God help me, I will SUE YOU SO HARD. Copyright Fannyflaps.co.uk etc, etc.
I remember when we first met very well. We’d arranged our date to be on a Saturday night and it happened to be the day I had loads of family friends visiting. I’d gone out with the family friends and ended up drinking quite a large amount of cider prior to meeting Jane, to the point where I had to delay the date for half an hour. By the time I got there, I was approaching trashed. “She doesn’t know me, she won’t be able to tell” I told myself. I tell myself a lot of gash.
I’d arrived slightly earlier than Jane despite being half an hour late for our date. I got a pint and sat somewhere far away from the bar but with a clear view of both entrances and the entire bar area. I was pissed so I felt confident and well-dressed. I felt friendly and charming. Suave. And I felt nervous.
I saw her come into one of the entrances and walk to the bar. She glanced around a few times to see if she could spot me. She eventually saw me looking over and we both smiled, and I tell you right now, from 30 feet at least, she absolutely blew me away. I was done. I was there. I was absorbed. I was taken. That was the beginning of the end. It was the best smile I’d ever seen.
SEXY AS FUCK.
That picture above is a drawing I did of her after we’d been on a few dates. I was trying to explain to what I thought of her eyes and what they looked like. She didn’t appreciate it. You’re going to have to trust me, or at least trust my perception – when the girl smiled at me I dropped everything.
Not sure how I managed to pull it off, but I think it went well. We stayed in the place we met for no more than a couple of drinks, then moved on to another place which was rammed, so much so we STOOD OUTSIDE and danced, barely able to move. Conversation went well, as well as it could go given the loudness and brashness of a town centre on a Saturday night. We then went to a…working mans club? I think that’s how it’s defined. It was bright, and full of old drunks, and the decoration looked like it had been completed by Lawrence Llwelyn-Bowen using the produce of a scat party and several bottles of piss. I said that at the time. She laughed. She told me that she referred to me as ‘Funny Guy’ to her friends. I was chuffed, but not necessarily pleased with the respobsility it bore. So I had to be funny ALL the time? Even when sober? Fucking fuck.
If you understand this image in this context then I’m pleased for you.
Once we’d decided to leave the shit-house, we went to the top of the road and sat by the fountains on some steps for a while, just talking. We talked about music, and films, and aspirations, and our jobs, and the city we shared with one another. We were on the subject of music at one stage and I pulled out my phone to play something. “Oh God, you’re not going to play something on your phone like some bus-chav are you?”. I was. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to disappoint her.
After an hour that felt like only 10 minutes, we moved from the steps and I walked with her to get a cab. Before she got in, she turned close to look me in the eye and smile.
I went in for a kiss. She pulled away.
She may have even said something to accompany the turn. Something like “No…” or “Not yet”….or “REALLY?” but I can’t remember. I think she just smiled and shook her head slightly, then turned to leave. Her cab driver probably got a pleasant trip, with a pretty, polite and sober girl quietly smiling in the back of his cab as he drove her home. My cab driver got a fucking nightmare. “WHY DID I TRY AND KISS HER!? WHY DID I DO THAT, DRIVE!? I KNEW SHE WOULDN’T! WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP ME!?!?”
Pretty sure he remained silent the entire way home.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the lack of kiss, even the morning after. From then on we still text one another as often as we did before, and it was evident all over that a good time was had by both. So we met again. And again. And again. And again.
Roxy was asking who Jane was. I didn’t want to tell her she was an online date as I was somewhat embarassed about what she would think. See, at this point Roxy and I were not only spending the whole working day with one another but texting each other all evening as well. And I don’t mean a text here and there, it was pretty much constant. We were flirting, heavily. That flirting turned into outright sexting. And that sexting eventually turned into pictures of her, naked. Doing things, naked. And at this point we hadn’t even kissed or made attempts to do so.
Oh, and Roxy had a long term boyfriend. With whom she lived. And this is perhaps my first foray, within this blog, into admittance of being a bad person.
Sorry, Obama. 🙁
Date two with Jane was non-eventful, but very, very nice. I was sober for the entirety of the evening yet I remember more about the first. I can’t recall what we did – I think it was a quiet drink in town. She teased me about my state from the date previous and it was light hearted and friendly, not malicious at all. Just all especially lovely. The alcohol served no addition to how beautiful she was the first date – she was even better the second. And funny. And I adored her voice. And her aura of calm. And her confidence. I was a gentleman throughout, and almost certainly calmer our meeting before. When we left one another’s company it was with a warm embrace and a settled, happy feeling. When I was in the cab on the way home she text me.
“Didn’t fancy kissing me this time, then?”
If I remember correctly, I melted a little inside, grinned a huge grin…and told the cab driver I’d fallen for Welsh girl.
The third date with Jane had me going to her house for movie watching. It was actually her Dad’s house who was staying with his girlfriend that evening, so we had the house to ourselves. He had motorbikes inside the house halfway through being fixed and a massive DVD collection that I actually fully went through. I’d brought cider and wine and pizza, and we both went for it. I can’t remember what we watched but I do recall it taking fucking forever to set up. There was some sort of speaker connection issue that meant there was a lot of fiddling and fumbling and trying things in different holes.
“No mate…not like that. Seriously, pay attention.”
I do recall thinking at the time that she sat very close to me. She sat in an exact position on the sofa that meant I was sort of squeezed into one of the ends, close to her. I think this was in part down to my response to her message about not trying to kiss her. I must have made it clear that I would the next time we met. Between actually paying attention to the film, and before any sort of kissing happened, we discussed all manner of things. One thing stood out that seems more significant to me now than it did then. We started discussing religion for some reason and Jane had already told me she was a ‘Strong, independent Catholic girl’. I knew the first two were true, I had no idea about the third. We got into a mini argument about the subject of God. I put forward the opinion that anything could be a God if it has someone to worship it. I pointed to the tyre on her Dad’s bike – “That could be my God. If I was to worship it, pray to it, assign principles to it and practice those beliefs, why could it not be my God?”. My argument may have lacked any real credibility but she proffered nothing to really counter it. I don’t think she appreciated what she would consider a belitting of her religion.
We drank a little more, and moved even closer, and eventually we were kissing. It was an excellent moment. We kissed a lot that evening. By this time it was getting quite late, so we moved upstairs and lay on her (single) bed and watched “Step Up 2: The Streets”. What the living fuck we were doing with that on, I don’t know. We were both pretty drunk by this point, so kissing became touching, touching became removing clothes, removing clothes became me kissing her from her neck to her thighs, stopping more than a few times along the way. I adored every inch, and I told her so. At one stage she said “Oh, so you’re a talker?” and I didn’t really know how to react. I suppose I was.
For the record, still am.
I had to get a cab back home at about 6:30 in the morning whilst quite, quite drunk. I didn’t have enough money to get all the way home so stopped the cab driver almost two miles from my house and walked the rest of the way along the seafront, the early morning sunshine beaming on my very happy face. It was a good time. On my way back I picked a flower from the side of the promenade, held it up and took a picture of it on my phone then sent it to her, then threw it the fuck away. This may be your first insight into my moronic nature, dear reader. However, I’m sure you’ve already got me sussed. I can’t remember whether she even replied to that or not, but the gesture was there. You know, a romantic gesture.
Romance and drunk romance – very different things.
From then on there was a lot of sweetness to me and Jane. Things appeared to be going well, where she would come to mine, I would go to hers, we’d watch movies and talk. God it was lovely. One time she came to mine and asked me to put on one of my favourite films, which happened to be Boogie Nights. If you’ve not seen it, it’s about 2 and a half hours of movie about the porn industry in America in the 1970’s. So, you know, it looks like I just want to be rude to her. Which I did. But it’s an amazing film at the same time so you know, license or whatever.
Standard everyday occurrence.
Whether it was that night or another I don’t recall, but we lay in bed with the lamp on looking at one another. Snuggled. We lay talking, with the duvet up to our noses. She said that she hadn’t experienced that ability to be that close that soon before. And again it made me melt. There were a couple of times where I would go into the city centre with her on mornings as she started an hour and a half before me. We would sit, on those same steps we sat on the first night we met, and wait for her to start work. I think about it now and it just seems beautiful with me and her sitting there together, resting her head on my shoulder. In actuality, at the time, all I could think about was what I was going to say to work when I called in sick and got the bus home to sleep. Perhaps I should have taken more stock.
From here on, I’m a little confused. Confused in part because I still don’t really know how things went the way they did and…well, no, I just don’t know. I was drunk. I let her down on a few ocassions whereby she asked me to attend certain events and I’d cancelled. But nothing severe. If I was to tell you, dear reader, that at this time of my life I was drinking really rather heavily, mostly alone, and armed with a phone, then I would be telling the truth. The things I’ve said, mostly by text, when drunk, have harmed my relationships with other people more than almost anything else. As a consequence of this, I may have once or twice, pushed her a little on her feelings. To the point of being unsexy. At one stage I went as far to say that I wasn’t completely sure about ‘us’ dating, and her response was, again, ‘Really?’. To this day, I’m unsure if that ‘Really?’ was one of ‘Oh no, is he really serious?’ or one of ‘Really? Don’t take the piss. I can see right through you.’ As time goes on, it’s looking more and more like the latter. And that’s…fine.
“No…seriously, it’s fine. I’ve got a shitload to do anyway. Honestly.”
The next few dates? Fractured. Slightly tense. Awkward. And in hindsight it’s become clear that I was fighting a losing battle. And given my general shambolic approach to most things at that time, I strolled through it like a monkey with a cigarette and an erection. We’d gone to see ‘The Worlds End’ at the cinema but beforehand went and had Mexican food. This isn’t going where you think it’s going, I have a stomach like a rubbish skip. It was just…stand offish. Like, everything we said to one another was immediately met with a sneer and a violent sigh. Generally the kind of situation I want to get up and walk away from. Whilst we were at the restaurant, (I say restaurant, it was more of a well maintained shack) the waiter, who was a young, athletic, handsome sort of cunt, pretty much exclusively looked and spoke to her when taking orders and all the other gash waiters are supposed to do. And, although she didn’t necessarily encourage it outright, it fucked me off that she was so at ease with it. His gaze was pretty much met by hers, second for second. So my overall feeling of redundancy was further compounded.
“And a little later, I’ll be putting THIS in your girlfriend.”
She did, however, despite wearing a pristine white shirt, not manage to get a single bit of food on her. I can’t recall, but I probably had the contents of a Mariachi band’s lunch down me. High fives to her.
Once the film had finished (I won’t comment on the film, I had a waiter on the brain), we began a slow walk through town. I’d assumed I’d be coming back to her house but the offer hadn’t actually been given. I asked her if it was okay if I did, and tellingly, it was along the lines of ‘You can if you want to, yes’.
Whilst back at her house, we had a beer or two and went to bed, and I remember the evening really well. It was hot, and I really struggled to sleep, perhaps because I quite wanted to have sex with her. We’d already had sex a number of times before, but despite all of my ‘moves’ this night, it wasn’t happening. I didn’t ask, because people don’t generally ‘ask’ do they. Do they? Do people actually say “Right, would you mind if I did sex to you?” No. Surely not. If they do, email me please. I’ve been doing it all wrong. But it wasn’t that she didn’t want to have sex. It’s that she didn’t say she didn’t. Which lead me to believe at the time there was a reason as to why she didn’t say it, and she wasn’t prepared to lie. Meaning it was something along the lines of not fancying me physically, emotionally or personality-ly. I lay there, looking at her back, stroking her side, thinking pretty much all of the things I just mentioned. And it stunk of the end.
The next morning, before she got in the shower, I held her in bed for a while, and I suppose my ‘moves’ went into overdrive. We had what I consider very uncomfortable, mechanic, chore-like sex, with all the passion and enthusiasm of a mother who has given in to her child’s demands for a toy. I can’t truly say it was ever pulsing with passion, even at the height of our romance, but even during this I felt like it was something for her to ‘get out of the way’. And it didn’t happen because I desperately wanted sex. Frankly, I wank like a champion. I was mostly attempting to use it as a tool for her to like me. To ignite something. To try and gain some ground. To bring back some modicum of closeness. And of course, it didn’t happen. Once I’d come, I clambered back up the bed and she went to have a shower, with not a word said between us. It was the last time we had sex.
When she came out of the shower, she began her morning routine in front of me and it was the first time I’d really watched her get dressed from start to finish. She stood there, in front of me, naked. I genuinely couldn’t help but tell her how incredible she looked. And anyone that knows me will tell you I won’t be satisfied with a sub-standard, plain compliment. This had to be powerful. Touching. Laced with sexiness and sensuality and emotion and intelligence. So I said it.
“Fuck Jane…you look……..majestic.”
Her physical response was almost identical to how I feel reading that, and her words were something the lines of “Oh….er….okay.” And it’s at this point I should point out that Jane was NOT A FUCKING HORSE.
Christ…look at the tits on that.
So, as you’d probably guess, things began to tail off somewhat between me and Jane. At least, that’s the way I see it now. At the time, my liking of her was only growing, but reflection has made me see things differently. The last time we met was on a Friday night out, with a few of her friends.
Now, I know it’s not just me. You remember parts of your life – small tiny segments, fractions, 2 second, even half second clips – as vividly as if happened in the time it took you to read that sentence. I got out of the cab, saw Jane across the road yet she didn’t see me. I walked over to her and she spotted me when I was no more than three feet away. She looked me up and down very quickly and a look of what I can only describe as disgust washed across her face. It wasn’t what I was wearing. It wasn’t that I was a little late. It was just me.
I’d never met any of her friends before, so to do so was quite nice. You might even think that it was some sort of ‘test’ in the dating game. You know, meet the mates sort of thing. It wasn’t. There may have been more, but I only remember two, one of them being an extremely well dressed, out for the night, fake tanned, massive eyebrowed girl, with eyelashes like canoes. She was very sweet. She’d have to be, because that wasn’t really Jane at all. The other was a really friendly, well travelled gay guy. Whom I immediately liked, and whom immediately liked me. He’d spent a fair bit of time living in Sweden, so whilst in the company of Jane I referred to all the places I knew in Sweden and asked whether he’d visited and stayed there. I sounded knowledgeable. Interested. Rugged.
This has literally taught me everything I know about places. Anywhere. Ever.
The night continued. It was so-so. I embarrassingly ran out of money, so had to borrow a tenner from Jane to get home. Which, still, to this day, I want to give back to her. But you know, I’m not going to arrange it with her or anything. I like tenners.
I know this happened, yet it puzzles me, as I carried on drinking for a long time after that tenner was leant to me. We went to a local ‘club’ which was effectively a big fuck-off house that turns into a ‘cool place’ after midnight. It wasn’t. And isn’t. It’s the last fucking gasp at capturing a coolness that will never belong, yet still I appreciate its gesture and presence. There was awkward dancing. A bit of sweatng. By this time, I’d been thoroughly fucked off by the effort it took to garner anything more than a friendly smile from Jane, so my overall attitude was ‘get smashed’. I wasn’t nearly smashed enough when we all sat outside and were approached by a guy wanting a cigarette (which I duly gave him, because I’m a legend), who claimed he was an Air Traffic Controller at a London Airport, back home for his weekend off. Jane looked on in awe. Which purely served to heighten my desire to be no more than a drunken fool.
Less than ten minutes after this, Jane and her curly friend went back home in a cab and I was left with the well travelled, Sweden-living homosexual. Which was absolutely awesome. This tenner was seriously going some fucking distance. I really liked him, to be fair. He was funny as fuck, found me funny as fuck, and was more than happy to have me talk about Jane.
At the entrance of a different club. Another club. A low key club. We spoke about Jane, closely. And part of me at the time thought about how we may have looked, to an outsider, that we were flirting. And about how we were, indeed, probably flirting. Although at the same time I was commenting on how Jane had not yet…you know…given me a…you know…one of them…you know…things. And how I liked those, you know, things. Very much.
It came the time for us to leave. We lived in entirely different directions. He said ‘cool, there’s a cab stand just up here.’ Indeed there was. He flagged a cab, gave the driver his address, and left the door wide open for me to get in. “You’re coming back to mine,” he said. I told him no, I wasn’t. I couldn’t. Could I? Should I? What if…no, that wasn’t going to happen. All of this, by the way, was said very much out loud. And once it was all said, I’d decided to get in my own cab. Which he tried to force his way into.
Once I’d convinced him that I didn’t want a night of penis – just yet – I went home and reflected on the evening with a cider and a monumental grimace.
That was the last night I ever saw Jane.
We were supposed to go out the next night, me and Jane that is, but she decided against it as she she wanted to stay home alone and have a chinese. I told her that her homosexual friends were a definite threat to her relationships. She didn’t care.
I know. I know.
Let’s wrap this up.
The Saturday, given that I was no longer going out, was spent getting drunk again. And texting Jane like an imbecile. I broached it again. I told her that I wasn’t entirely sure we were right for one another. That I wasn’t sure we had much further to go. That perhaps we’d walked as far down the road as we could. And her response wasn’t ‘really?’ this time. She agreed with me. I’m pretty certain that when she responded in agreement, further adding to the ‘walked as far down the road as we can’ analogy, I may have said ‘really?’ myself.
By this point I was mightily drunk. To the point where tact and logic had no bearing. So I began questioning her. Why? What was wrong? What was happening? What had I done? The responses didn’t come as quickly as I wanted, so I called her, whilst en route to the garage to buy more alcohol.I walked along the seafront and it was pitch black apart from the moon hitting my eyes through the trees. When she answered my call, I asked the question. Why didn’t she want to continue seeing me? After a short pause, which at the time felt like an eternity, she answered that ‘It isn’t there romantically.’
At the time, and for some time after, those words haunted me. I’d repeat them over and over, and no matter how many times I said them, the sinking, doomed feeling I got when I first heard them wouldn’t go away.
The whole thing with Jane, and the ceasing of it, actually hit me quite hard. I can’t really tell you why – it didn’t especially feel intense or emotional whilst it was going on. I can only put it down to an overall feeling of vulnerability that came with my circumstances. We shared a few texts back and forth the next few days, mostly me drunk and sending her songs. The last text I sent her asked her if another guy was involved. She didn’t reply.