because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Friday, 12 October 2012

I feel like I just got my first period. Or something.

So, here’s the thing.

I got taken out last Sunday. By a boy. A boy who is an old school friend, and who I hadn’t seen in eleventy thousand years, and who emailed me as soon as he knew I was going to be moving to London to say, Hey! It’s been far too long! We gotta catch up when you land!

Obviously I replied with, Dude. If you wanna take me out and show me the town when I get in, the pleasure would quite literally be ALL MINE. Because when I weighed up the pros and cons of being so damned cheeky I decided that I’d rather put myself out there as available-for-the-price-of-a-cocktail over preserving any dignity I might have left and suggesting a much more budget-friendly paper cup of tap water in the (free) park. Living the dream ain’t cheap, kids.

My old school friend (OSF) doesn’t live in London, but has to come into the city all the time for work, and last Monday he had an early meeting so came to town and stayed in a hotel the night before. It was at this hotel that I was to meet him.

What first struck me as I arrived at his chosen inn for the evening was how fancy it was. And how polar, somehow, our lives must be. My definition of a hotel is somewhere you pay to sleep in advance, hoping the stains on the bottom of the bed sheet are just accidentally spilt bronzer and not an accidentally spilt bodily fluid or similar. Apparently his definition of a hotel is… well. I could see myself in the brass door handles. Even Mama Janie’s house isn’t that spotless, and she prides herself on being able to lick the underside of the fridge and still have it taste like lemon bleach.

I have never in my life felt more like Billie Piper in Diary of a Call Girl than I did when I had to approach the reception of that hotel and say to the pristine lady behind the desk, Hello. Could you call up to Mr. Old School Friend’s room to tell him Laura Jane Williams is waiting in the lobby for him please. Much obliged.

It was the most adult moment of my life.

Turns out OSF hadn’t actually arrived, and minutes later I had the second most adult moment of my life. A text message came through: Delayed. Grab a drink in the bar and put it on my tab- I’m on my way.

PUT IT ON HIS TAB? That, my friends, is a classy move. Any single guys out there reading this (heeeeey…) TAKE NOTE: telling a chick to put a Hendricks and Slim ON YOUR TAB says three important things:
1.     “I understand that tardiness is a weakness, and you have every right to be pissed at me.”
2.     “But I know you are a lady, and would appreciate a moment to check your eyeliner and knock back a shot before we meet after all this time.”
3.     “I am man enough to provide for you unquestioningly. I’m not asking you get a drink- I’m telling you.”

Which is all a bit Christian Grey.

But then, yeah. About that. OSF arrived, we knocked back another gin, and headed out to a restaurant he’d had the foresight to book. Now, this wasn’t a date in the romantic sense, it was totally a friendship thing, but oh dear Internet: if it were a date? MAJOR POINTS.

My crazy friend Manda has this theory that love is measured in time. Sexy love, romantic love, family love, platonic love-the type doesn’t matter. What matters is that nobody ever really knows how much they are loved, you can’t touch love or taste love or tangibly feel love- but you can get a pretty good estimation of how much time somebody spent thinking about you from, for example, how they plan out a friendship date after six years of little to no contact. And from that, you know they care.

My OSF had booked us a table at the 53rd most romantic restaurant in London, (says him) to which I was all, oh? I didn’t even warrant the top ten? because I get very unsure in the face of nice gestures and ruin things by making bad jokes that make everyone more uncomfortable than if I had just said what I was thinking, which was OHHHH! HE DID PLANNING! THAT’S SO SWEET AND LOVELY AND KIND!

He just went right on ahead as I was in the bathroom and ordered an aperitif which I’ll come straight out and admit: as much as I say I am all independent woman and I’ll decide what I’m drinking and when, the whole taking charge and making decisions thing? GOOD STUFF. By the time we’d ordered first courses and main courses and puddings and coffee I was well on my way to understanding that boys my age? Not boys anymore. Whilst I’ve been off Christopher Columbus-ing the shit out of the rest of the world, sleeping with inappropriate youngsters and wondering why it never quite worked out, the High School Class of 2004 have been busying becoming men.

And that might be my new favourite thing.

OSF is just that- a friend- but after he insisted on slipping the cabbie the cash to drive me home in Classy Move Number 876, my inner feminist chilled out just long enough to agree when the next morning over my breakfast my brother’s fella said to me, ‘A man did something nice for you. Just appreciate that for what it is: nice.’

A MAN did something nice for me. Which kind of makes me think that if I want more men in my life- and after that glimpse I’m quite certain I do- I’m gonna have to stop playing the little girl card, and step up to the plate to be a woman.

And that shocks nobody more than it shocks me.

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