Tuesday, 21 December 2010

In which I am inspired to crossness in the middle of the night

After one of the busiest Friday nights I’ve had in a long time, I was sitting on my sofa in the small hours recently having terrible trouble keeping my eyes open.

At the other end, apparently taking absolutely none of the hints that I’d quite like him to leave so I could go to bed, was a man I’d not seen in 10 years before we’d run into each other on the last train out of London a couple of hours earlier.

We’d chatted on the train journey, and then he’d walked me home from the station before lingering on the doorstep until, out of a sheer lack of ideas, I invited him in for a 2am cup of tea (I know. No good deed goes unpunished).

We’d done the usual what we’re up to; where we’re working; why he had a large bump on his forehead that he was nursing with ice from a paper cup chats (overenthusiastic goodbye from a colleague at the Christmas party, apparently). At about 3am, on the second mug of coffee (or, in my case and truly rock ‘n’ roll, Home Counties fashion, a second mug of decaffeinated Earl Grey), the conversation turned to love lives.

“Yeah, I’ve been married just over a year now,” he said, taking a gulp of coffee. “I’ve just bought her a couple of kittens to stop her getting ahead of herself. What about you? Partner?”

“Nope,” I said, shaking my head. “Just me.”

Auld Acquaintance frowned and tilted his head at me. “Really? What, so you’re not married?”

“Heh, no. That’s what I meant by ‘just me’.” I looked at him slightly askance, and warmed my cold, tired hands around the cup.

“Oh. So, you’ve not got a long-term boyfriend, or anything?”

“No, I’ve just come out of a thing, actually.”


“I’d far rather be by myself than in a relationship that’s not right.”

“Huh. Ok then.”

It was getting wearing. None too subtly, I changed the subject to something hopefully less likely to make me cross. Like Piers Morgan. But, some minutes later…

“So, why don’t you have a boyfriend? We need to sort out your love life.”

No, really. And, hang on a cotton-pickin’ minute there, buster.

Why? And sort out? And WE?!


Ignoring the fact that I don’t happen to think that being in a relationship is a marker of success, I’d go so far as to say that even if I did, having a decent career and owning one’s own home in one’s mid-twenties probably doesn’t define a person as a total failure; or that subjecting someone to such a line of questioning at 3am when they’ve invited you into their home and fed you coffee is downright rude, WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THAT’S AN ACCEPTABLE QUESTION?! (And, actually, one that’s surprisingly difficult to brush off without resorting to the Bridget answer of “because underneath my clothes my body is entirely covered in SCALES!”)

I wouldn’t dream of turning to a married man at a party and asking why exactly he and his wife didn’t have children, and were they only sprogless because he was firing blanks (mainly because I tend not to be allowed to talk to married men at parties, but the sentiment’s still true).

Thankfully I managed to restrain myself from asking him the same question as I extricated him from the sofa at 4am and threw him out into the darkness, where frankly he can stay for the next 10 years, or until he learns some manners, whichever comes sooner.


Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

What a cock badger.

I, even from my comforting depths of relationshipness, am possibly one of only two people in the world (you included) who thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong with being single. We're so pressured into living our lives a certain way, hitting milestones and doing what those have done before us.

Seriously - people who are intent on finding boyfriends (for themselves or their single friends) drive me up the wall. Enjoy what you have, or don't have. The grass is never greener, it's just green.

lenmarsh said...

I was at a party the other day, where I met a good friend's new girlfriend for the first time. They've been together roughly sixteen days, but she took it upon herself to a) tell me that it was 'ok to be single, you know' and then b) drunkenly ask the entire assembled company if anyone knew a single man who wanted to take me out on a date.

Fen said...

Try being mid 30's and happily single. People just don't get it, and I'm sick of explaining to them that I'm 100% happy with my lot in life. So I just ignore people now if they question my singledom. Pox on them.

ps - ironically my word verification is "conform". Is someone trying to tell me something LMAO

HC said...

If it helps you respect him less, he was clearly up for some nookie.

theperpetualspiral said...

That is absolutely shocking. Simple as that.

Though I dare say somewhat of an error on your part letting him in at 2am. As HC points out, he was likely after something other than a cup of tea.

Blonde said...

PDEWYMO: Huh. Wise words, my friend. You're right about the grass only being one colour. I shall keep that in mind in future. Oh, and cockbadger? Officially my new favourite insult. Nice.

Lenmarsh: ARGH! You're kidding?! I hope you threw something at her. What a harpy.

Fen: Pox indeed. I don't understand why some people find it hard to understand. I don't question why other people choose to eat Marmite, I just let them get on with it. Lifestyles, innit? (And pox on the word verification too, for what it's worth.)

HC & Perp: Eh?! Was he? Seriously?! Yeesh. Is sex all you people think about? (Even when you're married to other people...?)

Dream in Grey said...

People like this make my brain ache. Sure being in a relationship would be nice but not to make all the smug marrieds feel better but to find the right person for me. There's nothing wrong with being single, especially when you have a happy, sorted and successful life.

not sure about the 'he wanted more' thing - would have been different if you'd been out together maybe but meeting on a train and chatting for an age doesn't strike me as automatically leading to wanting to come in for a shag.

jman said...

He must have an understanding wife if he can stay out til 4 am with the reason being he stopped in at a woman whom I hadn't seen in 10 years' house for a lengthy chat about her love life. He certainly didn't seem in a hurry to get home did he? Of course maybe she was away and the thought of going home to an empty house was more than he could bear. I don't think it's rude to tell someone at 2am or 3 am that it's late, you're tired (especially since you just got over the flu) and you need to get some sleep.

Zstep said...

I'm with jman. How does he explain away his tardiness for that evening? Unless he was using the "I'm already 3 hours later than I had said. F*** it, what's another hour or three?" excuse that I convinced myself was good reasoning back in my mid 20's. The Missus didn't think that was good reasoning though...

HC said...

He was definitely chancing it. The litmus test is whether, at any point, he someting remotely similar to "isn't it a wonder that you and I never got together".

Rockabilly Hippie said...

yea I'm with jman as well and Zstep. Was his wife not worried when he didn't arrive home? And cockbadger? Effin awesome. Going into my repertoire!

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