“Saw #111 last night,” #110 informed me by text one time. “He is still awful.”
#111 owned a restaurant we liked to go to. You were supposed to book, but we’d turn up without warning and he’d find a way to accommodate us even though the place was full. Basically, we were happy to exploit his interest in me for a few free drinks – although he was simultaneously extremely rude to #110, so it wasn’t all that ideal.
My memory is a little hazy because it was so long ago (and, as ever, fuelled by alcohol); I wonder whether he made clear what he did or didn’t see in me. I imagine that he looked at a few surface features – young, ‘alternative’-looking girl with the added bonus of bisexuality – and thought he knew the score. But maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe he was actually extremely sophisticated and had nothing but good intentions. Sure.
Eventually, one night we had dinner at the restaurant, stayed for a lock-in, invited #28 and #98 to come and join us – when they arrived, #111 looked like he wanted to kill himself – and finally we all went back to mine where more of my friends joined us. #111 brought an expensive bottle of wine and stayed for ten minutes, clearly out of his comfort zone. When he was leaving, I walked him to the door and decided to kiss him as some sort of consolation prize for the effort he’d put in.
Apparently – I learned ages later – he returned to the restaurant that night, where he informed his staff that he could’ve got anything he wanted from me, but didn’t because he decided I “wasn’t worth it”. I love this. Not only is it wildly different from my own version, but the punchline makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Dynasty or something.
I did, however, meet with him a few months later, when he was looking for someone to design a website for his business. We spent about ten minutes talking about the planned site, and for the rest of our two hours together he told stories about being rich and having sex. He was excited about an upcoming holiday he was going to take in Turkey with a couple who sounded like swingers. “You should come,” he said.
“I can’t afford to go to Turkey,” I replied. I was unemployed and relieved that I was getting a free meal out of this meeting.
“I’ll pay for you!” he exclaimed. “We’re going to stay in a treehouse with internet access, and ride horses along the beach -”
“I don’t know how to ride a horse.”
“I’ll teach you!”
I did not go to Turkey.
I was basically going to write him off as a harmless fool, but there’s also a story about him molesting one of his employees. Not cool. I met him again a few years ago when he was quite drunk. Our conversation mostly went round in circles: him finding different ways of expressing how fantastic I looked, and me finding different ways of modestly saying thank you. The only changes to this theme were when he double-checked whether I was a lesbian, and tried to remember my name.