When I first met #187 I guess I essentially thought: girlfriend material. Which is saying a lot given how I am generally scared of commitment and everyone I’ve ever gotten into a relationship with feels like an exception to the rule. But the thing about #187 was that, not only was she of course hot, she was also smart and cool and we had a bunch in common and I was like: how come this person has been living in Edinburgh and I didn’t get to hear about it before now?
I was adjusting to being single again. Having made out with #184, #185 and #186 in quick succession, I figured I was up for more of this sort of thing, but I decided I really wasn’t ready to have sex with anyone again yet. Nope. Definitely too early to even think about that. Definitely needed time. I was absolutely convinced of this, and when I’m that convinced of something it can only ever be viewed as foreshadowing. Within a week, I was having blurry but nonetheless hot lesbionic sex with #187.
I mean, for the longest time I didn’t know how it had happened. We’d gone out for dinner with Alice and Eithne, and then drinks, and then I had gone back to #187’s place by myself to, you know, drink tea or whatever, and then … yeah. I couldn’t for the life of me remember who had made the first move, which felt like crucial information to have given that I actually had an ongoing crush on her. I woke up in her bed the next morning, and I remember we drank lemon, ginger & mango tea, and we lay there talking and I peeked out the window and saw snow swirling around like crazy, and it was kind of beautiful.
Also she bit my arm and the wound she left me with was really kind of obvious so I didn’t really expose my arms for a couple of weeks, plus some of the time I was working with women who got bruises in less pleasurable ways so I felt like it might be kind of weird. But I documented mine anyway.
But the thing was, we actually didn’t talk about what had happened. I didn’t know if she was interested in a repeat performance or anything, and I just didn’t want to mess with her boundaries, I mean I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable by having a crush on her if she didn’t really have a crush on me, and basically I am inept as fuck.
So we continued hanging out as friends, like one night not long after that we went to a Polish Majorca party and I stayed there forever and apparently made out with #184 a lot, and when #187 was leaving she kissed me goodbye a couple of times and I still couldn’t figure out if it was supposed to be platonic or not. Insert a whole bunch of incidents like this into the next several months and you get the idea. Eventually I gave up on the whole thing and stopped analysing whether our friendship could be more than friendship. So it was more than a year after the first encounter that anything further happened.
It happened when somebody, let’s call her the Queen of Tact, demanded details about the night we’d slept together. #187 and I were sitting in a bar and she’d put us on the spot. I discovered that it had started because we’d done the mutual lunge thing when I was saying goodbye at #187’s door. The Queen of Tact demanded further information. I described the experience as “hot”; #187 described it as “all right”. Marvellous. Anyway, having finally broken the silence around it, I managed to blurt something to #187 about being interested in her, and it turned out that wasn’t a bad thing at all.
We didn’t have sex again, we just made out on various occasions, mostly drunkenly. Still, it was a lot of fun and I was hopeful for more and, I don’t know. Also though, despite all the evidence, I was still doubtful and unsure what was going on, and I managed to forget that she’d told me she had a crush on me, because we were generally drunk when we talked about stuff. Is this getting boring yet? The bit that really fascinates me about the whole thing is that she and I are both supposed to be good at communication and yet here I was still being ridiculous about everything.
As it turned out, this new era only lasted for a month or so. What happened was – and I’m not sure how best to write about it, because we’re getting uncomfortably close to the present day – a friend of mine asked her out, and she was going to meet up with him. She mentioned it casually when I’d just arrived at her place and there were a few other people around. I said that I felt weird about it, but I didn’t know if the other people knew that we were getting off, and I didn’t want to make a big drama, so I just drank my gin and thought sullen thoughts and tried to be social for a couple of hours until I had one of those eureka moments, the ones where my brain suddenly goes “Hey! I don’t actually need to be here!”, and I decided to leave. We talked out in the stairwell, talked in circles for a minute until I blurted that I felt weird about it, and she hadn’t even thought about that.
Here is the thing: we were both getting off with other people already, but some people are too close to home, and I felt uncomfortable about a friend of mine being involved with her too. And plus I didn’t have any faith that she was really that interested in me. Okay, if we’re being perfectly honest, I suspected she was maybe more into boys than girls, and that is a horrible thing to say because I don’t know what goes on in another person’s head and I don’t want to make judgements like that plus it made me feel awkward as hell when #55 did it to me. Not that I’ve ever thought #187 was straight. Just that I thought she was maybe more into boys, you know? And I didn’t feel like I wanted to compete with that, at least not with a boy I actually knew, but it is really weird to start having words like ‘compete’ show up in your head when you are just trying to get on with things and you’re not wanting to be possessive or weird. But whatever: being with people, even in a non-monogamous or undefined fashion, does not always involve being rational. So, I guess I was emotionally invested in her to whatever extent and, surprise, I should’ve talked about that before this whole situation came up, but I didn’t. Also I was aware that people kept telling her they were in love with her, and giving her big unwanted servings of drama, and I wasn’t in love with her but I didn’t want to make her feel like I wanted to serve up drama too. And so I extricated myself from getting off with her because I didn’t want to wind up in train wreck territory. I didn’t think anyone else was liable to wind up in train wreck territory with me, but I figured I had potential to get hurt, so I needed to call things off.
I felt grumpy for a while, that’s for damn sure. Partly that was because #187 featured in the parade of fascinating disappointments with women which characterised much of 2009, so there was an aspect of “oh god why does it always fuck up”. Also “I am never going to have a sure thing”, “my life is directionless”, “holy crap I can’t stop whining”, and so forth. The cumulative effect, you know?
But, we finally met up and talked about it, despite all my efforts to weasel out of having a conversation. I didn’t realise that #187 could be remotely upset about how things had turned out. I didn’t think she was that bothered, and maybe part of that was because we were both kind of playing it cool on some level. I was trying to minimise the drama to the extent that I acted like I wasn’t so invested. And she, I don’t know. She was upset and I hadn’t realised, because guess what, communicating via e-mail is not a good way to do these things, and neither is communicating while drunk.
Anyway, that chapter is over now. She is still my friend and he is still my friend and damn I feel weird writing about this since it’s so recent, but I started this project so here we are.