Belfast Telegraph

A terrifying prospect: being in a room full of ex-lovers

By Catherine Townsend

I often have anxiety nightmares about suddenly realising I’m naked, but last night at the launch for my book, Sleeping Around: Secrets of a Sexual Adventuress, I faced a far more terrifying prospect: being in a room full of my ex-lovers.

Within 10 minutes of the kickoff at Soho House, I’d seen Andrew the married ex, my current squeeze Paul, and David, who once scored me some Viagra pills – not to mention several friends I’d hooked up with casually.

I decided to use the techniques I’d honed in New York while multi-dating. The most important task was to find my nearest exit, and memorise the club’s layout so I could hide in the loo if necessary.

To avoid embarrassing mishaps during introductions (and crying out the wrong name in the heat of passion), I long ago mastered the art of calling every guy “sweetheart” and “honey”. As I nervously downed jar after jar of Pimm’s, I enlisted the help of my girlfriends to make sure that the exes didn’t mingle and share embarrassing stories.

I also concentrated on using appropriate snippets of information if the men met – ie, saying, “This is Mark, he works in publishing,” not, “I once used a vibrator on him.” This was easier said than done after my fourth cocktail.

I also had to avoid talking about the past with anyone, even after Andrew shocked me by telling me that he’s left his wife and wants to marry me.

To lighten the mood, I introduced him to Mike and Patricia, a couple I’ve met recently, who told me they have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” relationship – a new trend on both sides of the Atlantic.

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“We’re allowed to date other people, but can only see each ‘new’ person twice, and never bring them to our home,” Patricia explained.

The Mike chimed in: “We don’t talk about it often, but it combines the stability of a proper relationship with the thrill of casual dating.” It sounded great in theory, but as Mike flirted with me Patricia seemed uncomfortable. I said I had problems compartmen-talising relationships (the men keep showing up).

I didn’t have long to worry about Mike, because I spotted Mark, yet another ex, who had flown in from Hong Kong, plying my mum with white wine.

“Your mum is hot,” he told me, and I started to worry that he was being a bit too friendly.

Later, Patricia asked if she could see me outside. I told her that she had nothing to worry about, as I wasn’t interested in her boyfriend. Instead, she told me that she was bisexual and kissed me goodbye.

Walking back upstairs, I decided to stop worrying, and stop feeling guilty about possibly offending anyone. My crazy exes are an amazing part of my life, and I should be happy that they are still in my life and happy to celebrate my successes.

So I ended the night taking tequila shots with the boys – and my mum – and was on my best behaviour. But wedged between Paul, Mark and Andrew, I thought about my aborted threesome from a few weeks ago, and wondered if we could engineer a different type of celebration sometime soon.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph