Belfast Telegraph

After my disappointing date, sugar wasn't the only thing I was craving

Catherine Townsend - Sleeping Around
Catherine Townsend - Sleeping Around

By Catherine Townsend

Sweating, flustered and drunkenly clutching a Corona, I scanned the room for Michael, the guy I'd met at the Whole Foods fish counter. I was at his party, but I didn't know anyone, so I was relieved to see John, the very fit Brazilian flatmate of my ex-boyfriend Mark.

It turns out that he knows Michael through work, so while we ran through the usual "small world" small talk, my mind raced back to the time (in fact, times) I'd accidentally walked in on him in the shower, fuelling my fantasies for months. We chatted for another hour, and he offered to share a taxi back to my flat. He kissed me, and I felt his hand wander up my thigh as the windows steamed up during the ride.

"Can I take you out tomorrow night?" he asked. I agreed, but found myself fretting about Mark. I had to ask him, and was pleasantly surprised by his relaxed, if slightly frosty, attitude to the date. "Go for it, he's nice," he said. "But I don't know what you two will have to say to each other."

He was right. John wasn't the most verbose individual. The only way to elicit more than a monosyllabic response was to dredge up embarrassing stories about Mark and me. From his opening gambit, it was clear that this was not the richest seam of mutually enjoyable conversation: "Remember all those times you went to Tesco, drunk, in your pyjamas and bunny slippers, to buy cakes?"

But then I realised that John has dated a couple of people I know through work, and our social matrix started to get more complicated. I told him about an article I'd read about some Swedish and American researchers. They found that there are about six degrees of sexual separation - apparently, the social networks formed when humans have sex have a very clear mathematical structure, mainly because some people have an unusually large number of partners.

"So are you saying that we're both slags?" he said, laughing. " I prefer to think of it as networking," I said. "For every other area in life - getting a job, making friends - we're encouraged to put ourselves out there. Why should dating be any different?"

We went back to his flat and I unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a perfect pair of pecs. He lifted me on to the bed, still kissing. Then he uttered the fateful line: "I probably shouldn't say this, but I really used to enjoy listening to you and Mark, you know, together."

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I don't know if this was supposed to turn me on, but he may as well have thrown cold water on my nether regions. At that moment, I knew the odds of us becoming soul mates were similar to the chances of a monkey reciting Hamlet by randomly tapping a typewriter. So, after a few more minutes of half-hearted writhing, I made my excuses and left.

Twenty minutes later I was in Tesco, drunkenly scouring the cakes and biscuits aisle, when I got a text from Michael. "Sorry I didn't get to talk to you much on Friday ... Dinner this week?"

"Definitely," I wrote back. After my disappointing date, sugar wasn't the only thing I was craving.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph