Thursday, 27 September 2007

THE DAILY MALE...continues...

According to what he told me last time we spoke, he was due to have a very big Saturday night out, so he’s probably going to want to sleep all day. Lying in my own bed pre- getting up, I daymare that he arrives at my house very late for lunch which he eats dreamily and uncommunicatively, and then crashes out on the sofa in front of the football to snore the afternoon away.

I imagine waking him at 7 p.m. to feed him again and then he goes home. I’m really good at winding myself up and by the time I reach my shower, I am so pissed off, I visualize myself lamping him the minute he walks in the door. We have a huge argument and it ends badly with him storming off. I’m grumpy and negative and my enjoyment of preparing and cooking the meal is marred by the worms going round in my head.

I phone my friend Frannie to flap about my fears and she tries unsuccessfully to appease me with platitudes like ‘Why on earth would he let you down?’ to which I have no sensible answer other than: ‘Why wouldn’t he?’

At 11 a.m. I set off to St. John’s Wood for the circumcision of my first husband’s grandson by the child he had with his second wife. Oh, do try and keep up! Despite my weird mood, I have a lovely time, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. It passes the morning and, when I leave, I feel very guilty because my children want to come back to me for lunch and I tell them they can’t despite having a fridge full of food for someone who may very possibly Not Turn Up.

Trying to think positively, I finish getting everything ready, and change my clothes seven times eventually settling for black underwear with stockings and suspenders with a black denim skirt, black and white low-cut top and medium height heels. It makes me feel sexy but stupid. This is Sunday lunchtime and I’d normally be wearing jeans. He’s due at around 1.30 but by 1.45 with no word at all, I am bouncing off the fucking walls.

The chicken, potatoes and parsnips are roasting in the oven – the rest of the food is sitting expectantly on the kitchen worktop waiting to be cooked. I phone Frannie again in a state of high anxiety. She's doing her own Sunday lunch so can’t really talk but tells me to calm down and/or phone him. I will not phone him. He should have phoned me to either say he’s running late or is on his way or isn’t coming.

I’m now convinced he’s still fast asleep on somebody else’s sofa or, perish the thought, somebody else’s bed!

At 1.50 p.m. I register that I am not yet feeling depressed, just very, very anxious. Depression will kick in later. I refuse to pour myself a glass of the excellent Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon I bought specially, because I want to feel every agonizing nuance of my emotions without diluting them with even a smidgen of mind-numbing alcohol. I rubberneck out the window, a little flutter of relief and excitement passing through me every time a car turns into my road, but none stops.

Then one does and begins to park. It’s a great big Audi. It’s obviously not him but I still flatten myself against the cold glass pane to get a good look at the blonde woman getting out. It could be him but only if he’s dyed his hair and had a sex change.

I return to the kitchen to check the burn status of the contents of my oven. The afternoon stretches before me in a haze of insecurity, misery and pain. I imagine him eventually turning up at 4.30 p.m. and me reprimanding him. He apologizes but I say that this time, sweetheart, flowers, chocolates and breakfast at dawn will simply not be enough. I imagine him thinking ‘Sod this for a game of soldiers’ and dumping me ‘cos I’m nothing but a nagging harridan and he’s a carefree youth with no agenda who does not want to be tied down to an old lady’s demands to be at the lunch table at a certain time.

I contemplate the waste of money on buying all that food at his request: an organic free range corn fed chicken, fresh peas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings and gravy… I make a contingency plan to eat the chicken for the rest of the week, dump the potatoes in the bin and make a soup with the rest of the vegetables. It’s always good to have a plan…

Sunday, 23 September 2007

THE DAILY MALE...continues...

Then I really do start to feel guilty. I have no idea what MLP is up to tonight, but whatever it is, I doubt he’s snogging a stranger. I have a feeling the Eurotrash story won’t end here, and if MLP spends one more afternoon snoring on my sofa, or failing to call when I expect him to, the pomegranate/belly button merger could take place sooner rather than later. Eurotrash walks me to my car and offers to follow me home. I manage to decline.

Friday. A quiet, rather slow day, brightly perked up in the evening by a jovial, chatty phone call from MLP confirming our arrangements for Sunday lunch.

Saturday. I wake up early and see that I have ten unread messages on The feisty, kickass older woman has stuck two fingers up at society and has leaned over into the playpen and picked herself up some boy toys. The boys in question are mostly just looking to fulfil their Yummy Mummy fantasies but one of my correspondees intrigues me. He is so funny, he makes me laugh out loud which is very seductive, so I send him a private photo and wait to see what comes back.

‘.... when I was reading your profile I found myself moving closer and closer to the screen....until I fell off my seat and twated my head…so now, thanks to you, I have a bulge in my trousers and a lump on my head! I demand you rub it better ;) Yours is more than just a photo, it's a beam of radiant light snapshotting the possible sensuality and intelligence of a beautiful woman.’

‘If you think that pic is hot’
I reply, ‘you ought to see the ones I didn’t send ...give me your private email and I'll make you bang more than your head!’

Saturday is family day and my granddaughter’s 9th birthday with a pottery painting party at The Clay CafĂ© in Hendon. In the evening I eat out with my friend, Frannie, then go and see the excellent French film Orchestra Seats which features a still youthful, elegant older lady who’s living in a retirement home.

‘What’s she doing there?’ I whisper to Frannie. ‘She’s not much older than us!’

‘She’s not…’ Frannie replies, ‘…but at least she’s growing old gracefully!’ Oh how we laugh…

The whole day passes without any message from MLP but I’m cool as he’ll be round at 1.30 p.m. tomorrow for his long-promised Sunday lunch. When I get home I prepare the chicken and the vegetables for the next day and watch War of the Roses in bed.

Sunday bloody Sunday. I awake inordinately twitchy convinced that today’s the day MLP and I are going to fall out. I don’t know why but my instinct tells me all is not well. I also know I should not have allowed myself to become so attached to this boy. You’d have thought I’d have understood about damage limitation by now, what with my past experiences ‘n all. I have allowed him to inveigle his way into my head and my heart where he has become firmly stuck. This is a very bad place for him to be as the prognosis can only be fatal…

Sunday, 16 September 2007

THE DAILY MALE - continues...

He falls into a deep, contented sleep taking up the entire sofa, snoring like a freight train and preventing me from getting on with my work. I watch him for a while marvelling at his utter gorgeousness. A perfect nose, fulsome mouth, arched black eyebrows, long, thick lashes, olive skin, black hair and three day stubble, he looks very… er….Turkish. My heart-shaped diamond earring sparkles in his earlobe. As far as erudite conversation is concerned, his score is zero. But as eye candy… Off The Scale. I ask myself when eye candy will stop being enough.

At 5 p.m. I have to ease him out the door because one of my old suitables is taking me out for supper and to the theatre. He asks a fair few questions about this and I know he’s jealous. Good. He’s talking about going to Turkey for three months in the summer anyway and I jokingly ask him if I’m allowed to go out at all while he’s away. He says Absolutely Not. I have to stay home at all times and wait for his calls. Sad thing is, the way I feel now, I probably would.

I sit sleepily in the dark womb of the theatre playing with the strands of his hair caught in the elastic band from his ponytail which I now wear around my wrist. When I get home, I call him as he has asked me to do, but it goes straight to voice mail. I leave a goodnight message and go to bed.

Thursday night. Shit. I am a traitor and an infidel. I do not deserve the love of a good man even if he does refuse to use the L word…:

I have a late business meeting with a very good-looking Austrian art dealer I met when researching 1950s Brazilian furniture for my book on future collectibles. When I first set eyes on him my FBA (fit bloke alert) went off, although I suspected he might be gay. This was neither here nor there, as I do currently, you may remember, Have A Boyfriend. The camp art dealer is perma-tanned, with very blue, piercing, fancy-a-fuck eyes. His hair is choc brown and curly at the nape of his neck and he swans around his Gallery flamboyantly showing off his ‘conceptual room settings’. One step up from a Eurotrash interior designer if you ask me.

After showing me round and loaning me a rather rare art book, he closes the gallery and invites me to continue our discourse at The Electric Brasserie in Notting Hill. No sooner are we sitting down than we immediately go onto non-business stuff, and I find out that he is, like me, twice-divorced but with four to my two children who he rarely sees. (I see mine all the time!) He tells me almost immediately that his father is a Count, and although he may inherit the title, the more he waffles, the more I wonder if he may indeed be a Count in training, minus the ‘o’.

I order a very strong, very spicy bloody Mary, a choice he much admires, and it arrives with half a bottle of Tabasco in it. I tough it out, and just about manage to maintain the conversation without coughing my guts up and turning puce. The drink goes down like a litre of lava and when I’m halfway way through, he orders me another. We graduate swiftly into deeply personal territory and relationships, on which I am the font of all knowledge.

The fiery vodka loosens my tongue and soon we are exchanging confidences like a pair of anticipatory lovers. He suggests dinner and we both don our magnifying specs to order from the illegibly small print menu pitched at the under 25s. There is some comfort in being able to do this without embarrassment. Eurotrash is 43 and had I been with a toyboy, I would have squinted and struggled and ordered entirely the wrong thing, but I would not have got out my ageing portable half specs.

By the time the Seafood Platter To Share arrives, he’s stroking my arm which I enjoy, whilst feeling ever so slightly guilty. I pick up the crackers and attack the lobster claws sliding them out of their coral shells and feeding them onto his plate. He sexily slurps a couple of oysters, his eyes never leaving mine, and the inference of his tongue savouring the slippery mollusc leaves little to the imagination. We decide we both fancy a ciggie so he buys some Malboros and we light them like addicts who’ve been denied their drug of choice for way too long.

The Electric is becoming way too noisy to maintain any conversation, so he pays the bill and invites me for a nightcap at a moody little bar in Kensington Park Road. As we walk down the street, I realise he is quite short, but I am wearing incredibly high heels - a clear statement to myself and to him. Thursday being the new Saturday, the bar is heaving and we have to stand rammed up against each other while he orders me a Mojito and himself a glass of champagne.

Already three sheets to the wind from the Bloody Marys, I tell him the only place to drink these is in Havana and he goes all misty-eyed as I describe the crumbling glory of that wonderful city of cigars and salsa. The bar gets busier and he presses closer, joking that he’s arranged for all these people to be here on purpose for that very reason.

I laugh lasciviously and pick up a pomegranate from a fruit bowl on the bar, split it open and begin feeding it to him seed by juicy seed. He starts stroking my outer thigh right up to my armpit whispering in my ear how much he’d like to eat the pomegranate seeds from my belly button.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

THE DAILY MALE - continues...

He leaves me at 11.30 p.m. as he has an early start to Cardiff the following day. I follow the match and his team loses so I text him a few words of sympathy like I givashit. He replies straight back which is inordinately important to me, considering he must be feeling like a bottomless pit of soccer despair.

In the evening he calls and regales me for twelve whole minutes with the finer nuances of the entire match. I hang on his every word even trying to make intelligent observations based on the radio commentary which I took the trouble to listen to.

I resist saying: “Never mind dear, it’s only a football match…” remembering the t-shirts they sell in Oxford Street with the logo Football is Life. I am flattered that he feels close enough to me to share his abject misery and I 'there-there' him and make the appropriate sympathetic noises.

Wednesday Morning. I’m sitting up in bed working on my laptop with MLP asleep by my side. Having established that I was busy Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and he was busy Thursday and Saturday, he’d popped over to spend the night late on Tuesday. I made him dinner of chicken soup followed by a Spanish omelette and salad I’d prepared earlier.

After dinner, we'd settled on the sofa and had a few drinks. We'd talked and laughed and hung together and I suddenly decided I’d had enough of him wearing the ring his ex-girlfriend bought him which he professed not to be able to get off.

I went into the kitchen and returned with some olive oil which I rubbed over his finger eventually managing to remove the offending article. I now feel he’s even more mine and I tell him so. He smiles enigmatically. I then proceed to re-open his closed-up earring hole with a rather girlie heart-shaped fake diamond ear stud of mine. Possession is nine tenths of the law.

At around 1.15 a.m. we go to bed and lie there face to face gazing deeply into each other’s eyes. Mine are asking a million questions and he slowly begins to talk:

“I…er…I need to tell you something…” he begins.

Oh shit… oh shit… what’s it going to be?

“Is it bad?” I whisper trepidantly. “Do I want to hear this?”

“Prob’ly not but you're gonna anyway” and he laughs much too loudly for the room.

“You know when you texted me…”


“…and you spelt it ‘l-u-v’…”

“You see! That doesn’t count…and I really regretted it afterwards…”

“But you said it to me one other time…”

“No I didn’t! Did I? When? I don’t remember…Did I?”

“You did. In the car once…anyway…listen…shut up and listen. I like everything about you. I like being with you all the time. There’s not a moment in the day I don’t think about you. I even Google Earthed you the other day… but…er… Love… to me… it’s such a big word. And people misuse it. It’s like… enormous and I would never say it lightly unless I really, really meant it. I just wouldn’t. It’s…too important…so…”

“I know, I know… it’s OK baby…I quite understand…it’s just that when I’m with you sometimes, I get all swelled up and…and …”

I stop talking but I want to say “…and I do love you” to him now because I think I do. I stroke his face instead and feel both happy and sad, because he’s said some lovely words to me tonight but he’s not about to tell me he loves me. And I want to tell him all the time. I mean All The Time. At the end of every phone call, when I send him a text, at the beginning and end of each kiss, definitely when we’re making love. But now I feel I can’t ever say it again because it’s ‘too big’.

I do know that if he ever says it to me, he will really, really mean it, though. And for some reason I think this is going to happen in about three weeks’ time.

Next day, he joins me again on my morning business outings and we come back early and I buy him lunch at The Cochonnet. Then we come home and I get my laptop out and because I've got Air Miles, next thing I know I’m booking us a weekend away in two months time. Crazy.

Friday, 7 September 2007

THE DAILY MALE - continues...

Instead of making him wait for an answer, out comes a spontaneous attack of textual diarrhoea:

I’d love u to make it up to me. I’d also love to spend some quality time with u like we did at the beginning. All I wanted tonight was to have a long hot bath together, massage yr poor foot and sleep in yr arms. U don’t know how much you mean to me either. I’ve been really sad this week not seeing or hearing from u. Go and have fun with your mates. I would never begrudge u yr lads time! U r totally free. But I’d like to know when I’m seeing u so I can look 4wd to it or plan other stuff. So how would you like to make it up to me?! And when? X

I'll start tomorrow morning with a suprise he replies. C u then x

Shit. He’s going to turn up on my doorstep at 8 a.m. and find me looking like an unmade bed, And it’s Saturday and I like to have a lie-in. And I have plans for the rest of the day. And I still need waxing.

Saturday. I wake up at 6.55 a.m. and follow my instinct into the shower. I spend thirty minutes doing my make-up to look like I don't have any on (it's easy - just leave off the lippie). At 8.36 I get a text from him:

Hi babe I’ve broken a bone in my foot. What do you want for breakfast?

I wonder if these two sentences are in any way related. I also wonder how he plans to get up my stairs with a broken foot and actually, how dare he even contemplate arriving on my doorstep uninvited?!

I text back: I want you for breakfast but you should probably be in A&E.

No reply until 9.40 a.m. when my doorbell rings and what happens next is probably the most spontaneous and romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.

My boy limps in carrying a bouquet of yellow roses, a box of Godiva chocolates, and a carrier bag from the terribly overpriced local deli containing two cappuccinos, four fresh croissants, a loaf of nutty, seedy bread, six organic eggs, a jar of homemade raspberry jam and a piece of wonderfully oozy Brie. Blown away does not even cover it!

Smiling from ear to there, I take the flowers and carrier bag from him and hug him as tightly as I can. He smells like heaven, looks slightly sheepish, and is so orgasmically handsome that I just want to hold him close forever and forget the stupid self-imposed and unnecessary agony of the week before.

We discuss our situation over breakfast, and I realise that he's actually done nothing wrong. I just created one gigantic over-reactive obsessively female misunderstanding. His only reason for not calling was that he didn’t want to intrude on my busy life. This is not a hanging offence – until I made it one.

He would prefer me to make the running, which I’m delighted to do and wants to see me as much as we both can, within the confines of our individual lives. After breakfast, we go to bed – a delightful way to spend an hour or so, except for the fact that both my mobile and landline keep going off which is normal for a Saturday morning. I ignore them both which is not normal at all.

We spend the day together. He comes with me to Portobello Market where I have some antiques business to attend to. I enjoy having him with me despite the slight encumbrance and in the afternoon, I leave him sleeping on the couch while I visit my children and my mother for the minimum time possible. In the evening he takes me to Ping Pong in Marylebone for dinner.

High and happy from the day’s events, I rapid neck two very strong Mojitos then do the stupidest thing a woman can do when he goes to the loo. I text him I luv u x. The minute I've sent it, I want to disappear and die in my own handbag. I am so embarrassed by the impetuous action of my drunken thumb, I pray that he's left his phone at home and I can get to it and delete the message before he opens it. How can I have been so unbelievably uncool?

He returns to the table as if nothing has happened and I realise with relief that my prayer may have been answered. Halfway through the next course however, his back pocket goes off and he brings his phone out and reads the message. I suddenly find myself deeply fascinated by the internal contents of my duck spring roll while blushing like a Bloody Mary.

He reads the message, says 'Aaah', smiles at me and carries on eating. I start gabbing about Darwin’s theory of relativity or something equally space-filling much too loudly and much too fast. If only someone would take the spade away and hit me over the head with it, I could stop digging.

How dare the Mojitos do my texting for me? I am mortified beyond belief.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

THE DAILY MALE - continues...

Thanks! I reply once I've reached Edinburgh and come out of my meeting. Warm and sunny up here. What you up to? X (roughly translated as WHEN AM I GOING TO SEE YOU?)

He replies that he’s painting a ‘poxy ceiling in someone’s house’, and then I get: What you doing tonight? Missing you! Xx

My joy knows no bounds and I reply, as accommodating as The Hilton Hotel Group:
Not back til 11 p.m. but would love to c u if you don’t mind so late.

To add braces to the belt, I PS: U busy all wknd? (roughly translated as WHEN AM I GOING TO SEE YOU?)

Why did I do that? I didn't need to do that...

In reply I receive Nothing. Nada. Rien. Zilch. Bubkes. So I’m back to Square One but instead of being heartsick, I am now thoroughly pissed off. With myself, with him, with everyone who dares breathe in my general direction, but pissed off somehow feels better than heartsick and the anger propels me through the day.

On the Easybus back to Baker Street, I finally get a reply.

Hi hun, how was your day? Hope it went well. What time was you planning to get home? X

His reply only took 6½ hours. Why did I worry? I get in my car to drive home and I bite the bullet and phone him. He’s just come out the shower and is getting dressed. I mistakenly assume this is because he will be over shortly.

I’m grubby, tired and I need waxing but he is, of course, more than welcome. Instead of confirming that he is about to fly to me on the wings of love however, he tells me he’s hurt his foot playing football and is therefore off to play snooker 'with the lads'.

I am so livid I end the call, and fling my mobile phone over my left shoulder in disgust. I then unhook my seatbelt to grapple around frantically for it and when my eyes return to the road, I am about to be totalled by a dirty great meat truck hurtling down the hill towards me in the pouring rain. He may be worth something, but he’s certainly not worth dying for.

I get home in a filthy temper, light a cigarette and walk into the bedroom with it. What on earth am I doing? Not only am I smoking, I'm smoking in my bedroom!! I make up my mind enough is enough and I have to end this fucking farce once and for all. My thumb sets about pounding the keys.

Do not wank me around. I threaten. I’m not some 22-yr old you can fuck about with. You’re winding me up! You said you missed me so I invited you over and then you tell me you’d rather see ‘the lads’. Is this fair? You’ve really upset me and I didn't need that.

Well that was the final version. The first four were unprintable and definitely would have alienated him forever what with me wanting to plunge my fist down his throat and drag his bollocks up through his oesophagus.

Once I've got that off my chest, I actually feet better. Relieved, released, free – of him, of the aggravation of trying to maintain an impossible relationship, of everything to do with involvement with the opposite sex from this day forth now until forever.

I wait for the reply with my mouth set in a grim line shouting 'Coward!' intermittently at my mobile phone. I realise I am starving. I take an egg out the fridge to scramble and a text comes in. It’s loading….it’s a long one…please G-d let it be from him!

It’s not becoz Id rather be with the lads. The lads don’t get togther very offen and my foot is not to good either. Im really sorry for upsetting you. It’s the very last thing in this world I ever want to do. Im very very attached to u and you mean a hec of alot to me. I just think im not sure if we are full time or part time lovers. I dont want to u to think 'this boys to much' and get on your nerves! Xx

And suddenly we’re Romeo and Juliet again. Abelard and Eloise. Tristan and Isolde. Kermit and Miss Piggy.

And then there’s a PS. Please alow me make it up to you? Xx

Sunday, 2 September 2007

THE DAILY MALE - continues...

I go to my cupboard and sniff his shirt, like the answer lurks somewhere in its armpit. I contemplate cutting off one of the sleeves and sending it to him like some sinister Cosa Nostra warning: 'Next time it’ll be your arm...'

Feels more like my arm’s been cut off - or any other stupid, childish, over-dramatised, non-sensical, self-indulgent pity fest you can think of.

I have an invitation to go to a cocktail party, but I contemplate staying home alone to wallow in my misery. Slashing my wrists with a Stanley knife sounds like a plan or maybe I’ll drink a bottle of vodka, finish off the Pringles and go to bed to watch Desperate Housewives, 'desperate' being the operative word. I go to the party.

When I get in, I check the TV listings and notice that Newcastle United were playing Zulte Waregam in the UEFA Cup. That might explain what he’s doing tonight.

Mindful of the fact that I haven’t eaten and will therefore have to add ‘night starvation’ to my list of sufferings, I stick a potato in the oven. This is one of the potatoes I bought for him. I never buy potatoes for myself. Fattening carb-ridden white pasty doughy things.

It sits squat and lonely on its piece of foil in the oven with the broken light which he’d promised to fix several times and didn’t. O melancholy potato, borne of the womb of our blessed Mother Earth, why am I eating you alone? Forgive me, dear reader. It’s the vodka talking.

My deadline to call him, previously set at 6 p.m. then extended to 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. passes, and eventually, not being able to bear it a moment longer, I prepare a text:

'Hiya! Hope you’re OK. Do we have a problem? x’

It takes me half an hour to compose these nine words, and me a writer… I don't send it. I go instead to my wardrobe for another deep sniff of his shirt and check to see if my lucky ladybird is still patrolling my bedroom window. She is not. I eventually find her lying dry and lifeless on the bedroom floor. Dead as a dodo and stiff as my next drink.

I retire early to seek oblivion and sleep fitfully with my mobile phone clutched like a life raft in my tense little hand.

Next morning, I rise early and set off for Edinburgh on business. Sitting on the Easybus to Luton half way up the M1, I finally receive a text from him.

‘Hi hun enjoy yr day in Edinbruh. Call me when you have time. Speke to u l8tr. Xx'

Cheeky F*cker! But my soul soars and despite the road works, traffic delays and the possibility of me missing my flight, I am as happy as a pig in shit. I revel in the receipt of his heavenly missive and manage to control myself for THREE HOURS before replying.