I haven't found Ms.Right yet, but equally, I haven't yet had another bite wound (although I have had a second injury, but more about that in a later post). For those of you have wondered why I haven't settled down with one of the lovely ladies I've met, well, a good first date, doesn't automatically lead to a good second date. I think the best story I've ever read about a precipitous drop between the expectations you create on a superb first date that are then shattered by a tragic and terrible second date is this one, by Ali Waller, writing in Jezebel.
It certainly rang true for me, especially the bit where "after the delightful first date, I decided this would be the perfect situation: we'd date casually but exclusively, I'd stay focused on my career, and we'd meet up on weekends for movies, dinners and make-outs. In this (totally made-up) scenario, he was unscathed from his divorce and I was miraculously able to sleep with him without getting attached or distracted. Also, our sex was flawless. This was exactly how it would play out." Seriously, it's great - read it - there's a link and everything.
Did you read it? Really? Good. The truth is there have been several second dates, third dates (and even one lady who I considered dropping the blog for) - but it hasn't worked out. I suppose what it encapsulates is not only is online dating a long process, but it's hard. You not only need to find people you like, you need them to like you back and want the same things, and it all needs to work physically, you need to be sexually compatible and be at the same stage of your life.
My three part criteria for what I want a woman - that she needs to be funny, sane and "not evil", are also surprisingly hard to fulfill. Why do I have those criteria?
Well, thereby hangs a tale.
Well, thereby hangs a tale.
It's a long story.
No, seriously. This is a proper Willard story. The sort that requires a cup of tea and a comfy chair. The sort that's kind of entertaining, but also hair-curlingly horrendous at the same time. Lots of my stories are like this if you think about it. Usually, any time a story starts with "Well, this one time in Israel/North Korea/GW Bristol..."
So get a cup of the heated beverage of your choice, and then carry on reading.
It was 2002. Combat trousers were an "in" look, The White Stripes were an underground buzz act that only cool people liked, invading places seemed to be working, and despite that, no-one thought Dubya would get a second term. I was reading for a Masters in International Criminal Justice; some of the people reading this blog were still in school.
Right, all of this aside, I was going out with this girl I met on the debating circuit.
She was pretty, and very, very clever. But, she was also mad and a little bit evil. And I know what you girls are thinking, it's not me saying "She was crazy; occasionally she expected me to call her!". She was crazy in an authentic, take off her facemask to reveal a writhing mass of tentacles, Cthulu cultist, end of the world by the power of the Dark Star-gods way.
Just so to establish her mentalist credentials, here are some examples.
She was concerned that I might not be faithful to her,so she got one of her friends to come on to me. Of course, I was a bit shocked, and rejected the friend, explaining I was a bit shocked, as she knew I was seeing her friend. However, I was still the bad guy, as when I rejected the friend, the girlfriend was angry with me because I didn't tell her the friend had cracked on to me.
Also, she used to do things like keep spreadsheets of MY finances (oh, and hers of course), so when I bought us a valentines holiday in Paris, she refused to go because I couldn't afford it and would be better saving the money. For the record, I took the money and spent it on a giant model tank.
Oh, and this is just the highlights. There were all kinds of crazy mindgames, tearful fits because I beat her on tabs at debating, etc etc She once threatened to dump me by Point of Information in the semi-final of a debating competition at the Inner Temple. Everyone in the audience laughed, assuming it was a joke; I didn't. She never joked.
So, I've established her nutter credentials, right? Ok, the other important other thing about her was she had a life plan. Her whole life was planned out to the age of sixty.
It was on a wall calendar, in her room. I didn't even know you could get ones that go 45 years ahead. In case you thought I was joking about the Cthulhu cultist thing, this one really was waiting for the Stars To Be Right.
(I realise, by now, you are probably wondering why I went out with her; the answer is, I don't really know:)
Anyway, on the calendar, she was allowed to have 8 boyfriends before she got married. Why? you ask. That's such an arbitrary number. Well, otherwise, she wouldn't be young enough to be well established as a barrister before she took a career break to have her first child. It was eight boyfriends of six months each. Six months to prove your worth.
Anyway, I got to the six month window. She walked me to a little church in her village, and told me that as a little girl, she had always dreamed of getting married in that very church. And then she turned to me, and asked me, "Where would you like to get married, Willard?"
What I didn't realise at the time was that there was a wrong answer to that question.
Unfortunately for her, my response was "Well, I'd always rather fancied getting married under the big top of the Moscow state circus, by the Arch-Mandrite of the Russian Orthodox Church".
This was my jokey way of saying, "Lets not talk about this; we're 22".
Not the right answer. She ran away crying, which was a bit of a shock; I remember thinking, "that Orthodox joke was pretty good...wasn't it?". I didn't run after her; in her eyes, this was death death Death. I had failed the final test; oh, yeah, this was the last in a series of tests including the faithfulness one; another included forcing me to ostracise a close friend.
So, she'd decided that I was not "the one", but, this put her in a dilemma. It was my finals; she was obsessed with success and exams. She couldn't imagine dumping me during my finals,but, the calendar's merciless ticktock was still going on in the background, and she had to move the relentless grind of boyfriends on.
Her solution was to start fucking one of my friends behind my back. The reasoning was she could dump me after my finals, no damage to my exam chances, and satisfying her need to keep within the strict timetable.
Sadly, there was a problem with this other wise brilliant plan.
The problem was, well, I went to my doctor with a small problem; now, bear in mind my doctor is a sweet old man with a bow tie, who I've known all my life, who used to give me lollipops when I was five, to imagine the awkwardness of this.
My doctor looks at my problem, and says "Have you been sleeping with Nigerian prostitutes?"
I looked shocked.
"Of course not!" I replied.
He looks at me, very embarrassed, awkward, very English, wearing his cheery bow-tie and says, "Come on Willard, it's important to your treatment you are honest with me..." And I reply I'm in a committed relationship, totally monogamous, etc etc.
To which he replies, "Well, she obviously isn't as committed as you are".
So, yeah, he, through her, had infected me with a rare and potentially hideous disfiguring African genital parasite. They managed to kill the damn thing by freezing it off with Liquid nitrogen; that's the stuff they use to kill the T-1000 in terminator 2. Some people say they have scars from their relationships; I have frostbite scars on my genitals from that one.
So, I was disgusted, appalled, horrified, betrayed. So, I call her, we row, and I break it off.
Now, at the time, we were the fucking golden couple of university debating. So us splitting up was massive, massive gossip and next week, at an Inter Varsity Debate, someone says "I hear you and X broke up; I can't believe it; is it true?"and I say,
"Yeah it's true." And they ask what happened.
And I tell them. In excruciating, hideous, African parasite detail.
And then, she goes totally berserk. I'm the bad guy. How DARE I tell everyone the private business of our relationship. To which I reply, how dare you have unprotected sex with one of my sluttiest friends?
So, is that the worst breakup story you've ever heard? I don't think it's a coincidence that in the aftermath, I grew an American Civil War beard, an afro that was cool on Black men in 1974 and stopped studying Law to become a music journalist.
Anyway, after that relationship, I developed a criteria for what I want in a woman. She has to be the diametric opposite of that girlfirend; that is to say, she has to be:
3.) Not evil
That's it. You'd think it'd be easy to find:)
Sadly, that woman has proved elusive. The trouble is, most women who actually want to date me are 2/3 at best. It's not an iron-hard criteria. It's just as soon as a woman starts playing mind games, or I realise she has no sense of humor, she becomes terribly unattractive.
Women who do, of course, meet all three criteria, are hard to find. And when I do come across them, they almost never want to date me, for some ludicrous reason, like they don't find me attractive, or I embody all they despise in society.
I'm not sure if blogging it makes it harder or easier. On one hand, I get licence to vent at you, dear reader, and tell everyone about the dates I go on, be they good or bad. On the other hand, I have to go on a lot of dates, and while individual nights are fun, looking at your diary and realising, yes, you are going out on a date every night this week, is grinding and tiring in of itself.
Unlike most people who are doing online dating, I have to come and write notes, which I then have to type up later and then make witty and amusing. Yes, it may come as a shock, but often my first drafts are quite dull and sound like I'm feeling sorry for myself. Sort of like this whole post, really.