After leaving the husband BM (Bad Move), I’d been mature and spent time licking my wounds and recovering. I focused on keeping my family – me and the kids – together through those difficult days. We did ok. We got there.
It was right that I concentrate on the kids for that fragile time, and not on repairing my own love life even though it had been a considerable period since I had felt any love at all (apart from kid-love) in my life even through the last sad years of marriage.
After nine months or so had passed, spurred on by my mother’s dismal prediction (‘No man will have you with three kids’) and the very real fear that I may end up joining a convent and becoming a nun after all, I started dating again with the help of an online dating site called FindSomeone.
You’ve probably read all about how wonderfully woman of the world sophisticated sexy femme fatale I was here and here. Though I didn’t ‘end up’ with the Secret Agent (who had two shirts and a very small freezer), we did have an on again off again thing. Not quite just friends, or friends with benefits, or lovers..I don’t really know what to call it, it was complicated. I did end up with a good friend though, who’s masculine take on things was very helpful at times. He was the first of my friends to send me his best wishes by text on my wedding day.
Inevitably I started to casually ‘see’ guys I met on FSO. What a hilarious period of time that was. First up with the obsessive banker guy. He bombarded me with flirty little texts, until 24 hours later (having not even met) he sent me the coup de grace – ‘You’re too short for me’.
Too short for texting? Is there a height limit?
Then came Frankenstein’s cousin. The clue was in his dating handle ‘Creepy’ but ever the optimist I thought he was just being ironic. Arriving at the beach where we had agreed to meet I noticed a hulking figure lurking outside the public toilets (Why at the toilets? Why not meet me at the fountain? Or on the beach?) The closer I got to him the higher my blood pressure rose. It really was Frankenstein’s cousin. I kept looking for the bolt through his massive neck. We had dinner with the waitress giving me ‘are you kidding’ looks and then we parted. I did not hear from him ever again.
Back to the drawing board.
Then came a series of nice-enough but nothing special dates. One of those was a nice enough English guy who seemed quite smitten by me. We met for a couple of dates including the old cliché dinner + movies. Dinner was cheap, which annoyed me (I didn’t get out much, I’d paid for a babysitter and wanted a little bit more than cheap Thai meal), and he drove so fast on the way home I began calculating whether the coroner would be able to locate my dental records. Though on the upside, if his driving was anything to go by at least he had some fire and passion in him. We settled in for a night cap, and sat on the couch and talked until 2am. Stifling a yawn, I was willing him to just go home already. At the door he turned around and….
………took me in his arms and kissed every last breath out of my hot red mouth?
Nope. He gave me a hug goodnight.
You can’t tell that much about a man’s propensity for passion, from his driving.
After that came interest from an arrogant short lawyer (short man’s disease), a sun preserved old fisherman (who patted me on the head and said he wished I was taller! And no doubt skinnier, sigh), and a middle aged biker with an unhealthy interest in my lingerie collection.
By June 2007 I was done with dating. I decided that I just wasn’t really cut out for it. All that primping and preening and trying to be something I wasn’t. Call me corny, but I really just wanted Bridget Jones’ Darcy in the shape of Colin Firth who loved me ‘just as you are’. Not that I intended to don big knickers.
As that guy (Colin Firth) didn’t look likely, I’d reconciled with it just being me and the kids. When an old friend gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to chaperone her kids to England (all expenses paid) of course, I jumped at the chance for a change of scene.
So it was that in June 2007 when I thought I had suffered through every indignity known to woman kind, I was dumped by a eight year old boy.
We were in the garden at the Musee Rodin. I was there with my two charges the teen-bee and eight year old boy and their parents S & S. I was wandering the garden with eight year old boy, as the parents were having some quality time with a rather sulky teen-bee. The boy and I had pretty much had enough of each other. I was wanting to enjoy Paris, to suck in and savour the beauty, the art the whole experience. Boy was just looking for the nearest McDonalds.
We were looking at the sculpture when we passed a young guy focusing intently on The Bergers and then methodically adjusting the camera and taking photos. It was a professional looking camera and I was impressed. Not just with the camera.
But I was ‘off’ men. I’d been told I was not good enough, too fat, too clever, too successful, too short one too many times. That morning, as if to emphasise the point, I was dressed in backpacker clothes, a fetching old rain jacket, a money wallet stuffed down my top which made me look like the three breasted woman from NZ, and my very best ‘Piss off men’ look. I think I had deoderant on, but that was all the effort I’d made.
So I casually said ‘hi’ to the camera guy. He was English. Mmmmmm. Nice accent. Educated and seemed quite chatty and smiley. But hey…. probably too young anyway, or I was too old. He probably had a girlfriend over there behind the hedge. And anyway I was off men. I was probably too fat, too smart, too clever, too successful, too short for him too!
I turned back to eight year old boy who was huffing and puffing. It’s almost lunchtime. Surely there was a McDonalds near by. Then he came out with it.
‘You know teen-bee said that she doesn’t want you anymore’
‘Yeah, she said that since Mum and Dad are here now you should just go away now’ He paused for effect. ‘In fact I think you should just go away too. We don’t like you very much’.
Jolly good. Well, I don’t like you very much either!
My friend S appeared not long after and I excused myself and after a recuperative think in the women’s loos I decided to break out on my own in Paris. It was blissful being on my own. I was pleased with my efforts negotiating le Metro and as I made my way over to the Musee D’Orsay I couldn’t help thinking about my checkered dating history. This surely had to be a low point. Even eight year old boys were dumping me!
Standing in the long queue for the D’Orsay I was feeling pensive. Did it really matter? My kids thought I was pretty great. Yes, I was alone in Paris – the city for lovers – but that was ok. A familiar face barged into my interior monologue.
It was him, camera guy.
‘Oi Englishman’ I hollered. Ever a picture of temerity and passive feminity was I. I expected him to take one look and run… but instead he smiled a little shyly and came over to join me in the queue, Cupid’s bow sitting plumb in his bum.