If you are an ex of mine who just clicked onto this thinking it was going to be about hard it was for me to get over you then, really, fuck right off. I know at least two of you will have done it and you’re the two who I feel the most cold towards.
This isn’t, for once, the emotional pornography that I am prone to writing but rarely publishing after I’ve just been chucked. In fact, for once, I haven’t been chucked.
I am the chucker. The dumper. The cold hearted evil bastard of all that is dead inside who dumped someone a week before Christmas – that’s me.
And, exes, if you ignored my instruction to fuck off (and I’m assuming you did, because why break the habit of a reasonably long relationship with only four days to go before New Year, eh?), then I broke up with someone much, much better than you.
That’s what makes it so painful – he was perfect. Looks wise, he was Jamie Dornan. Voice wise, let’s say Jamie Dornan again. He was hilarious and kind and intelligent and held the door open for men, as well as women, and was super nice to all bar and waitstaff. He would let me read a book and not keep asking what it was about and would watch shit tv with me, happily taking the piss out of it with me and ignoring the fact that I am quite clearly emotionally invested in the characters.Also, not that I ever expected it, but he would buy me nice stuff from time to time too.
I was fifteen when we met, and my best friend and I were hanging around, killing £6 at the local shopping centre. We were being pursued by two boys that wore caps and three quarter tracksuit bottoms and after trying to lose them in the aisles of HMV, they caught up with us. Just as things were getting a little awkward and, for a girl who until that summer was only used to boys talking to her when they wanted the answer to question in French, a little scary, there he was – “Sorry, I have a boyfriend.”
We’ve been together ever since. Sure, his face has changed (from Orland Bloom, to that guy from The All American Rejects, to Gosling, of course and even, for a short period of time, skull-faced ITV detective drama actor, Laurence Fox) over the years, but whose hasn’t?
Recently, though, things started to get tough. I resented him; resented his…presence. His necessity. A guy who I’d politely chatted to for 7 minutes on a train would ask me out, or a guy in a club would find it appropriate to keep touching my waist whilst asking me if, as a copywriter, I had a law degree, before asking for my phone number, or a guy would GET HIS DAD TO COME AND ASK FOR MY NUMBER WHILST I WAS ENJOYING A QUIET MEAL WITH A FRIEND, then I’d get all awkward and, before I knew it, Imaginary Jamie Dornan boyfriend would show up. Then, as is a pattern with most of my relationships (real or imaginary), he would make me feel bad about myself; I’d sit and brood and add to my mental list of why I didn’t have a real one of him. Or why real one’s of him had left. Or cheated and then left.
Last month a guy who works at the wardrobe-sized coffee shop at the train station asked me out. Sometimes, I get asked out. Or asked for my number. It happens occasionally and, if I’m having a blue day, I spend the rest of the day walking around like the Sex and the City theme is playing from all speakers everywhere ever. We hadn’t really spoken, other than, you know, literal shop talk and so I was a little taken aback.
“I was wondering if you were free this weekend? To do something? Maybe a country pub?”
I could see imaginary Jamie Dornan boyfriend approaching.
“That sounds lovely, but I can’t. I’m sorry!”
“Oh, how come? Maybe in the week, then?”
I turned my back on imaginary Jamie Dornan boyfriend. I was done.
“I don’t really think I can. Thank you, though. Sorry!”
I boarded my train feeling like a patronising bitch, but alighted it feeling ok. I’m not just going to wheel out an imaginary boyfriend that makes me feel lonely and insecure and blue just to spare an ego. I’ve asked guys out before and have been rejected – it’s shit but I was fine. You will be too, men.
Don’t you find it a little patronizing for me to assume that, without presenting a faceless boyfriend as the reason for rejection, you’ll crumble into the fetal position and give up on the quest for love entirely? If you do then, I’m sorry, you’re wrong – men are spectacularly shit at taking rejection. Not because it’s me in particular who’s rejecting you, and I’m so great, I would like to highlight, but just because you feel so…entitled? It must be very comfortable to think that the only reason I’m not going to go on a date with you is because I’m exclusively dating someone else – if it hadn’t been him, it would have been you.
I won’t act like I’m in a low budget American high school drama and tell you to your face, by the lockers, the long list of reasons why I won’t go out with you; it probably isn’t that long at all (you’re fine, seriously, you’re doing great), I’ll just tell you that I don’t want to and that will have to be enough.
And girls, there is nothing more liberating than, when a group of guys have completely interrupted a night out with your girlfriends, and one of them asks you for the third time why you won’t give him your number, saying “I don’t want to.” Granted, he’ll call you a stuck up bitch but he’ll leave, and you can get on with your night.
A few weeks later, when I thought it would be a good idea to buy a strawberry flavoured aloe vera drink from the wardrobe-sized coffee shop at the train station, the guy behind the counter asked me out again.
I told him I was really busy with work.
You have to choose ladies, and when it came to a choice between my imaginary boyfriend and my imaginary career, I chose my imaginary career. Even in our own heads, we can’t have both.