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You are cancelled

  Wed 18th October 2017

Karen cancels our dinner date for the third time.

The night before, I text her to ask if she's still coming, and she says that she'll let me know. On the day, I ask her again, as gently as I can phrase it. "Don't know if you're still ok to come round for a bit of scran me petal?" "Just at my dad's love," which struck me as a non sequitur.

She went on to say that she's going round to see her friend on Thursday, and that I'd be welcome there. I tell her that I'm meeting Wendy at dinnertime and ask if the afternoon would be OK. "Yes, I'm meeting my friend T--- for dinner so it'll be afternoon love." "Great, that'd be lovely," I reply meekly, my status confirmed.

I wonder both at her lack of tact, how she didn't think that I might find it a little hurtful to be informed of another dinner date in the same exchange in which she'd cancelled ours an hour before it was supposed to happen, and at the knowledge that she's fixed the boundaries of our relationship at their present position.

I wanted to rid my thoughts of her. I made £40 on the horses the other day, thanks to a winner called Big Les. An habitué of the Shipbuilder's Arms -- Les -- made a lot more, having put a hundred pounds on it. In one of the occupational hazards of professional drinking, I got stuck for a long hour or so with a man who proves that having a degree is no warranty of intelligence, nor grants one an awareness that the word "conversation" has an element which means "with" or "together". His disjointed lecture, tolerating no interruption, reminded me of Don Paterson's adage about all his teachers having been women, whilst men have often told him things.


"I know you like her but just be careful," said Kim, a couple of weeks ago. "Because you do tend to get fucked about a bit by women." How prescient.

I ring her, and we slope into a mutual consolation of misery, talking about loneliness and the hard work that is the cost of being single, ever self-reliant, never getting a hand with anything. "I want to be looked after a bit," I said, and before we bucked our ideas up in the disciplined English manner, there was a bit of unhappy sniffing and the quavering voices that impending tears cause.

I felt close to her, and as the call ended, I told her that I loved her. "The feeling's mutual pet." We're having a weekend together in Penrith week after next, me taking the hotel place intended for her ex, from whom she split up this year. We'll be in a double bed together, and whilst the rules are established and respected -- apart from that simultaneous wank in my bed last year, which made me come with an orgasm which went on and on and on, and had me shuddering like an epileptic, a translated expression of everything I feel about her -- how I would love a bit of spoony physical closeness with one of the very few people I can really talk to.

"Let's text each other more often," she said. "We don't keep in touch enough." "I'd love that," I said, swallowing to control my voice.

10 comments

You + Karen = same planet; different worlds. But wait…there is another…

Wed 18th October 2017 @ 18:25
Comment from: [Member]

No, there is absolutely not the remotest possibility that me and Kim will get it together, not in the slightest. I’m not saying that as a sort of insulation against hope, I’m saying it as a fact, from having known her, quite closely, for eight years.

Wed 18th October 2017 @ 20:12
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

The mechanisms of human relationships are a confounding thing, it’s a cruel cosmic joke that on tiny, blue planet teeming with lonely people that so many people are still lonely, that we humans need these relationships to provide comfort and a sense of well-being or maybe meaning and yet everywhere we are lonely because we can’t seem to work out the undefinable, to somehow make things work, it’s my Tower of Babel theory (from a card carrying atheist), we lost the universal language but we lost more than that, it has nothing to do with language at all and everything to do with communication, we somehow lost the ability to communicate and accept and love for what each of us are and am, we somehow can’t accept each other or ourselves and it creates walls and it creates neglect and it is a heartbreaking thing to contemplate… there is part of me that wants to tell you that it will all work out my friend, and sometimes we need to hear it even if we know that the words have little meaning in a beautiful and cold universe, but we also know we have no idea what will happen…

all i want in life’s a little bit of love to take the pain away- J. Spaceman

Thu 19th October 2017 @ 03:36
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I think you’re at a higher stage than me kono, in being more self-sufficient. I’d love to be happy accepting myself for what I am etc etc but I’d like an arm around my shoulder, and an affection that blurs into sex maybe, sometimes.

Thu 19th October 2017 @ 22:26
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I don’t know if i’d say that, i’ve always been self sufficient and fiercely independent probably to my detriment. As for the rest i’m a damn near a Cro-Mag, a caveman in modern togs, my relationship with women is crap at best, 99% physical and 1% mental, it was mainly sex with a rare psychological attachment and even those were fleeting, a recipe that usually makes for disaster and frustrates the female involved, and of course i’m good at disguising this until i get what i want (i believe the word is cad?) i’m sure there’s a shrink somewhere who would love my case but fuck all that lol!!! i’ll stick to getting stoned and reading too much philosophy… now cue the Smiths song Accept Yourself ;)

Fri 20th October 2017 @ 11:44
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I sometimes think I haven’t developed much beyond getting teenage crushes. And I don’t really have the physical attractiveness for me to make it mainly sex. OH WOE IS ME! :)

Fri 20th October 2017 @ 11:53
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

As Gulfboot Johnson once said to me, “if it wasn’t for charisma you’d never get laid.” haha!! i’m not the prettiest of men but being 6′4 sure helps, i used to have friends who bitched about natural selection saying the fact i was tall helped me get laid, then they did a study that said men between 6ft and 6′6 tend to attract the most women cuz at the base of it we’re just animals in fancy clothes, guess i got lucky in the height department!

Fri 20th October 2017 @ 13:35
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Because I’m not physically attractive and am not tall, I have to work harder in other areas – being interested in women, wanting to get to know their backgrounds and their stories and so on. But there is nothing that one can do to compensate for the fundamental lack of physical attraction. It’s exactly because all of my questions are genuinely motivated, that women warm to me as their new semi-gay sexless friend, never a lover. Every woman I meet thinks it’s someone else that will like me. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s the overarching thing in my life and makes me feel sad, every day.

Sat 21st October 2017 @ 18:51
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

it’s never equal - one party in a pair is always more invested than the other. i am homely. always have been. even as a woman, most men aren’t even remotely interested in boning me until after a few drinks, and a bit of conversation… a byproduct of this has been my drive to become self-sufficient (financially, physically and emotionally). the byproduct of that? i’m difficult to love… we all carry a few demons.

i’m sorry that karen has (at least momentarily) checked out. cherish that friendship with kim. in the end, it will save you. over and over again if necessary.

Mon 23rd October 2017 @ 17:21
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

That’s right Daisy, that eternal inequality. Even if lovers begin with an inequality that is sufficiently bated to make a relationship viable, it often returns later in the form of different aims and wishes for the future.

And re Kim – if I can coin an old-fashioned phrase – I’ve never doubted for one second the constancy of her affection and her critical support.

Sorry, I’m reading a 700-page early Victorian novel at the moment. It’s making me talk like a right ponce. [Nothing new there, then – Ed.]

Wed 25th October 2017 @ 19:05


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