There are not many times in my life I’ve had a conversation with someone for the first time and been zapped by an instant connection. The kind that makes my voice go high and girly, where I find myself playing with my hair and smiling while nodding at every word they utter.
ChrisNotChris was one – an instant and dangerous attraction that plunged me into a deep crash when he turned out to be a fraud and a liar. But the zap we had – it was palpable, real, immediate and intense. We had the benefit of having our first voice to voice conversation in person after a couple of weeks of texting but the banter: the parry and thrust of puns and innuendo was lively, exciting and incredibly sexy. So, when he turned out to have one more kid than he had told me, a relationship with a partner he had fabricated an end to, not to mention an entirely different job, career history and name, I lost faith in being zapped again. I would have to be terribly unfortunate to be struck by that kind of soul-destroying lightning twice. Better to stand in the most mundane of rainy days than be caught in that kind of storm again.
And then I started talking to you. And even now I don’t know how or why. I had received 104 messages before yours on that single app. Another 200 easily between the others. Out of all of them, I wrote back to less than two per cent and you were one of them. Buried in an inbox of private albums that had been opened to me, of couples and singles and unicorns, yours stood out. I’ll admit, a large part was the use of simple good spelling and grammar, because we all know I’m sucker for someone who can string a sentence together, but there was something else too. Maybe I just needed the ego boost, but it was nice to hear that someone thought I wasn’t just a pretty face.
And so, I wrote back, complimenting your use of words but at the same time wrapping myself up in my protective cocoon by saying it would never work because you’re in Sydney and I’m in Newy. You can’t get hurt by someone so far away, whom you’ll never meet, never talk to and with whom the conversation will no doubt die after we’ve exhausted the usual subjects like the weather, plans for the weekend and the luck we’re having on dating apps.
And you wrote back again, an even longer message this time, elaborating on my points and answering my questions. He’s working hard for it, was what I thought, I’ll give him that. But life got busy, or more specifically work, and I didn’t write back.
But you wrote again, and still I didn’t reply. And you tried a third time, a day later, with the patient persistence of someone with maturity, something I’ve not mastered myself. And finally, I responded, sitting on a train, travelling from a meeting. And I suggested we migrate to kik, the dating app’s glitches doing my head in, and it seems the messaging has been near continuous since.
But still the wariness, the more than healthy dose of scepticism was keeping my thoughts in check. “You know he’s just a troll, a toad, a pic-hunting, married jerk at best and an axe-murderer more likely.” I answered your many, many questions because let’s face it, we all like to feel that we’re interesting. I shared with you this blog and some of my story, most of which is contained herein anyway. I was waiting for the messages to dry up as they so invariably do when the guy realises you’re not going to send him a gallery of amateur centrefolds.
Then you invited me to a wedding, a friend’s that weekend. I was a stranger, a random, a “hot chick” from a website who clearly had some pretty weighty baggage she was lugging around with her like Mary Poppins’s bag before the magic kicked in. Were you actually the crazy one? Maybe all along I had been assuming I was the one messed up and maybe this whole time, you were the odd one. Who invites a stranger to a wedding two days prior, without having ever even spoken to them on the phone? A crazy, spontaneous, adventurous, throw it out to the universe guy, that’s who.
“Go!! Free food and booze, chance to dress up, bail if it’s shit. Who is it by the way?”
J, my bestie, always so practical when thrown life’s quandaries.
“Yeah I think I might. It’s spontaneous and crazy and it could be amazing. Or terrible,” I replied.
“Lol either way – it’s an entertaining story/cautionary tale.”
But your date got over her ailment, and you went with her and had what I’m sure was an amazing time and I don’t begrudge a thing. And now, a couple of days later and you’re still messaging me, still interested and I just keep waiting for that fucking axe to fall down and chop my texting fingers off.
When I heard your voice this afternoon, driving home from work with you on speaker, I was one of those idiots you see driving along smiling. People who smile while in the car alone always look suspect, like they’ve just committed a crime or are smelling their own fart.
But there I was driving along, one hand on the steering wheel, another twisting my ponytail, trying to imagine your voice coming from the face whose photos I may have glanced at once or twice on my phone.
“You sound younger than I thought,” you said. Fuck my fucking girly voice, I was thinking. Be a grown up. Put on your work voice, the proper mature voice you use when you’re on the phone. But it’s not often I talk about the same subject matter while on a work call, so my pretence lasted barely a minute.
Am I swearing too much? I think you’re swearing too much. Grown ups don’t swear this much. But you swear sometimes. A lot actually, that’s you. Don’t not be you. That’s a double negative. Why are you thinking like this? Because you’re an idiot. Focus. He’s just a boy, you know how to handle boys. You’re been doing it since you were a teenager.
But alas, boys are not men, and I was most definitely speaking with a man and something inside me goes weak and nonsensical. I’m not sure I’ve admitted this before, but I have found myself deliberately acting dumb on dates just to make the guy feel more … better? Yep, that’s good English, well done you. But I didn’t want to play dumb. I wanted to be me, but my me at this point was all kinds of confused. Where could this go, really? Maybe if we lived nearby but this, this distance thing, I’ve never been good at it. The last time I tried it he turned out to be a lying asshole with a double life.
Why does it matter, part of me says. It’s talking, conversation, why do you need to leap weeks into the future? He’s more than likely going to see you in the flesh one day and go, “oh, you’re a bit of goblin. Sorry, but I was only in it for the pussy”.
Or … it could be amazing. And instead of giving up like you always do because you’re impatient and impulsive and reckless at times, you could just stop. Let it happen and stop fucking worrying about a future that could progress in a million different ways.
And because you’ll no doubt be reading this (deep breath) … I think I like you.