Saturday, January 17, 2004

I’m due a lengthy blog entry. I’ve decided to write about what happened with the girl in England, because I think I’ve learnt an important lesson and I should get that down on paper, so to speak. It maybe good for me to reread this in the future.

I’ve been guilty many times over the last five or so years of getting out of prospective relationships too early; if the girl doesn’t seem right, I’ve walked away (not ever literally, you’ll be pleased to hear). I normally decide in the first few minutes of a date if I’m interested. In some ways this is good – I know what I want – but the experience with F. has taught me that one doesn’t see - at all - what any potential relationship might be like in those crucial first minutes. I have a bad habit of wondering if I should hold out for a better option; if I’m with someone, I reason, then I’m less likely to meet somebody else, so best, if I have any doubts, keep some distance between us. But yet I don’t give the initial relationship enough time in the first place to find out if she may be just right. (Girls, if you think this ‘holding out’ makes me a bad person, then ask your boyfriend if he’s ever thought along these lines. If he says no, he’s lying).

I met F. when plans to come to Italy were already in place. She seemed nice, sweet and pretty, so I asked her out. Her first response was “Um, er, oh, um...” followed by “Ok, but I’m not really in that space at the moment – you might not get a girlfriend out of it”. “I’m leaving the country” I replied. “Ok, yeah” she said, a little hesitantly (or maybe it was thoughtfulness), and then “Yeah” again, this time with more conviction. So, from the very beginning, we both knew not to take things too seriously.

I dare say if I wasn’t planning to leave the country I may have decided early on during that first date that she wasn’t for me. Now, now that I know her better, it’s hard to put my finger on why I thought that – which makes all this all the more stupid – but think that I certainly did. Maybe it was her indecisiveness – but that’s natural, healthy even, on a first date – or, more likely, the reference to her Mum doing work for the Church (the implications of which – faith and religious belief, which regular readers will know I don’t have any time for – turned out to be totally unfounded).

But whatever they were, I chose to ignore them as, well, why not? Why not just have some fun – a quick fling – before I left? We did, and it was great. We did things; that first date involved wine in Regent’s Park, an open-air photography exhibition and a nice meal in Marylebone, and it set the tone. (When I do finally settle into a loving relationship I will not find us spending every evening in together. We will continue to go on dates however long we’ve been together) And, contrary to my ill-informed initial instincts, we fitted each other well; soon I was thinking that, in other circumstances, she would be good girlfriend material. I’m sure, however, that if either of us had suggested me changing plans the other would’ve said “Dont be so stupid”, and they would’ve been right to do so. And so I learnt: give her - and the fledgling relationship - some time.

What happened next? Well, just before I left, we chatted about things and, rather rarely in these situations, totally agreed on where we stood: we were both single, but there would be no harm – indeed, it would be very nice indeed – to pickup where we left off when I got back for Christmas. Unfortuanately, when it came to it, she decided not to do that. It seems a pity. It’s not heartbreaking, but... it is a sad ending. However, as I said in a drunken text I sent her over New Year, it’s unquestionably better to have had this experience than not. She was one part of the best summer I’ve had at least since ’99 – when I really did fall in love – and maybe longer, and for that I’m grateful to her.

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