Sunday, February 29, 2004

I have these funny ideals of love; or rather, of relationships. I went shopping this afternoon – vegetables (two-and-a-half-euros for a week’s worth at the Greengrocer; why does anybody buy veg at the supermarket?) and cds (I haven’t heard Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On for years; wow, it’s good) – and, arriving back in the flat, I let my imagination take me – again – to the small world of Thom’s Perfect Relationship: something apt on the stereo for the relaxing few hours of Saturday evening (or the cricket, although sharing my enthusiasm for Test Match Special isn’t a necessary requirement for my future partner), a nice bottle of wine to sup and the shared adventure of proper cooking. Maybe my mind has this scene in soft-focus because it’s what I used to do with my first real love; we even mastered Chinese Spring Rolls together y’know. But I know it’s not the only such picture I have and I’m sure we all have our own individual versions.

I’d like to fall in love. That’s not to say it’ll happen with the next girl that shows an interest or, indeed, anytime soon. And neither should you think it makes me desperate. Once – as an insecure 18-year-old – I was, but these days finding a girl that’s interested isn’t so much of an issue. Finding the right one, however, is. But I’ve done my tarting, and maybe chasing girls doesn’t hold quite the same allure it once did (but, a bit like another glass of wine, it always seems like a good idea when somebody else suggests it, and it is invariably great fun). The pleasures that I experienced last summer with F. outweight those of another night out and another snog, and of another girl succumbing to the charms of my cooking.

But finding her is hard. I was once asked years ago by a friend what my ideal girl would be like. The answers to that – or rather, the details – have evolved over time, but some things remain consistent: self-confidence and self-identity, gregariousness, intellectual honesty, curiousity, insightfulness, a healthy sense of fun and, of course (I’m a bloke), sexiness. It is, I reckon, a tough list. As I said about F., many girls fail to satisfy some of these criteria in minutes and I have a bad habit of concluding – without seeing the natural, relaxed and ‘real’ them – that, therefore, they’re not for me. But I see no point in compromising the ideals themselves, even if I know now to give her a little more time to show such qualities. It would only make me bitter 5, 10 or 20 years later.

I’ve spent a lot of time single in my twentys. Even with my first love, it’s hard to say exactly when (if ever?) we were a couple, and other ‘relationships’ have been self-consciously short-term, or else have ended soon. I was even once called a commitment-a-phobe by a girl who’d known me less than three hours. What such a lifestyle has engendered is a great deal of self-confidence and a happiness to be alone. What I fear is getting too used to that; of being too independent and with too little need for someone else.

On the other hand, what I won’t do – and what I’m perhaps too wary of – is get involved with someone because they’re there, because it’s the best available at the time. I’ve seen several friends jump from relationship to relationship – some good, some not so – unable to stay single. My single status wasn’t always through choice – I was far too scared of girls as a teenager to actually go out with one of them – but it has allowed me to grow fully into myself. Consequently my future relationship will be one between two wholes and not two halves that fit well together, as so many relationships I witness seem to be. Unfortuantely, finding another whole isn’t so easy: if you know one (and she’s cute), could you ask her to drop me an email please? Thanks.

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