Sex and Relationships

The Single Girl: Bound for the rebound

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I saw Stephen this week. We spoke. It was awful. You were probably expecting these things, you were probably even expecting these sentiments; I apologise for being so predictable and so trite.

Though in my defence, you probably expected these feeling to arise from a tense meeting over coffee, or during a walk through some park of another; that Stephen would’ve finally swallowed his pride, or whatever it was that was keeping him replying to my texts and phone calls, and arranged to see me. This is very much not the case.

I bumped into Stephen on Tuesday night in Parliament station. As I rounded the corner onto platform four, thumbing a furious email to one of my most odious colleagues whose usefulness is trumped by many of potted plants in our office – I was in fact suggesting that she append to her 2017 goals an objective to become at least half as useful as an office succulent – when I came chest-to-chest with a man who ridiculously turned out Stephen.

“Excuse me,” I said, looking up into his happy-labrador brown eyes.
“Oh, hello!” he said, as if clapping eyes on an old friend.
“What?” I said, not entirely coolly, before I realised the shape to his left, was looking at me. I turned to her: Shortish, with a wide, open face, preposterously huge dark eyes, black hair parted in the centre, lips so full they looked like a Kardashian ‘after’ photo and a button nose. She was remarkably beautiful, that much was undeniable.
“Hello,” she said, plainly American, extending a comically tiny hand in my direction. I, on autopilot, enveloped it in my own, which looked every-inch a full forward’s in comparison.
“This is Alexia, she’s over from Stamford doing a year in industry for her degree,” said Stephen with an edge of pride, that sounded odd given that, I assume, Stephen’s role in her upbringing and academic career was nonexistent.
“Sure, hi,” I said, still flustered, turning back to Stephen. “I’ve been trying to get in touch with you,”
“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry, I’ve had the week from hell at work, it’s been completely hectic,”
“Hectic!” said Alexia, leaning forward with a crude smirk on her face, making it, annoyingly, even more beautiful.
“Right,” I said.
“I’ll ring you tonight, I promise,” he said.
“Tonight?” I said, feeling deeply exposed, feeling like the butt of a joke.
“Promise,” he said, reaching out an insane hand towards my shoulder; it took an age to reach it, and when it finally did it didn’t seem to know what it was doing there either, turning into a little cup, and kind of just brushing me, in a way that was not even 1% reassuring, or 3% kind, but solely, and only, 100% awkward.

I rushed home, treating myself to nerve-steadying bottle of Cab Sav en-route; finally we were going to have it out.

I waited. I put my phone on charge. I tried to act like I wasn’t waiting by putting on a film. I ensured my phone wasn’t on silent. I turned the volume ringer to max. Eventually, at 11.30, I rang him. No answer. I then did something I’ve never done before, something that I find hard to admit here, even to you, gentle reader, I waited 15 minutes and rang him again. He. Cancelled. The. Call.

That’s it. I’m done, I thought. Frankly, and I apologise for my French, but fuck this guy.

Despite the closure I felt, I was nevertheless, despite trying to will myself into chirpiness, an absolute mope that next day at work. Sue, who has been in sulk since the death of her cat Gary Barlow in 2002, even told me to “cheer up”.

In times like these there is only one thing with one man that can lift me out of my funk: Dinner with Davo.

Davo, the best friend imaginable, told me it was date night, but to give him two minutes, and exactly two minutes later he replied to say, date night had been revised to: ‘Meeting the new gf night.’

“The new GF!?” I replied, in genuine shock. Davo hasn’t admitted to having a girlfriend for at least three years. Even if girls he was seeing during that period demonstrably were his girlfriend. I knew he was dating a digital producer from one or another of the dozens of agencies he’s freelanced for, but this was an enormous moment. I tried to remain calm.

“DAVO!!! WTAF! GF since when? GF? Actual girlfriend? You mean girlfriend by GF don’t you? It hasn’t been changed to mean ‘good friend’ or something has it?”

“She’s special. The Standard Hotel. 6.30. BTOBS.”

“Be there or be square!? Took me 45 mins to work that out. You and your acronyms.”

I arrived at the wonderful Standard and took up residence on a secluded table in the garden, before Melbourne did what Melbourne does, and unleashed a classic thunderstorm. I and my pint of pale ale were soon joined by two giggling drowned rats who turned out to be Davo and his new girlfriend Kara, with a K. Tiny, dark, heavily-fringed, effortlessly cool, she was every-inch the girl I expected to eventually become Davo’s girlfriend.

We laboured over three menus and eventually did the honourable thing: ordered three parmas. Kara insisted on going to the bar, “So you two can talk about me,” she said, in a way that only a girl that cool can get away with.

“She’s beautiful,” I said, “How on earth did you get her?”
“She asked me!” he said, the surprise in his voice sounding oddly fresh.
“She is a citizen?”
“She is! He’s reckons she can trace her family back to the first fleet.”
“So how’d it happen? How’d she ask you out?”
“We were in bed last Tuesday, and she just turned me and said, I’d really like to be able to call myself your girlfriend,”
“Saaaay what?”
“I know,”
“On a Tuesday! Before work?”
“Before work!”
“What did you say?”
“I said, I’d really like to be able to call myself your boyfriend.”

My heart melted, actually melted, as Kara arrived back at the table, trotting beautifully through the rain. And I, overwhelmed with good feeling, seeing my one of my besties with someone so, well, hot, gave her a hug which seemed to surprise her less than it surprised me. I suppose then you’re that transparently cool, people hug you all the time.

Our evening was a truly great one: We laughed from beginning to end. Kara is incredible: smart, artful, challenging, a doer (she has a women’s sports podcast), I was as smitten with her by 10.30 as I think Davo is.

Outside, I was fully ready for a goodbye and an uber home, when Kara said, “Shall we kick on? A couple of my mates are at the Black Cat.”
“Why not?” I said, mentally scanning the next day’s calendar – nothing I couldn’t manage on a mild hangover.

At the Black Cat I was introduced to Sarah, Rob, Carl and Yejoon, colleagues from the agency where Kara worked. A few beers in Rob seemed to take a little shining to me, I found myself outside with him alone.

A Queenslander, flopped-haired, skinny, earnest and keen to talk about cultural theory, he worked as a creative and was recently back from a year in London. He seemed to want so much for me to think him smart, talking about Noam Chomsky’s take on Donald Trump. I didn’t think he was particularly smart, his blunt arguments were those of an intellectual dilettante, but I found him vaguely adorable for understanding that I was the type of girl who would enjoy this type of chat.

So adorable in fact that at 1am precisely I kissed him. And it was very, very good. And I didn’t stop there. After a quick character reference from Kara: “He’s adorable, kinda messed up, and insecure, but great, totally perfect for a rebound, just don’t break his heart.”

I’m good at not breaking hearts. I went outside, found Rob, told him he was very handsome, that I was recently broken up, and needed someone who knew what they were doing with their penis to take my mind of it.

He said that he thought he’d be able to help. And help me, he did. The sex wasn’t revolutionary. It was solid, it was hot. It was, in short, what sex should be.

And since then, for the first time in a while, I feel like me again. And I like me, I like me a lot.


Previous post: The six kinds of break up

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TMGR's girl on the front lines of love. The Single Girl is an indie-obsessed, wine aficionado buff drinker, with a penchant for vinyl and French novels. She finds her goldfish Evelyn's indifference upsetting so she's sharing her dating stories here instead.