Serial Monogamist

2 August 2016

The night had started out with groups of boys huddled in corners making crude remarks about groups of girls who clung tightly to each other on chairs lining the walls, but as the hours dragged by and Melissa Manchester morphed into Soft Cell and vast amounts of creamy sodas were consumed, there was a shift in the musty pre-adolescent air. Some of the boys found their moxie and began pushing one another out from the group in the direction of the giggling Gerties still crowded together against the wall, until the floor was awash with sixty-five children on the verge of puberty all twisting, clicking and bopping in front of one another on the makeshift dance floor.

At that stage of my life I had short brown hair, big gappy teeth, no boobs and was usually dressed in a poncho of some sort with brown velvet cords and desert boots. In other words I was your stock standard, all round, thoroughly unattractive child. It was probably no shock to anyone, least of all me, that I was overlooked in the being-asked-to-dance department as I sat amongst gorgeous refined twelve-year-olds like Hayley Ambrose at the disco that night. Hayley possessed the thickest, blackest and most lustrous hair I’d ever seen on something that wasn’t a Tammy Doll. She also had breasts to die for – actually they were more like bulbous nubs but still way more than anything I had at that point – huge blue eyes with long, black lashes and a pretty blue ribbon in her hair to match her equally pretty blue dress. To the thirty or so horny juveniles in the hall she was their answer to Farrah Fawcett.

One lasting impression I have from that night, as I watched my classmates shuffling awkwardly with one another to the tunes of Bertie Higgins’ “Key Largo” and Toto’s, “Rosanna”, was realising with absolute certainty that I would never kiss a boy, let alone fall in love. This earth-shattering awakening came as my best friend and I watched these fine young men asking friends all around us to dance. “My God,” I thought. “They’re getting asked to dance by a boy! That is so romantic.” This was quickly followed by the dreaded belief that this would NEVER happen to me. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to kiss a boy, despite my habit of practicing on the back of my hand or on the bathroom mirror after my nightly shower. Yes, at the grand old age of twelve I was adamant that I was destined to be alone forever.

I had no idea that three years later I’d start myself on a journey of non-singledom that still hasn’t ended. In fact, the longest period that I have been single since I was fifteen years old is three months.

Now, most of you might be sitting there thinking, That’s appalling! How can someone have constantly been in a relationship since they were fifteen-years-old and never have been single in all that time? It’s just plain sad! You’ve clearly never lived! Well, first let me say that it hasn’t been the same relationship since I was fifteen (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and secondly, I haven’t led the sheltered and unexamined life you may now be imagining. I’ve travelled extensively, lived overseas and in various share houses, had a wide range of friendships from different walks of life and my working life has certainly never been dull or routine. But there’s still that one thing niggling away at me – the knowledge that I’ve never been single.

Is this really a big deal, I ask myself? To never have had a one-night stand, never gone on a string of dates and never had a threesome – three things way up there on every modern woman’s bucket list.

Having a one-night stand would be exciting though, wouldn’t it, I think to myself? I mean, imagine (well most of you might not have to) going to a nightclub, spotting a gorgeous stranger, flirting with him all night across the room with your eyes until he makes his move. He comes over, you start chatting and go back to his place and the next thing your know you’re kissing, there’s arms and legs and groping and you’re in his bed having wild passionate animalistic sex where you scream things that you would never have believed possible…and then, in the middle of the night while he’s still sleeping, you get up and leave. You don’t leave a note or your name and number. You’ll never see this person again, you just leave.

I always think of that “Heart” song, “All I wanna do is make love to you”. She picks up guy, they don’t speak, she shags his brains out and sneaks out before morning, has a baby, never sees him again, runs into him at the post office a few years later (which is, admittedly, a bit awkward) and then just carries on with her life. You might feel slightly jibbed if you were him of course, but from her perspective, all good!

I’d imagine there would be some downsides to having a one-night stand though, like what if you’re someone like me who can’t really hold their alcohol and you get drunk too quickly and suddenly realise you need to throw up? It’s bad enough in front of people you know, but imagine making those loud vomiting noises in a complete stranger’s bathroom when you’ve tried so hard all night to keep up the illusion that you’re some sexy mysterious goddess, and there you are sounding like some giant retching alien with yellow and orange globs dribbling down your chin in a total stranger’s ensuite.

Only about a handful of times in my life have I known what it is like to go to a nightclub or pub and scan the room for a cute guy to flirt with, and all when I was much younger. Back then I wouldn’t have had a clue how to pick up if I tried – the most I managed was begging my best friend to say, “My friend likes you” to a boy I’d been eyeing across the room. I wish I could say things improved with age…but in my early twenties I found myself staring at a guy all night in a London nightclub, only to look away whenever he made eye contact with me. I eventually tripped over a bar stool and dropped my drink in front of his mates, at which point I decided that my moves might need some work. I imagine that if I was actually single now I’d spend most of my weekends huddled solo or with girlfriends in front of Friday Night Lights, rather than venturing out into public meeting places to risk humiliating myself with my less than average experience in the art of seduction.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m full of regret and wish I’d shagged everything with a pulse, because that’s not actually the case. I’m more than happy with my history of serial monogamy – I just don’t think it was ever part of my DNA to want to get out there and sow some wild oats. And that’s fine. Besides, I reckon that twelve-year-old sitting alone at the St. Leo’s disco all those years ago would be pretty damn impressed with the way things panned out, and would just be relieved that I didn’t end up spending my days pashing a piece of glass on the wall.

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