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Of Mothers and Fathers

There is something important that I have learned in my dating adventures. If you want an instant insight as to a woman’s relationship history and how a relationship with her will be going forward, you only need to ask her, “How would you describe your relationship with your father?” Whatever she answers will tell you everything you need to know.

The nature of my working life has revolved around my ability to quickly spot trends and patterns. I can’t help but do this when listening to people telling me about themselves. It’s a professional hazard, but one I enjoy. It feeds my analytical side, the part of me that helps make sense of the world around me. Other people might not like it, but it serves me well. Don’t worry, I carefully hide it when on dates.

After sitting across the table from almost fifty women in two years, this is what I have seen. Nature’s Grand Conspiracy has dictated that daughters are more influenced by their fathers and boys by their mothers. This cross-bonding sets that little person up for life when it comes to dealing with their love-life.

It has amazed me how common and accurate my observation has been. I feel that I have helped some women I’ve met when, only after deciding that I won’t be seeing them again, I use their words in response to my question and ask if it applies to their relationship history, that they then have their own epiphany. It’s as if a light-bulb has literally gone off above their heads.

We all have a relationship style, an unthinking way of how we expect things to be at the outset and over the course of a relationship. We get this from our parents. Sometimes we strive for the opposite of what our parents inadvertently teach us; I am of that mold but more about me later.

The beginning of any relationship is the exciting fun part, we all know that, but it’s the bit afterwards that we all struggle with. Some of us never get to the afterwards because of ideas we hold in our heads, feelings that we expect and cling to, so the change to a stable, predictable, almost boring relationship is too much to take on and we withdraw. I’ve seen that several times with the women I’ve dated. They just don’t know how to let things be and they cling to the romance phase. Some baulk at the first sign of change because with that comes the unknown, something us humans are pre-programmed to fear.

I’ve also seen in my own dating experience that the less interested in a girl I was, the more interested in me she was. If my internal attitude was one of, “Hmm, yes, I suppose you’re okay.” then a woman would do all the running and I would be in the driving seat in the relationship.

If I was very taken with a woman, then I couldn’t help but let it show. She then had all the power in the relationship, I did all the running. It became hard work and usually didn’t last very long. Baltic Babe and Krazy Girl taught me this.

So if I can contain my interest when I meet somebody I want, play it cool, then it’s more likely to work out in my favour, i.e. lead to a relationship.

I now find myself wondering if the feeling that this approach gives off to a woman reminds her of her father’s attitude to her. Always there, never dominating, letting her be and being there for her, physically and emotionally. So, are women looking for a man who makes them feel like their father’s did?

I’m inclined to say “yes”. However, it’s a qualified one because there are few other factors that influence proceedings, primarily ‘power’ in a relationship. That is something I’ll be sharing my thoughts on at another time. For the time being I’ll say my behaviour provides a feeling that gets their attention, while later seizing the power in the interaction keeps their attention.

About two-thirds of the women I have met through dating have admitted to having bad or terrible relationships with their fathers. Some don’t even know who their fathers are. Of course that’s not their fault but it has left them somewhat compromised in the relationship stakes. Baltic Babe had only recently started communicating with her father. Musician Gal told me never to even mention her father the first and only time I asked about him. My Exgf’s parents divorced when she was one and she didn’t have a male role-model in her life until she was seven.

For a while I thought my “aloof but interested” approach was causing a problem but then I realized that no approach would work with some of these women. They are just too messed up permanently or temporarily confused by a past traumatic relationship experience. Lusty Lass, Cat Lady and Krazy Girl were of the latter.

Something else I have learned is that if a woman has “daddy issues” then aside from a turbulent history with men, the sex is good if not crazy. If her relationship with her father is normal and healthy then, apart from relatively few relationships, the sex is average to bland.

These women with daddy issues seem destined to ride a Carousel of Cock, an endless stream of strangers that they use sex to attract but then become fearful of or lose interest in. The attention they garner makes them feel good about themselves for a short while, but then they need another fix from another guy. With so much sexual experience they pick up skills and fetishes that make playtime phenomenal fun, but they just can’t sustain a loving relationship. They drift from lover to lover, perpetuating the same sabotaged relationship style over and over. Krazy Girl and my Exgf are classic examples of this. They don’t know how many times they’ve been had nor do they know who’ll be next. I wonder how it ends for them. A song from Rodriguez comes to mind.

So how does any of this apply to me and my situation? A lot of what I’ve discovered applies to men too. I’ll use myself as an example.

First, I know that my own relationship style is a consequence of my upbringing. My relationship with my mother was terrible and has only in recent years progressed to bad. In the endless war between my parents my mother used me as a pawn against my father. I can count on my hands and have fingers left over the number of times my mother allowed me to be alone with my father. There was no real reason for this other her conceit and spite. I resented her for this.

When I was with my father I saw a side to him that very few people did. He was gentle, thoughtful and attentive to me. When he was with other people he was proud, imposing and loud. I didn’t like who he was then and have only come to terms with that side of him in recent years. He grew up during the Great Depression and it scarred his psyche because his was a poor upbringing. He once told me of eating pumpkin every night and his trousers his mother had made from torn Hessian bags that the pumpkins came in. Children at his school made fun of him for it. All his life he craved social respectability, status and acceptance, the things he never got in his formative years.

My mother is a poorly educated, unintelligent and stubborn person. In her twenties and thirties she was a perfect ten in appearance, but Nature’s Grand Conspiracy decrees that what it gives in abundance in one area it takes from another area. So many of the nines and tens that I’ve dated and bedded were great to look at but unpleasant to be around. I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of your parents, but I’m just stating the facts. I’ll illustrate by way of an example.

I’m a little boy, about eight years old and we’re out for a Sunday drive on a baking highway near our city. Suddenly smoke starts spewing out of the front of the car and my father pulls us over to the side of the road. It’s lunchtime and we haven’t seen a car for some time and none are to be seen in the distance where the unforgiving African sun is melting everything into a silvery shimmer. I sit in the back seat of our Mercedes as my father gets out and opens the bonnet. Steam covers him and my mother gets out to investigate too. My father owns a garage and a car dealership while my mother can’t park her car.

“Do you think it’s the battery?” she asks him as the steam from the broken radiator pipe abates.

“Why don’t you use your head?” he retorts.

“What?! I must use my head against the battery?! Don’t be so bloody stupid,” she snaps back. An argument commences.

That’s an humorous moment from a private war that saw nightly fights, upturned dinner tables, thrown objects, kicks, tears, bouts of drunkenness on his part and the occasional not coming home for several nights. I’d go hide in my bedroom, finding sanctuary with toy soldiers or comics. I remember many Summer nights lying on the grass in the backyard, using my dog as a pillow and staring up at the stars waiting an uneasy truce to break out. Neither of them ever came to look for me.

And so it was between the two of them, day in and day out, year after year until the stress of it all caused my father to have a fatal heart-attack a few years after that incident by the roadside.

My mother never once said or did anything that made matters better, only worse and that applies to everyone she interacts with. She couldn’t care less what anyone else feels and never for an instant stops to consider the consequences of her words. She has a serious attitude problem but will never change. I got through my teenage years not because of my mother’s efforts but despite them.

It doesn’t surprise me that I want the opposite of what they had. I want a loving relationship characterized by harmony, respect and co-operation. Those last three elements, I can see, are becoming increasingly central in my quest for love. I know now that my marriage was based on my need for this. I felt emotionally safe with my ex-wife. That is my relationship style.

My childhood has also played a role in my decision not to have children because I feel unequipped having never had good role models. Maintaining a loving relationship is hard enough, what are the odds of success by complicating it with a child or two?

Sadly The Saffa is starting to remind me of my mother. She is as stubborn and unwilling or unable to say or do anything to make things better. Hints of it came my way during the squabbles over lunch and pancakes. I can see it clearly in her handling of the dispute with her employers. I fear that she’ll soon be out of work and homeless and looking to me to help out. I don’t need or deserve that responsibility. I have money problems of my own, I have no room for charity. Besides it is also a dreadful way of coming to live with someone you’re seeing, especially someone new.

The Saffa’s parents divorced when she was little and her father moved to another country. She only saw him a few times a year when she was shipped off to him. Her mother didn’t remarry until later in her life. The Saffa has what can be best described as a turbulent relationship history. I doubt that there will be harmony with her while co-operation will be difficult to achieve at times. Each petty argument will be like an addition to death by a thousand paper cuts, eventually respect will die.

I’m also starting to suspect that she is bit of a drama queen. If there isn’t some kind of drama happening somewhere in her life, she’ll create it.

I have heard it said that a weak woman will drag a man under and a hard woman will drag a man around. I’ll add to that truism by saying that a stubborn woman or drama queen will drive a man crazy, perhaps even to an early grave.

I don’t feel emotionally safe with The Saffa. That’s what has been bothering me.

Rodriguez – I wonder

Previous dates and near misses

The disappointment of The Brazilian has taken the wind out of my sales. As I write this, I’m trying to have a galia melon for breakfast, but I’m struggling to swallow it, such is my emotional state at the moment. Stupid me had high hopes for her.

A week after sending her my goodbye text message , driven by a sense of curiosity, I sent her another message. I figured I had nothing to lose and if she answered I would have more of an idea about what was going on in her head. I wasn’t hoping for a reconciliation in the way her favourite movie storylines go, but wanted to further my education about women. My message read, “I’m really curious about something: what was it that I said or did that put you off me?

To my amazement her reply came within half an hour and it read, “Nothing much really apart from your last text!! Unfortunately then that made me think about distance, work, commitments I’m not ready to have, lifestyle and so on. Maybe we shared too much information too soon as well, but that doesn’t matter. I was very put off by your last text. And I don’t think I can deal with that at all.

From that message I took it that she was scared and commitment was her issue. I also deduce that she wasn’t so taken by me that her fears and issues were overwhelmed. Her loss. I’ve learned that the two strongest human emotions are fear and greed. Fear has kept our species alive. Our greed has kept us evolving. In my experience when someone says ‘not ready’ it means they are being governed by their fear(s). It takes someone who taps into their greed for something – lust, intimacy, acceptance, love, whatever because it varies – to make them ignore their fear.

The Brazilian’s heart is fragile and scared. She’s in passive-defensive mode, waiting for any man to say or do one wrong thing and she’s gone. It’s an example of the Grey Knight’s First Law of Dating Physics: for every male action there is a disproportionate female over-reaction.

I am also firmly of the opinion that there was at least one other person on the scene, the person whom she was seeing on Wednesday nights far away from her home.

It occurs to me that it is two years since I went online dating. This gives me pause to remember and wonder what has happened to some of the women I’ve met, as well as the ones I wanted to meet but didn’t get to.

First, the women I did get to meet…

Tech Titan I’m still in touch with, but strictly as friends. She and her boyfriend have just got back from two weeks in the Seychelles, where he proposed to her. I’m happy for her, but he only got divorced a year ago.

Baltic Babe has married her Frenchman. LinkedIn sent me an update with her new surname, so I check out her Facebook page, but she has tightened her security settings and I garner nothing new. I find his Facebook and LinkedIn profile. Let’s just say that he has a face for radio. He must be able to lick his eyebrows. Good luck to them both.

As I sit writing about my dates with The Model, looking back over our email and text conversations, it’s now – yes, only now because I’ve had no reason to think about this – becoming apparent to me that she was dating at least one other person. There were the classic lies/excuses of being at the gym, falling asleep in front of the tv, always getting her voicemail. I was totally blind to it at the time; it was my early days of dating. Apparently all’s fair in love and war. I’m starting to understand what that means.

Krazy Gal got herself a new job then lost it three months later. She’s unemployed again and still living with her parents it seems.

I come across Delicate Flower on Plenty of Fish (PoF). She uses the same photos from when we met 2 years ago. I know that she is now 37 going on 38, but she says on her profile she’s 33. She’s also decided that she wants kids. We swap some emails, but when I suggested that we meet for coffee it seems she blocked me because the message history disappeared. I just wanted to chat with her because I enjoy her company. I wasn’t interested in sex because she is an awful lay. I leave matters there.

PoF also tells me that Angry Yank has changed her location to Greater Boston. Does that mean her visa was running out when we met?

I noticed on the national newspaper’s dating site that Musician Gal has blocked me from contacting her. I find that funny. She was recently active on the site.

I search online for Lusty Lass and can’t find her anywhere. Her Facebook page that I have seen before has disappeared. Our LinkedIn connection has been disconnected and her profile is gone. I do a Google search and find out she had declared herself bankrupt in 2010, probably because of her divorce. When we met in July 2013 she was working for a firm on the outskirts of London, but in early 2014 she had a so-called ‘condition’ set against her by her industry’s governing body that she could not work with client monies. Then latterly she had the same condition set against her but this time she was working for a firm on the opposite end of London. The new firm doesn’t have her on their website as a staff member. Doing a search on her profession’s register returns a blank. Has she been silly and lost her accreditation? She has a penchant for bringing drama into her life.

Cat Lady has acquired a second cat and from the photos she posts on Facebook is spending her evenings knitting things for the kitten.

Busty Blonde has landed her dream job and is still active on the dating site where we met. I hope she meets someone better than me.

Now for the women I didn’t get to meet, the near-misses as I now think of them. These are only some of the women whom I spent time swapping messages with but who couldn’t bring themselves to actually meet me for a date.

A New Zealander whom I was very keen to meet but disappeared when I suggested a date has updated her location on PoF as now being in Sydney, Australia. We interacted a month ago, just before I met The Brazilian.

A local lady and I struck up a great online conversation and agreed to a date. On the Saturday in question she sent me a message at 5am saying that she couldn’t bring herself to meet me that day. I see on PoF that she has changed her profile to say that she “wants to get married”. I would have met her for a date if she suggested rescheduling, but now that I know what her agenda is, I’m put off her.

Last night I was flipping through Tinder when I recognised a pretty blonde whom I had seen on my Happy Humping Ground dating site. On Tinder it shows her name and that she is 41. I find her dating profile where she claims to be 35 and looking to meet men aged 26 to 34! I guess she’s just looking for mindless sex. She’s just the sort of woman I’m visually attracted to; perhaps more proof that the look I like is the wrong sort of person for me.

I love a good, shocking surprise…a woman I noticed on one dating site reveals on another site that she is bisexual.

A lady in my town who approached me and was very keen to meet up, but ended up flaking on me an hour before we were supposed to meet in a local pub has updated her location as being in the north of the country now.

I got an approach email on PoF from someone who looked interesting. Then I noticed that she said that she does drugs on a social basis. I pointed that out to her and said that if it wasn’t for that I would have been happy to meet her for a date. I hear nothing but check her profile the next day to see that she’s changed it to “no drugs”. I write to her but the PoF system says that she has blocked me. She is now someone else’s nightmare in the making.

A woman I’ve swapped messages with in the past responds with “I’m in lurker mode.” What the fuck is that? It’s a woman playing games. There are so many of them on dating sites. They love the attention, will swap endless emails but will never agree to meet for a date. They are not emotionally ready for a relationship. They draw power from the emails, they feel better about themselves for being on a dating site, but they are not relationship material. They’re too fucked up. They eventually acquire cats and their brains are addled with toxoplasmosis. They agree to meet within 6 emails or they’re history.

I’m starting to think that flaky women are just a waste of time. The best encounters, the smoothest experiences have started well and gone well from there. Bad or broken communication is a warning sign; it’s how they operate and will do so in a relationship too.

I’ve realized something: For much of my early dating experiences I was in a mild state of delirium. The disappointment of the Exgf destabilised me, Baltic Babe knocked me over and Krazy Girl stomped me into the ground.

All these women have taken something from me. I don’t exactly know what it is, but I know I lack it. Whatever it was, I want it back. Through Busty Blonde I’m getting to see that an innocence and naiveté I had is gone. That hasn’t made me a better person, instead a more cynical one. I don’t think its that, however. I think it’s a goodness that gave me an arrogant strength is what is gone. It gave me the notion that when it came to relationships, I was better than most men. Now that I have experienced what I have, I feel like I am like other men carrying the same weariness and delusion that they do. I am no longer as special as I once was. Can I be that again, or is the best that I can hope for a different me, built on the ruins of the old? Time will tell.

For the first time ever, the thought of another first date makes my stomach turn. I’m struggling to believe that The One is out there. I’m fully aware that these are my salad days and that I should be out there, mixing and mingling, because I’ve never going to be as good looking and energetic as I am now. Yesterday I found a grey hair in a sideburn; it’s life reminding me that old age is creeping up on me. At the moment I’m just not interested in women.

Thunder is beating its drum and lightning is crackling across the sky outside my window. My window on life. I’ve spent much time looking out that window, wondering about what is and about what could be, even what should be, but the latter only causes me pain. Of course I would love to lie on my lounge floor with Her by my side, whoever Her might be, the one that I am longing to meet, longing so much that at times it hurts. I’ve never had a problem with being alone, but lately I’ve been feeling lonely. That horrible old feeling is back again, to tease and torment me.

After this short and slightly nasty experience with The Brazilian that has left a bitter taste in my mouth, I’ve come to accept that I’m destined to be alone for some time yet. I’ll see it as paying my dues, serving my apprenticeship, hoping that one day I shall be rewarded. Of course there’s no way of knowing what the future holds and it might just be a massive, echoing nothingness for me. A dried up empty husk, devoid of life and of no use to anyone – that is what my love life might hold. It’s a fate that I choose not to think too much about for fear of it depressing and then paralysing me.

My friend, you’re a tourist in the jail that is my dating life, I’m a prisoner here.

Michael Buble – Haven’t Met You Yet

Cat Lady Christmas

It’s the weekend before Christmas 2013 and all the other ladies I’m juggling are away from London for the next week or so. I have a couple of Groupon vouchers left over that are expiring soon so I decide to use them, to go out and enjoy what life has to offer at this time of year. The only person available at such short notice is Cat Lady so we agree to meet on Saturday. I’m not thinking of it as a date, but more two friends going out together.

It’s lunchtime as I spot Cat Lady coming towards me as I loiter in a coffee shop in central London. She’s late again because she insists on taking the bus everywhere despite the Tube taking a third of the time. I’ve reserved a table at a novel Japanese restaurant and then shortly afterwards it’s off to see a West End show; this time it’s ‘The Two Guvnors’. Because they’re Groupon vouchers the timing wasn’t of my choosing so when I told Cat Lady of the details I made a point of asking her not to be late. She’s almost half an hour late. I find her constant tardiness annoying. If I were to date her I’d tell her earlier times and if she ever was on time then she could wait for me.

We kiss hello on the lips and I say nothing of her lateness. What would be the point of that? I usher her towards the restaurant which even I’m impressed by. It’s super-modern with futuristic ordering done on the table surface, funky décor and innovatively presented dishes and surprisingly good food. I’ve always found restaurants that put money and effort into the surroundings to be a disappointment when it came to the food, but not this place.

Cat Lady is wearing skin-tight, grey leather trousers and she looks sexy. She does have a good body on her. I think we’d fuck well together, but that’s not what I’m hoping or aiming for. This is just a good, clean fun outing as far as I’m concerned. I notice her stealing glances at my mouth. It takes a little while before I realize that she’s got kissing on her brain. Are my kisses that good to her? She did seem to enjoy my goodnight kiss the last time we saw each other. Maybe it’s that sweet spot in her monthly cycle when she’s horny? It would explain the trousers.

The rushed meal ends and we stride to the theatre where we join the back of the queue for the matinee show. We take our seats just as the curtain goes up. When I’m at work I rush around like a headless chicken, so when it’s my time I prefer to be leisurely about it, to savour the best moments, to enjoy the experience. There’s nothing to enjoy when rushing. I wonder if this is one of the reasons why she has had so many short-term relationships: guys just won’t put up with her inconsiderate behaviour?

‘Two Guvnors’ is raucously funny and I’m glad I made the effort to come out. At intermission we head to the bar on our floor where Cat Lady stands holding her hands, expecting me to buy her a drink, which I do. I find her presumptuousness somewhat offensive, but I say nothing. I’ve been unemployed since I walked out of my job in early August, while I know that she earns a decent amount of money in her profession. I’ve treated her to a meal and show, the least she could do is offer to buy me a drink, but no.

Drinks in hand we make conversation which inevitably leads to discussing plans for Christmas Day.

“So what are you doing for Christmas lunch?” she asks.

“Some friends have invited me around, but I haven’t said yes yet,” I answer.

Various friends have indeed invited me over for Christmas lunch, but I’m tired of feeling like the charity case at the dinner table. The previous Christmas I spent at friends with me and my dating dilemmas becoming the focal point of discussion for what felt like an eternity. I don’t want to repeat that experience. This might surprise you, but I’m quite a private person; I don’t like being the centre of attention.

“Hey, why don’t you come have Christmas with me and my friends at my place?” Cat Lady says excitedly.

I think about it for a second and reply, “You know, I’d like that.”

“Cool. I’ll send you the details later,” she says as a bell sounds, beckoning us to retake our seats.

After the show we rejoin a darkened London and Cat Lady suggests that we go for a walk through Green Park as it’s her favourite park in this metropolis. Initially we walk side by side, like friends ought to, but after a while our arms are couple and I don’t know how that happened. I can’t help wonder if she’s expecting different things from this encounter compared to my agenda. Lordy, could she be hoping for us to spend the night together?

No, this is all becoming too complicated and messy for me. I’ve got Travel Gal and Busty Blonde well into my pipeline; they’re both at Phase 2, i.e. Dating. I’ve also got two little Russians at Phase 1, i.e. Pre-Date. Have I lost control of matters with Cat Lady and she has been at Phase 3 (Pre-Bang) without my knowing and now she wants to move on to Phase 4, i.e. Banging?

We aimlessly wander around Green Park making small-talk while in my head I resolve that if she offers herself to me that I should decline. I know deep down that she’s not The One for me, so why get embroiled in what could turn into a nasty situation for one or both of us? She doesn’t deserve any more hurt since her last relationship and I don’t want to hurt her. I also don’t want to be someone’s rebound fling; it’s not what I’m looking for.

It’s barely 7pm when we find ourselves standing at a bus-stop on Piccadilly. She wants to catch a bus which could take over an hour for her to get home. Conversation dies for a moment, I spot her staring at my lips yet again and decide to indulge her in a little of what she obviously wants.

I lean forward and she instantly comes in to meet me. Our lips gently lock and I feel her breath out onto my chin. We kiss slowly and in less than half a minute she starts using her tongue. I think that’s the first time she’s done that and I take it as a sign that she’s frisky. I counter with my own tongue and she makes sounds of approval as I wrap my arms around her. Cat Lady feels good in my arms; her body is a good fit for mine.

Slowly I unwind myself from her and let my lips be the last thing to touch her. She stands in front of me, biting her bottom lip and looking lustfully into my eyes. Yes, she wants to fuck, but I’m not going to. It seems that neither of us know what to say or do next. She furtively looks away but within seconds looks at me sideways. My dating and sexual adventures have taught me that when a woman gives me that sideways look, it means she fancies me, perhaps even to the point of wanting to get physical with me. It’s always been a wonderfully flattering feeling when I’ve spotted that look, but tonight it’s an unwanted complication.

No self-respecting woman is going to say to me, “Wanna come back to my place for sex?” That’s not how women operate. They expect a man to pick up on their subtle clues and signals, but sadly most men are not as observant as women would like. In my line of work attention to detail is vital and, when recruiting staff, I’ve always leaned towards hiring a woman because I believe women to be at least twice as observant as men. I think it’s an evolutionary thing in that, during caveman times, a woman would spot the danger first and retreat with the child while the man, is sent off to fight the threat. It also plays out elsewhere in that, after sex, the man falls asleep while the woman is wide awake. Should a predator present itself the woman will wake the man to do the fighting while she does the running away. We really haven’t progressed far as a species.

I’m not going to suggest going back to her place and she’s not going to either, so we’re at a stand-off which suits me. Just to make sure that I’m reading the situation correctly I lean in to kiss her again and this time it’s more passionate than before. In the last year or so I have had women compliment my kissing technique and I know that it turns most of them on, so Cat Lady must be dripping wet. She must regret choosing to wear those leather trousers.

Mercifully a bus arrives and Cat Lady climbs aboard this new version of the old open-rear entrance where she clings to the pole. We make utterances about Christmas Day just as the bus pulls off.

I go home not too sure what to make of this encounter. Is she warming to me? Does she want more than she previously indicated? It doesn’t matter because I’m not that taken with her, largely because she’s just too damaged from her last relationship, just like Krazy Girl is. I need to find a way to let her down gently.

On Christmas Eve morning I get a text message from Cat Lady. She says that she has a bad cold and that she’s had to cancel her Christmas Day plans. I respond wishing her improved health, but inside me all sorts of other thoughts and feelings rage. I don’t believe her story, something doesn’t ring true. Does she feel spurned by my not going home with her on Saturday night? Is this her revenge? Or is this her way of pissing me off to the extent that we don’t see each other again?

If that last notion is her intent it has worked. I’m pissed off that I now have nowhere to go on Christmas Day. I can’t phone around at this last minute seeing which friends have a spare place at their table, it’s just too embarrassing to do.

That’s how it came to be that I spent Christmas Day of 2013 by myself. It was initially a very depressing morning; I felt lonely. Yes, I phoned my usual people that I speak to on Xmas Day and lied about my plans for the day. I even lied to my mother. As the day wore on my mood improved. It felt less stressful than yet again feeling like the spare wheel in a room full of happy couples.

I got to think about some things, mostly reviewing my dating experiences of the year. I even sat down and wrote a few of the things that you’ve read. Although it wasn’t time for New Year’s resolutions, I decided that I need to slow down my dating life and focus on getting more quality dates. I resolve to be more ruthless with women I meet. If the first date is no good, then there’s no second date. I’m learning that, in life, as things start it is generally how they tend to go. I’m tired of being surrounded by people who have a negative effect on me.

As a consequence of these resolutions I decide to not see Cat Lady again. It’s not doing either of us any good. She’s just too flaky to even have as a friend.

I’m hoping that next Christmas will be better. It can’t be much worse.

Yes – Owner of a lonely heart

Maybe tomorrow

I have The Wanderer sleeping in my bed but my heart yearns for The One whom I am yet to find. At the beginning of the year I bought tickets to two pop concerts as acts of unbridled optimism. I believed that by the end of the year I would have found Her and treating Her to artists we both liked would be a nice way to end the year and share our first Winter together. I love the build-up to Christmas in England. There’s a muted buzz in the air as the winds from Siberia arrive, darkness descends earlier each day and Christmas decorations appear everywhere. It’s the perfect time to be in love.

Alas, my plans have not worked out and I have these tickets. Cat Lady and I have sporadically swapped messages via Facebook and WhatsApp, but I think we both know that we’re not meant for each other. She’s still stinging from her last relationship and I’ve realized that I am too, but for different reasons. My trust issues run deep and I’ve recently discovered that I was played by a psychopath. I have little confidence in my ability to assess a woman correctly, hence my little tests and games that I’ve played on some of my dates. They were a crutch for my hobbled ability to trust and a patch for my bruised ego, hiding what was really going on inside me.

Cat Lady and I meet on a rainy week-night to see Chris Rea at the Royal Albert Hall. She’s unfashionably late and Chris is into his routine as we squeeze into our seats. I hate being late because it seems rude to me, but sometimes it can’t be helped. People around us make it known that they don’t appreciate our disruption. Cat Lady whips her phone out and starts taking photos of everything around us; she even photographs the ceiling. A steward comes over to ask her to desist because of the flash. She apologizes, but no sooner is he gone than she continues photographing. If I was thinking this to be a date then I would be very unimpressed. However, I know that this venue and outing is new to her and she’s seeing it all through tourist eyes.

Irritated patrons around us tut-tut and I ask Cat Lady to put her phone away. She fiddles with it, disables the flash and continues photographing the architecture of this historic building. Her pig-headedness is breath-taking and it just reinforces my belief that we would not get along in the long-term. She’s just too stubborn with a bit of selfishness and inconsideration thrown in to make it extra annoying for any man involved with her. This might be a reason why she’s still single in her early forties, never really having had a long-term relationship.

After the show I walk Cat Lady to her Tube station and we make polite small-talk. I do find her easy to talk to and having a common additional language gives us another sense of humour that we can share. At the Tube station I try to kiss her good-night on a cheek, but she moves her head quickly and kisses me on my lips. I’m surprised and give off a laugh. We look at each other, blink and then kiss again, this time deliberately we go for each other’s lips. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing for me and felt like harmless fun.

“Damn, you’re a good kisser,” she says with big eyes as I pull away from her.

I say nothing, she smiles at me and then spins around and disappears into the station. I laugh to myself, wondering what that was about. She is just a friend who likes how I kiss, that’s how I perceive her. Could there be more between us? I don’t think so.

A few nights later and it’s Saturday. I take The Wanderer to go see The Simple Minds at the old Millennium Dome. She’s been a little depressed, she’s tried to hide it, but I can see it. I’m hoping that a night out will lift her spirits. The Wanderer is impressed by the spectacle of shops and restaurants that are inside the dome, so it’s off to a good start. The warm-up act is Ultravox and seeing as we’re both fans of 80s music it comes as a pleasant surprise. The Simple Minds take to the stage and kick the show off with a spectacular lighting display and deafening rendition of one of their famous hits. As is the norm at such events, everyone is standing, which is fine by me because I’m over six foot tall, but The Wanderer is petite and it isn’t long before she is sitting.

She makes for a sad figure and I feel very sorry for her. Life hasn’t been kind to her and I was part of her recent disappointments, something that I feel bad about. I don’t like letting people down. I’ve realized that I should have been even more choosy about my dates earlier in the year, but I told myself that profiles rarely capture what a person is about. If I had been pickier and stuck to my stipulation that single mothers were a no-no for me, then I wouldn’t have met The Wanderer and I wouldn’t have ended up hurting her. I am to blame.

I can’t just leave her sitting there like that, so I sit down too and give her the best smile that I can. The Wanderer feigns a smile. We’re both feeling low. It’s the strangest thing, feeling alone in a crowd. She complains of back-pain, which I believe to be psycho-somatic; her mind is poisoning her body. She’s in a negative spiral that I can’t help reverse.

If she felt about me that the way I felt about Baltic Babe and Krazy Girl, then it can’t be easy sleeping in the same bed as me. To her credit she has behaved herself, whereas I don’t think I could have with the two aforementioned young ladies. Being with me has probably been a mixed blessing for her in that she has a place to stay for a while, but she has had to watch me sit at my computer and swap emails with women on dating sites. If I’ve had to speak to a prospective date on the phone I have always gone to another room. I wouldn’t be surprised if she can’t wait to get the hell away from me.

We’re amongst the first to leave the concert. Once on the train The Wanderer snuggles up to my shoulder and falls asleep until we get to my town. I know that I can only be friends with her and I want it to stay that way. A younger, less-experienced me would have made love to her by now for very silly reasons that I would have regretted the next day. I am growing up after all.

My thoughts turn to the women I’ll be meeting in the next weeks. It’s going to be a busy time for me, which is exciting, but I find myself doubting my being ready for a serious relationship. If I do find Her, then that question is likely to evaporate.

My next date will be number forty. Forty! The common denominator with all these dates is me. There must be something wrong with me. What is it? I need to figure it out quickly because I’m running out of enthusiasm for this dating scene. How much longer do I need to walk on this lonely highway? I’m starting to feel like a desperate hitch-hiker under a desolate sky, hoping that the lights slowing down for me will be someone friendly, interesting and safe.

When will I find Her? Maybe tomorrow? I have a date set up that I’m looking forward to. Maybe tomorrow…

Stereophonics – Maybe Tomorrow

Cat Lady capers

It’s a drizzly Sunday morning as I meet Cat Lady at my station and walk her back to my apartment. I have no plan and no idea how today will turn out. If it wasn’t rainy we could go for a lengthy walk in the countryside but it looks like today is going to be an indoor day. Oh dear, how shall we spend the time? Cat Lady is chatty and all that she says of my place is, “It’s a typical bachelor’s pad. It needs a woman’s touch.”

I set about making a barbecue on my balcony and she keeps me company as I tend to the kangaroo, zebra and ostrich meat. As compatriot South Africans we like our meat exotic and perfectly cooked. I start sweating from not just the heat of the fire but also from a self-induced pressure to get the meat just right. Once we sit down to eat she starts telling me all about her love of cats. It’s clearly her favourite topic and she goes on and on about cats. I become bored of this and become naughty in my mind.

“I just love cats. They’re such good company and very low-maintenance,” she says.

Good company, huh? I wonder what your cat would say about you if it could talk?

hush

“How many cats do you have?” I ask.

“Just, the one for now, but I want another one soon” she answers.

“So how many cats would like to have if money and space wasn’t a factor?” I ask, trying to sound interested.

“Oh, I’d have as many as my home could allow,” she answers.

cat-lady-feeding

“Don’t you think that you run the risk of becoming a crazy cat lady then?” I jest.

“No, not at all,” she says with a smile.

Cat lady

“Do you let your cat sleep on your bed?” I ask, thinking that I already know the answer.

“Of course I do!” she exclaims.

Bingo. I can just see what sleeping in her bed would be like.

Cats

“So, do you talk to your cat?”

“Of course,” she says indignantly.

answer

I’ve always been a ‘dog person’ because as a kid we had dogs; bull mastiffs and fox terriers. The latter dug holes and the former filled them with drool. I’ve not spent much time with cats and they don’t really appeal to me. I could see that if Cat Lady and I were to have a relationship that things would become, er, complicated.

complicated

There’s nothing wrong with her being a fan of cats, that’s her ‘thing’. There’s nothing wrong with someone being a cat-lover. A lot of famous people have had cats.

mittens

It’s just that I’m pretty clueless when it comes to cats.

Found

Then I remember that a couple of other women whom I’ve dated were also fans of cats. Teacher Gal had two cats, the Wild Animal Tickler had three and the best pussy of them all, Krazy Girl, had one.

What is it about single woman with cats being eccentric characters?

give up

Well, at least I know what to get Cat Lady for Christmas or her next birthday…

kat kit

Before I say something to offend her, I switch on my television and start showing her ‘Californication’. We sit side by side on my sofa, transfixed by the shenanigans on the screen. Cat Lady laughs out loud at the funny bits and doesn’t seem phased by the naughty bits. By the end of the second episode other women have found themselves juicy and open to persuasion of the sexy kind. I’m somewhat aroused. I wonder if she’s getting turned on by all this; only one way to find out.

“I did a massage course last year. Would you like a massage?” is all I have to say for her eyes to light up.

“Ooh, I love massages,” she gasps.

I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t.

“We need to go to the bedroom. There isn’t enough space here,” I say, trying to sound as professional as possible.

She’s almost as tall as me and this sofa isn’t conducive to a decent massage. Without a word Cat Lady gets up and starts walking to my bedroom; I follow her.

Why am I doing this? Do I want to have sex with her? I wouldn’t mind. Would that complicate things between us? Hell, yeah. Do I want to have a relationship with her? I’m not sure.

I stand in the doorway behind her as Cat Lady takes her top off and then, to my surprise, she takes her bra off too before lying face down on my bed. I catch a side glance view of a boobicle and it’s of a respectable size. I guesstimate that they’re at least C-cups. She’s certainly no prude; this could get interesting.

Once my hands are lathered up in massage oil I get to work on Cat Lady’s back which is riddled with knots. It’s obviously been a long time since she was last massaged. I wonder if she’s tried to train her cat to walk on her back? After almost half an hour I finish and lie down next to her. I’m happy for her to lie there, enjoying whatever she’s feeling, not having to talk to me.

Cat Lady comes to life almost instantly and rolls onto her side, deliberately fully exposing her breasts to me, which are indeed of a decent size, but I try not to stare and just give a polite peek that makes her smile.

“Did you enjoy that?” I ask.

“Yes, very much. Thank you,” she answers.

“What do you feel like doing now?” I ask, trying to see if she’s interested in sex or wants to retreat to safer ground. My ambivalence towards sex surprises me. Pretty much any other guy on the planet would be trying to push his luck with her, perhaps her mind works in different ways. Mine certainly is at the moment.

We lie facing each other, making small talk, the entire time she’s still topless and her nipples remain very erect. They’re of more a redder tinge than most woman’s, but it might be because she’s quite turned on now, I start to realize. If I don’t try something with her she might be offended and I’ll never see her again because she now equates that negative emotion with me.

I slowly raise a hand and gently cup her breast, which is cold and she hunches her shoulders from what must be the pleasurable warmth of my hand. She smiles broadly which I take to mean that she wants to go all the way with me. It would be rude not to at this point; no turning back now.

Her breast fills my hand and I squeeze it gently. For a woman in her mid-forties her breasts are remarkably firm. They’re not fake because I know what those look and feel like from my nights in strip clubs in Prague little more than a year ago.

Cat Lady says nothing, keeping a straight face that gives nothing away, except for a hint of a smile at the corners of her mouth. Words often lie but actions never do, so her actions, or rather her inaction, tell me it’s permissible to continue. I’m not entirely sure where this is going as I lower my mouth towards her breast. She closes her eyes and tilts her head slightly back, all in anticipation of my mouth making contact with her smooth, flawless skin.

I slowly tease around her areola with the tip of my tongue, to which she exhales audibly. What I have learned over the last year is that taking my time with a woman reduces her almost literally to putty in my hands. Cat Lady is probably still relaxed from my massage, perhaps in need of a catnap after the heavy lunch I’d made, so a little physical pleasure is irresistible to her.

Sucking her entire breast into my mouth causes her to let out an “ugh” sound of satisfaction. My little trick of running my tongue around the nipple in a circular motion leads to more sounds of pleasure. I wonder if she’s amongst the small percentage of women who can an orgasms from nipple stimulation?

Cat Lady rolls away from me, a popping sound is heard as her breast detaches from my mouth, which makes us both laugh. Her other breast is now closer to me, so I make a move to repeat my trick there too.

“I think we should stop there,” she says unexpectedly.

“Oh, okay,” is all I say. I’ve learned not to force it when a woman says “stop”. That stop might just be a pause for a reason, such as her wanting to talk about something in particular or to just talk some more in general because she’s not totally comfortable yet. Some women like the foreplay so much that they break the mood so that it can begin all over again until they feel turned on enough to see it through to Nature’s desired outcome…or is that ‘out cum’?

“There’s something you need to know,” she says.

Oh jeez, now what?

“I have a rare condition in which my period lasts for two weeks at a time,” she says.

“Oh, I see,” are the lame words that fall from my surprised lips, but I quickly follow up with, “So are you on your period now?”

“Yes, I am. I’m sorry,” she replies with plaintive eyes.

“Oh, sweetie, no need to apologize. It’s just one of those things. Not the end of the world,” I say to console her. I appreciate her candour about such a sensitive topic.

To make her feel better I tell her about someone I knew who was permanently emitting light period discharges. It ruined this woman’s life in terms of physical stamina, relationship status, daily mood and obviously sexual life. Cat Lady starts to relax her face again, which pleases me. Inwardly I’ve accepted that nothing sexual is going to happen between us today and I’m okay with that.

“Tell me something, what kind of relationship are you looking for?” she asks.

“I want the works. I want to be with The One, to love her and for her to love me back. I want to share my life with someone I’m crazy about, someone I can’t imagine living without and having her feel the same about me. Stupid, huh?” I answer.

“No, not stupid. Lovely and sweet,” she says and leans over to me and kisses me on a cheek.

Her gesture is affectionate, but I’m not too sure what to make of it. Before I can ask Cat Lady gets up and starts getting dressed. Our fun is over and I’m a little disappointed because I was quite turned on. My instincts tell me that her and I would make each other feel good, very good.

Once dressed she turns and smiles at me, so I get up and we go back to the lounge to watch more episodes of Californication. It’s a strangely comfortable feeling I have sitting next to her on my sofa, like we’ve done exactly this many times before. It feels natural and good, like words aren’t necessary, like we’re the only occupants of our own private universe.

Like that we sit for hours, transfixed by the screen showing a well-intentioned man being undone by an unspoken conspiracy of cruel fate and scheming women, that which is the life of the lead character in the series I feel an affinity for. I’m starting to think that I’m living my own version of the Hank Moody reality.

As Cat Lady and I sit there, with her especially entranced by the greatest relationship crutch going, I silently gather my thoughts about her. She has a good heart and also has been let down. I feel that I can trust her and I now know just how rare that is. I respect her because she has a strength of character that is equally rare. She says what she means and means what she says, the same as me. Do I think I could love her and she me? Far too soon to know the answer to that one.

“Right, it’s getting dark and my fluffball will need feeding soon,” she says as an episode ends.

I snap out of my spell and help her get her coat on. In her haste I forget to give her a little lunch-box of leftover meats that I had made for her earlier. We walk to the station in the persistent drizzle and I keep her company on the lonely platform until her train arrives. We kiss goodbye on the lips, just a perfunctory kiss, nothing passionate.

Minutes later I’m sitting back on my sofa, thinking about what just happened. My phone lights up with a message from Cat Lady and we start swapping messages. It seems she had something on her mind too:

Cat Lady: I was quite comfortable which is nice
Grey Knight: It felt like we are a good fit, natural almost…which is more than nice.
Cat Lady: :-)
Cat Lady: We have a good connection & great understanding, on most levels it seems
Cat Lady: But I have to warn you – I have a lot of unfinished business emotionally that I am sorting through slowly
Cat Lady: That is why I am not ready for any serious relations
Cat Lady: You look ready for a serious relationship, & I not the right partner for that
Cat Lady: That is why I ask, if you’re ok to enjoy & have some fun, all good,  but if you want more than that you need to know I am not your girl right now xxxx
Cat Lady: You should please think on that – I do not want to cause any hurt xxxx

I sit staring at her message, now painfully aware that she’s definitely not The One. Yes, there is scope for a friends-with-benefits scene, but I want true love, not it’s poor in-bred cousin that might have a mystery disease. I think her to be a case of ‘Right Person at the Wrong Time’. Her previous boyfriend had done much emotional damage, had wronged her.

My brain injects thoughts of The Irish Cougar and my feelings change to ones of revenge for a sense of being misled, being wronged myself. I start to feel angry.

Just then a text message from my Exgf arrives:

What’s a horny girl all alone at home to do?

Your place or mine?” I ask.

Mine.”

I’ll be there in 20 mins.

Crowded House – Private Universe

More riverside revelations

It’s a warm Sunday morning and I’m standing at the exact same spot I was yesterday at the Embankment next to the Thames in central London. This time I’m waiting for Cat Lady; it’s our second date but first proper one and today I’m going to do exactly the same things as yesterday. I believe that doing something very similar with another date gives me the opportunity to compare and contrast each person more clearly if the environment is the same. I know that makes my dates sound like rodents in a science experiment, but my track record with women dictates that I take as few chances as possible.

I’m aware that I’m getting older and that my marketability will be diminished if I’m ever single again, so I want to make the effort to get it right. If I was a twenty-something neophyte I’d have the luxury of time on my side, that there’s always time to recover from a failed relationship but the reality is that I’m running out of time. I don’t want to keep dating endlessly, it’s becoming hard work, but I won’t rush into a relationship either. The cost of doing so is too high, what with missing opportunities to be with someone who is The One, wasting my time and money, squandering my emotional capital and ending up with a broken heart again that takes more time to heal. If I don’t have the time to get it right, where am I going to find the time to do it over?

Cat Lady texts me that she’s on a bus and will be late. I’m unimpressed because travelling by bus in London, even on a Sunday, is only marginally faster than walking. I know that she has a train and Tube station equidistant from where she lives, but she chooses to take a bus. Humph, but what can I do?

I stand waiting, watching tourists, my eye occasionally catching a pretty blonde. I think it’s because of my colour-blindness that I find blondes so alluring. Perhaps my predilection for blondes has been my undoing across all my dates? Almost all of them have been blondes, so maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong? Today I’m spending with a brunette, so I’m looking to see if there’s any great discernible difference. Yes, a tad unfair to place so much responsibility on one brunette head, but let’s have fun with this idea.

Eventually Cat Lady arrives, more than half an hour late, but I say nothing. Why make things worse? We join the back of the now lengthy queue for tickets to catch a river cruiser. I put her rudeness to one side and opt to make the best of the day.

We stand on the pontoon making small-talk and I’m again surprised by her high-pitched girly voice that really doesn’t suit a woman of almost six foot tall. With time, if anything happens between us, I’ll probably become oblivious to it. She hasn’t been in the UK as long as me and her guttural accent is much more pronounced than mine. Nevertheless, our common upbringing takes centre-stage and it isn’t long before we’re laughing heartily every couple of minutes.

Once on board the boat I quickly get us what I now know to be the prize seats at the bow so that we have an unobstructed view. The Irish Cougar sat by my side, feminine to the point of being regal, her knees together and her hands clasped together in her lap, just like Baltic Babe did. Not Cat Lady. Oh no, she was up on her feet, walking around, Iphone in hand, taking pictures of everything, clumsily getting in the crew’s way even after they had repeatedly asked her to remain seated like everyone else.

Cat Lady was ensconced in her own little world, doing a credible version of the gaudy foreign tourist. People were looking at her and then at me. I don’t appreciate that. It brought back memories of times when my Exgf would embarrass me in public and I was made to feel like the pitiable fool by other people’s looks directed at me. I don’t think anybody appreciates being embarrassed in public by their other half. It’s the sort of thing that I call a ‘relationship paper-cut’. A human can die from enough paper-cuts, a slow bleeding to death of the recipient entity.

This date is not off to a good start. She’s late and then makes a spectacle of us. Charming not. I say nothing and just let her be herself. It’s just a date after all.

We don’t lack for conversation once we’re back on dry land, but I’m fully aware that it is just our mutual memories of endless days of Summer in our youth that is being exercised to the full. I find this refreshing, speaking to someone who knows the same things I know, watched the same television shows that I did, did the same things growing up as I did. I can’t help but wonder if this lack of mutual heritage has been a problem with all my other dates and I just wasn’t aware of it until now. My former dates have been exclusively with either English or Eastern European women.

Cat Lady and I are easy company for each other as we catch the cableway over the Thames, stroll around the O2 centre and enjoy a meal at the South African steakhouse there. In a spontaneous departure from yesterday’s agenda we make a detour to Canary Wharf, London’s new financial district, which Cat Lady has never been to. She’s suitably impressed by the new cathedrals of capitalism and then we catch a driverless train on the Dockland Light Railway back to central London. I think it’s safe to say that we’re both having fun.

It’s beautiful day and I suggest that we walk a little, knowing in my mind where I’d be leading her to. At one point the pavement becomes uneven and she almost loses her balance. I quickly grab her hips to steady her and we giggle like schoolgirls. It’s the first time I’ve really put my hands on her and she feels good to touch. The moment serves as an innocent ice-breaker for physical intimacy between us. On the back of that, I don’t know why, but I hold her hand as we walk. She smiles and doesn’t recoil or show any kind of displeasure.

We arrive at St Katharine Docks which surprises and delights Cat Lady.

“I didn’t know that something like this is right here in the centre of London,” she gushes.

I get a kick out of showing someone something that once took my breath away too. Their reaction takes me back to my first time. Cat Lady being new to London might have many benefits for me in this regard.

Dickens Inn

Dickens Inn at St Katharine Docks

Luckily we find a free table on the middle floor balcony of the Dickens Inn and get comfortable with cold drinks and fattening desserts. The conversation meanders like it has all day until we arrive at the inevitable hot topic for singletons: our previous relationships. I tell her my sordid tale of woe, keeping it as brief as possible, then she starts.

“I was sitting pretty in South Africa. I had my dream job, my own house and two cars. Then one day a guy I’ve been friends with since primary school tells me on Facebook that he’s been in love with me all his life. I was shocked because I never suspected,” she says.

My thoughts sprint over to my knowledge about men being secret admirers of a woman in their lives. Then one day they snap, not being able to take it any more and in a last-ditch attempt to make something out of it profess their feelings which, if not positively received, they will then disappear from that woman’s life.

“We started an online romance, Skypeing every night, he came to visit me once and to cut a long story short, after about a year of this, he asked me to come to the UK to live with him. I gave up everything and moved to the other side of the world to be with him. After a year of living together the picture had changed completely. I saw that he was a control-freak and that he wasn’t living up to the financial plan that we had agreed to,” she continues before falling silent for a few moments in which I say nothing, preferring to let her keep talking.

“So I moved out and went to stay with a friend for a few months until I got the place I’m in now,” she says more cheerily, but not convincing me.

“When did you move into your own place?” I ask.

“At the beginning of June,” she replies.

It was now early October, so she’s been on her own for four months, plus two months with a friend, thus having left her previous boyfriend about six months ago. Oh dear. It’s highly likely that she’s on the rebound, not emotionally healthy, not ready yet for a loving relationship. I feel deflated by this realization, just as I did yesterday with The Irish Cougar. Cat Lady is fresh out of a relationship, it is therefore unlikely that any relationship soon – irrespective of whether I’m involved or not – will last long. She needs time for emotional healing; I don’t want to be anybody’s rebound fling.

From all the dates that I’ve been on and from all the conversations I’ve had with women, it is obvious to me that women take far longer than men to get over a failed relationship. Sometimes the rebound phase or mindset can last years. Krazy Girl and Lusty Lass are years past their respective divorces but in their heads they’re still reliving it to some extent daily. I think it’s a shame for both of them because at heart they are both sweet and lovely and deserve to be in a good relationship.

I realize on the spot that Cat Lady and I have very little more to offer each other than friendship at this stage. Luckily I didn’t have high hopes for her, but it has been an interesting experience so far by merely interacting with her. Perhaps dating more within my cultural realm is something I should look into? I guess that old adage must be true, that if you are born in Africa you will never shake off the ancient dust of Africa.

At my behest we go for a walk along the Southbank. It’s never the same walking along there and something or somebody – a busker, street performer, pop-up gallery – will always delight any passers-by. At dusk we end up sharing a coffee at a coffee shop next to the river. Conversation is flowing easily, about anything and everything, but I’m not paying rapt attention any more because I know that it won’t matter in the long-run. I go Passive-Disinterested on her and it doesn’t matter, to my mind at least.

Bright sunlight gives way to softer lighting as we stand at a bus-stop from where she wants to catch a bus home. Again I don’t know why I did this but I lean toward her and we kiss. Her lips are soft and welcoming. Without a word we kiss slowly and gently, she keeps her eyes closed. I don’t use my tongue and neither does she; doing so would have felt inappropriate. We unlock our embrace that took hold naturally and just smile at each other. Words are superfluous.

Cat Lady’s bus arrives as if on cue and she traipses off, smiling and waving at me as she boards. I make my way across London, walking through shadows, unperturbed by the thronging crowds as I take stock of the day I’ve just had. She is a good person and largely on the basis of her massive sacrifice in the pursuit of love, I’m inclined to say that she’s a Giver. Her being a brunette has made no difference in any regard.

On the train home I figure out why I do these things that I don’t know why I’m doing them. I’m desperate to be in a loving relationship and that desperation mixed with a pervasive sense of frustration bubbles over occasionally. This is not a good thing, but I can’t help it. Contrary to a common belief held by the majority of women I’ve met, men do have feelings. I do and I think I’m a regular guy, it’s just that I can articulate my feelings. Most men don’t like to talk about their feelings because it makes them feel vulnerable and nobody likes to feel vulnerable.

Vulnerability is an impression I have of Cat Lady; it’s in the vibe that she gives off. She projects a friendly, affable facade but behind it I know there’s a world of hurt. What kind of hurt is it? Am I being premature in my assessment of her being on the rebound? If I’m wrong then is there cause for optimism? I need another date to know for sure.

What I am sure of is that the next date with The Irish Cougar is going to be interesting…

Toto – Africa