Tag Archives: shame

Beautiful stranger on a train

It’s been more than a week since I switched off my dating profiles, but this morning I switched them on, thinking they’re like drift-nets out at sea; maybe one day someone interesting will swim into them. Well tonight something interesting did indeed happen, but not anything like what I was expecting.

The Wanderer was visiting London and I went to meet her. We had a fun, friendly evening catching up and I went back to a major train station to get a train home.

As I walk along the platform I spot a pretty blonde sitting on a scarce seat along the wall and we make eye-contact. I like the look of her but I keep walking to the far end of the platform.

A minute later she walks over and stands next to me. We’re the only two people standing so far from the growing crowd.

Gulp.

We make eye contact a few times, then smile suggestively to each other.

I can’t help but conclude that she deliberately came to stand next to me. There was no reason for her to do so.

People start to shuffle forward to claim a spot where they think a door will be on the train as it stops.

She moves forward and I think, sod it, I shall too.

I stand next to her.

She feels my presence and turns to me. Our eyes meet and she smiles coyly before quickly looking away.

The train arrives and we all pile on. It’s a fast train, so the next stop is half an hour away. She gets the aisle seat of a two-seater while I decide to stand near the doors as I normally do.

Everyone has their seat and the train is about to depart. She looks around, our eyes meet again…and she moves over to the window seat, cramming herself into the two-seater unnecessarily.

No, fuck it, I’m going to go sit next to her and I’ll wait for an excuse to talk to her.

I go sit next to her.

We don’t look at each other.

I keep peering out the corner of my eye for an excuse to talk to her. Nothing presents itself.

After a while she sneezes.

Here’s my chance to say, “bless you” as an ice-breaker.

After that I’ll launch into my prepared cheesy, “I know this is totally random and you’re going to laugh, but I don’t suppose you’re single?”

I can’t say it.

I can’t say a word.

Something inside me has locked up tight.

I chicken out.

I’m angry and ashamed at my cowardice.

Then I realize that that is my problem.

I’m ashamed.

I’m ashamed of everything.

I’m ashamed of me. Ashamed of my life. Ashamed of my possessions. Ashamed of being unemployed.

My brain starts racing and projecting what could happen if I strike up a conversation with this cutie that might lead to a date.

I wouldn’t want her asking what I do because I have got to the point where I now fear that question.

I wouldn’t want to invite her to my home, because I’m ashamed of it.

The idea of taking her out on dates fills me with a sense of dread because I just can’t afford it.

This realization is an epiphany to me.

Not only am I not ready for love, I am also not even capable of dating at the moment.

The train gets to the first station and she stands up. God, she’s nice. Perfect-looking, in fact.

I turn my legs aside to the aisle so that she can get past. She takes her time passing me and I look up.

She’s looking down at me and she gives me a lovely smile. I watch through the misty window as she disappears into the oblivion outside.

An earlier version of me would never have let this play out like it has.

I feel like dying.

I’ve switched off all my dating profiles again.

I’m continuing to give dating a break.

This experience just reinforces my belief that the man in the mirror needs to make some changes.

Michael Jackson – Man in the mirror

Pretty guilty date

My quickie with Krazy Girl wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped for, that compounds my sense of nervousness and guilt as I arrive at Pretty Teacher’s place. Will she be able to sense that I’ve been a naughty boy or is she too absorbed by whatever the hell is going on in her head?

We politely kiss hello as her front door, but all I can think of is are there are bite marks or signs of kissing on my face or neck? Have I overdone it with the deodorant or isn’t there enough? Do I look guilty?

Pretty Teacher invites me inside and she leads me to the lounge. Is this the part where she sits me done and asks me what I’ve been up to? Or is this when she has a heart-to-heart with me about whatever is bugging her?

“Look at what my friends and I did today,” she says pointing at a freshly decorated Christmas tree that occupies a window bay.

It’s only mid-November, a bit early for a tree to be going up, but I say nothing. Instead I make approving sounds and Pretty Teacher beams her delight. She seems in a better mood today. I might just get away with this.

“C’mon, lets go to my favourite Thai restaurant,” she says grabbing her jacket.

I know not to quibble as we walk to her car. She always wants to drive, even though she’s a bad driver. That might take some getting used to. It isn’t a surprise to me either that we head for the same town we’ve always gone to, even though there are several others equidistant. She does like to be in control and for things to be predictable it seems.

The banter as we drive is okay, with her telling me about her morning that became an afternoon too with her friends. I consider her tone and demeanour neutral. We drive up an empty street where the restaurant is but Pretty Teacher can’t make up her mind where to park. As if it makes any difference. Eventually she chooses a spot. Memories of Miss Indecisive come flooding back. It seems I really am getting to see similar personality types on the dating scene.

The Thai restaurant is empty and we have a choice of tables. There are times when I want to be more assertive and do the choosing and this is one of those times because, driven by my sense of guilt, I let Pretty Teacher decide where we should sit. After some umming and ahhing she chooses a table, but hardly are we seated when she says another table is better and we move there.

Conversation now dries up while we inspect the menu. I try my best to get conversation flowing, hoping that it will be like our first date again, but she’s adopted her iceberg routine again. Why am I bothering? Well, I want a relationship, not a fuckbuddy thing like I have with my Exgf and Krazy Girl. I’m hoping that things between Pretty Teacher and I flourish into a wonderful romance, that becomes a life-long lasting love.

It’s important to have dreams and goals, things that make us get up every day, things that give us pleasure, things that make life worthwhile.

Right now Pretty Teacher is not giving me any kind of pleasure. She’s sitting there staring at me, scrutinising me. Has she spotted something? Is there lipstick on my collar? Have I been rumbled?

With merciful timing a waiter arrives to take our order. Pretty Teacher can’t make up her mind about what to eat, so before she does I give the waiter my order. I usually wait for the lady to order first, but the waiter starts to look bored and I’m beginning to think that Pretty Teacher is an annoying ditherer. She might be one of those people who stands in a queue in a fast-food outlet but still don’t know what they want by the time they get to the counter.

Conversation is as dry as the Sahara until our food arrives. We sit eating in stony silence. Fuck, this is hard work. I can only guess that she has spotted something incriminating on me and now she’s deciding how to broach the subject. I can see that it is tricky for her if she has. You don’t want to accuse someone you’re dating of fucking around because you could be wrong and then unnecessary damage has been done.

Dessert is eaten in silence as well. There’s still nobody else in the restaurant and the silence is echoing off the walls. It’s starting to feel like I’m a prisoner in a holding cell waiting to hear judgement, followed by sentencing. She gets out her phone and plays some online scrabble. Or is she texting a friend her suspicion, asking what to do? What if she does confront me, accuse me? Me being me I’ll probably confess to my infidelity. I’m a terrible liar; my face was not made for poker, but more for radio.

Out of guilt I pay the bill, Pretty Teacher offers to pay her half but I dismiss her offer with a shake of my head and a smile. We walk back to her car, it’s chilly tonight so I offer her my jacket, which she declines. Once at the car I open her door for her, to which she just smiles.

As we drive out of the deserted town a drunk woman staggers out of a pub. She lurches into the road a few yards in front of us. Pretty Teacher slams on her brakes and we skid to a halt. The drunk stops, turns to us, raises an upturned hand and extends her middle finger.

Pretty Teacher goes berserk! She starts screaming and swearing at the other woman who probably can’t hear her. I’ve never heard a woman swear like that before and I’m shocked. The drunk staggers off, but Pretty Teacher keeps hurling verbal abuse after her. An angry foot hits the accelerator and we speed off in to the darkness.

Hmm, maybe she’s not as classy as I would like. She seems quick to anger and her knowledge of crude swearing would impress a battle-hardened soldier. My opinion of her takes a turn for the worse, but I can’t be too hypocritical because if she knew what I was up to hours earlier…

We sit in silence as she drives. I sense that she’s fuming to herself about the drunk, which suits me fine because it takes the invisible spotlight off me for a while. I sit thinking about what happens next. Is she hoping/needing/wanting to get physical with me once we’re at her place? I’m not really in the mood, not because I’ve just shagged Krazy Girl, but more because I’m not desirous of Pretty Teacher. Her shit behaviour and uncouth outburst has put me off her somewhat. However, if she does want to fuck then I’ll oblige, but I need to down the purple helper I have in my jacket pocket first and give it half an hour to kick in.

Back at her place she makes me a coffee. Shall I take the Viagra now? I decide not to because I first want some signs that she wants whoopee. Just like last time I was here we sit side by side on her sofa, but this time we stare at the Christmas tree. Pretty Teacher seems more interested in it than she is in me. We sit with empty mugs in our laps, not talking. Any minute now she’s going to say something important.

“It’s been a long day for me and I have a stonking headache. Shall we call it a night?” she eventually says.

I’m not entirely sure what the last part means because it’s ambiguous to me. Am I sleeping over or not?

“So am I sleeping over?” I ask.

“I’m afraid not,” she says with a dead-pan look on her face.

“Okay, not a problem,” I say as I get up. A sense of deja vu creeps in. Didn’t we have this conversation the last time I was here?

Pretty Teacher stands next to me as I put my jacket on. Her arms are folded. I don’t give up easily, it’s something of a character flaw I’m starting to think.

“How about you come visit me on Sunday?” I suggest.

“Okay, we can talk about it tomorrow night,” she answers.

I drive home feeling conflicted. Yet again I’m angry and frustrated at her attitude towards me. I’m also unimpressed by her outburst at the drunk; she was exhibiting quite low-class behaviour during that incident. I feel guilty and ashamed for having fucked Krazy Girl earlier in the day. That frolic has left me feeling confused because Krazy Girl might have another guy on the go herself, that’s what I’ve deduced from her bruises.

I don’t know what to make of all this.

Looking back on it now, there was no way I could have predicted what happened next.