These are the edited highlights of my 7th, 8th and 9th dates with Whippersnapper.
This was just over a week after our 6th date.
(My ex-boyfriend moving back in for that one week went OK. Quite early on, I was ready for it to be over, but it was less scary and more sad than I expected, and then he was gone.)
What we did:
Whippersnapper came round to mine for dinner and stayed over.
The date was supposed to be on the Sunday. Then WS went to the clinic for a follow-up after his balanitis, and they found more genital warts. They froze them off, and advised him not to have sex for five days. He then postponed the date to Tuesday, so we could have sex.
I was disappointed about this, but I had absolutely no idea if I was being reasonable or not. I’d completely lost sight of what was normal for cancelling dates. I said it was fine but quietly seethed for a few days, which is the worst of all worlds.
This was the last time we saw each other before Christmas (part of the reason for writing about 3 dates in one post is that there was always a bit of a delay, in between things happening and me writing about them, but that delay has got too big recently and I want to close the gap).
As it was early in our relationship, I wasn’t sure what we were doing about Christmas. I decided to make him a really thoughtful card.
On our first date, we met at Westminster station, and one of the first things I said was “it’s quite futuristic inside, isn’t it?”. Westminster tube is futuristic inside – everything is all silver and metal, and it looks like a set from Bladerunner.
He looked at me like he didn’t know what I was talking about. Over the weeks, it became a bit of an in-joke.
So I decided to make a Christmas card referencing this. I got some photos of Westminster tube printed (the guy in Snappy Snaps looked quite pained when I over-explained why I wanted them. He definitely didn’t care and I don’t blame him). I then planned to draw some futuristic snowmen and Father Christmases, plus me and Whippersnapper, and write ‘Have a Futuristic Christmas’.
So the days leading up to our 7th date, I was making his card. Some of this was a bit stressful as I was living with Matthew again, who still didn’t know I was dating anyone. I was doing my illicit art and crafts while he was out, and frantically thrusting all my stationary under sofa cushions every time I heard a noise outside.
This was the card:
The other slight drama happened when we were texting about his sexual health. He said he had found a weird thing on his neck and was worried he had AIDS, like the lesions Tom Hanks gets in the film Philadelphia (even though he knew he had tested negative for HIV).
It turned out just to be a shaving rash.
The best bits of the date:
Despite any pre-date stress, as always, as soon as we were together, it was brilliant.
We had pizza and wine, and he had also brought me chocolates and nice biscuits.
I gave him his card, and his reaction was amazing. He said it had made his Christmas, and he couldn’t stop looking at it. It made me really understand that saying ‘giving is its own reward’, as that was probably the happiest I felt over Christmas.
He said “it’s only been 7 dates, but I already don’t want that number to ever stop increasing”. He said he was looking forward to 2017 because of me.
We talked about us. I said “we haven’t really talked about whether we’re still seeing other people?”. I had been terrified about raising this.
He said “well, I’m not, and I wouldn’t really like it if you were?”
I said something about how I’d like to see him a bit more than we currently do.
“Has it been bothering you?” He asked.
“Well, that hasn’t been bothering me as much as the cancellations.” I tried to explain how I felt, in a lighthearted way.
He said that because I always say how much I like his cheerfulness, he was worried what I’d think if I saw him in a bad mood. I reassured him that I didn’t expect him to be cheery 100% of the time.
“OK. No more cancellations.” He said.
We went to bed. Matthew had taken the double bed when he moved out, so we squeezed into my single bed.
Our 8th date got re-scheduled twice, for reasons that deserve their own blog post. I went all the way from exasperated and distraught to completely understanding and patient.
In the end, our 8th date was the day after New Year’s Day.
What we did:
We met in central London and went to see Rogue One, the new Stars War film (my choice).
We met about half an hour before the film, and had glasses of wine in the cool bar of the cinema (Piccadilly Picturehouse). We were having such a great conversation, I was definitely disappointed when it was time for the film, and I think he was too. We had been talking about
- how sea horses mate for life
- our brushes with the law as teenagers (he was drinking underage with friends in a forest, I was trespassing on Prince Charles’ land trying to meet the Spice Girls when they had tea with him)
- At what age we felt like we stopped being children and became adults (13 for me, he wasn’t sure – maybe he hasn’t yet).
We went into the cinema and found our seats. We joked about him being ‘Rogue One’ because of his sexual history.
I like Star Wars but felt this film went on longer than was necessary. I was desperate for it to be over so we could talk and kiss more. We held hands throughout the film, which was lovely.
I spent most of it thinking Who are they again? Why are they doing that? Are they good or bad?. The only character I really cared about was the big autistic robot.
It’s possible I’m not being objective, and that I would’ve understood the plot better if I hadn’t spent so much of the film concentrating on very gradually moving my hand up WS’s thigh.
Afterwards, we went to a pub for some drinks and chats. As usual, the conversation was great. I told him the ‘I thought you’d have more of an hour-glass’ story.
We had one chat in particular that really meant a lot to me. For some reason, we got onto how I blame myself for my ex-boyfriend’s death.
I have what we call in CBT a ‘head-heart lag’ about this. I know in my head, logically, it wasn’t really my fault, or that he wouldn’t blame me. However, in my heart I don’t feel it; it still feels like my fault.
Whenever I’ve talked to anyone else, they’ve been lovely and said things like “of course it’s not your fault”, things my head already knows, which don’t change what my heart feels.
When it came up that night with WS, he took a different approach. He asked me what other things I thought also contributed to my ex-boyfriend’s death. I was talking about the boiler breaking, the smoke-detector being broken and some other things, when I thought wow, this is kind of like he’s doing a Responsibility Pie Chart with me!
A Responsibility Pie Chart is a thing we do in CBT, when someone is taking too much responsibility for something. They’re usually giving themselves 100% of the pie. Drawing a pie chart can help put things back in perspective. First you ask them to list everything that might have also played a role, then give each one a percentage.
The way WS was asking me what else affected my ex-boyfriend’s death really reminded me of how I would do a pie chart with someone.
The next day, I thought of all the factors and actually drew out a pie chart. I realised I had been giving myself 100% of the blame, but actually I only deserved about 5%.
I really have felt less guilty since then.
What we did:
Had dinner at mine, and then WS stayed over.
The date got postponed by a few days because of a tube strike. I didn’t completely understand this. I thought would be better for him to stay at mine, because I also live near a national rail station that wasn’t affected, so he could actually get to work more easily. However, there some convoluted scribble talk about him needing to work from home because it was his brother’s birthday or something. As usual, I’d lost sight of whether my annoyance was reasonable or not, so I said it was fine and quietly seethed.
As always, it was perfect once he was here. We have had a lot of oven pizzas at my flat, and I wanted to cook him something better. I asked about his second favourite food, after pizza, and he said cheesy pasta, so I planned to make a fancy macaroni cheese I’d invented, with tuna, sweetcorn and olives.
However, once we were settled on the sofa, we had a dilemma. We were both quite hungry, and both quite up for some sex, but neither of us could bear for me to go and cook for half an hour or however long it would take (especially as a roux sauce takes a bit of concentration). Obviously we could still talk while I cooked, but basically I didn’t want to stop touching him (sorry, I know this really nauseating).
It was a real dilemma. In the end, the plan we devised was that we would have some hula hoops to tide us over, then have sex, then have a nice walk along the river, to buy an oven pizza.
With all the STIs, even though he had been keeping me very satisfied, we hadn’t had penetrative sex since our 4th date. We did that night, and it was spectacular.