Arghhhhh I don’t think it’s going to work with the Great Scot.
We had our 6th date this week.
These are the preceding events:
- then it got weird:
- “I can’t write it or say it just now”?? That sounded really serious.
What the heckins has happened?
Has he got cancer? Found out a loved one is a paedophile? Accidentally killed someone? Been sacked from work?
- I sent a nice, supportive message, which he didn’t reply to.
- The next day I sent “thinking of you and hoping you’re OK” as that’s what I’d like
- For a while, I could see the message hadn’t reached his phone. I panicked and had images of him and his phone at the bottom of the Thames.
What’s been happening?
- Eventually he sent an underwhelming reply saying he’d got drunk and felt worse.
That’s significantly less contextual information than I was hoping for
- He suggested meeting on Wednesday night. I said I could, but it would mean missing Jive, so if he could do Friday instead, that would be perfect
- Wednesday lunchtime he hadn’t replied so I didn’t know if we were meeting in a few hours or Friday
- Then he said he could do Friday
- Wednesday night at 1am he said now he can’t do Friday because of work
- I started to get pissed off
- he did reply straight away, apologising and explaining. He’s been bullied at work and put in a grievance
- I sent a really nice reply where I took responsibility for worrying too much
- he ignored that
- all weekend I didn’t hear from him, and wondered if we were still even meeting on Monday
- Sunday afternoon he said “actually do you want to meet tonight instead?”
- I replied “actually yeah, my plans just got cancelled”
- Then he messaged me “actually sorry I’m more hungover than I thought, I was just sick, let’s do Monday”
- Monday evening at 5pm he cancelled as his friend, who got suspended from work, just decided to accept redundancy and he wanted to hang out with him
- I was furious, even though his apology was quite cute
- he suggested we meet the next day and offered to come to mine, but it actually worked out better for me if I went to his.
So, I got the 90 minute tube journey to his. It went really quickly. I had made a playlist of Scottish bands, which I offensively titled “Jocks” (Idlewild, Garbage, Belle and Sebastian, Texas, Glasvegas, Snow Patrol, Chvrches…). I was getting a kick out of hearing singers pronouncing words like he does.
I was really looking forward to seeing him, but also felt apprehensive. I wanted to talk about the cancellations and his shit communication – I wasn’t happy that he had made me worry, then ignored me and not acknowledged my supportive messages.
I arrived at his station. It was raining. I checked the text he had sent before our 5th date, to double-check his house number. A homeless man came and asked me for money. I felt sorry for him as it was pouring with rain and he looked in a bad way. He needed money for a shelter.
All I had were insulting coins and a £5 note.
I gave him the fiver. He was really pleased and called me an angel, and gave me a hug. I felt good about myself.
I walked to the Scot’s house. It was so rainy, I got soaked. I probably would’ve met him at the station if roles were reversed.
When I passed a shop, I remembered that last time, the only teabags at his house were past their Best Before date and had that horrible, aniseedy, mushroomy taste, so I nipped into the shop.
Then I couldn’t buy the teabags because they didn’t accept cards under £5, and I had just given my last cash to that homeless man. I grumpily put the teabags back.
When I reached his address, I was really confused.
As my finger hovered over the doorbell, I thought this house does not look familiar.
I phoned him. It turns out he gave me the wrong house number! Neither of us realised last time, because by chance, I parked outside his house and he saw me and came out.
When I finally reached his house, he was standing outside in the street, waiting for me, in just a shirt, in the rain.
We hugged and went inside.
“Did you used to live at number 33 or something?” I asked, trying to understand why he’d given me the wrong house number. He actually lived at number 53.
“No, I’m just a moron.” He replied. “I can’t even figure out how that happened.”
The plan, that had been rescheduled four times, was to eat pizza and watch back to back episodes of Neighbours so I could catch him up on what he’s missed over the years.
We went into his living room. He was faffing around on his phone, ordering the pizza.
I was a tiny bit disappointed he hadn’t got us any wine or anything, not that I’m an alcoholic. However, I did think it was sweet that he’d researched the best gluten-free pizza for me.
After the pizza was ordered, he spent literally an hour trying to get Neighbours on his TV. There seemed to be all kinds of problems getting the Channel 5 app to work.
Eventually he tried on his tablet, which had a crack in the screen, but that wouldn’t work.
Then he tried his housemate’s iPad. When that nearly worked, but then said “Processing Error” I needed to scream into a pillow.
“We HAVE to do something else now.” I said.
We both agreed it would have been better in the past, when I would’ve just turned up with some taped episodes on VHS.
I felt like there was a bit of distance between us, because I was pissed off after the last week or so.
Then, it felt like we bonded over our frustration at the TV, so I kissed him. We kissed for just a few seconds, then he leaned forward to get more pizza.
“Did you just pull away from kissing me to get pizza?!”
“No! I thought the kiss had just reached its conclusion!” He replied. “Definitely wasn’t pulling away.”
There was a nice bit where we were eating the pizzas and I was telling him all about a course I was on, and he seemed really interested. He’s good at making you feel fascinating.
We decided to watch something else – the Mash Report, as we both love the Daily Mash.
At some point around this time, he said he was going to change into more comfortable clothes, possibly his pyjamas.
I’m all for people being comfortable but I also thought make an effort mate.
I was only wearing what I wore to work, but that morning I had chosen that dress with him in mind, and had reapplied my makeup at home, not to mention doing some precarious nail varnish retouching on the train.
I was enjoying seeing him in his nice white shirt and smart work trousers.
He did go upstairs despite my gentle expressions of disapproval, but then came back with jeans and a nice checked shirt on, and he looked nice.
When he had successfully put the TV programme on, he moved towards me so we could lie on his sofa together.
That was the best part of the night. I love spooning in front of the TV. I hadn’t done it for years. I had been single for a year and a half, and prior to that, my ex-boyfriend of three years was never up for spooning in front of the TV. He always said it wasn’t comfortable and the few times I insisted, he was huffy and restless before flouncing onto his own sofa.
I hadn’t spooned in front of the TV since about 2011, with my ex who died.
The Great Scot was an excellent TV spooner. He was very affectionate, continuously stroking my hair or drawing patterns on me. He was attentive as well; when I shifted around he said “how comfortable are you?”
I think he liked it as much as I did. As soon as we initially got into position, he said “ahhhh that is SO comfortable!”
We held hands and he softly drew patterns on my hands.
I said “I really like your hands. God, they’re so soft!”
He said “I think it’s the steroids I take for my asthma, which make my skin thinner. It’s embarrassing – most of the men in my family are farmers. When I shake hands with them I don’t feel like a real man!”
“Oh, well if they’ve got really rough hands, maybe they can’t feel how soft yours are?”
“Oh, they know. They’ve felt the ears of baby lambs that have just been born. They know what soft things feel like.”
Sometimes this guy just couldn’t be any cuter.
He stroked my legs and my hormones shot up. I think my ‘Primal urge mode’ switch is on the back of my knee.
I am really looking forward to the sex.
After the Mash Report, he put Lovesick on, as he remembered me talking about it a few dates ago.
We watched that, and it was lovely.
He hadn’t seen it before so there was that slightly stressful thing when you introduce someone to something you love, and with baited breath, you keep trying to gauge their reaction out of the corner of your eye.
He kept piping up with guesses of things that might later in the series, which was only a bit annoying and he was pretty much right every time. He might not know what house number he lives at, but in other ways he’s incredibly clever and astute.
After two episodes, it was nearly midnight and I had to work in the morning. We went upstairs.
He started faffing around putting on his beloved pyjamas and I didn’t know what to do with myself, as there were things all over the bed, so I just stood there.
He apologised and started clearing things off his bed.
To be honest, I would’ve preferred if he’d focused on undressing me.
I then spent ages doing up the poppers on his duvet cover and fannying about, making his bed. I don’t care if a bed is unmade during the day, but I can’t get into an unmade bed. I need a nice flat rectangle.
Then we were in bed. We weren’t having sex.
In the end, I asked, and he said he was too anxious about work to have sex.
All night, every so often, work came into his mind and he visibly tensed up and panicked. He needs to get a different job. He is looking.
It’s reminded me of a horrific job I had. I only worked there three days a week. On Thursday afternoons, when I left and knew I had four whole days away from that place, it felt better than drugs. On Monday afternoons, when I knew I had to go back the next day, my stomach started churning.
For the Scot, his job seems even more all-consuming because he works such incredibly long hours.
But nevertheless, I was fucking fuming. And frustrated.
I think being too stressed for sex is fine when you’ve been together for years, but it didn’t feel great on a 6th date, when we’ve only done it four times.
Also, he hadn’t said anything nice about my appearance all night, so I felt unattractive.
I also felt annoyed at myself, because I knew I was being unreasonable. If the gender roles were reversed, I would expect my decision not to have sex to be respected.
I hadn’t brought anything to sleep in as I didn’t think it would be relevant. I took my dress off and turned over and tried to go to sleep in my underwear.
He kissed me and stroked my shoulders and carried on reading.
After a while, I realised I couldn’t sleep as I was too upset and needed to talk.
I thought this isn’t the right time for this conversation but then, I always think that.
I turned back towards him.
“Are you OK?” he asked.
“I find you confusing.” I said.
“That sounds like another word for annoying.” He said, immediately starting to look anxious.
“Not annoying.” I paused for ages while I tried to find the words. He looked increasingly nervous. “I really like you. And I think you like me too. But it feels like there are obstacles between us just being together.”
He looked perplexed.
“… like the cancellations.” I continued.
Then he got hooked onto the detail of the cancellations and was missing the wider picture. “Well, it’s because of the kind of job I have! And then people take it personally! And you’ve cancelled on me once, haven’t you?”
I said “I know each cancellation on its own makes sense, and sometimes it can’t be avoided, but I’ve been in situations where it was a wider picture of me not being a priority.”
He started going back over the detail of why each cancellation happened and I could see he was getting defensive.
“I’m not saying this to make you feel bad. I’m saying it because I like you. If I liked you less, I wouldn’t bother and probably just stop seeing you.”
That seemed to help.
“I like you because you’re fun, you’re caring, you’re very astute, you have lots of really lovely, rare qualities like the way you find enjoyment in small things, and I think I have rare things in common with you. I usually feel really good about myself when I’m around you.
“But I want to be dating someone who generally doesn’t cancel, generally wants to have sex with me, accepts support from me and can support me. I know sometimes all those things might not be possible all the time, but is me wanting that with you always going to be unrealistic?”
He said “I don’t know. I think things will get better,” and then went back into his job and the hours.
(I didn’t really buy that because he’d only ever cancelled once because of work.)
“I mean – do you even like me?” I asked.
“Yes! Don’t worry about that! I want to carry on dating you! For ages!”
“What do you even like about me?” I asked (in a way, this was a bit unfair as he has given me lots of compliments, just fewer than I’ve given him.)
“You’re funny and talented and clever – you’re sharp as a whip – you’re sweet and caring, you really care about your patients, you have amazing stories, which could go in a… book of stories, you have lots of friends, you have a Nissan Micra and you have nice hair.”
(I loved this.)
“But I mean, do you actually fancy me?”
“Yes! I came in your mouth twice! Actually, I am getting a bit of tingle when I think about that… but no. I’m sorry I’ve got a dead dick.”
He said “you’re not someone who likes a lot of drama, are you?”
This seemed a bit much, as he’s the most dramatic person ever, but I got that he was trying to identify whether I have very fiery, volatile relationships.
“No, not at all. I’m very conflict-averse. But that’s why I’m saying this. To reduce drama. I can’t possibly expect you to know what I’m thinking and what my needs are if I don’t tell you.”
He seemed to really get it. Then he said “I just want one thing in my life to be easy.”
I said “I know, and I want to be that easy thing in your life. But I’m another human with needs too.”
I can’t quite remember how, but the conversation ended. I partly felt better but also like I hadn’t got everything across.
We hugged. I said “I’m sorry I made you feel bad.” I meant this as I knew he was massively struggling with work and he would take any criticism from me very hard.
He said “I’m sorry I made you feel bad” and he said it very sincerely.
As I stroked his hair, I said “I think you’re a really special person. I think people who know you are lucky.”
He said “I don’t know what to do with that. I can’t just say ‘thank you’!”
I said “Why not? You can. You can just say thank you.”
We went to sleep and it was kind of lovely. We were spooning and he was holding me quite tightly. I think he actually fell asleep before I did.
I was quite restless as I was on a course the next day and was paranoid my phone alarm wouldn’t go off, so I kept waking up and checking the time.
Then, hours into the night, I woke because he was having a meltdown, like last time. Even though he’d been asleep, he was freaking out about being awake.
Last time, he had been panicky when he couldn’t sleep. This time, he was angry. He was working at 5pm and would be there until 5am. He seemed terrified and angry about work.
“I’m going to have a shit day at work tomorrow!” he said angrily. He was even banging his foot against the mattress with frustration.
(It felt completely different to when I was with Matthew and he kicked the mattress I was lying on – I didn’t feel scared at all.)
I was hugging and him saying “what can I do to help?” and “how are you going to get through it?” but he wasn’t very receptive.
I thought he can’t manage his emotions very maturely.
He kept saying he can’t sleep in the same bed as someone else, and in the end he went and slept on the sofa even though I said “I don’t want you to go.”
After he’d gone, I lay there thinking where the hell do I find these people?
I slept for the remaining few hours, until my alarm went off.
Just as I opened the bedroom door to go for a shower, he was standing in the doorway. He was coming back to bed.
When I went into the bathroom, I pulled the cord to put the light on, but it wouldn’t work. I tried a few more times.
I thought about asking him, but he had just gone back to sleep as I was leaving the bedroom. I didn’t him to freak out.
I decided I’d have to shower in the dark. There was a tiny bit of light from the street and it was just starting to get light outside but it was a real challenge. Occasionally, a neighbour’s security light would come on from their garden and I’d think Yes! Now I can see the shower gel!
I got out of the shower and got dressed, and then got back into bed with him. He was fast asleep, but said “I’m sorry about all this” a few times. He also said he liked my outfit.
Then I got up to leave and kissed him goodbye. I felt sad, because I felt like I might be saying more of a goodbye than he knew.
As I put my watch and rings on, I stood by his chest of drawers and looked at his asthma inhalers and his stamps and books and felt really sad. I felt full of affection for him but didn’t think I’d be coming back.