A couple of people have suggested to me recently that I ought to start dating. Hang on, sorry, you’re not going to get much sense out of me for a bit, admire the view, talk amongst yourselves, have a three course meal and go for a walk, because this fit of hysterical laughter will be prolonged.
I’ve never dated in my life, and I’m honestly not about to start now. No, nope, nup, not happening. The reasons are LOTS.
To kick off, I’m not ready. Not even ready to think I might ever be ready, despite being born ready. It’s less than six months since I ended a 16 year relationship, and the post-mortem in my head is still inconclusive. Awaiting test results. Lab analysis incomplete. But the one firm conclusion I have reached is that cause of death is unlikely to be established by embracing some other stiffie. Nah. I need to live with myself for a bit. As easy as it would be for me to distract myself with fun and bounciness, it would be the equivalent of having two pints to treat terminal heart disease. Not healthy. Fun at the time, maybe, but it’s not getting to the root of things, even if I entered into it with my eyes pinned open, loins girded, and a grim determination to have fun.
Jumping into something new would be cowardly, it would be me trying to avoid thinking about what went wrong, what that says about me, about how I contributed to the failure. Being happy and flirty and having fun is all very well, but not when you’ve destroyed a family. Putting on my fancy clothes and going out might give me a boost, but it’s immature in this situation. It would be avoiding responsibility, and absolving myself of any blame. I’m not into relentless miseryporn, or self flagellation, but neither do I want to be the type of person who has chocolate smeared across their face, hair, hands, says 'Chocolate? No... I haven't seen any chocolate... Although actually I think that A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away.' No. I’m supposedly a grown up. For all that I twat about, I should at least have the grace to accept blame, not avoid it with ‘you hang up, no you, no you hang up’ teenagery twatting about.
And then, awkwardly, there’s the physical matter. The last time I did the whole ‘WOAH I’M NAKED WITH YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME’ thingy I was 19, a size 10, lithe, lean, and toned. Now I’m 36, I’ve had two children, and I’m (briefly) a size 8. I am, not to put too fine a point on it, a bit withered. I have stretchmarks, and scars, and sagginess. Recent weight loss means I no longer have a comfily rounded little Buddha belly, but I do have the skin to prove I once did. If I go down on all fours, my stomach neatly cleaves in two from my bellybutton downwards to give me udders. Seriously. Like fucking jowls, but on my stomach, actual fucking udders, freely swaying like the unravelled old socks my teeny tiny tits now resemble. I look like some kind of sodding rare mammal, four teats on display, dangling swags of loose and empty skinnage, a sort of dried up once doubly efficient wet nurse. The thought of revealing this too, too solid flesh to anyone is enough to want to make me seal myself into a frogsuit for all eternity, never mind all of the other loose and freewheeling parts of me.
The real reason though is Them. Yeah, The Blondies. Because of decisions that I took, and choices I made, they have had their lives turned upside down, inside out, dribbly arse cheeks over saggy tits. And what they need now is security, stability, and the knowledge that I’m not distracted by anything else. They need to know that they are paramount and that I won’t fail them by devoting serious energy to anything other than them. I have friends, interests, I have writing, and that’s enough, more than enough. I have a charmed life these days, and the magic of the charm is sharing my life with them. Beautiful, bewildering, bewitching Blondies. I don’t want to share this with anyone else, because it’s entirely mine. No one else has any right to it.
I’m not saying never. Maybe, one day, when the storm clouds have been chased off the horizon, when this sea of troubles becomes a millpond once again, when this little ship is ready for haven, I will be ready to think about a new relationship, perhaps, maybe, possibly, with caveats. I might let someone close to me again, and be a bit selfish, a bit selfindulgent, and perhaps I will rearrange things in my life to suit me, not automatically cleave to what other people ask. But not now, not yet. And certainly not for a long time (and definitely not until I've worked out how to rid myself of these fucking saggy bastard UDDERS).