The Work Crush, Part 1 – Smitten

While Lucy waits to see if there will be a fourth date with Josh, the Geography teacher, let’s take a little detour and talk about something else for a bit…

One of the things Lucy regularly struggles with is the fact that, as much as she loathes the fuckwittery and cuntishness that surrounds dating apps, there seems to be no alternative. Even though she’s out and about all the time, and has an outward-facing job, she literally never meets cute single guys IRL, or at least not ones who are single and interested in her too.  As she’s quite fond of pointing out, the last time she had even so much as a fling with a real life boy was in 2004.  That’s literally longer than Facebook has been around.  Because Lucy is basically ancient.

But then, one day at work, while Lucy is just minding her own business and getting on with her day, a new guy joins her team.  And fuck me if he isn’t just about the dreamiest thing Lucy’s ever seen in her entire life.

Yet again, our heroine’s in trouble…

Day One

His name is Jack.  Lucy doesn’t notice him at first because she’s out of the office when he arrives and is introduced to everyone, and by the time she comes back he’s just sitting at his desk, quietly doing all that pointless admin stuff you have to do on the first day in a new job.  So while she’s vaguely aware that something has changed, she doesn’t really register what exactly, until later when Georgia, who sits next to her, starts talking to Jack, and Lucy looks up to follow the conversation, and after that she’s unable to be aware of anything BUT him.

Because Jack is just dreamy. Did I mention this?  A sporty 6’2, with chiselled features, and sparkling blue eyes, and thick brown hair that’s just begging to have fingers run through it, and the cheekiest smile that ever won fair lady (or at least made her melt into her knickers), and no wedding ring.  Lucy takes all this in and thinks, Wow, cute. WAY too cute for me.  And probably too young.  And in all likelihood super dull or narcissistic.  And DEFINITELY won’t be interested in me. 

And then she gets back to work.

Day Two

The next day, Jack speaks to her. They’re doing the same role, and he wants to pick her brains about how the systems work here, and how she manages her workload,  and it turns out that not only is he cute to look at, but he’s sparky and funny and deliciously charismatic and not a boring prick AT ALL, and Lucy is fucked. And not in a good way.

When he talks, he holds her eye contact just a fraction longer than is normal, and Lucy finds herself wanting to vault over the desks and jump on him right then and there.

Could there be a spark here? she wonders.  Could it be even possible that he might be single?  And, even more unlikely, interested?  She’s heard mythical tales of such magical things happening: when a girl meets a guy at work and they like each other and neither one is gay or taken or on the run from the law, and they get together and fall in love and get married.  Such things do, apparently, happen – Lucy even knows people it’s happened to.  But such things do not happen to Lucy, so she puts these fantasies out of her mind.

That evening Lucy’s been invited to go with a friend to a board games party attended by a bunch of people she’s never met before. Frankly she thinks that board games + polite chitchat = the worst kind of death by dullness, but she also feels that she ought to say yes to stuff, and be more open to meeting new people, so she asks the team for their advice. Should she brave the scrabble and monopoly night of death, or go to her British Military Fitness class as usual?

Opinion is divided, but in the end Lucy just can’t face it, and after all, there may be hot men at BMF, so she pops to the bathroom to put on her gym kit.

“What did you decide to do in the end?” asks Jack when she returns.

Lucy indicates her Lycra leggings and trainers.

“So, going to the party then?” And he laughs, a delicious slightly dirty chuckle that gets Lucy right in the feels because not only is he cute and sparky, he’s also cheeky and funny and basically just perfect in every possible way.

But of course there’s a catch, because of course there is.  When she stalks him on Facebook later that evening, she finds that as well as photos of him looking handsome and adventurous, there are several profile pictures of him grinning happily with a beautiful blonde with perfect hair and perfect golden skin and perfect gleaming white American teeth.

After she’s finished hyperventilating, she pulls herself together.  It’s ok, it’s ok, she tells herself.  Maybe that’s not his girlfriend.  Maybe she’s just a mate, or his sister?

Oh who the fuck is she trying to kid.  Lucy would raise her eyes to the heavens and shake her fist at the cruel Gods, except that she’s too weary of this kind of thing happening all the fucking time to even bother. Of course he has a perfect girlfriend. Of course he does. Why did she even think for a second that he might not?

She goes to the bathroom and punches herself repeatedly in the face for being such a dick.

Day Three

Even so, by now Lucy is totally smitten. As she finds out more about him she discovers that he’s worked on some really impressive projects, and they have a friend in common, and that basically they are perfect for each other. So what if he has a girlfriend?, she thinks. Relationships break up all the time! Maybe they are having problems.  Maybe she’s a bitch? Maybe she’s just really dull? Maybe now he’s met me he’ll realise there are better options out there…

At lunchtime Lucy stands up and asks the team if anyone wants to come and grab a sandwich with her.

Most of them are too busy or already have their lunch. The only one who doesn’t is, you guessed it, the very edible Jack.

Lucy suggests they go to a nearby Japanese place where you can get sushi and noodles, and the plan is to get takeaway and bring it back to the office, but when they get there Jack suggests eating in, and that’s how Lucy ends up having a romantic lunch à deux with the man of her dreams.

She’s keen to find out what the score is with the Perfect Blonde, so while they wait for their food to arrive she works the conversation round to the subject of relationships.
Jack tells her the Perfect Blonde is indeed American, and that he met her on a FUCKING PLANE. Like really, honest to God, he spotted her in departures and thought she was cute, and then lo and behold she’s sitting next to him all the way from New York to London and when they board they are total strangers and by the time they land they are basically in love.

“Before I met her I was single for 3 years,” Jack tells her.  “I was a bit of a player if I’m honest. But I’m 35 now, it’s time to grow up, that’s all behind me now.”

Lucy’s taken eleventy billion flights in her life thus far and not once, not even fucking once in that entire cunting time has she EVER been sat next to a hot single man.  She literally always gets the frazzled parents with the screaming kids or the hugely obese people who should have bought two seats or the nervous 18-year-old exchange students who don’t speak a word of English.  THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS!  wails Lucy to herself in between mouthfuls of ramen.  This sort of stuff only happens in movies!  Why is life so fucking unfair?!

But then she realises there may be light at the end of the tunnel.  Relationships break down all the time!  Maybe they will discover they’re not right for each other after all.  Maybe she’s got tonnes of fucking annoying habits that are still endearing now but in time will become kill-me-now grating, like she bites her toenails or clears her throat every 2 minutes or puts hot sauce on everything.  And what’s more, Perfect Blonde is American.  That means they are doing a ridiculous long-distance NY-LON relationship, and everyone knows those things don’t work out.  Things might be fine between them now, but give it a few more months and maybe the cracks will start to show.

So while Lucy would never dream of making a play for another girl’s man (and wouldn’t have the first idea how to even if she wanted to), she’s not ready to give up hope just yet.  Maybe if she bides her time, her turn will come.  It’d only be fucking fair after all: she’s certainly had more than her fair share of dating disasters and disappointments.  She’s bloody well owed a fucking break.

They get the bill, and Jack insists on paying. As a thank you, he says, for helping him settle in.  Is this strange? she wonders. Why would he pay? This wasn’t a date!  (Much as she achingly wishes it were.)

But she accepts graciously, and takes the opportunity to promise to buy him several drinks after work another time.  

The Pub

That opportunity comes far sooner than she could have hoped. That very afternoon, in fact, when Jack issues a general invitation to the office to join him for a swifty after work in the pub next door to the office.  A few people accept, including Lucy (come on, what did you expect?), but by the end of the day most have changed their minds, and so the merry band of drinkers ends up being just Lucy, Jack, and Georgia, who sits next to Lucy.  Lucy wishes Georgia would just fuck the fuck off.

But she doesn’t, so she and Lucy head to the pub while Jack finishes up.

He’s asked for her number (so he can find the place, apparently), and texts about 20 minutes later.

Lucy’s not sure what the random emojis are all about, but they make her laugh, and finding a man who can make her laugh is one of Lucy’s main goals in life.

Jack arrives at the pub a few minutes later and joins Lucy and Georgia.  And within moments, it’s clear that Georgia, although a nice girl, is completely superfluous to requirements.  This is the Jack and Lucy show: sparks are flying hot and fast and their cheeky flirting lights up the bar like the Fourth of July.  When Jack goes to get a round, poor lemon-like Georgia turns to Lucy: “Should I leave? I feel like I’m gatecrashing a date here!” and Lucy, much as she would dearly like to be alone with her One True Love, is forced to fake a welcoming smile and encourage her tiresome colleague to stay as long as she wants.

Conversation turns to Lucy’s love life and Jack has a sudden brainwave.  He’s just remembered he has a hot single friend he could set her up with. “He awesome, he tells her,” showing her a photo. “And so are you. You’d be perfect together!”
Lucy is more than a little put out that Jack now wants to palm her off on his mate, but she looks at the photo anyway.  Ali is definitely hot: tall, sporty-looking, with dark hair and eyes.  But he’s too young, surely?
“He’s 32,” reveals Jack. “Why, how old are you?”
There is no fucking way on God’s green earth that Lucy’s telling him that now.
“Um… a little bit older than that…?” she mutters.
“What, 32 and a half?”
Lucy wonders if it’s possible to get away with pretending to be 7 years younger than your real age for the whole of the rest of your life.

Jack writes a text to his friend Ali and shows it to Lucy.
Hey mate, are you still single? it reads.  I’ve just met this really hot girl, she’s fantastic, she has a great sense of humour, I think you’d get on really well. Can I set you up?

If Georgia weren’t sitting right there, Lucy would probably rip off all her clothes and jump on Jack right then and there.  He feels it too!  He does!  It’s clearly only a matter of time before he dumps the Perfect American and then they can be together and live happily ever after, for ever and ever Amen (or at least until he finally gets a glimpse of her passport).

Ali replies about ten minutes later. He’s actually just started seeing someone, and apparently ‘she’s awesome’.  Normally Lucy would be disappointed, but this time she doesn’t give a flying fuck. She only has eyes for one man now anyway.

Alone At Last

Finally, after failing to get the hint for nearly two hours, Georgia goes home, and Lucy and Jack are alone together.  They get more drunk and more flirty.

“I can’t understand why you’re single,” he sighs. “You’re amazing!”

Lucy shrugs. Now’s probably not the time to reveal that she hates the size of her boobs and the lines on her forehead, is anal about stacking the dishwasher correctly, and frequently wakes in the middle of the night gripped by dread and anxiety.

“I mean, if I wasn’t taken I’d be in there like a shot,” he confides.
For once, Lucy’s consumed just the right amount of alcohol to deal with this revelation like the confident adult she’s supposed to be.  She locks eyes with him. “I guess I just have really bad luck when it comes to timing,” she says.  And then, because she’s full of Dutch courage: “It sucks that I didn’t meet you sooner…”

They hold each other’s gaze for a moment , and then Lucy’s courage fails and she blushes and laughs and looks away.
Fucking bastarding cunting hell, she thinks.

But what does it mean? she wonders later.  Is there hope?  Would a guy say something like that if he was madly in love with his girlfriend?  And if he is, should he really be saying things like that to another girl?   If she’s honest, though, she doesn’t really care.  It might have been just about the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to her, and even if it was just a bit of harmless drunk flirting, she will carry those words in her heart until the End of Time.

They carry on drinking and talking and laughing until they are the last people left in the pub.  Even the barman disappears and Lucy, who is properly drunk now on wine and on Jack’s attention, at one point even gets up and dances on the table.  Under his gaze she’s become the person he sees her as: sexy, funny, smart, youthful and cool.  It’s exhilarating and wonderful and she never ever wants it to end.

They walk to the end of the road together, where they part ways.  Jack leans in and gives her a long, full-body hug.  They hold each other there in the street for way longer than should rightly be allowed, and then he gives her a kiss on the cheek and walks away.

Moments later, her phone buzzes.  More random emojis.

Lucy’s reply is less random: the dartboard is the closest thing she can find to an image of Cupid’s arrow piercing her heart.

To find out what happened next, go to Part 2 – Weekend.

Follow:

20 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    9th June 2018 / 9:45 am

    I used to really root for you but recently your obsession with relationships and marriages breaking up so that you can pounce on any guy that glances your way is terrible. It’s really not good karma to behave/think that way. Women like you are such an issue for those in relationships, always ready to pounce on a taken man if any weakness is shown. Desperation is not an attractive quality. I won’t be reading/following anymore ✌🏽

    • Lucy
      Author
      9th June 2018 / 10:28 am

      Hello, I’m very sorry you feel that way. I’m only ever trying to be real and honest about things, even if it doesn’t always paint me in the best light, and obviously that means some people will not like what they read. And I accept that, and thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m aware I’m not perfect, but when you get to late 30s the sad fact is that it appears to be impossible to find a decent guy who is not taken. And sometimes I think I should settle, and then I meet someone like Jack and think ‘No! Why should I settle when there are guys like him out there?’ So I’m just trying to reflect the reality, and I suspect there are a lot of people out there who will relate to this feeling of being attracted to someone they can’t have – and how depressing it is when that person is clearly attracted to you too, and perhaps if you’d met them sooner things would be different. So I’m just trying to express that, and I don’t think feeling it makes me a terrible person. It is what it is. I know several women who would not stop there – who would actually get involved with a married / taken man, and I won’t do that. So in the grand scheme of things I think my crimes are pretty minor, but if you disagree, then I’m sorry, and thank you for reading thus far.
      All the best, Lucy.

      • Lina Nour
        10th June 2018 / 12:08 pm

        But he isn’t ‘out there’ he has a girlfriend. Michael is also married. Try to see things from their wife’s/partner’s perspective. Honestly speaking you have crossed the line with both guys and you know you would be v v unhappy were your husband texting/drinking/hugging/etc with other women and talking about bad timing and so on. I like your blog and your style of writing but it’s off putting to read about you wanting marriages and relationships to end.

        • Lucy
          Author
          11th June 2018 / 12:56 am

          Hi Lina, thanks for taking the time to comment. I do get where you’re coming from but as you know, nothing has ever happened between me and either of these guys, nor will it. Have you really never had feelings for someone who is out of bounds for whatever reason? I you haven’t, I envy you. All I’m doing here is expressing my frustration at something that is, I suspect, an all-too-common occurrence. I can’t help how I feel.

  2. Anonymous
    9th June 2018 / 12:35 pm

    To suggest that Lucy is desperately trying to split up a happy relationship is a little harsh. There are countless men, and women, out there who will cheat on their partners and its on them to keep it in their pants.
    That Lucy finds people attractive and envisions a future with them is entirely normal and her honesty is just the reality of being single in your 30s.
    Go read other blogs / posts on social media, and you will see plenty of stories that don’t end with the subject going home alone at the end of the evening, rather they end in some sordid encounter and heartbreak.
    All this post does is tell of flirting and sadness, your ire should be directed at Jack. Alternatively you should probably not be so offended by a tale of flirting and wanting where nobody got hurt and no body fluids were swapped.

    • Lucy
      Author
      9th June 2018 / 6:38 pm

      Thank you, Anonymous, for your support! I’ve got to say I do agree with you, and I feel my conscience is clear, but people are free to disagree.
      Essentially I just wanted to share this story to demonstrate another aspect of being single in your late 30s. It’s not like all my dates are terrible, it’s not like I don’t meet guys I’m attracted to, and it’s not like sometimes I’m not attractive to them too. But finding that magic combination of me fancying them, them fancying me back, AND them being single… well that’s what seems to be impossible at my age.

  3. Sophie
    9th June 2018 / 8:24 pm

    there is a massive issue with certain women who always seem to find unavailable men attractive – it’s a confidence thing and therapy can really help – please look into it.

    • Lucy
      Author
      11th June 2018 / 1:00 am

      Hey Sophie. I don’t like him *because* he’s unavailable, I like him *and* he happens to be unavailable. If you read the stories, you’ll see that with Michael, I fancied him immediately and then looked for a ring; with Jack I didn’t find out he had a girlfriend until I looked him up on Facebook, which I did because I liked him. Unfortunately when you get to my age, it’s a sad fact that if a guy is attractive, interesting, charismatic and a good guy, he’s likely to have settled down with someone already. I don’t think I need therapy – but thank you for you concern and for taking the time to comment.

  4. 10th June 2018 / 11:51 am

    Oh wow! Sizzling chemistry. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
    And I also don’t think you’re ‘obsessed with relationships and marriages breaking up’ – you just like someone who happens to be in a relationship and you hope it works out. It’s not like you’re conniving or scheming to break them up. You’re just being honest about how you feel in an anonymous blog and you haven’t done anything wrong. If it’s perfect between them, then hanging out with you would be no threat to their relationship.

    • Lucy
      Author
      11th June 2018 / 1:03 am

      Thank you, I’m so glad you like it! No I really don’t wish them ill – and sometimes yes, I overexaggerate my reactions to things for narrative / comedic effect, so maybe that’s where the confusion may lie. Just as in the same way I sometimes say on a bad date that I’m thinking about causing a scene to escape… clearly I wouldn’t do that either!
      To be quite honest I’m so bad at flirting that I wouldn’t even have the first idea HOW to come onto another woman’s boyfriend or split them up, though I’m very flattered that some people think I could! 🙂

  5. Hazel West
    12th June 2018 / 4:26 am

    I can fully relate to this. I’ve fancied more men than I’ve had hot dinners. I’ve given up on looking for the fish that there are supposed to be plenty of. The men my age are so gross. Did I mention I’m 70. In my head I’m 25. Keep these updates coming, you are the sparkle in my boring little life.
    PS ignore the haters, not worth worrying over.

    • Lucy
      Author
      13th June 2018 / 2:25 am

      Sounds like you need to find a younger man, Hazel! Though I know that’s probably easier said than done. But if you’re a young-at-heart 70, as you sound, I’m sure he’d be lucky to have you. And age is just a number, after all. Thank you for your support, it’s a pleasure to have you here for the journey. L x

  6. Anonymous
    12th June 2018 / 5:34 pm

    Your desperation is getting worse, which I did not think was possible. I cringe reading your tweets. Not to be harsh but you keep complaining it’s not fair you haven’t met someone and that you deserve it etc – maybe it is your desperation that puts men off? Also, the fact that you obsess over taken men telling you that you are amazing, perfect, would love to be with you if they were single is just bullshit from them – wise up to it and stop falling for the crap.

    • Lucy
      Author
      13th June 2018 / 2:37 am

      Hey, Anonymous! We’ll I’m sorry you feel that way. Personally I wouldn’t say I’m desperate at all: if I were, I wouldn’t be single, would I? It’s not like there aren’t men around, so if I was really that desperate I’m sure I could find someone just so I wouldn’t have to be single any more. But clearly I’m not going to do that. What I am is not desperate, but tired, fed up, and frustrated: that all my friends are coupled up and the world is built for couples; that when I do meet a guy I really hit it off with he’s always taken; that dating is such a major ballache; that most of the single guys I come across are utterly useless; that I have no one on my team and have to do everything on my own. While I have a great life, the fact is that I’ve been single for more than 2/3 of my adult life and I’m just really, really tired of being on my own. And that’s what I’m trying to express here as I’m fairly certain there are plenty of people in the same boat who relate to this feeling. Maybe you don’t: maybe you’re not single, or maybe you’re one of those lucky ones who actually genuinely likes being by themselves. In which case, I’m happy for you, but don’t judge those of us who would just really much prefer to have someone to share all the highs and lows of life with.
      Lucy

  7. Nick
    12th June 2018 / 7:57 pm

    Wow, what did you do in a former life?
    Those trolls are really after you.
    Walk over that bridge with your head held high.

    • Lucy
      Author
      13th June 2018 / 2:39 am

      Hahaha – thanks Nick! 🙂 I guess you can’t please everyone, but that’s ok. Nice people like you more than make up for that. Thanks for making me smile. L x

  8. Stephen mcdonald
    29th June 2018 / 8:39 am

    It will happen when it happens -keep your standards high.
    You seem pretty ethical in a dodgey game.
    Your antics are keeping me amused between Paris sightseeing!!
    Rgds
    Steve

    • Lucy
      Author
      29th June 2018 / 8:16 pm

      Well merci beaucoup Steve! I’m so pleased you like the stories. It’s comments like this that make all the heartache worthwhile sometimes – at least when things don’t work out I know I have a good story to tell!
      Now stop wasting time on the internet and go see Paris!

  9. Monika @ ispace1.com
    17th August 2018 / 5:06 pm

    Lucy, i loved reading your article and will surely share it with a few of my friends!

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th August 2018 / 7:25 pm

      How lovely! I’m so pleased! 🙂

Got something to say? I'd love to hear it...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.