It’s the weekend, and Lucy’s still on her mission to find someone she likes enough to be a replacement for non-monogamous Charlie.
This is proving a tad tricky, because (a) most of the men she comes across on dating apps are utter bottom-feeding scum, and (b) although he’s causing her no end of heartache and headfuckery, Charlie’s also great company and a really bloody top-class shag, which makes him kind of a hard (heh) act to follow.
But in spite of a shit tonne of evidence to the contrary, Lucy’s convinced that there MUST be at least one or two available men left in London who aren’t total cunts and don’t just want to shag everything that moves. She just needs to find them. And then hope they fancy her.
Hinge hasn’t really been working out for her, so she decides to download OKCupid.
OK, where’s Cupid?
OKCupid is different from the regular swipe apps in that profiles are much fuller. People have the opportunity to write as many words as they like, add dozens of photos, and include information about their height, vices, politics and whether or not they’ve already indulged their primal urge to reproduce. There’s also a series of multiple-choice questions about everything from moral values to sexual preferences, which OKCupid uses to give you a percentage match score with your potential date.
It’s a great way for Lucy to filter out the Brexiteers and the smokers and the people who can’t spell, without having to waste any more precious time.
After surfing through dozens of profiles of guys who turn out to be 5’5 or looking for hookups (eye-fucking-roll), she finds Simon, who is neither of those things. He’s just a few years older than her, 6’3, slim, with a full head of hair and a handsome face. He’s never been married and has no kids. His profile is fully-filled out (so clearly not a tourist or a timewaster) and he hasn’t made a single spelling mistake. Not. One.
OKCupid thinks they’re a 96% match. In other words, Simon is almost perfect. Could he be The One?
There’s no time to waste; he could be snapped up by someone else at any moment. She’d better message him immediately!
Well this is a fucking turn-up for the books. Not only is Simon charming and responsive, but he’s doing none of this bullshit chat tennis that so many guys seem to do, batting the conversation ball pointlessly back and forth for days on end without any sign of wanting to actually meet up.
In fact, it’s all a bit too good to be true. When you think about it, it’s deeply suspicious that a charming, funny, handsome guy like this has made it to the grand old age of 43 without marrying or having kids. What’s wrong with him? There has to be a catch.
But for now there’s nothing she can do but go with the flow and see what happens. So when he offers to take her out for dinner, Lucy cautiously accepts.
But just when Lucy is starting to think that Simon could not get any more perfect, he lobs in a curveball.
Lucy’s confused. Is this some sort of joke? He thinks being 6’3 is a problem? Does this guy not realise that in Dating Land being over 6 foot gives him about 100 extra attractiveness points? What kind of rock has the man been living under?
Still, if that genuinely is his greatest flaw, then Lucy may have just hit the actual fucking jackpot.
She tries to contain her excitement.
And suddenly, tiny alarm bells start sounding in Lucy’s head. Does the man have some kind of high heel fetish? Is his supposed height insecurity a made-up excuse to justify asking her to wear stupid shoes?
Not that having a high heel fetish is a major problem. As fetishes go, it’s hardly the worst she can think of. At least he’s not asking her to tie him up and burn him with cigarettes, or piss on him, and he doesn’t want to wear a nappy or a furry animal outfit (yet, at least). So heels she can deal with. As long as he’s not expecting her to actually walk in the things.
Except. He’s brought them up twice in the last few minutes. Is this the first sign of a controlling personality?
Ok. At least he realised how he might be coming across, apologised, and made a joke out of it. That’s something. But his insistence has made her nervous. Simon seems lovely, but what dark secrets might he be hiding? A criminal past? A nasty temper? A love of pineapple on pizza?
Lucy still doesn’t understand his height issue, but she decides to give him the benefit of the doubt because she likes his straightforward flirting. He really is very charming, in a non-threatening, gentle way that’s just what the doctor ordered after so many weeks of hopeless swiping and chats that go cold faster than your boyfriend’s mum when she finds out you don’t want kids.
Lucy wonders if the NHS will ever offer hot men on prescription. That really would cure so many of her ills.
In an attempt to nail down a date, Simon suggests early next week.
Another mention of high heels? Lucy’s inner warning siren goes off again. Still, all she can do is make it very clear, as politely as possible, that she won’t be pushed into doing or wearing or eating or looking at or touching or playing with anything she doesn’t fucking well want to, and he’d better learn and accept that immediately, or he can fuck right off.
By this stage Lucy’s sitting at home on her sofa, all her attention on her phone, waiting for each one of Simon’s replies. The banter is coming thick and fast, and he has her absolute undivided attention. A rare achievement considering Lucy has the attention span of an excitable Labrador puppy.
He really is very lovely, she thinks, smiling to herself. And then immediately feeling anxious, because if something seems too good to be true, it’s bound to be.
Fuck. Another reference to high heels. What’s wrong with the man?!
And also, he’s completely failed to answer her Very Important question. Which clearly she’s not going to let him get away with.
That evening, Lucy goes to bed feeling optimistic and happy for the first time in a long time. She knows not to get her hopes up – she learned that the hard way with Ben – but even allowing for a healthy dose of caution she can’t help but hope. It only takes one, right? People do meet their husbands and wives on dating apps. What if this is finally her time? What if she’s about to go on her last first date?
And then Simon disappears.
For most of the next day she hears nothing. No ‘Good Morning’ text. No on-the-commute grumble. No elevenses check in. No lunchtime update. And try as she might, in the space of just a few hours Lucy goes from calm and happy to anxious to batshit crazy. What if he’s never going to message her again? What if he was just bored last night and has lost interest now? What if his wife or girlfriend caught him messaging her? What if he got hit by a bus?
The possibility of navigating all the many hurdles that can pop up at any time and kill this thing stone dead like baddies in a video game seems so impossibly precarious. It’s a house of cards poised for imminent collapse at any moment. Lucy has no fucking clue how anyone actually manages to meet anyone online – too many things can go wrong.
By 4 pm she’s convinced herself she’s never going to hear from Simon again.
But then at 4.08 he finally he pops back up.
Lucy’s never felt so relieved. Fuck, she likes him. Shit.
She gives it an hour before replying. She needs to at least try to give the impression that she hasn’t just spent the entire day checking her phone every five minutes. And really she should hold out for far longer – isn’t the rule that you’re supposed to make them wait at least the same length of time as you’ve waited for them? But Lucy doesn’t have anything like the willpower or the patience for that kind of game-playing.
Bantering about language. This guy might be just perfect. She needs to nail this thing down as soon as possible before it goes off the boil, so she asks him where he’d like to meet.
(Though can you nail something down if it’s boiling?)
Bollocks. Minus 10 points for Simon. He clearly lives south of London and has offered Charing Cross because it’s convenient. Presumably he wants to be able to just hop on his train afterwards and be home before Lucy’s even navigated the dozy tourists at Oxford Circus. She does an inner eye roll, but what’s -10 points when you’ve already accumulated about 250?
TGI Fridays?! He’s joking, right? He’d better be fucking joking. But how to be sure? She could respond politely, offer up a better suggestion, or simply blunder in confidently on the assumption that it’s a joke – that way even if he was serious he’ll have no choice but to rethink.
But later, when everything’s arranged, she gets a call from Charlie.
His girlfriend’s going away on a work trip, he tells her, and he’ll be free that evening. Would she like him to come over and spend the night?
Holy Fuck! Too bloody right she would! It’d be the first time they’ve spent the night together, and the first time Lucy’s shared a bed with a man since Brad in Kenya, more than 6 months previously. The longed-for chance to fall asleep in Charlie’s arms (except not literally, because Lucy’s now so used to having a bed to herself that she can’t bear to be touched when she’s nodding off – but you know what I mean). The first time she might get morning sex in as long as she can remember.
An impossibly rare opportunity; who knows when such a miracle might come round again?
Shit! What should she do? Could she tell Simon something’s come up and try to rearrange for another day? After all, statistically speaking and on the balance of probabilities he’s 99% likely to ghost her, stand her up, or turn out to be 10 years older than his photos. So he’s really not worth passing up this tantalising opportunity for. Especially not when, if she rearranges, she can do both!
But what if, against all odds, he’s The One? And what if, having rescheduled, he gets hit by a bus, or meets someone else, or gets press-ganged into the French Foreign Legion, like a real-life version of Sliding Doors – except weirder?
What should she do?
Next time: Does Lucy go out with Simon, or stay in with Charlie?
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