there's things i want
there's things i think i want
there's things i've had
there's things i wanna have
Just Looking - Stereophonics
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The pub was shutting. Most remaining people were pissed, staggering. Had she herself not been a little drunk, I wonder how long the story would have taken to unfold. It would have been filed under one of the hundreds of my "mystery unresolved" cases.
She told me. She said "No"; she didn't think exchanging numbers was going to happen. What I need to know, she said, is that she had come out of a seven year old relationship and then went and plunged into wrong relationship after wrong relationship for two and a half years, until she got dumped, again, last Monday. "By text, dumped by text, can you imagine" she said.
And this Saturday, she is here to support her girlfriend - "a wing girl, if you like". She is off men for six months. She is getting in touch with herself. "I am being very honest. It's the best policy. Normally, I am a lot more cheerful and up for it than this," she said.
I'll bet. Those two and half years sounded packed, rich with hopes and expectations. Only to be dashed by guys who strung her along. One guy had dumped her so hard, she had to leave her native Australia and come to London to escape the emotional turmoil.
Until she had said those words - words that tumbled out in under two minutes - I had not seen any signs of a woman destroyed, or lacking in knowledge of herself. She had been a little reserved, I will give her that, but she was smiley and very chatty. When I had introduced myself to her and her girlfriend about an hour before, she had affirmed they were single.
I tried to lessen the scale of what she admitted. "Surely, you already are in touch with yourself. You obviously know who you are and what your needs are, it's just that you made some bad decisions. I wouldn't blow it out of proportion," I said.
"Well, be that as it may, I have decided and I am not going to change my mind," she said, shutting the doubts out.
It was over.
"One would like to live in a world in which things like rejection or getting dumped don't affect one. Where self-confidence is stronger than such things. But of course it is an ideal world, that," I said. I was not even looking at her. I was giving an improvised philosophical muse. On the house.
"The thing is, women become impossible to satisfy as they grow older. And this is because of all these let-downs and their subsequent shutting off of themselves. They come out of this stage with a check-list and they start operating with tunnel vision," I said. My muse had now turned into lecture.
Then I got myself busy wrapping myself up. I said goodbye with an indifference even I felt was inappropriate. But I wanted to get out. In under a minute, I had threaded my way through Leicester Square crowds and was almost at Trafalgar Square. Every attractive woman I saw, I imagined a speech bubble popping out of with her "past stats". "I dumped 2. Was dumped by 4. Had 7 flings. Vacancy for The One - still seeking. Advertising in six months."