My work life balance has been thrown out of sync this year. Mostly I have been doing life, beginning with a month in Australia from which I returned four weeks ago. With barely time to crawl of the ether that is jetlag, I went to Venice last week with my best friend Ms P, for her birthday. Well actually her birthday has been going on for a good month now, rather like my work-life balance. Sadly the scales tip unfavourably this week as I have to earn money. As in I have to. Nonetheless I’m aware that I haven’t posted. It’s a strange thing but it’s possible I’ve been too relaxed. Either that or I simply cannot be bothered. Both good. Online can be very draining, even for a relatively short time and, as with lovemaking, I prefer to comment on matters of society in real life. Plus it’s funnier that way (not the lovemaking, the commentary).
Anyway, I was reading this article which is a somewhat scientific (these days you have to take that with a big grain of salt) about hookups. Fundamentally the author reckons casual sex works in men’s favour, not women’s. I would add the proviso ‘if it works in anybody’s favour’. Casual encounters were very relevant when I was in my twenties and I look back on them, the ones I can remember anyway, as making valid contributions to my experience curve. It was fun but it was also not fun and at times, downright inconvenient because you found yourself creeping out at first light in a suburb you would not have chosen to be in. But we did it and at the time you had no idea why, though if I’m honest I would say, in no particular order:
- Self-esteem (before realising it worked the opposite way)
- Wanted a hug probably but it didn’t come without sex (all life is transactional)
Unlike now, I didn’t have sex because frankly, I like it. With certain people, I like it a lot. But what I like more is the thrill of the encounter and even back in the days when we didn’t call a hookup a hookup, I liked discovering what a look or a smile could do. I was reminded of this in Australia a few times where, happily, men don’t need online to flirt with you. In a shop I exchanged glances with the tradesman working there (fit boy) who then proceeded to ensure he walked very close to where I was browsing.
“I’m a pest, aren’t I.”
I told him he wasn’t.
He came past and said it again, then lingered. We looked. We looked a lot. He was waiting for me and reader, I must be off my game because I missed my cue. I did it again at the airport. Rogue looking silver fox loitered at check in gate near my seat. Smiled. Smiled more. I smiled. I got shy and looked down (see how out of practice I am). He disappeared. His bag had a business class tag so I assumed he’d boarded. He hadn’t: he’d simply walked round so he could stand near me again, this time behind me. I could feel his eyes boring into me but perhaps it was because there were people so close by I wasn’t sure what to do. He boarded. I walked past his seat on the way to mine.
“Where are you going?”
He was going to Dusseldorf he said.
I was off to London. We’d both change at Abu Dhabi. There were a few hours. “See you at the other end.”
I love those moments.
But airline schedules and the fact that we landed in some outpost of Abu Dhabi airport and took over forty five minutes to even chug to a stop before we were loaded on buses meant I never saw him again.
You can’t replicate those encounters on Tinder or a dating site. You can’t flirt, you can’t smile, you can’t make witty ripostes and suddenly feel a connection. The reason I was in the shop or catching the plane was not to hookup. I was just there. Just being me.
Although I wasn’t because if that were really me, I might have a bit more to tell you.