Awwww, look at you in your knitted sweater. It is lovely to be dating, isn’t it?
You’re still out in the wild. At the same time, you’ve got someone with soft flesh to agree you’re great. You get sexy sex on tap while your sad married mates are dealing with dishwasher hate notes. You can stop checking out who winked at you on Match.com. Those cute little messages on Facebook about ‘my gorgeous girl’– they’re yours.
You even get to keep simultaneous contact with two of your own shirts while walking hand-in-hand down Guildford High Street, ’cause she’s wearing one of them.
You’re in love, not domestic bondage. And it’s adorable; I don’t want to upset you.
So run along now- she wants a foot rub/ milky drink/ reassurance.
Because the news is- bummer- you’re unpopular. With everyone. Even her. Especially her.
Your bachelor friends hate you, because you don’t want to throw up with them anymore. Ditto your married friends, for the reasons you think you’re happy. Other boyfriends feel uncomfortable around you, like maybe you met before in group therapy.
Your boss used to think you were a creep. Now he thinks you’re a smug creep.
To her older brother you’re a cad; to the younger a sicko, for liking girls. You’re a source of ridicule for her older sis; in the younger you stir adolescent pangs.
Half her friends don’t think you’re good enough. The other half do and and want to know why you’re not with them.
Her mother’s eaten up you don’t fancy her. Or maybe you do, in which case The Bible hates you too.
Her Dad knows you’re using his little girl as a notch in the bedpost (he was a boyfriend once.) Or you’re a bad smell and not making an honest woman of her. Or destined to become the husband and he’ll have to spend the rest of his life giving you man hugs at Christmas.
Your Dad resents you playing the field. And your mother, oh boy, your mother.
Cousins are ambivalent because you spread the coverage of grandparent interaction at family occasions. Grandparents too, because they’re senile.
Well they can all go to hell, says you, because your gal’s head over, lying on your bed in lace underwear, waiting to breathe your air.
Or could it be that you don’t do that thing her ex did with Skittles?
Do you laugh enough at tarty girls? Bitch collaboratively? Put the right number of kisses at the end of texts?
When you last had a cold, why could you hear her gay friend laughing so much at the end of the phone?
And you know when she said she doesn’t need a piece of paper for you to prove your love to one another? She was lying.
She was lying so hard the words tasted acrid in her post-pleasuring mouth when she said them. (And believe me, it WAS the words).
Is it because you’re too cheap to buy a ring? Are you looking for a cheap ring? OMG, do you think she’s cheap?
The saddest thing of all is that one day you’ll realise you hate yourself.
It won’t be snuggled up on the sofa watching a Meryl Streep-Alec Baldwin movie. Or smiling at a panda in Clinton’s on Valentine’s Day.
It won’t even be when you’re watching porn and thinking about Vicky Pryce.
It’ll be when you’re in Zara or Top Shop or Whistles.
You’ll be standing waiting at the changing rooms entrance- waiting. Like you’ve forgotten how to kill a bear or barbeque spare ribs or watch the beginning of Up without crying.
You’ll be illuminated from the front by a glow of strip lighting- an overgrown, beleaguered version of Elliott in E.T, searching in vain for signs you haven’t been castrated or mistakenly cast in an ad for tampons.
And instead of your Beloved popping out in an LBD she’s popping out of, you’ll catch sight of your own mush in the mirror: stripped of sarcasm, boy band drippy, accessorized by a woman’s handbag and expectations.
And you’re gonna f.r.e.a.k o.u.t, drop everything and dump her.
Six months later she’ll have a new boyfriend who cheats on her and races cars, while you’re moping around being a miserable bastard.
And one by one, all your friends and family and work colleagues will start to remember your boyfriend time as golden, while all her friends and family and the family dog will spend entire evenings hunched over chicken kievs saying, ‘God, we loved him, he was perfect‘..
Before you know where you are Meryl’s back on, in Mama Mia, and nailing it.
Promise just one thing?
Never, EVER revisit the shopping thing.