I went on a date on Sunday. It was a lot less exciting than it sounds. Actually, it was quite a nice afternoon, but I don’t expect much will come of it. And I’m fine with that. The guy I met was perfectly nice: young, intelligent, cute, everything you’d want. He was also too shy to let on if his interest in me extended anywhere beyond friendship, so I came away at the end of the day thinking I’d have to try again with someone else. He seemed to want to spend time with me, so I guess having a new friend is a positive that I can take from it. I’m not really looking for another friend, but who cares?

That night I realised that when it came to what I wanted, I’d had a reasonably successful day. When it came to what I needed, not so successful. I was loathe to admit to myself that after nearly two months of complete celibacy I was deprived of a basic physical need which a date with a shy, innocent guy could not fulfil. So I went on the internet to look for someone who could fulfil that need, and to my surprise it did not take long to find someone. The man I found was the exact physical type that I always go for: older, hairier, bigger and extremely confident. He couldn’t meet that night, I would have to wait until tonight after work. That is where I have just got back from. These days I tend to hate doing anything on a week night other than coming home, having dinner and reading a book before going to bed. But he was available tonight and I seemed to know deep down that it would be anorexic to avoid potential fun with an attractive man just because it goes against my routine.

I had to travel to Croydon of all places to meet him – on the train I experienced the usual nerves that come before anything interesting. When we got to his place the clothes were removed pretty quickly and I became sure that I had made a good choice. However, within half an hour he was exhausted and practically incapable of moving. I was only slightly disappointed: the fear of ‘going all the way’ was still present and that part of me was evidently relieved to have escaped scrutiny for another night. Another part of me wondered if this question of compatibility in my life would ever be solved. As I walked back to the train station with the evening sun still in the sky, the disappointment naturally began to sink in. Yet another bedroom disaster to add to my list; why could I never just meet someone normal and have fun with my body?

By the time I got home I’d managed to make the disappointment subside, by reminding myself that I don’t live in an ideal world where sex is always amazing. Like most of us I probably grew up with this idea that sex always has to be fantastic; moreover, sex has to be this magical, important thing separate from everything else in life, and therefore the idea of it being normal and boring sometimes wouldn’t sit comfortably with me. It’s only this evening that for the first time ever I’m just about capable of putting a less than exciting ‘experience’ down to experience. It wasn’t the best sex I’ve ever had, but it was OK. We got to kiss and cuddle for a while before he ran out of breath, and he was a nice guy. I might never see him again, but (as I said before) who cares?

I’ve spent my life being anorexic around sex precisely because of this idea that it always has to be perfect. The truth that I’m discovering is that by definition, it can never be perfect. What I want to do in bed seems to change from one day to the next, and the likelihood of any partner’s wants matching exactly with mine is always going to be slim. The entire history of popular music and cinema is built around a fantasy of perfect love and sex; when you scratch the surface of it I think you find that after the inevitable climax has been reached, it doesn’t particularly mean anything. Romanticists will undoubtedly tell me that I’m being cynical and I can’t make such judgments until I’ve experienced what proper ‘romantic’ sex really is. But why should I continue to torture myself with this search for romance when all the evidence seems to suggest that such a thing is actually quite rare?

I need to start having fun, and analyzing every single encounter for its ‘romance value’ has to stop. Getting hung up on things link compatibility, my performance, his performance, doesn’t work. The only thing I have to fear is being hurt, and it’s up to me whether that happens or not. It definitely didn’t happen tonight. So I didn’t find the love of my life. For too long I’ve been so obsessed with fulfilling a fantasy I’ve forgotten to engage with the potential benefits of living in reality. A while ago someone suggested to me that I should just accept every experience for what it is, and leave it at that. At least be grateful that I can get out there, meet people and enjoy physical contact from time to time. I could so easily have ended up in emotional turmoil tonight – it started to go that way, but for once I refused to let myself suffer for no reason. I’m sure there’ll be more suffering to come – I’m good at putting myself through the mill, and there will no doubt be times when the loving is far from perfect and I think I’m never going to find happiness. But for today I’m quite confident that, whatever happens, everything will work out for the best!

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