So, today is the day. The Man from the Internet is due to come over at 2:00. And of course, I’m horribly nervous.
As I said in my last post, I haven’t been to bed with a man since December 2007. (Note: I promise, promise, promise that this is the last post in the recent series where I go through my sexual history. Probably.)
2007 was an amazing year. I had moved back to Ireland from Poland. I absolutely loved my job. I was doing charity work too. I was starting my Masters and doing really well in it. I had lots of friends, both old and new. And I made more money that year than I have made since – almost €40,000. And of course, I lost lots of weight. In January 2007, I weighed 22 stone. By December, I was 16 and a half stone, the lightest I have ever been as an adult.
Losing a large amount of weight is exhilarating. People didn’t recognise me. Friends came to meet me at train stations or outside pubs and I would have to speak before they knew who I was. It was phenomenal.
In January, I had to buy clothes in the fat men’s clothes shop in Goatstown. By July, I was fitting into Marks and Spencer jeans. And in December, I was down to a 38-inch waist. For a few short weeks, I fit into clothes from TopMan. I had a pair of jeans, a pair of chords and a pair of combats from TopMan. All year long, I had visited TopMan and fantasised about wearing their lovely, funky clothes. At first, I could only buy socks there. Then, in October, I began to fit into their shirts and t-shirts. And that December, I fit into their trousers. It was miraculous.
One Monday night, in early December, I was at a going away party for another teacher at the school where I worked. I didn’t know many people there. A lot of them were gay, which was unusual for me. And I was on fire. I was confident, and bubbly, and funny, and the centre of attention. Sometimes, I have the crowd on my side and sometimes I don’t, but that was one night where everyone was in Connor’s corner.
I started talking to Benny (not his actual name) late that night. We talked about favourite films, and favourite music, and favourite clubs and plans for the future.
I didn’t realise at the time that he was flirting with me.
I had told him that I loved Glitz, a ridiculously camp and vaguely seedy gay club night on Tuesdays. As I walked him and a mutual friend home, he asked if I’d like to go to Glitz the following night. We exchanged phone numbers.
At about 4:00 pm the following day, I realised that it was a date. It hadn’t even occurred to me before that. People don’t ask Connor out on dates. They might drunkenly lunge at me. No one asks me out. But Benny had. I got awfully excited.
He arrived at the club late. We chatted and drank. And then he asked me to dance. And, as Girls Aloud’s Love Machine pumped out onto the dance floor, he kissed me. We kissed like teenagers, at the side of the dancefloor, for about an hour.
And afterwards, I took him back to my place, to see my Christmas decorations. And more besides.
For the next ten days or so, we met up at least three nights out of five. And on our second night together, he called me his “boyfriend”.
I nearly hugged him to death when he said that word. He’s the only man to ever call me his boyfriend. I’ve called other men my boyfriends, but mainly only for street cred. If they knew that I called them my boyfriends, they’d laugh heartily. Benny is the only guy I ever slept with more than once, and even then it was only six or seven times.
There were sweet moments. On our first morning at his place, he insisted that we shower together, by which he meant that we shower each other. It was a lovely thought, but really it just reminded me of being a child and having my mother wash my hair. It was incredibly unsexy. Another morning, we put on each other’s t-shirts and wore each other for the day. We never gave those t-shirts back to each other. I eventually gave his one to charity in 1999. And he told me he’d bought me a Christmas present.
I was on a constant high for those ten days. I barely slept a wink, but my teaching was excellent. I told everyone at work about him dreamily. I told everyone I bumped into on the streets of Dublin about him, even if they were only acquaintances.
But when I was with him, even though he was sweet, I felt really awkward. Even though he was 21 and I was 26, he was a lot more experienced than me, and it was obvious. And after the first night we began to run out of things to say to each other as we didn’t have that much in common. To tell the truth, I was happier about the relationship when I wasn’t with him that when I was.
After about a week, I went to his staff Christmas party in Flannery’s on Camden Street. I was introduced to all his workmates. It was all so exciting and grown-up. I was like everyone else. I had a boyfriend. And we went out together. And we kissed. And when we didn’t see each other, he sent me long texts with x’s at the end, because he missed me. I felt like I’d been inducted into a secret society that everyone else was part of, but I’d been excluded from for my whole life.
The night of his staff party, we went back to his house. And for the only time in my life, I had full penetrative sex where both people came.
The following night, after some persuading, he agreed to come to the Christmas party that my Masters class was having. My classmates said he was lovely, but we barely spoke to each other at all. He came back to my house after, but refused to have sex.
I was invited to his birthday party two days later. I bought him a present, as he’d said he’d bought me one for Christmas. I consulted with all my best friends about what to buy him, about how much to spend. I texted him three times on the day of his birthday, to wish him a good day and to ask him where and when the party was.
He never answered. I’d been dumped.
I went home that Christmas to my family. People were amazed at how much weight I’d lost. But my mother told me that I’d lost too much (bear in mind, I was still five stone overweight) and she told me that I shouldn’t wear the lovely colourful clothes I’d bought in TopMan, because they were like something a girl would wear.
And that Christmas, I gained a stone, which I’ve never since lost. The three pairs of trousers I bought from TopMan, that only ever fitted me for a few weeks have sat unused in my wardrobe for the last five years.
I continued going out to gay clubs occasionally for a while after this, and that February I kissed a man, the last kiss I would have until 2012. After a while, I decided that I was too fat and old to go clubbing.
2008 was fine, and then 2009 was a disaster. I lost my job. I gained six stone. I moved back into my parents’ house. I very nearly didn’t hand in the thesis for my Masters. I stopped believing in me, and kept on piling on the weight. Yes, I still had good friends, and yes, I still laughed, but I had given up on love, and to an extent, I had given up on me.
And then 2012 happened. And my Boys, who taught me so much about love and acceptance. And one of my Boys, who I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, taught me that you can be an underdog and you can overcome obstacles and happy endings really do happen.
So I’ve been putting myself out there. And I started dating again this time last year. And I went speed-dating. And I’ve kind of stopped hiding under a rock. And the Man from the Internet is coming over today.
At least I think he is. The last communication we exchanged was when I sent him my phone number and told him which bus stop to get off at for Hall. That was on Friday night. He’s due in two hours. I hope he comes. And I hope he doesn’t come.
It’s not what I want. I want something grand and romantic. I want a man who’ll race to the airport to win my heart, like at the end of every good romantic movie. But I’ve got to get this monkey off my back somehow. So, I’ve spent the morning washing my sheets, alternatively laughing and crying, cleaning the bathroom and writing this.
I’ve got high hopes. Kind of.