April 24, 2012 § 53 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
When I got married, it was with no regret that I left the whole dating game behind me. Little did I know. If it was a nightmare in my twenties, it is a great deal worse now.
Then, there was the telephone or, at a push, letters. It was agonising – awaiting a call; arguing in one’s head the unconvincing case for calling him, feeling it a weakness if one “gave in”, kicking oneself when he subsequently ran a mile. But, now, the will he/won’t he and the should I/shouldn’t I remains, but has shifted into whole new realms of complication. Twenty years on, times have changed. Half the world believes women have just as much right to chase, and in fact men love it; the other half vociferously adhere to the “fact” that this is the one thing which in life will never change: men must always do the chasing. I was nineteen when I scored my first clunking answering-machine, which helped matters a little. Now that I am too close to fifty, there are emails, texts, social networking sites, you name it, and the “rules” – if you believe in these things – are all over the shop. There is an onus on all communications to be witty, incisive, on the nail. Failure to pull off this feat in a square inch or less of text can give rise to terrible misunderstandings and dashed hopes.
One missive from Surprise Twinkle winded me. I took it for a sudden, serious brush-off. Friends advised me to react with definitive silence. But a small part of me thought, the tone doesn’t tally with all that has gone before; just maybe I have misinterpreted his words? I risked a careful reply. His reaction was mortification and the express desire to see me again. Such navigations are gossamer delicate. Silence may have unnerved him and so been met with silence. I may never have seen him again.
But I did. We met for lunch and a film and made tenuous declarations to see each other again. I loved being with him. But I am once more going back over the afternoon in my mind, trying to weigh up the evidence and interpret the signals. I think they are positive but, yikes, the next move – or not – on my part could make or break the next stage. I feel as though I’m in a wilderness. Sexual politics may evolve, but modern mores can never tamper with basic human psychology. This remains constant and still doesn’t wish to be pressured or ignored. So much rides on how I respond – or don’t? – to his last communication, which was so measured it could mean anything. The next move – his or mine – could be the salvo to a fantastic affair, maybe more; or bust. Help!