Dear Disappointed in Darlinghurst,
In a way, the whole week was just a countdown to tonight. You had plans. Preparations. Things you had to do to get ready for this moment. Here are a few of them: borrow aftershave, wash bed linen, buy candles and new jocks, practice walking with your chin in the air and try to embody all that is sexy about Sean Connery. Make sure the bathroom's cleanish. Think positive thoughts, that was another one. Also, wash behind your ears. (For some reason, almost every time you spent extra effort scrubbing that little patch of skin on your head behind each ear, you get lucky. Sorry, I should have italicised that, for special emphasis: you get lucky
. Of course there's no scientific explanation for it, but it just feels right, somehow - even if it's only the confidence of knowing that you'll smell nice if you do end up getting nuzzled.)
(Though there will be no nuzzling tonight.)
Here's what you were thinking about yesterday: shouting over the noise of the music. More specifically, that part where one of you can't quite hear what the other has said and so that person (the one who can't hear properly) cocks their head to the side as an invitation for the other (the one who's speaking) to position their mouth closer. That's a little parcel of flirtation right there: proximity, exposed neck, private discussion. And then, when the communication is delivered - undoubtedly a witty retort of some kind - the one who listens smiles at the other, the posture lending a quality of irresistable coyness. Heads close. Breath on neck. Upturned face. Raised eyebrows.
And here's another idea that's been occupying the space between sleep and wakefulness for you: pillow talk. Daydreams of crazy carpark-sex have been replaced by fantasies of post-coital debate about John Cage. In the past, topics of discussion in bed directly after (or even during) sex have included the following: dark matter, robotics, the AGPS Style Manual, scones, leaf litter, the career trajectory of Alan Alda, asteroids, nudibranchs, recipes for home-made lemon butter and how bad your sense of direction is. More recently, while alone and half-asleep, you've imagined murmurs, fragments of conversation - a montage sequence of giggling and intense looks and playful kisses leading, inevitably, to second-servings of everything. Accompanied by a soundtrack. And - let's be humiliatingly frank here, shall we? - it's probably something like the Dawson's Creek soundtrack. Isn't it? Isn't
You got it bad, my friend. You miss the jolt of recognition, the feeling that someone else has used all these words before, and in this very order. You miss being told to shut up. You miss the opportunity to juxtapose the absurdly highbrow (ie. "And that was the moment I became fascinated by the study of ethnomusicology as it pertains to brain wave patterns...") with the lowbrow (ie. your fingers moving inside her).
You even mentioned tonight's so-called 'date' to a couple of people - in fact, reciting answering machine messages to friends and milking them of hidden meaning has become something of a team sport. Word structure has been analysed to reveal desirable personality traits; a running joke has become evidence of flirting. Let's face it, you got yourself into this mess by reading poetry into a pile of alphabet fridge magnets. Whatever it was that might have happened would be happening right now - this very half-hour
- were it to happen at all. She called it off. That's okay. There's no shame in being wrong about these things. Everyone's allowed to make a mistake, once. Let it go.
It's static electricity and marsh gas. There's no such thing as the old lead-into-gold. The muppets were sock puppets.
Cast your mind back a week or so and try to remember how it felt to be cynical.
Good. Now, hold onto that. Baby, the sky's the limit.