See Part One here.
I sit down at my desk first thing on Wednesday morning to find an email waiting for me from Aiden, the City Lawyer.
I read it hurridly and smiled.
"Aw, so sweet...he's so sweet." This is the standard reaction I seem to have from every message he sends me. He's incredibly thoughtful and sincere, a textbook nice guy.
He had no reason to email me and I wasn't expecting to hear from him until he was back in the UK at the end of the month. His unsolicited email indicated that he'd been thinking about me.
His emails were getting more personal, he was talking about emotions, things he likes, experiences and dreams...
With every email he sent I began to recoil from him further. Of course in my replies I gave him just as much back, but I couldn't help thinking that he was giving too much to start with and being too keen. I would never have sent him emails like that - and I'm queen of keen.
The final nail in the coffin came with: "I'm quite looking forward to meeting up when I am back. It's refreshing to find somebody who is equally enthusiastic about the world as I am!"
I told you. It's The Game. It's the the thrill of the chase, it's the need to put myself under intense pressure to be incredible enough to get what I want. That's what made Aiden so exciting the first time I spoke to him, that's what made it something to look forward to. Without a battle, without a challenge... I lose interest. I don't want to be with a guy who worships me however average I am, I want to be with a guy who wants the best, and who wants me because I am the best. This is something that feeds into the second problem I began to have - the nice guy issue. So, you'd think that him sending long emails about lovely, sweet, thoughtful, personal things would make a girl think she'd hit the jackpot. With me... I'm thinking... yes, long-term material, the kind of guy you should be with... but I am just not finding it remotely attractive.
I have a craving - a constant craving - for intense feeling and emotion. If he can't give me drama and pain and euphoria and ecstasy all with dramatic intensity, I'll never feel anything for him. I don't just want to be content with life.
So I decided to take things back into my own hands again and find a new Game and new challenges to push myself.
Rhianna has been going through a tough time recently and was keen to go out on Friday to cheer herself up. As her closest friends at work, Rob and I and another guy called Adam had promised to go out to her favourite club, Koko. However, that Wednesday, Rob had told her that he and Adam weren't going - and made up a load of crap excuses which she saw right through.
Pissed off as I was at Rob for being his usual selfish self, I knew that I had to find other people to come out instead.
...The office cutie... obviously... I had to ask him and his equally office cutie friend.
I'd taken the plunge the other day to talk to the friend while we were in the kitchen, so the ice had been broken there... I just needed to ask both of them, and ask in a way that didn't sound like I was asking them on a date.
It was Thursday and nearing the 4pm time when they both left the office. As far as I could tell, they worked in the same department and were really close friends - I often saw them going for lunch together. For ages I had thought there was just one office cutie as they looked really similar and I had only begun to distinguish between the two of them in the last few weeks. I hadn't been able to find the balls to go and ask either of them at their desks so this was my last chance... I watched as I saw one of them get up to leave and made my move to the lifts. I would wait there and catch him as he left.
As I hovered by the lift area he came out...with his friend...both of them together - perfect... but they got in the lift with another person... I bottled it. I paced outside the lifts and then decided to take the next one. I was going to do this. This was my last chance. I was going to follow them and ask them.
As I got out the lift, through the glass doors I could see them standing outside the entrance together, obviously waiting for someone. I paced around the reception some more. Shit, shit, shit. There were still there.
I turned on my heels and strode out the building. Performance mode.
"Hey guys - "
They turned around.
"Hey, can I ask you guys a favour...what are you doing tomorrow night?"
They looked at each other awkwardly, "Errr.."
"Well, ok, my friend Rhianna has been having a pretty shit time recently and we're going out tomorrow to cheer her up but our other friend has dropped out so I need to find some other people to come along, so if you guys aren't doing anything it would be great if you could join us?!"
They looked at each other again. "Ok..." "Yeah, ok that's cool..." "Where are you going to?"
"Really! Awesome! Well she wants to go to Koko - is that cool?"
"Yeah, I'd probably have been going there anyway..."
"Oh amazing! ... So um, I know I've sorta met both of you in and around the kitchen as we're making our cups of tea... but I don't actually know your names?"
"Mike" - "Sam"
"Ok awesome - I'm Ophelia - so you're definitely up for it then, yes?"
"Yeah definitely," said Sam, "Just let us know the details..."
"Perfect, I'll send you over an email... have a good evening!"
And back on my heels I turned and strode back into the office, brimming over with hysterics.
"Guess what!" I gushed down the phone to Rhianna,
"Noooooo they're not! Seriously!"
She couldn't believe I'd had the balls to go and ask them. Honestly, neither could I...
Laxatives and two days of juice fasting. Up at 5am to try on dresses. I spent the whole of Friday in the office buzzing off adrenaline, unable to focus on anything but the night ahead.
By lunchtime, Rob and Adam had been guilt-tripped into coming.
This was fucking important - I didn't know why, I just knew it was fucking important that I looked my absolute best for Mike and Sam. Sure, I fancied both of them like hell, but I didn't really want anything from it other than for them to want me. That was the only thing I needed.
So straight after work I went back to Rhianna's and we got ready - by the time we left I was already drunk from too much wine on an empty stomach. Mike and Sam were already in Camden waiting for us,
Mike was perfect, relaxed and easy, fun and sweet.
Sam less so... more awkward, too sober, too serious.
Rhianna wasn't a fan: "Mike's seriously cute, but Sam is just weird, like stuck up almost."
Mike and Sam, it transpired, were brothers. I kicked myself for not making the link before - that was why they looked so similar. Another bombshell was that Mike was only 19 - he was just at the company on an internship and would be going back to uni in a few weeks. Although I have a history of going for younger men, I knew letting anything happen with him would be a mistake - as is the fact that I am attracted to brothers. (Awkward...)
I was drunk and probably behaved way too flirtateously with Mark. Simon left and went to meet up with two other girls. We went to find him. Then I practically forced them to come to Koko with us... and they came all the way up to the entrance only to stand me up. For whatever reason - the truth of which I will probably never know.
Rhianna: "Ophelia! Stop it! You're coming to Koko! They don't want you - they've got those two girls - they've both been checking you out all night - they're losers! Come on!"
I stood on the balcony with Adam, staring out over the lights. I had a sudden urge to climb on the railings and jump off, I saw my body lying in the street below, my huge arse in my blue lace underwear exposed to the world. The tears fell down my face and I didn't try and stop them - Adam had his arm around me - "What's up Ophelia? Hey, you didn't care about those guys did you?!"
"I just want someone to find me loveable, I just want someone... I judge my worth solely on what guys think of me - that's it - that's all the self worth I have... I just want someone to find me loveable. What's so wrong about me?"
The night ended up being a disaster. Adam and Rhianna were dirty dancing and then he ran off. Rob followed. Rhianna went mental and pulled me off the dancefloor in pursuit. She caught hold of Rob and yelled at him.
"You fucking left us! - You were just going to fucking run off, follow Adam and fucking leave us!"
I was silent. I had to stand by Rhianna on this but I wasn't going to join in the argument. I just held her hand and stood by her side.
We went back out on to the balcony again. They continued arguing.
"I don't need two fucking crazy girls to deal with. I've got Ophelia already - fucking crazy - I'll deal with her later."
... It's ok when I call myself crazy, it's not ok when someone else does.
As I stood over the balcony again he lifted up my dress.
"What the fuck!" I screamed,
"I was just giving you attention - making you feel loved!"
I should have slapped him. I should have smacked him to the ground and screamed at him.
I just turned my back on him and continued staring out at the black sky.
My eyes welled up again. Giving me attention - making me feel loved. It's true, I embarassed myself, I debased myself, I made myself nothing but a sexual being for men to lust over, I had no further self-worth than that. I poured all my energy into that, I held that out as my bait. What did Aiden like about me? He liked me for the words he read in his emails, the things I told him about my life and my ambitions, the person he saw in the heart and mind of my words... and I couldn't like him for that.
Finally Rob left us alone.
"You should never have told him about your eating," Rhianna said, "I know you thought you could trust him - so did I - but he's a cock, he's an areshole."
We stood talking for ages, her crying about her pain, me crying about mine.
"I'm sorry," I said, "I just really wanted you to come out and have a good time tonight and be able to forget about everything and look at what a disaster it's been."
I put her in a taxi and found myself a night bus to sit on for an hour.
I did all this drama while I was at university. This wasn't the life I wanted now at 24 - why was I still doing it? Why was I so driven by the need for chaos and crazy behaviour? Why was the idea of settling with Aiden, older and mature, smart and kind, safe and grounded - why was that such a terrible idea to imagine?
I don't know how things will be with Mike and Sam on Monday morning. I don't know how things will be with Rob.
I don't know who I am, I don't know why I can't stop the desperate acting, the desperate drama. I made myself look like a fool infront of Mike and Sam, a drunk and desperate flirt.
I want to stop this behaviour - but I can't - because I need it, I still need male attention - it's the only form of love I know.
I'm in the kind of mood where I don't want to sleep. I want to write and write. I want to read Plath and Lessing. I want to bleed my heart onto paper. The City has made me forget so much of myself, so much of my heart and head full of beauty.
Hillary Clinton meme
9 months ago