So first and foremost this is a public apology for the story I’m about to tell. Should you ever happen to realise that I am in fact, writing about you I can imagine how you might feel. You may feel ridiculed, embarrassed, mortified and any other similarly distressing feeling. Please know I only tell this story because it’s mine to tell, I tell it as a survivor of the night that passed, the trauma will live with me always. Ok I’m being a little dramatic there… anyway sorry, not sorry. It’s a bloody funny story.
When I knew I would be staying in London I threw myself into the process of meeting new people. Everyone meets on the internet these days, so I turned to one or two (maybe more) dating sites to pimp myself out and look for friends, or whatever. By whatever I mean lots of casual sex, the naughty stuff that I was missing during my dull, lacklustre sentence of a relationship with Lara. I always lamented that I could have been having more sex if I were single, now it was time to put my money where my mouth was.
Before moving in with Dana I arranged to meet up with someone I had been chatting to quite often. Her name was Maria (alternative names may have been used to protect the not so innocent) she was of Spanish decent and hence-forth referred to by myself as friends as ‘Spanish Maria’ and trust me it’s a story that pops up rather frequently. Maybe it’s the way I tell it.
Our online correspondence was easy and frequent, even quite deep at times. After a week or so we swapped numbers and took to texting each other instead and then about a week before my move we arranged to meet up in Leicester Square and go for a drink together. It was a school night (by school, I mean work) and I wouldn’t be staying out to play too late and Maria didn’t want to either. She lived out east, I out west and Soho seemed to work best for the both of us.
Maria was a lovely person (which unfortunately makes my story *that* much more cruel) and I was in an odd place in my life. As much as I liked chatting, and we laughed a lot when we were out and enjoyed some easy banter I really couldn’t figure out whether I found her attractive or not. When we left to go home that night neither of us were drunk, we headed for the same underground station and did the European huggy-kissy thing to say good night and went our separate ways.
Maria had an ever-so-slight olive complexion which confirmed the Spanish origins, a couple inches shorter than me so about 5’5” and similar build to myself at the time, which was built for comfort, not speed yet you wouldn’t say fat. Masses of curly brown hair that was more than a little wild, smily brown eyes and quite bouncy. Everything about her was bouncy, hair, personality, other assets.
We stayed in touch and tentatively agreed to see each other again in the near future but didn’t decide on a date and time. I still couldn’t figure out what I wanted. I’d been single a about six weeks, fresh out of a near five year relationship which had been less than healthy at best. I didn’t really want to sleep around, I did that already when I was at Uni, it doesn’t feel good in the long-term. I did want friends here in London so I decided we’d be friends, then I went and blurred the lines and sent all kinds of mixed signals.
I moved into Dana’s house over Valentines week and when someone is recently single we all know how much fun Valentines can be. Maria offered a Valentines date since we were both in the same boat, we’d just delay it a week since I was busy moving house. I arranged to go to her neck of the woods (I can’t even remember where that was now) and we’d stay in and grab take out and watch some trash on TV. All seemed pretty legit to me, that’s how I hang out with my friends back home most of the time, a nice chilled evening to look forward to.
It was a weekday and I went straight from work, which meant I was dressed rather smart for such an informal evening. I hate hanging out wearing all the formal stuff like a dress, tights, heels etc I’m most comfortable when I’m lounging around in my jeans and a beautiful hoody. Maria encouraged me to bring a change of clothes if it was going to bother me so much, even suggested that I might want to stay the night and kip on the sofa if needed. So I grabbed a change of clothes before I left for work that morning.
Maria met me from the station, I had no idea where I was or just how far from my new home I was. I would be entirely reliant upon the tube to get home, I was far too much of a newbie in London to figure out the Night Bus at short notice. You’re first experience of the Night Bus should be planned and you should prepare in advance to know which bus you need to get, trust me, that’s useful life advice.
The evening started well, Maria’s housemate was about but would be going out. In an attempt to keep things as friendly as possible and not give off any mixed signals I opted for a ‘more the merrier’ attitude and invited her to join us for the evening and blow off her plans for the gym. After all pizza and the Britt Awards would be much more fun, she declined which left Maria and I to order in some Dominos and get sucked in by the TV.
Things I wasn’t planning to do that night… one, get drunk and two, have sex. Which takes us swiftly on to what actually happened that night, starting with number one. I want to say we got drunk but I’m pretty sure it was just me. You see the problem I have with alcohol is that I don’t really like beer, or cider, or wine. So when I drink it’s typically vodka, or sambuca, or tequila. Not exactly the kind of drinks you can just sip and make last for a couple hours… I got drunk rather quickly while Maria was just starting on her third bottle of Corona.
Because I was more than a little tipsy and far too comfortable in front of the TV in my slob-wear after a massive take out it wasn’t long before I forgot the time. It was already too late to get the tube home, looked like I’d be staying the night. Maria didn’t seem to mind and still offered the sofa rather than suggesting any alternative sleeping arrangements, that was a relief, I was still too unsure.
I remember stretching out on the sofa, it was a large L-shape so we could both stretch out in different directions, we were still chatting utter nonsense every so often but I was suitably distracted by the TV that it genuinely did catch me by surprise when she went in for a kiss.
Then it began to strike me as odd how her housemate had seemed to be at the gym for literally hours. I mentioned her absence and Maria confessed that she may have asked to be left to her own devices that night because I was coming over, she seemed to think I was asking because I was thrilled about her absence, not worried by it.
Next comes item number two… I already realised I was stuck there for the night, the girl was kissing me and clearly getting more and more carried away by the minute, I was drunk, it had been *a while* and although I still couldn’t figure out whether I really was attracted to her I went for it anyway. What the hell, when in Rome…
She started things off, I’m trying not to give too many details here, that’s not what my blog is about. We were still in the living room and suddenly Maria got a little worried about the possibility of her housemate walking in on us so we moved to the bedroom. We didn’t turn the lights on but it’s never dark in London. The light was coming in from the outside and the blinds in her room sent slats of pale street-light across the room so visibility wasn’t an issue. That’s perhaps when the first real problem of the evening bared itself (quite literally…)
Lets just put it this way, if I had been buying something from a shop, online or anything where trading standards could have stepped in I would have been seeking out advice on my consumer rights. Too harsh? Yes, so here it is again… Sorry not sorry. Maria was practically shrink-wrapped. There were layers upon layers of bridget-jones-esque shape wear holding in all sorts of bulges and as they came off everything just kind of bust out.
Now I myself am a woman of ample size, but I hope not misleading. I’m very much what you see is what you get. The only time I ever wear those awful hold-you-in things are when I’m going out to something uber-formal or generally wearing a dress. You don’t expect to find all that under a jeans/checked shirt combo.On the plus side, I all of a sudden felt rather confident about getting stripped off myself. Funny that.
There was another problem that a razor would have resolved but I cannot go into detail since this is a somewhat respectable blog and I don’t want to make anyone sick, not even a little bit in your mouth. What came next… well it wasn’t me. It was the most blundering, erratic, all-over-the-place experience I have ever had the misfortune to endure. It was disappointing that this would be the first sex I had in far too long to remember and it wasn’t even fun. Before too long I was distractedly paying more attention to the pattern the lights from outside were making on the bedspread than whatever Maria was attempting.
I realised there was only one way out of this mess and that would be to do the unthinkable and fake it, get it over with and get to sleep so that I could be left in peace to contemplate the impending walk-of-shame the next morning. It was around that point that I was internally groaning as I realised I would have to go to work the next day in the same clothes as the day before. Several of my colleagues had known I was meeting someone that night and it wouldn’t be too hard for them to put two and two together. Oh the shame.
Needless to say I have left certain details out that, when drunk, I may have shared with my friends while out at the pub. The kind of detail that has all my friends begging me to tell the story again whenever we meet someone new. However I think the worst part of the story comes the day after, when you have to do the damage control.
As I left for the morning she went in for a kiss goodbye, it would have been callous for me to shoot her down then. I had gotten up at the crack of dawn to find my way back to the office, there just wouldn’t be enough time to go home for a change of clothes. The moment I got to work there were raised eyebrows, mostly from my teammate Anushri who I sat next to each day and had insider information about my plans the night before. I gave her a clipped, extremely abridged version of events and described the guilt I was feeling for having let anything happen.
I clearly got the impression that Maria hoped that last night was the start of something between us and that we’d be seeing each other again. I felt guilty that I hadn’t set the boundaries clearly enough that all I wanted from her was friendship. I took the necessary steps now, I had the perfect get out, I would use my recent split from Lara as an excuse to end things before she could form any type of expectation. She wasn’t fooled.
We sent a few texts back and forth while I was at work that morning. Maria was first to bring up the night before, looking for some sort of status update of where I thought we were heading. It gave me the perfect opportunity to tell her that I didn’t think I was ready for what happened, I still wasn’t over what had happened in my life recently and I just wasn’t clear-headed enough to begin anything with someone new, it would be better if we could just be friends.
I thought I was being tactful, I wasn’t prepared for the message I got back. It simply said ‘Is it because I was bad in bed?’ even though I was miles away in the safety of my West London office I still wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. All I could think was ‘She knows!’ and I just didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t want to hurt the poor girl, she was older than me but so much more inexperienced and fragile in so many ways. Although I would have been doing a public service if I had told the truth. Instead I lied to protect her feelings and told her that I’d had a great time but I just wasn’t ready to move on at the moment, I had too much going on in my life to be looking for anything with anyone.
I don’t think she bought it, I didn’t see her again after that. I didn’t really even try to keep up the acquaintance and it wasn’t too long before she got over it and started seeing someone new. Over the time that’s passed it’s almost like this experience and Maria isn’t even real to me anymore. I have no regrets, but lets just say it’s an experience I don’t want to repeat. I’ve coped with the reality of that night the only way I know how, by making light of it in the most insensitive way possible. One last time, sorry not sorry.