Beauty is in the eyelashes of the beholder

I have so many awkward interactions in the day I’ve had to start going to bed earlier just so I’ve got enough time to lie there and relive all of them.

My anxiety is bad. I’m anxious about whether I’m anxious enough to be seeing someone about how anxious I am.

I have trouble committing to dates to meeting up with friends, because a huge part of my anxiety is simply deciding on a plan. If I got my way, every plan I had would be made on the spot, instantaneously. That way I don’t have the time to worry about every single part of the encounter in the run up to it. And I worry about everything.

Oh, everything. Having anxiety-induced IBS is a big part of this worry. You can spot one of us instantly. We already know where the toilets are in any given building, and if we’ve stayed at your house we know how well the toilet flushes – which often correlates directly with how early we leave your house in the morning. It’s a “quick like a band-aid” approach to friendship, and hugely flawed.

But lying in bed and chain-watching Riverdale, possibly the worst piece of trash that’s ever been on Netflix, then watching fan videos of the top ten kisses of two characters I’ve latched onto, I’m beginning to realise perhaps it’s my own character I need to ship with someone, and maybe its unhealthy to live vicariously through two two-dimensional characters in poorly written, thirty-minute increments. Even if that is far more convenient than my life will ever be.

So out I go into the world, with my little woolly hat, two pairs of beige pants on and a carton of Ribena for the commute home. Doing the casual thing. Literally everybody is going the casual thing. I say this because I really hope everybody is, and it’s not just me that men are doing this to as a way of keeping their options open.

The first casual date I went on was way back in April, and I handled it really badly. It was a date that came right after a break up, like, scarily close to when my break up happened, and I remember leaving the date and thinking, “oh, it’ll be okay, maybe I’ll have a new boyfriend by Sunday.”

Unfortunately, I did not have a new boyfriend by Sunday. The guy didn’t want to see me again, but did it by saying he was busy until I got the message. Totally fine – I was probably too funny for him: intimidating. But it was an introduction to this world of the casuals that I’ve not been part of before. It’s a bizarre world. Mostly because I am the least casual person on the planet. I’m formal. Would probably be a bit weird if I showed up to dates in a full suit and tie though, armed with a binding contract of all my terms and conditions (also wearing a suit and tie – it looks adorable, you should date both of us).

Every time I meet someone new, I’m surprised they can’t see my brain screaming behind my eyes. The ideal date for me would be someone patting my head and going “it’s okay”. Can I put that in my Tinder bio?

Dating is carnage for me because I play a different character in every relationship dynamic I’ve had, romantic and otherwise. As much as I want to be myself, I just don’t think a guy likes to be interrupted mid sentence with “sorry but I’ve just pulled out three eyelashes, do you want to see them?” despite how excited I am to show him my bodily harvest.

It takes a while to figure out the character, and hurts when nothing more happens romantically because it’s a rejection of my whole persona, and this entire world of myself I created for the person – rather than accepting that just they weren’t interested in seeing me again. It’s like I’m an artist holding out a piece of their work they created specifically for the beholder, and the beholder going, ‘yeah, it’s not for me actually.”

You what, mate?

I sculpted myself into this twisted Picasso mess for you, you dick. The least you could do is unquestioningly love it, even if you don’t understand it. This whole gallery is on fucking fire now and it’s your fault. Have a look at these three eyelashes and fuck off.

The last date I went on, during the approach to the boy who was waiting on the other side of the road, I fell over on the curb. I got back up, tried to laugh it off, ended up inhaling several strands of my own hair and choking on it, then having to fishing the damp clump of hairs out of my mouth.

Then when I sat down I hit my head on one of the light bulbs above the table in the cool bar I definitely did not belong inside. Like I was being punished by a cartoonish representation of what a bad idea it was to go on a date and leave my house. I hate those fucking light bulbs. Who on earth thought the light bulb should be the universal sign of a good idea? Put a fucking lampshade on, you luminous hussy. Also, where are the toilets please?

I don’t tell him how early I was going to have to go to bed the next few days. I’m going to have to go to bed at bloody 4pm to get a full screening of this monstrosity.

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