I’ve been doing this for years you know, eating Mcdonalds on my todd, looking around at the couples and the families, not sure if it is guilt I feel for eating at this media slated, vegetarian hated franchise or, complete despair that I am on my own in a fast food restaurant, gobbling up salt ridden chips and slurping sugar mounted cola like there is no tomorrow (is that why they call it fast food? No one really takes the time out to appreciate the authentic and exquisite taste of a big mac meal with gherkins…)
I am on my own in a fast food restaurant. Again! What am I doing? That’s what I think to myself. But then if we delve deeper into the supersize cup of ice and diet coke…why am I on my own?
Well, for starters. I have this new thing where I just lie to guys I meet out. I can’t tell the truth, about anything. Not in a sinister or malicious way. It’s all rather jovial and informal and in most cases quite sarcastic. If they ask my name, I say it’s Sheila. And when they laugh at the seemingly outdated, old person related label, I pretend I am insulted. I loved Drama class in school and I relive my love for it through these boozey nights out in the variety of pubs in Bristol. I can keep a straight face better than most, some fall for it and persist to call me Sheila for the duration of our, most of the time, short acquaintance. Those who don’t quite fall for it, are persistent to learn my real name, in which I respond something bitter such as ‘why would you want to know my real name?' Or 'what do youuu care..' Other lies include, being Czech, being much older than I actually am, or ending up in Bristol after a tragic boating accident, leaving me stranded on the harbourside and working in one of the bars, and I don't tell them which one.
Most of these chaps I am either not attracted to, or smell from a mile off their stench of chauvinism, narcissism, egotism, Lynx etc. The ones that I do quite fancy end up being victims of the 'pretend to have met them before' act where I become insulted at their bewildered faces, showing confusion, sometimes guilt, because they don’t know who the ruddy hell I am.
Most nights end with the guy’s bidding Sheila farewell and I end up alone in a taxi, wondering if Maccy D’s is still open, talking to a foreign taxi driver about the hopeless romantics of this generation.
Said taxi drivers follow on from this to tell me I'm a good girl, and that I will meet the right man soon. Kudos taxi drivers.
So why then, this alter ego, Sheila? Sheila Tequila if we are at the bar and I am trying to get a free drink. Well, maybe I just don’t want to let anyone in. Perhaps I am just a very bitter and twisted single female who has resorted to this behaviour because nothing else has really worked for me. Maybe i'm just plain crazy. Whatever the theory,I think, I am quite HAPPY with it. Because normally I am stood there with open arms shouting ‘ COME ON POTENTIAL BOYFRIEND, I DON’T LIKE YOU MUCH, AND VICE VERSA, BUT WE COULD GIVE IT A GO!’ I quite like pretending not to be me; when I actually managed to get a barman’s number out of it the other day, (and that was all Sheila, I've never had the confidence to do such a thing before) after three or four texts I became irritated and bored of him twisting everything I said into some sordid suggestion, so I deleted the damn thing. And it felt good to not bother replying one Saturday night when he suggested I smoke something illegal with him and check out how 'sick' his room is.
For once in my single life, I’m actually having fun. And not the type of fun I would regret if I were to roll over to find something other than my stuffed owl teddy bear, someone who has made my room smell of breath and lynx.
One thing that has helped me not want, is the fact that the very chap who evoked the ‘powerful response from within me,’ the fuel and the trigger for much of my blogging and blogworthy life experiences, has actually had a child. He is now a dad. When I first heard the news, or rather saw the news because a dear acquaintance of mine thought it’d be appropriate to show me the scan via snap chat screenshot. post tequila, I cried like the little baby to be born nine months later. I was in a pub back at home, it was Christmas and I cried like a spoilt brat would if Santa had put a satsuma in their stocking. And NOT because I wanted to be carrying his offspring, no no no, but because I was sad that he got the family and the partner and the house and instead I was childless, partnerless and mortgageless, moving to yet another city to see if it could offer me more than my previous residencies ever had. P.s. i dont want a mortgage really i was just being spoilt.
And Bristol has offered me much more. So thank you for that Bristol.
For the first time in 6 years things between us went quiet. No late night drunken messages, no break up rebounds, no gossips from the small town residents who told me everything he ever said, did, didn’t say, didn’t do. I thought the father to be had finally stopped being a little boy.
Then one month ago, a month before his newborn was born, I had a message from him.
‘I hope alls well with you.’
Now, that’s not even a question. Thats a rhetorical statement that said to me that he expects me probably not to be well because I’m always messing about moving places and things. I replied, of course I did. And I’m not proud; it’s a terrible habit of mine, like biting your nails or drinking too much. We then got talking, a little more than we should have been. And he asked me If I ‘had a fella yet.’
When I replied, 'a boyfriend? Me? Don't be silly,' (I always put myself down around the likes of him) he asked if I had turned lesbian. Some sort of pre-baby fantasy perhaps, or more likely checking if he still had me there on that threadbare bit of string. Then again both scenarios are as likely as eachother.
A couple of months later, Facebook notified me of the baby's name, weight, birth, fathers resemblance, mothers rapid loss of baby weight etc and admittedly I had a little moment in Asda when Pixie Lott came on. I had to stop and look down at the single woman remnants of my shopping basket, because tears were stinging my eyes. I soon got a grip and told myself to grow up, and to put back the wine and chocolate and baby grow that I wanted to sharpie ' My daddy is a twerp' on and pop in the post. The latter was an exaggeration. After I got over my initial crazy lady moment,In my head, I wished him all the best and his child all the happiness, and I think this is now where we draw the line. Of course, there will always be the slight bitterness stinging these positive thoughts, but I'm only human eh?
And why has this all helped me? Because I never want to go through that again. Which is a bold statement because who knows what could happen, but for now, I want to be risk free, and I want to feel in my heart, mind and soul that whoever I chose to share more than one drunken night with, is worth it.
I.e. the right 'one' if you like, and I do have much distaste for the phrase, will be the person who I won't introduce myself to as Sheila.
And if I was to bring a metaphor in to this, because you know I love my metaphors, I guess, my relationships are a lot like a quarter pounder meal. I know they are bad for me, and yet I still go with it, thinking it's tasty and fulfilling (no innuendo intended)! They don't last long, and shortly after it's over, I get a funny sickly, regretful feeling in my stomach. So, from now on, I won't be eating in McDonald's on my own, pondering my single life. Instead I will wait happily and patiently to be wined and dined, in a nice gourmet restaurant, with real food, and a real man ;)