This week’s topic was suggested by @the_helen. What does ‘special’ mean to you? What do you find special about the people and things around you? What makes you special? Whatever happened to politically motivated ska revival band The Specials?
“So…have you met a special friend yet?” asks my Mum innocently, toward the end of our phone call. As always she’s unable to hide of the amount of hopefulness in her voice.
“Oh…. Never mind darling…” Her tone has now changed to the one she reserves for having heard devastating news. A news headline screaming “PUPPY ACCIDENTALLY DRIVES CAR FILLED WITH ORPHANED KITTENS OVER CLIFF” would elicit a similar response.
Mum isn’t, of course, meaning ‘special friend’ as a way of enquiring if any of my pals have the ability to shoot laser beams from their armpits or can shape-shift into Debbie Gibson and perform the entire dance routine from ‘Electric Youth’ while hovering two meters above the ground. As a gay man I do encounter more than the usual amount of people wearing lycra and spandex but none have any super powers.
She means: have I met a man I’m interested in? Or more plainly: do I have a boyfriend yet? She just feels awkward saying it. Not that this bothers me. She’s not aware that when you break it down, ‘special’ friend implies a friend that you share things with that you don’t with your ‘regular’ friends. And of course by ‘share things’ I mean ‘bang the hell out of each other forty ways from Sunday’.
A friendship is an integral part of but isn’t the equivalent of a romantic relationship so by not saying ‘partner’ or ‘boyfriend’ Mum is therefore asking me once a week if I’ve found a fuck buddy yet. Bless her. 64 years old and progressive as all get out, albeit with no awareness of it.
The truth is that I haven’t met anyone or been on a date for well over ten years. No movies, dinners, hugs, hand holding or even a peck on the cheek.
I said PECK, you filthy minded individuals.
My mental health issues are a part of this but back in the early 2000’s when I did go on dates I didn’t exactly have a great track record. I wasn’t so good at filtering out the duds. Let me share with you some choice quotes – all from different men, all uttered on a first date.
“I have to confess – I was due to move interstate the day after I was introduced to you, but I cancelled all of my plans just in case this works out..”
“Um…do you want to go to the movies after dinner? My boyfriend locked me out of the house when I told him I was seeing you.”
(Leans in and whispers)”The waiter knows my wife. Tell him you’re my cousin”
“So, do you have a credit card? What’s your limit on it? Do you always carry it?” – He then drugged me and stole it.
(sighs) “I would have to be the world’s unluckiest man. I just can’t believe that all this shit keeps happening to me and..” (chokes on food, turns blue)
“I just think that dating will help me get over him. To be honest you’re not my type but I need to try… and… I don’t know. Look, you need to know that I’d do anything to get back with him”
“I only own three cd’s actually. I don’t like music much. I’m into tabletop gaming.”
“I’ve had my eye on you for a while. So you saw (name of an ex) for two years, and then you got snapped up by (another ex), but that didn’t last long. And then you had a one night stand with (one night stand’s name)…. Do you still live on (street name)??”
“So can nightclub DJs get peoples names put on the door list permanently?”
(In a Thai restaurant) “The only good thing about (racist slur) is their food.”
“Your cousin is a very good looking guy. I’ve always had a crush on him. Is HE single?”
And of course the chart topper on the bad date hit parade – this guy asked me out for dinner on a Saturday night, which just happened to be the night before my birthday. When I told him this, he turned up in a limousine and took me to C Restaurant. When the bill arrived at the end of the meal he called the driver to come and pick us up, then said:
“Oh… would you mind paying for the limo and dinner? I forgot my wallet. Make sure you give a tip.” And no, he didn’t offer to reimburse me. He did, however, disappear.
To my credit despite hearing all of the above, I never once choked on my dinner. No matter how hard I tried.
I might start dating again, who knows what the future may bring. I just need some subtle guidance and to have my choices vetted by someone.
Someone like the Police. Or INTERPOL.