So, I have a question for all you halves of couples out there. How important is the SPARK? Did you meet your loved ones and 'just knew'. Did your pulse race? Your heart accelerate and your palms go sweaty? Was your first thought "how quickly can I jump this man / woman's bones?".
You see I am an innocent abroad in these matters. I know, I'm 35 and should be jaded, worldly and wise but I'm not. I've only gone out with one person and that was years ago and I'm not quite sure how it happened. I know that it ended because he sent me flowers (contrary I know, and obviously glib too but that was the genuine catalyst). So, it's been over a decade since that momentous event and I have been skipping along through life, single, footloose and literally fancy free.
On Saturday I met with pilot man, after months of delicate UN style negotiations and failed treaties. The spot was Ludlow, half way between our respective homes. I was nervous the night before and scarcely slept. Would this be the love of my life? Was Friday the last night of life as I knew it? Was I going to be initiated into the world of those who had 'another half?'. Consequently I woke on Saturday morning with a cracking headache. Not the best start.
The day was thick with low cloud and I only knew I'd reached Ludlow because the sign said I had; you could scarcely see the town for cloud. I was early and managed to find parking at completely the opposite end of town to the pub we were to meet at. Pilot man sent me a text to say that the road he was coming in on was closed so he would be late so I wandered through the town, past the busy shoppers and after getting directions headed down the hill to the pub. It was the pub you always imagine you'd like to have down the road. Low beamed, with wide, scarred oak floor boards and a roaring fire. A whippet puppy was busy destroying half the newspapers and locals would drop in every now and then to tease the barmaid and catch up with friends nursing a pint. I settled myself at a table with a slant that would be defined as a black run were it a ski slope and rescued some of the paper from the puppy.
Ten minutes later Pilot man rang to say that he had parked and was on his way. I watched the door anxiously. Was this it? The door swung open and a man came in. Like every date I have met off the web, he was sort of like his photo, but not completely but I did at least recognise him. I'm not sure he recognised me mind you but I called out to him before he could look around and decide that I wasn't there and run away.
He's nice looking. Wearing jeans and a black polo neck he looked as though he had made an effort which is flattering. Also, there was no cravat and that is always good news. His hair, which is a dark brown grows in a widows peak above a friendly used sort of face. He comes over and joins me at the table. We kiss hello (on the cheek). After a brief 'how was your journey' kind of conversation he looks a little embarrassed and says he has no English money to buy a drink. I finger the stack of cocktail sticks in my pocket and wonder if I will be needing them. But after Wednesday's debacle I am now prepared for the drinks thing so offer to get him a pint. He has a good excuse. He only landed back in the UK at midnight on Friday and had not had time to change his stack of foreigh currency back into sterling. He immediately says that he will buy lunch in return. This seems fair, and generous. I put the cocktail sticks down.
We sat and chatted easily for a couple of hours. Conversation ranged from the forthcoming Rugby to Philosophy, via the state of the economy, the joys and woes of snow and various other topics. We touched on the thorny issue of valentine's day and he had strong feelings on this. They were that men who had to make an effort on valentine's day quite obviously did not make enough effort the rest of the time. I pretty much agree with him on this point and am glad that I took my kind readers sage counsel and arrived bearing no gifts of any kind.
Two hours later, lunch over, our respective parking was running out. At this point, I was wondering in the back of my mind what next? He's nice, he's easy to talk to. We chortled over similar things and were happy to disagree on others. There was nothing wrong at all. But shouldn't my heart be racing? my stomach churning with lust? Or is 35 too old for such things? Does lust come slowly, or not at all and I should just be looking for company, with wild passionate sex discarded as a 'service' station that I have shot past and can't get back to?
He's paid the bill and I am wondering whether I should suggest a walk around the town? But why should I suggest it? Why hasn't he? It could be that he doesn't want to be pushy, or that he can't wait to get away? I want him to take the decision but none is forthcoming. I weakly suggest that I should get back to my car and he offers to drive me through the town to save me the walk.
A few minutes later we pull up by my car. Pilot Man says that he has enjoyed meeting me and that it would be nice to 'do this again'. I agree and we work out that he will be based at Manchester airport in a fortnight so we could meet up again then. We kiss on the cheek again and I get out of the car and he drives off.
I'm left confused and slightly indifferent. We had a nice time, he was charming and kind and the time passed easily but he could have been a long lost cousin, not a date. Does that mean that we are on a road to indifference, or just that it is too soon to tell? This is all horribly new to me and I don't know the rules.
So. I've established that he isn't horrible, he doesn't have a flat cap or an autocratic mother. I've also established that my stomach doesn't churn at the sight of him and the prospect of seeing him again is neither dreadful nor thrilling.
I return home muddled and confused and needing your advice. How important is the spark?
The price of health
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