Growing up watching Carrie Bradshaw juggling a multitude of “casual relationships” with the simple ease of ordering a skinny grande latte from Starbucks, I thought that when I grew up this could be a reality I could exist in. After a string of year long, unrequited crushes, which paved the way to my twenties, I realized that I had overlooked a certain detachment it takes to juggle guys. The idea of “Just some guy I’m seeing” seemed to coexist in the same unreachable realm as making out with strangers in clubs and hosting a dinner party for friends (the former resulting in being pushed away by what I tell myself was a straight guy, whilst the latter ended with undercooked chicken and cheap wine).
I went on one date with a guy called Lawrence* set up by a mutual friend in an attempt to up my casual stamina. We went for a drink and he did not care too much for my propensity to comment on how the proverbial glass was half empty, and not full. After leaving his in the morning, falling asleep the night prior to the film IT The Clown, I never heard from Lawrence again. I think he’s engaged now or something.
I realized that maybe I wasn’t missing the casual gene, but that I didn’t have the drive to invest time and critical opinions on irrelevant relationships. After a string of weekends at gay clubs, this thought was only solidified. I witnessed twinks my age in v-neck T-shirts poached by bears after the exchange of a few slick words at the bar. Maybe it could be attributed to my awkward posture, lack of eye contact or the fact I wore a black jumper to a club, but the most interaction I had outside of my friend Libby was a guy in his forty’s buy me a WKD, I subsequently ran off to the toilet terrified.
I went to the one place I knew my particular kind of socially and physically awkward belonged – the Internet. I went to LadsLads.com after a recommendation from my friend Adam, who had found a boyfriend from said website of whom he now lives with. Although finding a guy to live with me was a far off goal, I signed up. Whilst guys within the vicinity to me went for usernames such as “Brockley Bear” and “South London Top”, as par LadsLads recommendation, I became “Sam_Tacos”.
Sam_Tacos appeared to hold a true sense of ambiguity and adventure, which belied to the nature of the person behind the computer. He alluded to very little of himself, and seldom replied to guys. In the real world this behaviour would attribute itself to someone on the spectrum, but by Internet standards it was mysterious and endearing (I received twenty “winks” throughout my time on LadsLads. A concept I’m still not sure on). One night I received a message from “ELL674”. He didn’t ask how I was or what I has done in life, instead subverting the trends of a typical message on a dating site, and simply asked if I wanted to meet up.
Taking on the adventurous essence of Sam_Tacos, I met ELL674 (irl name Elliott). We met outside Camden station and sat by the Lock, I drunk £2 white wine from the bottle and he smoked weed, which I declined, citing a previous addiction which I had since overcome. In truth the concept just grosses me out, but an addiction seemed to be a part of Sam_Tacos and the lie a part of me. As date after date ensued, I went to his, he came to mine, my texts became fewer and shorter and I begun to think a casual relationship was something I had the capacity for. The picture of Carrie and I drinking skinny latte’s on the Lower East Side began to seem a reality, until I heard that ELL674 had started dating a friend of mine, of whom he had met through me, at the same time.
I suppose ELL674 was adopting the casual dating mentality which I had initially desired, but I myself refused to be juggled and removed myself from the situation. I found myself hurt, not for the way my relationship with ELL674 had ended, he was pretty obnoxious anyway, but hurt for how quickly I was chewed up and spat out by the casual dating world. The whole thing had begun and ended within five days. I didn’t go on LadsLads that much after. Sam_Tacos now lies in the same depth of forgotten Internet as the photo taken of me, my friend Briar and Kate Nash circa 2007.
(*Lawrence is a pseudonym, as is every subsequent name)