Having recently discovered that I might finally be shedding the dangerous habit of falling for bad boy type of guys and at a complete loss of how to fill the newly vacant position of dream man, I spent my last week in varying states of confusion.
Last weekend’s unexpected turn had given me plenty to mull over. For now, I had decided, I would tread carefully and try and figure out what it was that I wanted from life in general and men in particular. Having led “the charmed life” for more than a decade, I now found myself in my early thirties without the slightest clue of where to go. Where should I start?
I had – brought up by upper-middle class, conservative parents – always assumed that I would follow in their footsteps. Although a, preferably, advantageous marriage was what was expected of me, securing a suitable husband had somehow never seemed a top priority (despite my mother’s frequent warnings that my best-before-date was rapidly approaching). When my friends had started to get married I had consoled myself with the fact that I still had the looks of a much younger girl. After each unsuccessful date or failed relationship I had simply moved on, never seriously questioning … well anything.
Consequently, I had reaped nothing but short-lived bubbles of bliss that must all burst eventually, leaving me with yet another disappointment. My friends, well-meaning though they undoubtedly were, had done nothing to break the charm and readily provided me with a fresh supply of “Sophie-suitable guys”.
Having just escaped another (unquestionably wrong) bad-boy episode, I am beginning to realise that something essential needs to change in the way I approach and play the game of love.
With these heavy thoughts on my mind, I wasn’t excited, when Kate asked me to come to Munich for Oktoberfest. I had never been, despite her frequent attempts to ship me over, and my appreciation of lewd men was currently rather shaken. In the end, I consented to come simply to silence her – and after all, what don’t you do for your dearest girlfriend?
Friday night found me strolling somewhat listlessly over the fairground. Despite the beautiful autumnal weather and the many cute dirndl and lederhosen, I didn’t quite feel in the mood for frolicking.
Last weekend had shaken me severely. I simply couldn’t remember a time where I had not been attracted to bad boys. Even when I had been an innocent schoolgirl (believe it or not, I once was too shy to talk to boys), I had secretly longed for one of the daredevil hunks to notice me – not that they ever did.
The realisation that I suddenly seemed to prefer kind guys like Blake to mysterious adventures, had hit me with unexpected force. I felt as though my entire dating-world had turned upside down and I had yet to find my place in it.
Kate’s friends were a jolly crowd and we had a fun time, dancing on the tables, drinking giant-sized glasses of beer. With every collective cheer, the atmosphere turned more heated and soon random couples were starting to snog passionately or else leaving for the dark lawn outside (also known as the “humping-lawn”).
What was wrong with me? Usually, I would have been heart and soul of the party, dancing, drinking and flirting as outrageously as the other girls. But somehow I felt separated from the crowd by a sheet of glass, being merely an onlooker rather than a participant…
As Kate pointed out repeatedly, there was an unusually large number of handsome guys, loads of which were quite obviously trying to catch my attention. However, the cup of temptation didn’t seduce me and as I was approached by men, I turned them away quickly.
This behaviour was so unlike me that Kate pulled me aside, looking worried. “Are you sure you are alright?” she asked me. I nodded, smiled and motioned her to go back to her fiery Italian admirer, whom she had been flirting with heavily for the past hour or so. But I wasn’t alright. I wasn’t alright at all…
I made my excuse early, even before the tents turned out batch after batch of highly inebriated and equally aroused guests at 11pm. Avoiding the various pools of sick and feeling rather queasy myself, I walked through the streets until I found a small garden that was quite deserted. I sat down on a bench, thinking.
Absentmindedly, I rubbed a small copper plate attached to the back of the bench. “To Elise, who shared this garden with me through sickness and health during 50 years of marriage. In love, Maximilian”.
Suddenly, unbidden and unwanted, Blake’s face swam before my eyes and tears started falling fast. What was I doing here? Why was I wasting my time, had been wasting my whole life, chasing the wrong guys? Wasn’t Blake what I wanted? Had always wanted and never known?
I was reaching for my phone before I remembered that Blake was no longer mine to call. He was in fact not mine at all.
This realisation hit me with the force of a charging bull and suddenly, I knew what I had to do. I dashed home, packed my suitcase and had booked an early morning flight back to England before I could change my mind. A couple of hours of sleep later, I was on my way to see the one man I had been thinking of incessantly for the last weeks.
Dressed as I had been the previous night, I took a rental car at the airport and was off to Kent before sun was up properly. I didn’t care now. Appearance, “feel-as-you-look”, all that didn’t matter right now. I needed to speak to Blake.
When I pulled up in front of the house, I realised that, given the early hour, I would probably wake the entire house if I rang the door… what now? Blake’s phone was off. Blast! Hesitating only for another moment, I rang the door.
Blimey, Sophie, I thought, why couldn’t you think for once? I had come all the way from Munich to Kent just to find the house deserted, the one man I needed to speak to gone. Defeated, I got back into the rental car (there is something depressing about rental cars, don’t you think?) and drove towards the big city.
My flat was as empty as Blake’s house with Kate still being in Munich (and probably still unaware of the fact that I had left). I felt cold, tired and miserable. What had I been thinking? That Blake would rescue me? From what? The bad boy syndrome? Myself?
I heard a small bitter laugh that didn’t sound like me at all and dissolved in tears. What a horrid mess!
And then I did something that I hadn’t done in years. I called my mother to ask for her help. Now, I am sitting in my old room, thinking about everything my mother has said to me during the long conversation we have just finished. “Be true to yourself,” had been the main message. But what did that mean? Should I return to London’s dating scene as I had done every single time I had felt let down by a man?
I am resolved. From tomorrow, I am on to a new adventure. Discovering Sophie and what type of guy is right for me. I feel excited and eager to start – where will I begin?