When Harry met Harry: Returning from the ‘man-ban’.

“It’s not you, it’s me”

Oh good! That one again! sometimes, I really think that I must have the words “RELATIONSHIP EXPIRY DATE: ONE MONTH” written on my forehead. It seemed that no matter what I did, I would always be pulling up a chair at the single’s bar after I had been seeing someone up to one month mark. With the most pathetic excuse etched into my brain, (seriously, why do guys say that it’s not us and it’s them? Why don’t they just tell us the truth and tell us that we’re undesirable and ugly as s**t?) I put myself on my second ‘man-ban’. The bitterness towards all men had become too strong for me to maintain and keep under control, and my will to tell people that they were ridiculous, couldn’t be ignored anymore. A time-out was needed. For those who are unfamiliar with the term; a man-ban is when you put a stop to dating and focus on yourself. No dates, no sex, no flirting, no bullshit, no cheating, no lies, no using and no worrying. Just ‘me time’ and Netflix. That was at the start of June 2015.

Some time before Christmas, I found myself waking up one morning to a familiar feeling of panic, resting in the pit of my stomach. My insides were churning and my head felt heavy. I couldn’t eat and my legs were like jelly. It was the morning before the evening of my first date with someone new. The time had come to stop acting like an old cat lady and to start acting like the fabulous, modest, awesome person that I am. Getting out of bed and walking to the mirror, I told myself:

“Look, he’s probably just as nervous as you are. Just relax.”

It didn’t work. I spent the day at work feeling sick and changing my outfit plans about 5 times. I was really looking forward to this date, which was rare, because I HATE first dates. I hate the awkward silences and trying not to offend someone with my views on glitter. I was drawn to him because of his creativity and his honesty (not to mention, he’s ridiculously cute). I had always tried to impress my previous dates with long words and anecdotes from my travels, which really got me nowhere and even bored my own brain. So this time, I convinced myself to just be totally honest and just simply be me. The thought of just being myself put the fear of god in me and shook me to my most inner core. It was unfamiliar territory for me. The time had come for me to get ready for my date. Sprucing up and spritzing myself with my favourite Chanel aftershave, I pulled myself up and checked myself out in the mirror, content with how I looked.

Not bad, Kalvin. You don’t look too ba– BLUUUUUUURRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”. I threw up. I bloody threw up.

Wiping the breakfast from my beard, I forced myself to leave the house and walk to the train station. With every step I took, my heart-rate increased. I was now at the point where I just wanted to meet the guy so that I could maintain a normal pulse rate again! After the longest 20 minute train journey of my life, I started to walk to meet him in the city centre. I must have smoked about 5 cigarettes within 15 minutes and called 3 friends for moral support; none of whom answered, because they all have jobs and are grown up (bastards). Deciding to brave it alone, I quickened my pace. I called him and asked him where he was. He was around the corner. It was now or never. I held my head up high and turned the corner and there he was: Fashionably dressed, tall, handsome and smiling. I walked towards him and couldn’t look him in the eye. I was petrified. My palms were sweating and my neck started to feel hot and prickly. I was captured by his smile. He put out his cigarette and gave me a hug, leaving me to utter “you’re taller than I thought”, in true awkward Kalvin style.

We found ourselves in Starbucks and I was beginning to relax after not being able to look him in the eye or form proper sentences. We spent the evening walking around the chilly city, holding hands and kissing in the moonlight. It was like something out of a novel, if novels involved two gay guys sashaying around Cambridge city centre freezing their ass off. We chatted and window-shopped for hours, which felt like ten minutes.

After a lovely dinner and being unable to stop loosing myself in those captivating, hazel eyes, we had a long, romantic kiss underneath the Christmas lights and I went to catch my train home. Sat smiling on my way home, I couldn’t help but notice that the feeling of dread and panic in my stomach had vanished and had been replaced with some sort of weird warm feeling, which my friends tell me is called ’emotion’. I couldn’t wait to see him again. I got home and floated into the living room where my mum was waiting, eager for the gossip. My smile was stretched from one ear to the other and I couldn’t stop blushing. It was safe to say that I was pretty taken back by the date. We continued to talk, text and Facetimed for a few days after until we saw each other again. When I saw him, I threw myself into him as if it had been a year since I saw him. Since then, he has continued to make me smile, every day, and the bitterness that once consumed every part of my soul has vanished.

Sometimes, we need a break from the fuckery that is dating. Dating is great at times, but after so many set-backs and cheating assholes (remember Lucifer?), there comes a time that you just need to be you and sit in your underwear watching the the Jeremy Kyle show, eating Nutella out of the jar with your finger. Having been on both sides of the looking glass, I can honestly say that trailing online dating apps and just taking *anyone* purely because they show you some attention definitely does nothing for your life or your self-esteem. Be picky and believe that you have the right to be. All good things come to those who wait. I’m now a firm believer. I mean, look, I have a wonderful boyfriend that makes me very, very happy. Who would have thought that would ever happen!? Let go of your bitterness and be patient.

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