TinderStick and Ball

When you return to the fray after a year off dating, it feels how Dorothy must have felt going from the black and white of Kansas to the bright technicolor of Oz. Everything is shiny and new. You are thrilled by the incessant buzzing of texts and Tinder messages in your phone. Your heart jumps at the mere sight of your photo turning into a ball and rolling into a boy’s photo as the Tinder screen proclaims “it’s a match! You and Mr X have liked each other.”
And somewhere in all this, as you get dragged down the river of excitement, you miss the signs warning “deep water” or “waterfall” or “whirlpool ahead.” Sense and caution are two of the first casualties as your head is turned by the attention and you become dangerously overconfident.
You start to break your safety rules. You see two boys a day on Saturday, clock up three over the weekend. And as you get more tired you ignore the still, small voice of your conscience.
Attention is addictive, of course. A date goes a bit wrong so you move on to the next one, determined to have a better experience, to be funnier, more confident, more alluring. What you should be doing is resting, regrouping, sleeping but you’re buzzing and you can’t sleep can’t sleep can’t sleep: your body clock has gone on to summertime – waking up with the dawn chorus. Sleep is five or six hours a night now.
You break your rule to turn your phone off when you’re in bed. You’re exchanging messages in the night and when you wake up there are lots and lots and lots of them.
You arrange to meet a polo player for a coffee at 8.30am in Bond Street, before the office. You’re living the dream – a polo player! How Jilly Cooper – those white jodhpurs and riding boots and that thick glossy hair. Their reputation with the ladies.
He’s very attractive: tanned, huge eyes, good muscle definition. Clever too – works in investments as well as the polo. You feel out of your depth. You’re feeling very anxious – your mood has gone up and you’re not being sensible. Your impulse control is shot.
You get frightened. His intentions are not honourable, you realise. You don’t feel safe. Your heart is hammering with the adrenalin as you make your way to the office. You feel tearful.
You resolve to give the dating a rest until your mood has dropped a bit and you can be safe.

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