The Stud

“So, at the guide dog centre, they’re showing us around,” MediaChap says. “They bring one of the studs out to meet us. And he’s a gorgeous big yellow Labrador but he’s in a bad mood: usually when he comes out of his room it’s to mate, and now he’s got to meet a whole lot of journalists. And he’s barking and he’s got a great life there but really he can only think about one thing and…stop distracting me with your legs. Am I talking too much?”
“No, not at all,” I say, sipping my gin and slimline tonic. “It’s interesting.”
We’re sitting on a sofa by the fireplace in a pub which is quite an institution round here. In the late 90s a lot of celebrities frequented it. The fire isn’t on and it’s a pleasant temperature: for once I’m not too hot. Nineties hits play in the background: Blur, Pulp, the Stone Roses.
“It’s great to meet you at last,” MediaChap says, putting his arm round me. His West Country accent is faint but detectable. He’s lovely, I think. Am glad we seem to like each other. It’s seems such a relief, after all the messaging that here we are, on a date, getting on well.
“You too,” I say, nestling into his hug. He’s wearing a blue-green cashmere sweater which matches his eyes and feels very soft. His hair is shoulder length, a bit long for a thirty eight year old but he carries it off. It gives him the air of a dishevelled poet, with his long coat, battered satchel and naughty grin.
Conversation flows. We talk about his childhood in Devon, Agatha Christie, his gap year adventure on a kibbutz. We talk about writing. The time flies.
He says he wants to see me again next week. Let’s hope he means it!

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