Feeling vamped-up after my newly single make-over I was feeling pretty confident. Confident enough in fact to test the waters with an old acquaintance from school. Meet Jacob: now a professional actor Jacob was one of my earliest friends at secondary school. We would hang out in a group at café Nero every day, share music recommendations and generally get on quite well – we even had special nicknames for each other at the time. Come years 10 and 11 when people started getting their first serious boyfriends and girlfriends we drifted apart but stayed amicable when seeing each other across the common room. Since school he has crept back into my dreams once or twice a year as a feature of potential romance. There is always some sort of kissing or hand holding involved as whatever story plays out in that particular scenario.
So feeling confident and somewhat sexy I decided now would be the time to maybe let him know. After all, what have I got to lose? So I send a message something along the lines of “Hey Jacob! At the risk of sounding a little weird, you popped up in my dream last night, how random! How are you? I hope things are good x”. Casual I think – not too creepy. And an hour later I get a message back filling me in on his life and asking so: what happened? Of course I’m not going to be honest here, so I brush it off with an “oh I don’t remember too much of it. Only that you were there”
and ask him if he wants to get a drink sometime. He says yes, but tells me that he is going to be away for a couple of weeks. That’s a shame, but a gentle let down nevertheless. No embarrassment here and we can go our separate ways retaining the hint of a friendship that once was.
To my surprise two weeks later I get a text! “Hi K, its Jacob, how are you? Still fancy grabbing that drink? I’m free Saturday day time?” Amazing, I totally wasn’t expecting that. So we arranged to meet in a trendy coffee house for that weekend, followed by a tour round his favourite gallery (as he remembers we are ‘both arty souls’). Of course, being a girl, I message my friends and explain what has happened and pose the question: Is this a date? It’s in the afternoon, so does that make it a friendly catch-up or are we going on a day-date? My sister reckons that “boys don’t give up their Saturday for any old bitch” (thanks sis). But I’m not convinced.
And then another text. “So had any more dreams about me?” Surely this is a sign. This is flirty right?
Both of my significant boyfriends have come from friendships at school that have taken years to develop into something more romantic. My first boyfriend, Chris, and I met in Primary school age 6. I knew straight away that I liked him. I just wanted to be around him, wanted him to think I was cool. Played specific games in specific part of the playground where he might notice me. He did. We were part of the same running club and he used to chase me round the field, me giggling insisting he stop (don’t stop). Anyway he went off to a different secondary school and we lost contact. 5 years later Myspace brought us back together and within no time we admitted our childhood crushes, turning them into a real relationship. We were each other’s firsts. We lived out of each other’s pockets, even moved into a flat together. It was the real thing, until two years later when it wasn’t.
My last relationship, Michael, was a similar story. After Chris I started getting warm feelings around him. Sixth form finished, I took gap years, he went to uni, I joined him 2 years later and within a month of my fresher’s we were together.
So could this be another delayed romance on the horizon? I didn’t know but why not find out. After all we did have a special bond. .
So I get dressed up nice (but not too nice) we meet for coffee, and talk about what has been happening in each other’s lives since we left school. There’s a bit of flirting and a lot of smiling and laughing as we move onto his favourite gallery. It’s mostly modern pieces; some graffiti, some portraits, some nude portraits, some photorealism. He drinks each piece in asking me what I think, which one is my favourite. I style my way through, I’m a painter – not a critique. And then we agree to head off to the tube together. He asks me if I am seeing anyone, I say no and enquire back to which he tells me that he ‘kind-of’ seeing a woman from Tinder although he’s not convinced. And then it’s time to leave, we say our goodbyes and I leave to meet my friend.
Still confused over the nature of my afternoon, was it a date? I talk it through with my friend who praises him on his attentiveness and maturity in planning the afternoon. I would definitely be interested in seeing him again, he’s grown into an attractive insightful man, why the hell not! We agree that the next course of action is to send a message at the end of the night to say thanks, and that it was fun.
K: Hey, thanks for today, it was good to spend time with you. Hope you’re enjoying your party x
J: Good to catch up.
Yeah. So that wasn’t a date. Oh well, you live you learn!
2 months later when Jacob came up on my Tinder feed I swiped left and saved us both the embarrassment.