Leither in London – Issue 63


Posted by in April's Magazine

I’ve never really bought it when my thirty-something friends claim their thirties to be so much better than their twenties. Gaining a few wrinkles and a whole load more responsibility doesn’t sound like that much fun to me. Particularly when you haven’t found someone to share those responsibilities with or tell you that your wrinkles are cute. Funny thing is, it’s only been a month since my 30th birthday and already I know what they mean.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been so desperate for everyone else’s approval that I’ve never really thought about how I feel about myself. But somehow, in the last few weeks, I’ve become a lot more comfortable in my own skin. And, as it turns out, now I’ve finally learned to accept myself, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

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Take that date I mentioned last month. I’d known the guy for a good few months, in fact I met Sam at the very same singles night I met John, but due to circumstances (i.e. me kissing John, and Sam kissing my flat-mate) I didn’t think there was anything on the cards for Sam and I. That would be breaking the rules, I know. Saying that, when six months down the line, Sam was still getting in touch and suggesting he and I met for a drink, I thought, well why the hell not? Liv wasn’t interested in him. John was long gone. Truth be told, I’d quite fancied him that first night we met. So when he asked me out for a third time, I finally accepted.

“I’m going to be good though,” I told Rob, when I broke the exciting news that I had a date. “I’m staying off the wine and I fully intend to be home – alone – by midnight. It’s the new me.”

“Yeah, right,” was his response. “I think I know you better than that.” And I sort of feared he was right – particularly when I found myself shaving my legs, slipping into my best undies, and having a super-huge pre-date gin and tonic.

As soon as I arrived at the pub and sat down with Sam, I knew I wasn’t into him. He was nice enough and not bad looking but he had no zing about him, not even an ounce of throwdown, and when he told me he had dreams of being a DJ and liked ‘really filthy electro’, the final nail was in the coffin. Despite all this, I have to admit that the twenty-something me would have decided that the best way to get through the evening was to get plastered. I would have accepted when he invited me back to his for a cup of tea, woken up in his bed the next morning hating myself, yet still agreed to see him again – then spent the next few months trying to get myself out of it. All because I was flattered that he liked me.

No freaking out

The new improved thirty-year-old version of me took a different tack entirely. I was pleasant enough, stayed for a few hours, had three or four drinks (politely declining the offer to make them doubles), then made my excuses, gave him a peck on the cheek and sent myself home with this subtle brush-off: “It’s been really nice catching up. I hope everything goes really well with your budding career. See you around sometime maybe.” And why did I do this? Because finally I realised I didn’t need some random guy to make me feel good about myself. Frankly, I’d be much happier on my own.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun sometimes. When I met a very funny, very charming, very tall Texan the following weekend – I didn’t think twice when he invited me back to his. He was a sweetheart and we had a great time together but he wasn’t really my type so the next morning, when he took the liberty of saving his own number in my phone, I never made any promises to call, I didn’t give him my number, and I didn’t feel bad at all knowing that I’d never get in touch with him. What’s the point in pretending?

And perhaps most impressively, when John got in touch out of the blue a few weeks ago, I didn’t freak out, throw my phone across any rooms, or start wondering ‘what it all meant.’ I just replied – I was friendly, he was friendly, and it was all very grown-up.

Of course then Laura had to ruin it all by giving him a right grilling when she bumped into him at another of those singles nights. “Weren’t you the guy that was dating my friend Carrie? Didn’t you say you didn’t want a girlfriend? So what you doing back here then, eh? Eh?”

“Er, having a night out with the boys…” he responded. “Just because I’m out, doesn’t mean I’m looking for a relationship. We’re just having fun.”

And you know what? Finally, I think I get what he means.

One response to “Leither in London – Issue 63”

  1. Sharon Jones says:

    I love this column! Keep the stories coming, as a thirty-something myself I'm finding out that it really beats being in your twenties :)
    Go Carrie!

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