Because he liked my tweet

Image by me

Tingling with excitement at about 5pm, I hop in the shower. I wouldn’t usually start getting ready this early, but fuck it – there’s no way I’m getting any work done when I’ve been promised the chance to buy a hot guy a pint. Not just any hot guy, either, but we’ll get to that.

Sometimes relationships end because someone did something wrong. Sometimes because there’s a fundamental incompatibility in the way that the people in it work together. And other times? I’m going to say ‘circumstances.’

Unless something has ended for genuinely horrible reasons, I’m always up for pints-and-a-catchup with an ex. Sometimes there’ll be one person I am actively hoping to hear from.

Like this guy.

Bubbles and intensity

During lockdown, I maintained a mental bucket list of things I wanted to do when the world opened up again. Alongside ‘go to Alton Towers’ (not yet achieved) and ‘watch live comedy’ (big tick!), there was an item on the list that said ‘buy This Guy a pint.’ Him specifically.

We met on OKC in the autumn of 2020 – a rare high-quality match that seems almost miraculous given OK Cupid’s recent pivot to cockblocking. We had a really promising first date, then he and I spent some lovely evenings together that winter. Bubbled up and unable to interact with the outside world, we played games and cooked and watched silly goodbad films while cuddling on the sofa. Talked each other through dark times. Played MtG.

And – of course – we fucked. We fucked good.

We indulged in a glorious struggle-fuck, had an incredible shag on my sofa where he made me say ‘please’ in a manner so hot I still wank about it to this day. Off the back of one of his suggestions, we invented The Bracelet Game: I picked out an old bracelet that would act as a way of signifying that any of the clothes I was wearing could be ripped off me. Told him ‘this bracelet means ‘fuck me up’, any part of my clothes/make-up/body that you like (except my glasses).’ On a few evenings after that, I’d wear the bracelet when we hung out, so he could pick his moment and tear into me when he felt horny. The sight of his strong shoulders taut with tension as he ripped a pair of my old jeans from my eager, writhing body? I still wank about that vision too. We did a lot of hot stuff together.

But I’d never done the thing I do with all guys the first time I meet them: buy him a pint.

On so many evenings back then, I wished I could take him out. Nothing fancy, just something normal. It was one of those tiny yet bold ambitions we all nurtured during the Weird Times: see a show, go shopping with a friend, share a drink in a real life pub that isn’t just a Zoom background, group hug… I’m sure you had lots of your own.

As the world opened up, there were many moments when I thought about this dude, and wished I could buy him a pint. But it was me who had ended things back in winter of 2021, so it felt inappropriate to text.

‘Hey! It’s me! The woman who hurt your feelings then ran away! How’s it going?’

I’d check his Twitter feed from time to time to see that yes, he was still following me. Occasionally I’d pick at a blog post I’d left unpublished – about this time he made me gyūdon, and how much that simple act had meant to me. I liked him, and I missed him, but it didn’t feel appropriate or kind to pop back up in his life uninvited.

Then in January, he liked one of my tweets.

I drafted an email as soon as I saw that: mate! How are you? You liked my tweet! How’s life? Fancy a pint?

I didn’t hit send though – by the time I’d redrafted fifty or sixty times, I’d got cold feet. One ‘like’ could be an accident, after all, and maybe I’d be overstepping if I tried to get back in touch. Don’t want to be presumptuous. Just because I like to stay friends with ex-partners that doesn’t mean they’ll want the same with me. Besides, if you know me as well as this guy does you might (not unreasonably) assume that ‘fancy a pint?’ has some ‘fancy a fuck?’ subtext.

So I left it. And left it. And left it. Until one day, in March, he liked another tweet.

And listen: where I come from one like could be an accident, but two is code for ‘message me’, so I did.

Fuck circumstances

Sometimes relationships end because someone did something wrong. And other times, it’s circumstance. Bubbling together in the middle of a plague, with little else by way of adult company and far too much time on our hands… those weren’t easy circumstances to navigate. Trying to nurture the excitement of new friendship under the shadow of global horror. Getting into the kind of routine that usually takes years to settle: meet up, make dinner, fuck, watch TV, go home. Same again, same always, because it’s not like you can go to the pub or see some live comedy. Sharing your darkest fears with someone before you’ve even had the chance to meet their friends. Escalating because there’s no external friction to slow you down.

A year ago my whole life was intensely claustrophobic: I lived in a house that was riddled with ghosts from my previous relationship, not to mention I was still entangled with my ex. Working out the post-break-up admin, getting rid of the house that had become less of a sanctuary and more of a lead weight dragging me down into panic, trying to claw enough money from my job that I could find somewhere to live when it was gone… that ate into all my time and headspace. His life wasn’t easy either, but that’s not my story to tell, so let’s just say ‘circumstances’ sucked. We did pretty well to have the fun we managed without driving each other up the wall, and in early 2021 we broke up.

Then, a year later, he liked two of my tweets.

Because he liked my tweet

Since we split, I’ve had a fair few people ask me about him: ‘hey! What happened to the Bracelet Game guy?’

If I was playing it cool I’d tell you that I only messaged him because I was curious too – I wanted to see how he was doing. That’s an easy answer, but it’s not the whole truth.

I messaged him because I liked him. I’m a sucker for connection and playfulness and intimacy, and I felt like we were on track to build a bit of that despite the obstacles thrown at us by Covid and circumstance. Because he once remembered an off-hand comment I’d made about Japanese food, and the next time we hung out he’d researched how to make gyūdon. Because he’s a big gentle nerd and they’re very much my jam. And because I fundamentally am Girl on the Net, of course I missed his dick too. Missed the ease with which he would pick me up and throw me onto the bed. His strong arms pinning me down for a struggle-fuck, or ripping my old jeans off like they were made of fucking paper.

And fuck it – I messaged him because he liked my tweet. He opened a door that I’d been looking for an excuse to step back through.

Our second first date

Tingling with excitement at about 5pm, on the day I’m due to see him and have our very first in-the-pub pint, I hope you can understand why I’m grinning from ear-to-ear. I get to hang out with this lovely dude, and tick one of those tiny-yet-bold ambitions off my bucket list. As I get ready to go out (wearing make-up like it might be a date, but lowering my expectations in case it turns out it isn’t) I recognise this fizzy feeling from other post-Covid joys: first gig; first house party; first After Times festival.

Circumstances right now feel pretty fucking good.

We catch up, get drunk, have a lovely time. The pressure and intensity of last year has melted away – we’re both doing well, and seeing other people, and free from the pressure-cooker stress of the Weird Times before. He’s even hotter than he used to be, which I put down to a combination of genuine happiness and a gorgeous new tattoo.

The day after our date – because it totally was a date, in the end – I turn my flat upside down. Hunting through as-yet-unpacked boxes until I find what I’m looking for. What I’ll wear when I see him again: the bracelet.




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