Monday, 7 October 2013

Things in common

Feet cross, uncross and cross again under the table. Fingers repeatedly trace the sides of a cold glass, and words spill from my mouth in an unfamiliar, slightly awkward way.

It transpires - as it has done on previous occasions - that we have a lot in common. Alcohol precludes the memory of what exactly those things are, and it seems rude to ask for the details again.

But where there's a will, there's a way.

"Oh, so what did you do when you worked on Oxford Street? Same thing?"

"Yep. Still engineering, just for a different company."

Aha, you think, engineer.

The similarities are ticked off as they emerge, and I'm pleasantly surprised: grew up in the same area, agree with the same principles, watch the same TV series, like the same films.

He drops in the name of a book he's just finished reading, and it's by the same author whose work lies half read on my own bedroom floor.

I wait for the stars to align, for the dopamine, the serotonin and the hormones to fire across my brain.

Instead, another thought crosses my mind: did he see the book there on Saturday? Was there time between the kiss and him leaving to glance at the detritus of my room and store the name?

It's the sort of thing I'd do, and after all, we do have a lot in common.

And ah, Saturday: when a cab home after a big group outing had seemed better than the bus. When alcohol, politeness, things in common, the flattery of attention and a recent decision to give good people a chance had concluded in him sitting next to me on the sofa with a glass of fizzy water.

I'm nothing if not a good host.

(In truth, I'd expected the cab to drive on with him in it - but no matter. He's here now.)

Then as the sun had threatened to rise after 5am, an unnecessary apology seemed necessary.

"I'm sorry" I'd said, after we'd kissed because he was in my room and probably expecting to stay there, and he liked me and I said I'd try these things more, and we had a lot in common. "But I think I want to sleep on my own tonight. Is that ok? Perhaps we could go for a drink or something though?"

And he'd said "Yes, absolutely, no problem, I'd really like that" and left with the promise of a date and my phone number.

So then here we are on a Thursday in a West End pub: me, him and our common ground illuminated in the full glare of the rising house lights.

He walks me to the bus stop and we wait for our respective numbers to arrive.

He's nice, I think, as the bus pulls away after a kiss - on the cheek this time. And we have a lot in common.

But when you think back and consider the sparks, mutual attraction and excitement, and the alternative - being happily single with the world to play for - things in common, no matter how hard you try, just never seems enough.


Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

Oh, god yes. I know I've been in a relationship with one person for 1/5 of my life so have very limited experience, but before that I found that if you end up dating someone just because you have lots in common with them it becomes like hanging out with your best friend who you half-heartedly kiss sometimes.

Much better to go for someone you have a real spark with and only a few things in common with. Then you get to learn about new hobbies and interests, or have lots of fun bickering about/rolling your eyes at them.

Cracking writing as always, Jo x

HarrisonTF said...

Reading this I was like "yay" then "yay" then "oh" then "yay" then "meh!" and then I just huffed and thanked my lucky stars I'm not single anymore.

Common ground sounds great but without that spark? You may as well be work colleagues


Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Amy - Agree. Amazing how many people would also suggest still having another date after that point (and this bloke wanted one), but it seemed silly to lead him on, and it would have been out of politeness. Talk about killing a buzz.

HarrisonTF - Ha. Being single is brilliant if you don't spend the whole time dating ;) Onto the next...

Blonde said...

Totally agree. If there's no spark, there's no point.

HarrisonTF said...

Exactly! I know "quite a few" people who seem to spend their lives "dating" and not "converting" (yes, I know that sounds a worse terminology than it should but...)

It's almost as if the whole internet dating thing hasn't freed them up for opportunity, rather it's given them *too much* choice... and so they're always after the greener grass.

Anyway, we digress...

Having reread my initial comment; I'm not sure that the converse argument stands - I've been out with people where there's the thunderclaps and sparks but in the cold light of day the lack of common ground killed the whole thing stone dead anyway.

sinead said...

I'm too drugged on serotonin to write coherently myself right now. But I loved this.

Agree with Amy entirely - have values, attitudes towards other humans/family/friends in common but be as different as possible everywhere else and get to know each other through sharing that stuff. I never realised until recently quite what this means.

Robyn said...

Nahhhhh. Don't spend too long on that one,

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

HarrisonTF - Well, maybe there's no perfect recipe. But wanting to see the person again for whatever reason always helps in my book. Heh.

Sinead - I think that's probably a good way of looking at things, especially when there's so much emphasis put on having things in common. Glad your serotonin levels are up :)

Robyn - Done and done.

London-Lass said...

Shame - but it dont mean a thing if it aint got that shwing.

(doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

You said it, lass x

nuttycow said...

All of the above.

I am a huge believer in sparks.

(I was away, that's my excuse for being so late to this post!)


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