On a night as cold as the inner circle of hell, I left the warmth of my house and headed into the City in order to see my friend Franciscus perform in an amateur production of RENT, one of my favourite shows.
Having seen the film, I loved how much deeper the stage show went into the characters. It was like watching the extended edition, and I loved every minute.
Especially the man playing Rodger. He was beautiful. Tall, handsome and rugged, he spent the majority of the show wearing a sleeves top which showed off his perfect muscular arms.
After Franciscus mentioned that Rodger (or “Paul”) happened to be single, I made a point of telling him how much I enjoyed his performance after the show, when we all piled into the bar. We talked briefly, and I found myself stuck by his charm. His was not the hollow stage beauty which faces once the actor has put down his props and removed the mask of pretends. He seemed warm and friendly.
As the cast and crew prepared to go back to the theatre to help take down the set, I thought I had to seize upon this chance. I borrowed a pen from another of our group, pulled the receipt from dinner from my wallet, and scribbled by number.
I found him mercifully alone. As I said how nice it was to meet him, I looked into his eyes and we both smiled. I looked down to find one large hand resting on my warm.
“Perhaps I’ll see you around,” he said.
“If you feel like coffee sometime,” I replied. Handing him my number.
He took it and walked away with a backward smile. I returned to my friends and threw a thumbs up to Marie. Truth be told, I was rather proud of myself. In a world of apps and digital dating, meeting someone entirely offline feels nothing short of romantic. Helped along by the fact that he looked like a prince, of course.
Perhaps I shall never hear from him. Perhaps that brief moment of locked eyes and a warm glance is all it shall ever be. The romantic imagination is something I have never lacked, and in truth probably have in excess. But I hope he will, I like to think there was enough stirring beneath the surface to warrant taking the chance.
Aside from Mr. Giles and maybe an isolated one or two others, most of my courtships in London have been sparked by an app, an email, an iMessage. Yet looking at it now they all seem so hollow, so false even. That’s not to say people can’t find love through an app, I know several who have. But I know far more who scroll through endless teams of potential partners, looking for “the one”. Judging on grounds of looks, income, Instagram uploads? A thousand points of pointlessness which, really, have very little bearing when deciding on whether we like someone.
The truth is I wish I could find someone. I’m lonely, and when the winter night draws freezing inwards and I lie there alone in bed, thinking. I think if past men who have shared my bed. I think of the way they held me, the various ways it faded out or ended. Sometimes just the simple acknowledgement of their comforting warmth was what I enjoyed the most.
Then I pray I find someone again. Someone to save me from the cold.