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Bad Romance

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I had been WhatsApping the hot American for a month when he finally suggested we meet for a modest cup of tea on Sunday (time and location TBC). He gave me seven days’ notice. As I’d let my work slip, I put my phone in a pot so I wouldn’t watch it. He didn’t message me. I didn’t message him. And I thought, sod this — I’m not bullying him into it. So we never met at all.

I should just move on and find some new and unsuspecting chap. But I’m fascinated by the fact that this hunk of a man expended so much time messaging me without any ulterior motive.

Carrie-style, I sit at my laptop, hair maddened with bewilderment, fingers flying across the keyboard, typing: “I couldn’t help but wonder, has the joy of sex been replaced by the thrill of text ..?”

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They say a watched pot never boils. I’ve never been bored enough to try it. But I can tell you for sure that if you stare at it, an iPhone doesn’t ding — no matter how furiously you do so.

I was hoping for a text message from a hot American I had been determinedly pursuing via WhatsApp. But it was not forthcoming. So I called Nichi, the dating guru who introduced me to the Inner Circle, the app where I’d found the American. She sidestepped the real issue — my sending an overaggressive text message demanding the boy meet me for a date or else — and instead invited me to the app’s après-ski party in Soho. “Bring your girlfriends,” she said.

So I called my only remaining single girlfriend and invited her along. Alas, my SG is even doomier about her prospects than I am about mine, so the moment she turned up she declared that every man in the entire vicinity was dressed like he was going skiing; that they were, therefore, all complete berks and we should just go home…

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After six weeks of wheedling and prevaricating like a teenage girl desperate to get out of PE, there’s nothing for it — I’ve started dating again.

So far it’s been like taking on an unpaid second job: the hours are long, the terms are bad and I’ve developed repetitive strain injury in my thumb from all the swiping right for yes and left for no. I swipe all day. I swipe all night. Even in my sleep, I swipe through my dreams…

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With every column, I invent a fresh excuse, unearth an old metaphor, so I don’t have to date. Which you might consider an important pursuit for a dating columnist. But my heart has been pulverised and I haven’t been able to.

It has been almost a year since I saw the man who took a rotating blade to my innards. He did it carelessly, suffered nothing himself. I’m sick of rehearsing the details even to myself: we met, I pretend he’s called Zinedine Zidane because when I met him on Halloween two years ago that’s who he was dressed as, he made me laugh like no man ever has and I was mad about him from that instant. But he made it clear that he was up for an affair and no more. And since he was getting married to someone else, I had to decline that so generous offer, absolutely.

I know I should be over it. But still I can’t quite eat, and can’t quite sleep, and can’t quite think. I wake up alone, every day. I count it a week well spent if I’ve painted my own toenails. Or untangled the mess of my hair. I run around the park to a song by the Internet, in which the singer repeats, “I don’t love you no more” over and over again, hoping to brainwash myself to the point where that’s true