Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Love (Page 1 of 4)

ILB’s posts about love, crushes, limerence and suchlike


The first Nite Owl runs an autorepair shop. The first Silk Spectre is dying in a California rest resort. Dollar Bill got his cape stuck in a revolving door where he got gunned down. Silhouette… murdered. Mothman is in an asylum in Maine.

rorschach’s journal

It’s after nine in the evening and pizza has just been delivered. Apparently, this was a big part of the university lifestyle that I never got to lead. Three years up in Nottingham and pizza delivery only occurred to me once or twice. Here in Oxford, it happened after every essay was completed.

But they wrote more essays than I did, so.

This is the last communal pizza they will share in this flat. I’m an extra piece – an additional complication that they hadn’t factored in. To whit, although I’m sharing in the pizza, I’m trying to prove myself useful by getting a moth out of the window. The moth is winning this epic struggle.

“How much longer are you staying here, anyway?” I ask as I attempt an arabesque in order to find the moth behind a cupboard. She flies away and I inujre my leg.
“We have to stay for a certain amount of time,” says E, “or we don’t graduate. Very few of us actually do that time, but we have to stay for…”

At which point the girl who nobody likes walks in. She exchanges a sour look with E, the Seamstress and the moth. I may as well not exist at this point.

There is a very long pause. Without a word, she crosses the floor, exits into her room and closes the door.

Everyone breathes out. I attempt to cup the moth in my hands; she escapes and I only succeed in slamming my hand against the wall.

“What was all that about?”
“We don’t know what to do with her,” says the Seamstress darkly. “It’s been long enough and I’ve no idea exactly how to repay her for…”

I don’t exactly know what they need to repay her for. It remains unsaid. I notice the moth hovering around a light; I try to vault over a pouffe to get some leverage, but I trip over it and fall. I continue the conversation as if I’m styling it out.

“I’m not a fan of the concept of revenge,” I say, finally taking a bit of pizza. “But there are things you can do to make her feel a little uncomfortable.”
“Play music,” suggested E, “really loud. Something she doesn’t like.”
“Maybe just leave the moth in here,” said the Seamstress, “seeing as how ILB can’t get her out.”
“Go into your rooms,” I said, “and pretend to have really loud sex. and she’ll get jealous.”

They both laugh at this, although there’s something in the laughter which shows they’re aware that we have, in fact, spent quite a large chunk of the day doing just that. To save my blushes, I hop across the room to open a large window on which the moth is now resting. I even try to coax her out. She’s having none of my bullshit.

The evening is filled quite pleasantly with pizza, graduation discussion and free-flowing conversation. This, clearly, was the university experience I missed out on; I may have done some interesting things in my time, but here I feel much more comfortable.

E eventually says she has to go to bed, but we all know she’s just wanting to leave us alone. With an empty pizza box discarded on the side table, we stand there in silence, looking at each other, for a few very heavy seconds.

The moth flies in between us at one point.

We retreat into her room. Clothes end up on the floor. A condom wrapper joins them soon enough.

The rest of the night is full of kisses and orgasms.

But I’m aware, at the back of my mind, that we are never truly alone.



From my late teens, through my early twenties and maybe for a while afterwards, I had a secret crush. So secret, in fact, that I never told anyone, did anything, or even admitted it myself. I’m not even sure if I could call it a crush.

Mouth of Emma Whispers with her finger over her lips, indicating a secret.
Emma says, “shhhhhhh, it’s a secret!”

Why so vague? Because it was vague.

She was a little older than me – one, maybe two, years; it doesn’t really make a huge amount of difference in the long run, but when you’re 19 and she’s 21 it seems like it does. Time, of course, moves on in its own way, and like so many of my friends, she is now married with children. The few times we communicate, she is always kind to me, unaware as she is that I once dreamed of railing her on the sofa.

The problem I had at the time, of course, is that I didn’t know much about her at all. I knew that she was very pretty (that was the first thing I noticed), was doing a science degree (and later graduated with a 2:1, which was also my grade, even though I was doing an arts degree), and that she wasn’t a big fan of cats. She liked the Beatles and had once fancied Phillip Schofield.

At one point, she wrote something quite candid about sex, and I offered some advice. She took it. Years later, I noticed she had a book on her wishlist which I had. I sent it to her. The same with a CD. I stopped short of buying her the £3,000 dress she also had on her wishlist (but I thought about what I would say if I could have!)

But I didn’t know why I was attracted.

I mean, you never really know; that’s how love works. But there was certainly something there – something behind the pretty, friendly girl with a cute smile, long red hair and a science degree. I never quite worked out what it is, and then decided it didn’t matter as I ended up freewheeling through multiple more “official” crushes and weekly heartbreak.

Every now and again, I saw her, and each time I felt the pull; then again, out of sight, out of mind. Things came to a head when I had a strange dream in which I had three different girlfriends; she was, of course, one of them, and the one I was trying my hardest to invite over because she was the one I wanted to sleep with the most.

[I woke up that morning with the realisation that I didn’t even have one. Dreamy ILB just got too greedy.]

And that was it. I didn’t really have the crush after that. In my dream (and in real life…), her sexiness came from the fact that she was so sophisticated – she had a job in the city for which she wore a suit; she carried a handbag with a pen in it; she basically had her life together. Compared to that, I felt totally inadequate. And young. I felt young.

But here is my admission, for what it’s worth:

Hey there, friend. I had a crush on you for a while. I hope you are enjoying your life.

She’s never going to read this, but it makes me feel better.

Celebrity, crushed

It was mid-spring last year and I was at my parents’ house with a pad of sketching paper and a bold marker pen. On the other side of the table was my sister – our erstwhile maid of honour – with a handwritten list of questions.

“It’s very simple,” she had explained. “I’ve got a list of questions here about them. You write down what your answer would be. Since they’re about to be your wife, you should know them all.”
“Why don’t you just ask them?” I had queried.
“Because it’s a quiz,” she had replied. “I don’t know the answers and neither do any of the bridesmaids. We all give an answer, and so do you, and then they tell us what the real answer would be.”
“But I’m not going to be at the hen party.”
“That’s why you write your answers down. I’ll take pictures of each.”
“You are a very strange person; did you know that?”

And so we had begun. What seemed like a daunting task at first was turning out to be quite fun. As it turned out, I knew a lot off the top of my head – favourite food, favourite film, favourite book – and some I could confidently guess. We decided to skip the question about the first thing they did in the morning since my answer was “cry”.

The next question threw me.

“Who’s their celebrity crush?”

A milieu of names flew through my head. Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Mads Mikkelsen, and Jason Statham. And that’s just the men. Having a queer pansexual enby for a fiancée meant that they could fancy basically anyone of any gender. And I don’t deal too well with that.

What’s the point?

Remi Himekawa from the eroge game True Love. Possibly my true love.
I adore that little plait. That, and her eyes, and the rest of her.

I appear to be totally immune to celebrity crushes. I’ve never even had one. There are, of course, people who are attractive; none of them I’d ever have a chance with. They are either too young (Greta Thunberg), too attractive (Rita Ora), fictional (Remi Himekawa), hella problematic (Rachel Riley), or all four (Hermione Granger).

But I can’t, hand on heart, say I’ve ever actually been attracted to anyone famous. I grew up around famous people (having an actor dad makes this happen), with Kiera being a childhood friend and Paul Whitehouse wandering around my mum’s piano teacher’s house, signing things for me at random. My crushes at school were all on civilians – people in my year who I was still never going to get.

I never saw the point in fancying someone famous. Nothing’s ever going to happen between you two anyway, and I saw how dangerous obsession could be, girls wasting away thinking of nothing but Mark Owen and boys putting down Britney as their main interest in life.

It didn’t affect me, and while unrequited love was fairly traumatic, at least that was realistic.

Celebrity crushes hurt

And then there’s the other thing.

Celebrity crushes have made it very difficult to trust anyone I’ve ever been in a relationship with. I don’t do ‘compersion’ particularly well, and even then it hasn’t been intentional. Couple that with my crippling self-doubt and tendency towards self-destruction as a coping mechanism, and you get a few reasons why I felt that way.

I remember my first girlfriend hollering at squashy-faced Sum41 frontman Deryck Whibley to fuck her and then ignoring me crying afterwards. My second girlfriend being openly sexual about comedian Jon Richardson, and how much sex she wanted to have with him, failing to notice the fork I was jabbing myself in the thigh with. I even still have the scars from all the self-harming I did throughout my late teens: one for every time she cheated, one for every celebrity crush she had.

Unlovable as I’ve always believed myself to be, I’ve gone through every relationship with the constant fear that they are going to end given any viable alternative. One word from [insert random celebrity here] and they would be out the door. I didn’t have a job, a car, a house, or the fame, so I clearly didn’t compare. Any interest from [insert random celebrity here] and I wouldn’t even be a factor any more. They’d be gone.

So how did I answer the question?

“They… they don’t have one,” I lied (at least, I think it was a lie). “We… we don’t talk about it. I don’t have one…”
“Well, you don’t do them, do you?”
“No, not at all. Can we skip this one?”

My sister gave me a Knowing Look™ and kindly skipped to the next question.

“Okay. If they were to have a dinner party, who would be all the guests?”

And I already had a list in my head.

I didn’t sleep easily that night.

Come (together)

Are you okay?
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
“You don’t sound okay.”

I struggled to get myself into a better position to talk. These days I almost always tend to hit the speakerphone button to have my conversations, as I’m less and less able to hold things to my ear with these arms.

“I’m okay. Really. I’m just having a lie down. Tired, so very tired.”
“Oh. Yeah. Yeah, me too. I’m sorry to interrupt you.”
“You didn’t interrupt me doing anything. I was just lying down.”
“Well, I’m sorry to interrupt you lying down!”

I sat up to try and pull the duvet over myself. The duvet fell, with a soft flump, onto the floor instead. Not a great success.

“It’s probably a good thing you didn’t call fifteen minutes ago. Because at that point, you see, I was still cleaning up after the huge orgasm I had. I’ve been exhausted all day, as you know, and on the way home, I bypassed ‘about to crash’ in favour of ‘really need to come’. First thing I did after I got home was to have a long, stress-relieving, horny wank.”

Except I didn’t say that.

“In fact, I was still cleaning up five minutes ago. I’ve been needing to come for a few days, but wasn’t able to do so. I came very hard, and I was still finding jizz in various curves and contours of my body for quite a while afterwards. There’s probably still more in places I didn’t even know I had. It’ll dry off if I lie here for a while.”

Except I didn’t say that either.

I’m saying it here, though.

Tien Jaar

It didn’t seem like the right time – not really. Ten years ago I was still relatively newly single, having broken up with my third girlfriend a month prior (officially, at least; we had sort of been breaking up for a while before that). I hadn’t been ready for that relationship, either, as I was still hurting from being jettisoned from my second without prior warning.

Twitter makes people do strange things.

The one who is now my wife was there for me, though. Neither of us were in a particularly good place – Life had not been too kind to either of us – but, at the end of the day, we were there for each other. We had the same interests, laughed at the same things. Innocent Loverboy and Jillian Boyd may have been vibing for a while, but as we spent more time together, our “offline” personas seemed to click.

Things went from one stage to another, and then another. We ended up in their bed, I almost evolved, and that was the day Sylvia Kristel died. I raised a glass in her honour, and then other things raised. Back to bed for us.

Perhaps predictably (because it’s me), I realised that we were falling in love in the middle of sex. I asked them out, officially, with my UNUSUALLY LARGE PENIS buried deep inside them. Our first real date was to a fried chicken shop. I don’t even eat chicken.

[Pause while ILB takes a sip of 7up, the drink he had on that first date.]

That was ten years ago to the day. We have been together now for a whole decade, married for just over two months.

In those years, much has changed. Everything had, and so have we, as people. The fact that I still write a sex blog is one of the very few things that have remained constant throughout the roller-coaster explosion that has been our love. It hasn’t all been good, but then it certainly hasn’t been bad. I fall in love too easily – this is true – but, this time, I’ve learned a lot more about love than I’d ever have thought possible.

Ten years completed. And so the next ten begins.


“Hey,” I said to my mother. “Some of the girls at my school are saying Berrie fancies me.”
“Well, you’re going to have to get used to this,” she answered. “Throughout your life, there are going to be lots of girls that fancy you,” she lied smoothly.
“What? Why?”
“Because you’re tall and you’re handsome and you’re clever,” she continued to lie, “and girls like all those…”
“Mum, I’m not handsome!” I moaned, rolling my eyes. “And everyone at school hates me because I’m clever! And being tall isn’t an advantage; it’s much more difficult to hide from adversaries!”
“…so tell me about Berrie?”

But there wasn’t much to tell her. I didn’t know her very well. I knew her name and that she was in a different class from me. If I strained my memory, I could picture her in my head. That was about it.

“And she’s in love with you,” added my mother.
“Mum! She’s not in love with me!” I yelped.
“So she likes you,” she steamrollered on, “and do you like her?”
“What? That’s GROSS! I don’t want a girlfriend! I’m not into that!” (Eleven-year-old ILB was convinced that he was immune to the burgeoning feelings everyone else was talking about. A year or so later, previously asexual ILB started getting unexpected and intense crushes, but that was a bad time for all involved.)
“So you’re not even interested a little? Is she pretty?”

I put it out of my head, as best I could, for the rest of the year. Every now and again, one of the bolder girls who giggled a lot would sidle up to me in the playground and whisper “Berrie fancies you” before evaporating into the ether before I could respond. I went to the school leavers’ disco (for some reason) and spent the entire time by the buffet table; a gaggle of girls swept over to me and asked me to dance with Berrie, which I politely but firmly declined.

Throughout this whole debacle, however, there was one crucial variable missing from the equation: Berrie. As above, I didn’t know her particularly well, and as far as I was aware at this point, neither of us had ever said a single word to the other. She remained both distant and unclear, and since we had no point of contact, that wasn’t entirely unforeseen. If it was her sending the missives, she wasn’t making too much of an effort.

On the last day of school, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her taking a picture of me. I pretended not to notice.


“I had a dream last night about my new school. Berrie was in it and she kept pulling me around corridors by my sleeve.”
“Berrie? Is she still madly in love with you?”

And just like that, she was a constant presence in my life. Whether in the classroom in a distant corner, sitting near me in the lunch hall (near enough to exchange pleasantries, not right next to me), getting touched up by my bully in year 8 Maths (“yes, I am, and I’m enjoyin’ it”), or eventually appearing in my life four times a week since we went to the same church and Christian youth group, there she was. Four years after hardly being aware of her presence, here we were as friends.

I hugged her once in the swimming pool, which made her turn bright red. At once, the questions started again, although from her best friend this time.

“Why did you want a hug from her?”
“I… I like hugs?”
“But from her, specifically?”
“I hugged Mark too…?”
“He doesn’t count. Why her? Do you fancy her?”
“No! I don’t! Just because she fancied me when we were in year 6 doesn’t mean that…”
“…wait, what?”

Whoops. I wasn’t supposed to know, clearly.

But now we had a line of communication. The best friend made a few inquiries and took great pains to assure me, while not looking me in the eye or speaking particularly loudly, that what had happened in primary school hadn’t happened: Berrie had not fancied me, the five or six girls who all told me the same thing were having a laugh, and that she didn’t have a single picture of me anywhere in her house.

She couldn’t explain the missive asking me to dance. It all seemed a little suspect to me, to be honest. But, due to the fact that I was dying a thousand deaths from the crush I had at the time on the silver girl who bore the same name as Berrie, she was more interested in that.

I thought it best to drop the subject.


Lightsinthesky somehow found out that Berrie had recently become single the week after I did. As far as I was aware, this was private information and I had no clue whatsoever how he found out. Of course, he made no secret of the fact that he considered her fair game pretty soon afterwards.

“Hey, do you know if she has another boyfriend yet?”
“Well, no,” I admitted, “but from what I’ve heard she goes through boyfriends pretty quickly…”
“Right. But, I mean, does she have a crush on anyone? Anyone you know? It’s difficult to tell if a girl fancies you, right?”

I didn’t say a word.

It’s my name and you can’t have it!

I wonder if there is a checklist somewhere, or a flow chart, that parents have to work their way down when one of their children gets married. Of course, one of those is the egregious “why aren’t you going to have children?” discourse (GOTN has an excellent post about this) – as if that’s the default, or something. I, of course, have already given my family my reasons for this.

In fact, I’m not sure any of the five left in my generation want to have children. The family continues with my one niece and nephew!

So they moved onto the next box.

“Have you talked about what to do with your names yet?”

Strangely enough, it’s not the sort of light conversation that I had thought of having, at least not midway through our cute honeymoon in Stockholm.

I have thought about it, though.

When I was 16, I had started to envision what married life would be like if I ever managed to marry my current crush. (I even built up a sitcom-style introductory sequence in my head, complete with theme tune.) At that point, I was dead set on taking her last name, rather than having her take mine. I quite liked the way it sounded, and if you add the fact that her father (for whom I used to work) did the same thing, it kind of made sense to continue the tradition.

I’m not overly keen on my surname anyway. It’s difficult to spell – since it’s a homophone for another word that already exists and people keep spelling it that way – people have had issues pronouncing it, too. In fact, I have the same first, middle, and surnames of my great-great-grandfather… and his father… and his father… and, you’ll never guess what… his father.

And they were all butchers, apart from Grandad, who made weapons.

I am so pleased my dad became an actor.

I feel, as you may understand, very little connection to this family who were founded on principles which I believe to be ethically wrong, and our coat of arms is particularly stupid (it’s a red cock on a shield and there’s nothing else). My immediate family is very important to me, sure, but historically? No. I don’t really need my surname.

But then of course there’s the issue of my wife’s name, one which is also impossible to spell and pronounce, plus it’s their dad’s surname, and they never had a particularly good relationship with their dad. Their assumed Internet name of “Sleight” suits her much better, and I’ve ever started thinking of them as “Jill Sleight” in my head.

But back to me. I’m keeping my own name for the simple reason that the legal hoops I’d have to jump through would be a massive headache. I’d need to change bank details, passport, work details, qualifications, student loan accounts, Government documents… I’ve claimed benefits for a while so that would be changed, too. Not to mention the subscriptions I have for Nintendo, Cineworld, and Green Party membership. Oh, and my trade union membership and probably about a million other things that I’ve forgotten to list here.

And people refer to me by my last name at work, so I’d need to deal with that somehow.

I’d need to pay to change it, as well.

Just thinking about this makes my head hurt, and I wouldn’t wish to foist this extra amount of stress onto my wife. I’m fairly sure neither of us want to burden the other with a surname which carries an amount of baggage, and seeing as how only one of the married couples I know (Robinson and Lovely) have taken that step (and it took her years, as well), I can very much see the rational behind it.

But then it hit me that I’m married now. I did it. It’s done. We have a life to lead, and as to what my wife’s name is, I genuinely don’t care.

It’s their decision and I’ll go along with whatever they decide, because it really shouldn’t be an issue.

My family can move on to the “so are you going to buy a house?” question whenever they want. I’ll give them time for that one.

View from the Same Side


Maybe a few bits were missing.

There was a bit where our minister announced us as “Mr. and Mrs.” [my surname] when we’re not sure if that’s what’s going to be the done thing (plus, Jill is a Mx.!)

The Mario-themed table signs I made, which took me an hour and a half at work (for which I made an excuse), were missing. My mother may have left them at home on the day itself, which made the table names and themed tablecloth covers confusing.

Perhaps the speech I made was the worst of the four. Maybe I was out of tune when singing Zendaya is Meechee at the end of it (as Robinson’s dad pointed out), even if I’d spent the entire year worrying about doing so.

Our first dance might not have been the choreographed spectacular I had been envisioning.

Gold wedding ring on blue tablecloth. Ooh, the contrast.
Hey, at least my ring was gold.

Maybe not everyone was really into it. Our bridesmaids were and our groomsmen certainly were. I was, too. Both my nephews, however, probably weren’t, judging by how one screamed all the way through the service and the other had his iPod in.

Perhaps the fact that our final song was SHUM by Go_A was seen as an “unconventional” choice contributed to it having a less enthusiastic reaction than Sit Down, which had been played just beforehand.

And, yes, my suit was light blue. For our entire engagement, up until just over a week beforehand, I’d been envisioning me wearing something in violet.

But that’s all okay.

Because it was my wedding. Our wedding, even. And we’ll remember every minute for the rest of our lives.

And that’s all I ever needed, really.

Stag Snapshots

“I think I may have broken my neck,” I wince as I gingerly haul myself out of the Kiddi Koaster car. Ahead of me, the rest of Adventure Island makes for an impressive vista, but it doesn’t take away the pain in my neck, which was – I’m sure – not designed for such a small coaster with jerky stops and starts. I’ve been on all the other coasters, except for the big one H and 47 went on, on which they both felt they would die.

The view from the top of the Ferris wheel in Southend.
View from the other side.

It isn’t the same Adventure Island as the one Robinson and I used to go and routinely rescue from a wide array of villains every playtime in Year 5… and yet Robinson is still here with me, and he has managed to not hurt his neck at all.

Because he’s short, probably.


We have less than five minutes to go if we can manage to escape the escape room. The other group – Mane, Mane Jr., H and my friend-who-is-a-teacher – have already escaped from theirs. We can hear the laughter, so we know.

The wizard prison theme goes completely out of the window as we finally unearth Thanos’ glove from somewhere. 47 places it on a sensor by the back door and we are out. Everyone collapses into laughter and I decide it best not to mention that I noticed the door we came in through wasn’t locked.


Everyone’s several drinks in when I suggest we play a game of I Have Never. The usual ones are rolled out – everyone else drinks when Einstein leads with “never have I ever had a crush on a co-worker” – and then 47 hits on the idea of doing ones specifically designed for me.

“Never have I ever written and published reviews of porn,” he says. I drink.
“Never have I ever written and published reviews of sex toys,” says Mane. I drink.
“Never have I ever had anal sex,” says Mane Jr. I drink.

“Never have I ever had sex with someone whose gender identity is the same as mine,” I say carefully.
“What’s that?” someone asks. “What’s wrong with the term ‘gay sex’?”
“Nothing at all,” I shrug. “Gay is great. I’ve just also had sex with an enby, so I can’t in all honestly say I’ve only ever had straight sex.”
I’m not sure I’ve explained it right. But a couple of people drink anyway.

I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve imbibed a lot of sugar. I’m relatively high when we decide to go to a pub for more drinks.

I still want to play this with sex bloggers.


“I don’t like Mr. Brightside,” I yell over the guy in the corner who’s singing it while banging out the chords on his guitar.
“You’re not having it at your wedding?”
“No! I don’t like it!”
“But it’s played at every wedding!”
“And it shouldn’t be! It’s about being cheated on! It’s not an appropriate song for a celebration of true love!”


“I hadn’t considered that…”


It’s after midnight and we’ve found a bus stop to drop H off at. It’s quite eerie, what with the neon lights of the bus station and the midnight silence, but at least I know it, and I know it’ll take her where she needs to go. There is a moment of calm when Robinson, 47 and I were the only ones left in the car.

“Right!” he says, revving the gas pedal. “Where to now? Stag stag stag!”

And then I realise what I should have known all along. That’s what love is.

Tap tap tap

The last time I wore an engagement ring, I couldn’t stop tapping it against things.

I’ve still no idea what it was made of (white gold, I am assuming) or how much it cost (although, given what I’ve found out since, it was probably about £69 – nice.), or even where it is now (Rebecca kept both when she ended it all), but I loved it, and I loved wearing it… and it made a short, sharp, metallic tap when it hit a surface.

Okay, let’s give this some context. The last time I was engaged I was seventeen and in the sixth form. I’d managed to go from “completely undateable” to “betrothed, intended, affianced” in the space of about two months, and I was having sex, which surprised everyone, since I’m not particularly shaggable either. The sixth form block was a very modern one, too – a new build with plenty of metal bannisters, plateglass windows and toughened plastic surfaces.

And I had a nervous twitch.

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. It heralded my arrival if I was coming up a flight of stairs, trailing my left hand along the metal and bouncing my ring finger every half second.

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. It reverberated through the classroom during quiet study time as I would carelessly drum my hand against the veneer surface.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap… tap… tap-tap-tap-tap. In a little rhythm while humming the theme tune I’d written for Stephen King’s IT. Accompanied by a pleasant flump (om the book) when we were all giggling at the appearance of a clown in Othello who has to inform musicians that Othello is in no mood for levity.

Tap tap-tap-tap-tap, tap! tap! to the tune of “Shave and a Haircut” whenever someone said something witty. Tap tap tap tap tap rapidly when everyone else in the room applauded. A sharp rap! if my IBS had stopped me from talking and I needed to get someone’s attention. Rhythmic taps to accompany myself if I was singing.

Bell rang? Tap.
Door opened? Tap.
Laughter? Tap.

And then, when I got bored, I’d take my ring off and fiddle with it. A tiny golden fidget toy, for the engaged boy in your life.

I’ve been wearing my current engagement ring for over a year now. It’s much simpler – an unembellished band of silver which shines less, costs less, and (this is the important bit) looks exactly the same as the one my fiancée is wearing. I don’t even wear it all the time – it comes off when I get home, and then back on when I go out…

…but it’s only just now that I’ve realised I don’t really tap it against things.

I fiddle with it, of course, and I play with it – threading it through my fingers and all. But that’s more of a sensory thing. Any small noises made by my ring are unintentional – a clink against a coffee cup; a thap as I place it down and it comes to rest on top of my passport. Drudd if it comes into contact with cardboard, an almost inaudible shh as it slides onto (and off) my finger), tip if it comes into contact with the little Doxy keyring I have in my pocket.

But I never tap.

Except for the day before yesterday. It was the end of my first week at my shiny new job and I was, and this is the technical term, BORK’D. On my grateful way out, I used both hands to heave the gate open and make my way out onto the street.

My ring came into contact with the handle.


And I felt more powerful than ever as I started home.

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