I was having a great time on my first date with P, a charming and funny agent who had been introduced to me by a mutual friend. Great, that is, until he started masturbating in public. It was even more shocking because our date had started out so normally. We went for Italian food, shared a plate of tiramisu and retired to an intimate bar for dessert wine. To get some privacy, we settled into a back-room sofa beside a roaring fire. Then he leaned in, I steadied myself for our first kiss – and that’s when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. Somehow, while we were chatting, he had unbuttoned his trousers and released his member, which he was enthusiastically stroking like a pet hamster.
There are a few rules in life. Never get involved in a land war in Asia, never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line – and never, ever read your own hate mail. The first time I broke this rule, I cried. But now I’ve developed a much thicker skin – I’ve honed my ‘tough bitch’ side to go along with ‘sensitive girl’ and ‘sex kitten’. Your hateful email gave me two articles and countless great cocktail party moments. I actually mentioned it on my first date with my boyfriend, and we laughed about it, which gave me the perfect excuse to move in for a kiss. In the same way that my worst break-up gave me a bestseller, my most heinous piece of hate mail made me stronger.
So, to the misogynistic basement-dweller: Thank you. Thank you for being such a dick.
PS Charles Darwin would doubtless have turned in his grave if he could see how you mangled his evolutionary theory.
HIS ORIGINAL EMAIL: You, my dear, are what is known as a fling. Sperm is cheap, so there is no reason why a man would pass up the opportunity to have sex with a slut — but he would never marry her. Men will read your articles and run a mile.
MY RESPONSE: If anything, female promiscuity encourages survival of the fittest, do some research on sperm competition — you misogynistic wanker.
Even during my hedonistic teenage years, somewhere in the back of my mind I had a “checklist” for my life. I’d envisioned meeting the man of my dreams at around the age of 29, and marrying by 30ish. I did meet the man of my dreams at the age of 29, but I guess we took a wrong turn somewhere, and our relationship ran into a ditch. But if there is any truth in the saying “life is what happens when you make other plans”, I think that the same logic would also apply to love. Sexually, I was an early bloomer and a pretty wild teenager.