It all started with the speeches. I could feel it coming, but I'd never expected it. I felt the heat rising from my chest, until my face was burning, my nostrils singed. And then it happened.
“I’m so happy that we live in a world where my son can legally marry who he wants”, John’s father proudly told guests. That’s what triggered the sprinklers in my tear ducts.
Honestly, I didn’t even know I had tear ducts. So you can imagine my surprise as I start blubbering into the banoffee pie and blowing my nose on Tracey’s floral two-piece next to me.
I mean, it was my first gay wedding and one of my close friends, so I'm telling myself it was all just a bit much to handle. But it was more than that.
Sean and John have quite a unique love story. They met in a club at 18, when Sean walked over to John, bold as brass, and stole the cigarette from his mouth - and then asked him for a light. Daringly charming? Or just plain rude? Even John wasn't sure at first.
But they ended up dating, before breaking up for five years. Sean moved to London, but after all that time Sean pursued him still, and eight years after they met, they're walking down the aisle.
Naturally, in the face of such a tale, your mind goes rifling through your mental Black Book of exes, wondering if any of them are worth fighting for after all these years. Most of them aren't worth a second thought, but there's one or two you might not be fully sure about.
But you never really found out where things might lead because one of you (or both of you) messed shit up and you didn't try and make it work even though you felt a powerful connection, because... well... because he wasn't perfect. And if he wasn't perfect then he obviously wasn’t The One, right?
And then came the mother of the groom's reading - a rather poignant quote by Bob Marley (and to think people say smoking weed kills brain cells).
"He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. Don’t analyse, because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy perfect for you".
Those words alone were enough to make any sane singleton question their entire dating history. When we’ve spent all this time looking for the 'perfect' guy, is it possible that we’ve missed the one who was perfect for us?
By the time the reception cam round (and after a river of champagne, it must be said) I was ready to find out. You know, throw caution to the wind...
Throw myself on a train track, more like. And it had been so long since we’d spoken and I didn’t have his number either.
Can you imagine waking up in the morning, and some lad you went on a couple of dates with six years ago has left you 57 texts, 32 Facebook posts, and 14 voicemails including a Shakespearean-style sonnet dedicated to your hair? Not cute. It’s the only time I’ve ever been grateful to have been temporarily banned from Facebook.
Thankfully, alcohol wears off the following morning. The urge to contact him, however…
I’d become obsessed with this notion of the One Who Got Away. That’s exactly what John was to Sean; who describes what they had as “unfinished business”.
It felt too hard to move forward when I wasn’t 100% sure that my One Who Got Away hadn’t gotten away for good. Sound like a right fucking bunny-boiler, don’t I? But at least if it was nothing, I could continue dating with a clean slate.
I mean, it’s all well and good being the independent single (it is, after all, the best way to be single) for now, but nobody wants to be zimmer-framing their way around Zizzi’s on a first date, before asking the waitress to help pick up their dentures after they tumbled out leaning in for a kiss. And swiping through Tinder is just a bitch when you’ve got arthritis.
A few days later, I reasoned that Sean and John had initially dated for three years, and not just frisked each other after a mediocre meal at Giraffe before they mutually stopped texting, so perhaps I was getting a bit ahead of myself. As if I hadn’t embarrassed myself at reception enough teaching all the heterosexuals how to walk ‘Purse First’ into a club, I'd gone and thrown myself at someone who probably only vaguely remembered me – if at all.
But ultimately, what Sean and John’s story outlines is that when it’s the right person, none of the trivial bullshit like ‘who texts who first’ is important. The only thing that does
matter, is that you’re with each other. In fact, you can overcome pretty much anything; even a brutal break-up and eight years apart… Or, at the very least, conflicting schedules. The one rule of dating The One, is that there are no rules.
I wasn’t sitting at the reception bawling about some guy I briefly dated when I was 20, they were just… tears of hope. Hope that in the digital age, where sex is easy to get, and love is hard to find – it does exist. And when you find it, fight for it, survive your problems, because he isn’t perfect – and you aren’t either. But if you’re perfect for each other, that’s all you need.
So if you see me in a bar snatching fags from boy’s mouths in the smoking area this Friday, I’m not being a trashbag - I’m just looking for my future husband.
Anthony Gilét is a London-based writer, blogger and YouTuber – follow him on Twitter @Anthony_Gilet.
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