You probably wouldn’t even believe me if I told you what I’d been up to in the last few weeks. When I tell various friends and amigos they give me that “You’re making this up, right?” look. But I ain’t. My life and the lives of those around me have just been so crazy lately that I’m thinking of writing a sitcom based on our experiences.
Here are a few of the subplots of late:
The One with Losing the Big V
A friend of mine sleeps with her boyfriend for the first time. In fact, her first ever time. This friend, Bella, decided earlier this year that she needed a man in her life, despite having survived the past 27 years pretty well without one. Enter the dizzying world of online dating and the various catastrophes associated. A brief relationship ensued only to end after a month because the guy turned out to be a cowardly lion. Cue depression and endless questioning. Bella has anxiety issues and last year had a breakdown. After a grieving period, she threw herself back into online dating, texting numerous guys simultaneously and generally behaving quite erratically. We watched nervously, waiting to swoop in and rescue as she became glued to her phone, having combustive text arguments with a guy she hadn’t even met. Then, suddenly, one came along who wanted to be her boyfriend. Things were obviously moving fast as a week after they first met, Bella asked me for tips on oral sex (no idea why she came to me as I have never partaken). But it was still a surprise plot twist when, meeting for our regular weekly coffee, she announced that she had slept with him. And was not handling it well. At all.
The One with the Bisexual Boyfriend
As if the Bella storyline wasn’t enough, another friend had drama of her own when she returned from a holiday to discover that her boyfriend had multiple dating profiles on gay sites, actively looking for hook-ups. Ellie had met her boyfriend through the choir that we both sing in. He made it obvious one night at a concert that he was interested and relentlessly pursued her through facebook til she agreed to have coffee. Soon enough they were facebook official. Ellie wasn’t completely head over heels but figured that she would give him a chance. He, on the other hand, was overly keen, lavishing presents for their one month anniversary and talking about hotels for wedding receptions. Ellie went away on holiday and decided that she just didn’t feel that way about him. Before she could actually meet him to break up, a gay friend of hers admitted that he had found her boyfriend on a dating site. Not believing it, she looked for herself and found at least five different sites belonging to him with various degrees of detail and pictures of an inappropriate nature. Completely shocked, she turned to me. I then had two women reeling from their love lives.
The One with the Office Politics
Sharing an office with your best friend might sound like a dream but in reality, it is anything but. Settling in to life as a PhD student is tricky and it is only made more difficult when you share an office with someone as bewildering as my Best Friend. It has only been a month but we’ve already had our fair share of ups and downs.
Scene One: I get told off by Best Friend for not attending research seminars often enough and then get a second lecture by grumpy PhD guy who doesn’t like me. I leave for the research seminar half an hour early although it is literally across the road. BF questions this and I tell him that I need to get a seat in the back so I can fidget. “Don’t fidget then” I have to, those seats are so uncomfortable and hurt my back. “But your back seems fine now” Yes, but sitting in those chairs for an hour and a half will make it sore. “You’re so over-dramatic. I think you just decide when to be sore so you can get out of things.” *exit scene before I punch him, followed by hour and a half seminar during which I say all of zero words to him*
Scene Two: I enter the office Monday morning after a meeting. I see BF has already been and left his stuff in. On my desk lies a paper bag with a post-it on top. It’s from BF. Inside the bag are two yummy buns from the bakery, something nice for me because I am always doing nice things for him. BF returns about an hour or so later, by which point I am sitting on the floor as it is more comfortable than my chair. He chats away merrily, occasionally dropping on the floor himself to tell me things. After a while I get up and stretch, hands on my back. BF is watching me and asks why I stand like that sometimes. When I explain that I stand like that (the way pregnant women stand supporting themselves) because it helps, he scoots over in his chair and starts rubbing my back. He says that he has seen men on tv do this when their pregnant wives are in pain and asks does it help. I cannot even register if it does help as I can only think bout the fact that his hands are on my lower back, my very low back, dangerously close to my posterior. The rest of the day is filled with touchy-feely gestures, hand holding and hugs from him as I remain utterly bemused and start wondering if he’s done a Dr Jekyll-type experiment.
I could go on but I really need to practise my paper for the conference tomorrow. Oh yes, I still have to function as a normal PhD student in the midst of my drama-filled life.
No new storylines are allowed to happen until after this weekend.