End of October 2018. Tired of putting all my eggs in the extremely flimsy basket that was Brandon, I began dating other guys. I had a couple first dates with perfectly nice men but we had zero chemistry and the highlight of my evening would generally be heading home via McDonalds for mozzarella sticks. I was beginning to lose hope, when one evening I matched on Hinge with Chad. Tall (standard) but bearded (not my typical type); Chad and I had immediate texting chemistry. We bounced off each other with joke after joke and I would always catch myself grinning when he messaged. After a week or so we arranged a date.
On Halloween I headed to the Brewdog on Battersea Rise and ordered drinks at the bar. Chad tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and was surprised at how attracted I was to him. We spent the next four hours chatting and laughing. Midnight hit and the bar was closing. Chad asked if I’d like to come back to his for a nightcap, and not wanting the date to end I accepted.
As we headed outside and down the street the heavens opened and it began to pour. I pulled my jacket over my head and tried to walk as fast as my heels would allow me. “Here, let me help you,” offered Chad, and next thing you know he had picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. Oh my. Chad then proceeded to fireman carry me in the rain the remaining journey to his house. It could have been a scene out of a Richard Curtis film.
Less than 30 minutes in his house, Chad and I were kissing on his sofa then headed upstairs. I quickly scanned his bedroom as we undressed each other – navy sheets…three pillows (obviously)…clothes stacked up in piles (clean or dirty to be determined). Chad was very affectionate and showered my body in kisses, constantly asking what I liked and wanted. He was an unselfish lover; I’ll give him that. Afterwards he wrapped himself around me and we fell asleep.
I crept out of his room at 6am the next morning and ordered an Uber to take me home. “Been out trick or treating, have you love?” the driver asked, smirking in his rear view mirror. And there goes your tip and five star rating, I thought to myself. “Something like that,” I replied.
Later that day Chad sent me photographs of himself where he’d shaved his entire beard off and left just a moustache in aid of Movember. Now this seems like an irrelevant detail but you’ll see later how this was actually a pivotal point for what would be the making of ‘Classic Jess.’
Over the course of the next couple weeks Chad and I would text every day and have adult sleepovers. “I’d love to go out for dinner with you, but I’m just super busy at work,” he’d say. Dude, its London, we’re all fucking busy (rolls eyes). Chad would message me late at night on his way back from work saying how much he wanted to spend the night with me. “Sure, you’re welcome to come over,” I’d say, to which he’d always reply with some lame ass excuse that it would work better if I came to his. He’d plead until I caved, offering to even pay for my Uber. Did he ever reimburse me? Did he fuck. Are we all starting to notice the all too familiar symptoms? Red alert! Looks like we have another Fuckboy on our hands.
Now when you’re dealing with a Fuckboy you should presume that they are most probably sleeping with other people, to think otherwise would be naïve. And whilst I hate the thought of ‘sharing’ someone, I have to remind myself that a Fuckboy is never mine in the first place and push down any pangs of jealousy that may arise. I have attempted ‘to play the field’ myself – but this is mostly just talk. In reality I just can’t bring myself to sleep with more than one person at any given time. Despite my intentions, the fact remains that Brandon and Chad never crossed over. So where was I? Ah yes, Chad was probably sleeping with other women. If that was the case then safe sex should have been paramount. Cue classic Jess drama.
Chad had gone out of town for a few days to see family. My friend, Shirley came round my flat one evening to catch up. Shirley works in pharmaceuticals and is the type of person who will come out with random facts, which are often quite interesting, and usually a great conversation starter.
“Super gonorrhoea.” Stated, Shirley.
“It’s a thing. Some guy came back from Southeast Asia with this new strain of gonorrhoea, which can’t be treated. Super Gonorrhoea.”
“What the fuck? And there’s no cure??” I asked, horrified.
“Nope. Antibiotics don’t work on it. I wonder if he’ll be quarantined whilst they figure out what to do.”
“Jeez.” I said, flabbergasted.
That night I couldn’t sleep. At 3am I began Googling symptoms of sexually transmitted infections from Southeast Asia. By 7am I was convinced I had super gonorrhoea; having developed phantom abdominal pains overnight. By 10am the panic had really set in and I had turned into a complete hypochondriac; almost in tears to my colleague, Margaret. By lunchtime I had phoned up the local sexual health clinic and booked myself into an emergency appointment.
“You can only come in for an express screening if you’re showing symptoms,” stated the receptionist.
“I am!” I exclaimed.
“What symptoms do you have?”
“ALL of them!” I wailed down the phone.
She paused. “Alright you can come in now then.”
I arrived at the clinic and nervously sat in the waiting room until I was called in for my screening. The nurse asked me some standard questions including how many sexual partners I’d had in the last month. “Um…two” I answered truthfully, resisting the urge to blurt out “but only three in total over the last nine months before you start judging me!” She wasn’t judging me; she was just doing her job.
“Right, if you just pop up on the bed, we’ll do a full screening,” said the nurse. She began the internal examination. Lying on my back, legs up in stirrups I confessed my all-consuming fear, “I think I’ve contracted super gonorrhoea and it’s spread and now I have pelvic inflammatory disease,” I said, swallowing the urge to cry. The nurse looked up from in between my legs and blinked. “You don’t have PID,” she said.
“No. If you had PID I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing right now without you screaming in pain.”
The nurse finished her examination, took a couple of vaginal swabs and a blood sample. “You’ll get the results via text within 24 hours, so try not to worry in the meantime,” she said.
Later that night, I tossed and turned having nightmares about telling Brandon and Chad that we’d all contracted super gonorrhoea and that the three of us would have to be quarantined together for the rest of our lives. I woke up the next morning to a text message containing my results. Gulp. ‘All results negative.’ Relief washed over me. Oh thank fuck for that. The moral of this story kids, if you’re having casual sex then always use a condom. The fear, and indeed if you actually contracted anything is just not worth it. In London you can actually have a self-test kit posted to you, send back your samples and get the results back, all within five working days. I actually did one a couple weeks ago. Despite the fact that I had to get my friend, Caitlin, to ‘milk’ my finger for me (blood sample) because I was about to pass out, the whole process is pretty straightforward.
Anyway, back to Chad. Completely blinded by his Fuckboy sorcery I continued to message him whilst he was away, even donating to his Movember fundraising page. Chad always appreciated my jokes and so I began writing a witty two-liner to accompany the donation. Next thing you know, I’d gotten completely carried away and the two-liner turned into a verse, which after 30 minutes evolved into a full-blown poem.
“You did what?!” asked my sister, horrified.
“I wrote a poem about his moustache.” I said, shrugging.
“Oh God…please tell me you didn’t send it to him??”
“Why not? It was funny…”
“So you sent it to him?”
I didn’t see what the problem was here. It wasn’t a romantic poem declaring my undying love for him, it was meant to be funny. I went to Brighton at the end of that week for a 30thBirthday. I told a group of our friends about Chad and did a live reading of ‘The man with the mo’ whilst we sat pre-drinking in our Air BnB.
“And you sent this to him?” someone asked.
“Oh, Jess” chimed 15 people in unison.
Oh fuck, what had I done?
Chad returned to London and asked to see me that night. I went round his, obviously; Chad didn’t even know where I lived. Lying in bed, I told him about my STI drama, to which he replied, “Thank God I don’t need to get tested then.” I frowned. Surely he should take responsibility for his own sexual health and not just rely on my results. I then asked him what he thought about the poem I sent him. “It was really good…a bit creepy though.”
“Oh. It was meant to be funny. I wouldn’t take it too seriously,” I said.
“It was…I just don’t know why you wasted your time writing it.”
This boy was starting to piss me off. I decided to change the subject and asked him what his plans were for the rest of weekend. “I’ve got some work to catch up on… and I’m also going to a singles night tomorrow.” Why was he telling me this?
“Because, y’know… we’re both single,” he said, his eyes probing me.
I resisted rolling my eyes. I know that. Jeez, I send this boy one silly little poem and he thinks I’ve got plans to ensnare him in a relationship against his will. Don’t flatter yourself, Chad, my Uber account couldn’t take the expense. “Cool,” I said, “well, enjoy that.”
Over the days following that evening, Chad and I exchanged a few messages; but his replies became less frequent and blunter. Eventually he ghosted me. Typical. Whilst I was annoyed I hadn’t been the one to cut it off, I was also relieved I didn’t have to deal with his Fuckboy tendencies anymore. And what’s more, I’d discovered that I had a hidden talent. I could write poetry, who knew?
“Your poems are really good, Jess. You should write a blog about your experiences over your twenties and posts poems which help to illustrate it,” suggested my sister. I started floating the idea to a few close friends who all agreed that I should do it. So I took some time off social media over the Christmas and New Year period and began writing.
At first I was reluctant to launch the blog. I was worried about revealing my personal thoughts and feelings in a public domain. I was worried what my parents might think. I was also concerned about what it may potentially do to my dating life. But then I realised. If a man had a problem with the blog and the honest accounts of my life, if he found it weird or intimidating, then he wasn’t the right man for me anyway. And so ‘Classic Jess’ came to be.