Category Archives: Prince Charming

The Case of the Disappearing Dog


Out in the jungle of dating there exists a little known species known as the ‘disappearing dog’. Now you see him, now you don’t!  One day he’s there, hanging with your friends, making plans for holidays, mentioning the parents and then… *poof* gone without so much as an ‘it’s not you it’s me’ text. Where do they go? It’s a mystery, to doggie heaven perhaps!

Ladies beware, side-effects of the sting include all the usual marks of a Dog encounter (insomnia, depression, unusual attachment to Facebook) but this particular mutation can induce side effects ranging from mild hysteria to extreme obsession.

Yesterday I was sent a text conversation that was uploaded onto the internet entitled “this is what crazy looks like via text messaging” http://soundcloud.com/vaughan-1-1/this-is-what-crazy-looks-like . In a nut-shell (no pun intended) a girl called JJ goes gaga after her one night stand blows her out. Now while this is all very amusing and the girl in this case is clearly insane, I’m going to use this extreme case as evidence of the effect of the ‘disappearing dog’ phenomenon. When a guy just vanishes without any explanation, the need for closure, and answer, an explanation… anything! Can drive otherwise sane self- respecting women into fits of feverish text frenzies.

“I just wanted my stuff back!” Said my friend,  as she recounted the story of a guy she’d been seeing for several months.

“He told me he was going for a drink with an ex, texted me from the bar telling me how bored he was and how he can’t wait to see me later, then nothing! I texted once, tried calling and assumed he got back with the ex. He still had a lot of my stuff at his so I called his mobile from my friend’s phone and got as far as ‘oh hey it’s….’ When I heard him gasp and he slammed the phone down!”

My friend never did get her stuff back, and to this day she wonders what really happened that night.

When a dog just disappears, he leaves a great big question-mark that wouldn’t otherwise be there. With a question mark that big, the need to figure out why can become all-consuming; sending you spiraling off to Sherlock Holmes his Facebook for evidence of something (you’ll know what it is when you find it) or e-mailing his work account (just in case he lost his phone). One friend was so confused by a sudden disappearance that she texted the guy’s friend to see if he was still alive and OK. He was.

More-so than just closure, the reason why a disappearing dog has such an effect, is the utter non response to contact. It’s the digital equivalent of someone sticking their fingers in their ears and going “I CANT HEAR YOU!” Take JJ-loco above, the lack of reply from her Kevin was the catalyst to crazy-town. Could that really be any of us?

In the Ye Olde dating times you communicated on the phone or in person, but now it’s so easy to delete from Facebook, so simple to ignore a message that the need to actually step up and be honest is diminishing.

The recent launch of a website helping dumpees communicate with their dumpers has unsurprisingly been a success. Only two weeks after it launched, www.wotwentwrong.com received over 28,000 hits. That’s 28,000 people who would happily pay to have a site message their ex and have them fill out a questionnaire on why they ended the relationship. The figures smell suspiciously like disappearing dog. When a relationship ends, there is always ‘the chat’…right? Or is the phenomenon of the D-dog more widespread than any of us feared? Has the rise of digital communication created a monster?

I’m going to stray from the point a little and recount the events of last night, when my very own disappearing dog, non- other than Prince Charming (remember him?) wagged back into my life. I knew he would be at the club so it wasn’t a shock to see him there, all dazzling and chatting to some girl he’d no doubt just met. My phone vibrated and I had a moment of utter confusion when the name flashed up, because how he could be calling and standing in front of me at the same time? Then came the realisation that the guy busy charming every poor girl in the club was his identical twin.

Yes there are two of them. Two sets of chiseled cheekbones, two sets of piercing blue eyes, two heartless bastards. Could this be any more Dynasty? Apart from the whole warehouse in north west London, overflowing toilets and lack of toilet paper… so maybe more Dysentery than Dynasty but anyway, awkward encounter with Prince Charming’s equally evil twin averted, I turned my attention back to my phone where a message just appeared. PC wanted to know if I fancied coming round to his to ‘hook up’.

The reason for the story is this, first of all to exemplify the fact that if a dog disappears he’s probably not the kind of dog you’d have wanted around anyway, secondly that if there was no explanation given, perhaps instead of resorting to sending a questionnaire out (www.how-to-lose-your-dignity-in-one-easy-step.com) you can come to terms with the fact that finding out why, will not make the disappearance any easier. Had Prince Charming sat me down over a drink and explained that he didn’t actually want to go out with me because he only picks up girls for sport, maybe even elaborated that he has mother issues or a complex about being just a little bit fatter and shorter than his twin, would that have made any difference at all?

Back to the text, I was surprised at how keen he was to meet up especially considering the fact that every time I’d seen him previously he’d been quite happy to parade his gaggle of blondes right under my nose. Had things really got that bad? Or had he just slept with and not called every girl in Essex?

Even more curious was my realisation that not replying to him was actually getting a reaction! We’re not talking JJ-Loco but it was something!

“I give up!” he texted despondently. Then shortly after, “Kind of thought we were more grown up than this.”

I could have done one of two things. The first was to give him a taste of his own medicine, the guy stood me up twice, embarrassed me and hurt me he deserved to be ignored, but then would that be any better than a disappearing dog? It’s so easy to ignore a text message, to leave the words and the question dangling in space, forever echoing and never answered. I’m sure that it didn’t matter to him anyway whether I replied or didn’t, but in a world where common courtesy can so easily be forgotten, I decided to reply.

“I’m sorry… it’s just that that ship has sailed… and I’m not really the booty call type… Friends? Xx”

It was hardly a drink flung in his face, but to me it felt like closure, and that was antidote enough.

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One Thousand and One Nights


I’ve always loved Arabian nights; the story of Scheherazade and her never ending story. I remember being little and picturing the billowing drapes, the night slowly turning into day and Scheherazade weaving her magical storytelling threads captivating the sultan in her web and keeping him there, transfixed, always wanting more.  Serial killing sultan aside, it’s a beautiful story.

When I think back over the summer, it’s the ‘Arabian Nights’ moments I’ve loved the most…

A day I’d wished would never end, the last day I’d spent with Chris (AKA Golf Boy) we listened to Wathering Heights on audiotape, lying side by side with the corpse of our relationship between us, neither speaking. I’d put my head on his shoulder and smelt his scent, knowing it would probably be the last time I would see him.

Then there were the three nights with the artist, drinking vodka, chainsmoking cigarettes and talking until my eyelids drooped and my head fell onto the sofa.

There was a brief encounter with a French trader I’d met at a party in a carpark. A Sunday night in my kitchen eating Uncle Ben’s micro- rice with spinach while talking about Sartre until 1.30am. There was not the thought of work, or sleep or life beyond. There was just that moment and the way his boyish hair fell in his face.

I will always remember the night ‘Golden Boy’ came over at 2am after some party and we sat in our living room laughing at some guy who’d ended up back at the flat attempting to play the piano. GB whispered in my ear to go upstairs but we just lay on my bed laughing at how his middle toes were so much longer than the rest while listening to some beach boy band. I remember the way he’d looked solemnly at the wall and confided that his father recently passed away, It was the first time he’d told me anything about himself. I hadn’t known what to say.

If only the morning never had to come, if only those nights could go on for ever. There would never need to be the worry over him not texting back. I would never have to know that he posts ridiculous status updates on Facebook. He would never know I’m fundamentally neurotic.

Perhaps it’s true that “if you want a happy ending, it depends where you end the story” but what if the story never ended? If there was no morning but just 1001 nights. An Arabian night isn’t about sex, it’s about the minute you feel…  connected, and sometimes, when you look into each other’s eyes and the clock strikes 4am, you start to hope that day would never break the spell.

Romeo:

It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die. (Romeo and Juliet)

Every tale needs a prince charming, and I met mine last  bank holiday Sunday at a terrace party in Shoreditch. I didn’t immediately know it was him of course, I was distracted by the music, the MDMA and the drink in my hand. I remember liking the way he kept looking over and  though I can’t now remember what we’d talked about, I do remember he leant in and kissed me. It was love at first kiss.

The sun set and the day bled red into the night as we took a cab to another party, then there was just a jumble of kisses and music, and I barely remember how we ended up back at mine. Sleep wasn’t an option. Sleep would break the spell. I tried so hard not to fall asleep but when I opened my eyes I could see the sun falling through a chink in the curtain. Oh god. It was going to be the same nauseous feeling I have with Golden Boy when I look at him passed out and wish he would get the hell out my bed. The awkward conversation which always starts with “so… what are your plans today?” and ends with “I’d better go.”

I wondered if I had morning breath and if I’d remembered to even take off my makeup.

I turned sideways with dread.

The Prince was awake and in the shadow of daylight his eyes were the colour of the deep blue silk on my pillow.

“You fell asleep.” He said, kissing me.

“I did?”

The prince lay back and looked at the ceiling.  “I couldn’t sleep for ages last night,” he said. I thought those marks on your ceiling were ants, and they were racing to the finish line, I was taking bets on which would reach the finish line first.”

I laughed. “I think the left one. It looks faster.”

Though day had come and gone, everything was still the same.

I spent another long day and night with The Prince, so comfortable with someone I’d barely known 48 hours, so easily  lying on his shoulder as he watched sports on TV as if we’d been together five years.

As I fell asleep, he kissed the top of my head and for the first night in five months, I didn’t dream of Chris.

Over lunch the following Saturday I argued with my grandma over happy endings.

“Sad endings are easy to write… they’re endings are for lazy writers,” I argued. “A good happy ending is really special.”

If I end my story about The Prince and I where I did, it would be  a ‘happily ever after”  but, unfortunately unlike fiction, life goes on.

A week of panic over the date he hadn’t finalised turned into tears on my bathroom floor when he hadn’t called in days. There was the text he sent on the day cancelling last minute because he had to work late.

“Can we do Wednesday instead?” he texted.  “How about Thursday then?”

But It was too late. He wasn’t my prince anymore. He’s just a guy I met at the weekend. The spell had been broken, and the arrival of the day had nothing to do with it.

I hate sad endings, but I suppose…. Life does go on… and doesn’t end until it ends. So where does this leave me and the once formally known as ‘Prince?’

I’ll guess…. To be continued.

Then they returned to Scheherazade and displayed her in the second dress, a suit of surpassing goodliness, and veiled her face with her hair like a chin veil. Moreover, they let down her side locks, and she was even as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:

O hail to him whose locks his cheeks o’ershade,
Who slew my life by cruel hard despite.
Said I, “Hast veiled the morn in night?” He said,
“Nay I but veil moon in hue of night.”

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