I’m still asleep but suddenly I’m wide awake.
“NO” I yell. “You are only 16! Why don’t you go out and meet someone?”
“I don’t want to meet someone who goes out. I want to meet someone like me, who doesn’t concern themselves solely with drinking and laughing. I want someone who stays in and reads books and watches TV.”
I recall all the dodgy internet dates that I’ve had. I really don’t want her to be in that position. Not a 16 year old.
“Don’t you have ‘dances’ anymore?” I splutter, knowing as it comes out of my mouth I sound archaic.
Cue derisive, loud laughter.
“Yes, we used to have school dances at your age”
“We are not living in the Victorian age” she says.
Actually the school dances weren’t exactly a picnic either. Lots of arrogant lads from University College School. I was 14 when my mum took me out shopping for my first school dance between my school, South Hampstead and UCS. My mum convinced me that I looked good in a lime green nylon shirt from Marks and Spencer’s. In this shirt and my mum’s borrowed velvet jacket, which didn’t quite fit, I spent the evening shifting nervously in the dark, seemingly attached to the wall. To escape the ongoing humiliation of never being asked to dance, I escaped outside.
Some of the boys were standing there, smoking a cigarette. Trying to sound cool while talking to them, I swore. One of the boys haughtily spat he couldn’t stand girls that swear and they left, leaving me alone and crushed outside.
The teen blithely continues: “I’ve seen this guy online. He’s 38. Fit.”
“What about boys of your own age?”
“No thanks. They are all clean shaven and boring.”
“Watch out for stubble” I warn, “I remember having terrible red rashes from the tip of my nose to my chin from snogging unshaven men.”
“Anyway I’ve met someone” she says “He hands out The Evening Standard outside the tube station”
“A high flyer then?” I say, unfairly.
“Look” I say “You will meet someone, I guarantee it. But no internet dating. Christ, all those perverts will be round you like white sharks drawn to raw bait.”