In the uneasy knowledge that Virgil could this instant be contacting Sarah to announce the end of our break and request the resumption, should she wish it (of COURSE she will!), of their torrid connexion, I decide to be first out of the blocks. Actually I cheat. Sometime last week I sent the following text: "Satisfy my curiosity about something. Is it true that men never delete old phone numbers? If you can tell me my name I'll take that as a yes ;)" Sophisticated, aren't I? I think that's what they call t-ex-ting.
There aren't many ex's I would booty call in this way. Given my curmudgeonly ways, most of mine don't even speak to me. Tim isn't really an ex, though. He's just a very cute man I had sex with a couple of times, way back in the early days of my internet tendency. It was never going to be a relationship and we didn't fall out, but he started seeing someone and we never made it to the third date. From time to time over the years he has cropped up in my Facebook feed, stirring memories of a truly splendid physique and great fucking abilities.
Anyway, five years later we both still had the other's phone number and Tim was delighted to hear from me. 'Just one thing,' I texted, the day before we were due to meet: 'You changed your Facebook status from 'single' to 'in a relationship'. Is there something you need to tell me?' Tim assured me that it was a non-exclusive relationship and today we met for coffee.
Tim asked what had possessed me to contact him. Was it really just on the spur of the moment? he asked. 'It was totally spontaneous,' I said. 'Basically, several stars came into alignment, at which point I remembered that we had had a nice time and decided to look you up.' And I was glad I had: Tim is still attractive to me and part of my brain was considering cancelling lunch with my sister and inviting him back to Harlot Towers for some fun.
'So tell me about your non-exclusive relationship,' I said. Tim then performed an excellent impression of a man whose face is descending fast towards the ground. A range of emotions crossed his visage: frustration, uneasiness, guilt, resignation. 'Actually it's not non-exclusive,' he admitted, 'but honestly I don't want to be in it and I seem to have got myself stuck.'
When Tim explained the situation I understood. Supporting a pal in need, what started as sex between friends had morphed into a relationship, at least to one of them. Then she moved in. Tim needed to get it all off his chest so we had a long, frank conversation. Sadly, by the time I had heard about his girlfriend's incredible run of bad luck I simply couldn't add infidelity to her woes.
Later, when I tell Virgil all about it, he says: Why didn't he just lie to you? I say: It would have come out anyway: he wouldn't have been able to have me round to his place. Are you going to see him? he asks, innocently. You know you can. It's up to you. I say: Oh leave it, Virgil. You know you told me you would think less of me for doing something like that. If it was important enough to me I'd consider it, but it's just sex and it's not worth fucking someone over in that way.
Guilt's no aphrodisiac. It's disappointing, but if Tim breaks up with with his girlfriend (which I have strongly advised him to do) then it'll be all the better for having done the right thing.