Every boy you will ever go out with, ever
Yeah, they dumped you
You will date many boys, and a few men. Some of them will make you totally crazy and some of them will drive you totally crazy, because they are mental. But each and every single one will add to the rich tapestry of your unique human experience.
Or just make a really, really funny story you probably shouldn’t have told because you guys have a lot of mutual friends.
The one you went out with in sixth form
There are several routes into a sixth form relationship. Some friendship groups paired off: following the cue of their two de facto leaders (who actually fancied each other), the others started going out with their obvious opposing number until everyone could go on the group date to Cineworld on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes, it was someone you’d never spoken to until you ended up in A Level History with them, and started flirting over primary sources; other times, it was a hook-up at an empty, when you started flirting over a Smirnoff Ice and a spliff.
However it started though, it got intense, quickly. You probably lost your virginity to this guy, and you would spend every evening talking to them on MSN, texting them, tying up the house phone talking to them. You’d go over to theirs at weekends to walk the family dog; you’d go for dinner at Cafe Rouge. All your photos from Leavers’ Day are pics of them and they scrawled “love you forever xxxxxxx” in green Sharpie on your shirt on the last day of school. The summer before university, they came on holiday with your family and your dad tried to put on a brave face while you snogged in the back of the car on the long drive to the south of France. The night before you both go off for your respective Freshers’ Weeks, you had a tearful evening together, mandating the schedule for how often you’d talk (every evening at 9pm).
Three weeks in and you’re answering the phone to him at 9pm to explain you can’t really hear him properly and you’re out at the moment – can you ring him back? You don’t. You cheat on him with a third year at the end of first term and dump him over the phone the day after the act.
The one you went to university with
University is a rich platter of eligible men, so obviously you picked a quite nice, quite dull one. But for a while you cannot see this. It’s third year: you’d spent two years traipsing home in fancy dress, picking glitter out of your eyebrows and pretending that one-night stands with people you’ll definitely see three hours later in a library don’t make you feel sort of hollow. So when you hook up, one night, with someone who wants to see you for a second match, you’re – immediately – besotted. You spend a year of university holding hands and bumming your friends out.
You move to London after graduation and listen to all the narratives of all your new, slightly older colleagues, who tell you you’re going to break up. You smile and nod politely, and think “not us though. We’re different”. You squint over the fact that you’re growing apart, he’s actually kind of boring, and sometimes, when you’re lying next to him in the dark, you feel like you can’t really breathe properly. You start to have fights on nights out: he wants to go home, you want to stay. You develop crushes on people. One night, you have a really awkward conversation in which one you suggests “a break”. You soldier on but it’s the beginning of the end. You break up. You always break up.
The one who brings absolutely nothing to anything
You’ve been together for three months and you are Googling the number for that restaurant you told him about the other week, when it hits you. You have organised the plans for every single date you’ve been on. You’re looking at him at that dinner date – not really listening to what he’s saying – and trying to remember the last interesting thing he said. You can’t.
This guy is not like your first love. Not this guy. No way. James smashes ketamine in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. He wakes you up at 5am for furious sex and tells you he loves you afterwards. You know he doesn’t really mean it but you don’t really care. Your parents would not approve but it’s cool because he will never meet them.
The one who’s younger than you
You don’t even notice the age difference at first. You’ve gone on a few nice dinner dates, he has cracking dress sense, he makes you laugh, and he’s really, really fit. Then you meet his friends.
You meet them on a night out – you sit, and they rate girls out of 10, then stare at you almost defiantly. You laugh a beat too late. They try to chug 15 beers, vom down themselves and use words like “chat”, “banter” and “lads”. What your mother said about boys taking longer to mature suddenly makes sense.
The one who’s older than you
He was a third year and you were a fresher. And you literally could not believe that he had noticed you. He chases you, unashamedly, and you play coy until you end up at the same party, lock eyes and know that you’re going to shag him. You do, you start going out, and for the first month, it’s brilliant. You hang out with his older friends – who tolerate you almost interestedly, and smile politely when most of your anecdotes still start with “I was so drunk! or “at this party in sixth form…”.
But slowly, you realise he’s a bit intense. It’s first year, and your stamina is boundless: you can go out four times a week and still make the grade. He’s prepping for finals, doing a dissertation, and keeps asking you to come round in the evening to “watch a film”. Once, you get a friend to throw a coat over your head on your way out, because your route goes right past his house and you’re scared he’ll see you. You tip into his room at 3am, smelling like VKs, and he’s glad to see you. You can’t deal with someone being this nice to you. You dump him, and he ends up getting really publicly drunk and telling everyone about it. It’s embarrassing.
The other one who’s older than you
You’re in your twenties; this guy is pushing 30.He wakes up an hour before he actually has to. He goes to the gym and plays five-a-side. He earns way more money than you do and he has a really nice house which he only shares with one other person. He can cook. You met him at work, or on Tinder; he’s clever and opinionated and all your guy mates go quiet around him. Once, he came on a night out, and met all your friends. You’re standing in your living room and someone is carrying around a bottle of straight vodka, pouring it down everyone’s throats. Someone else is suggesting the cereal box game. He pulls you to the side and suggests you slip off together. You feel really special, though your friends are a bit quiet on WhatsApp the next day.
Unlike the other older one, he’s not intense at all. In fact, you do sort of wish he’d text you a bit more. He only texts to organise things; he isn’t that interested in just hearing about your day. And he never really factors you into his weekend plans. You always text him first and he got a bit funny when you uploaded a picture of him to Instagram.
He dumps you, obviously. You cry, a lot.
The one who makes you feel small
You were shagging him on the reg for a couple of months; at some point, worldlessly, it becomes a more exclusive arrangement. You think, because he won’t talk about it. He won’t talk about anything, actually. Occasionally, he gives you flashes of affection, but you’ve learned not to expect much, because he will disappoint you basically every single time. You wish you could quit going out with him – your friends think you are insane and are also sort of sick of talking you off the edge of the emotional cliff when you’re drunk – but you just can’t give up. You liked him for ages! He’s really fun! And when he does do something nice – remembers you exist, or sends you a nice text or something – it feels really good because you had to earn it.
Finally – finally – you do break up with him: he’s casually cruel and you’re a bit drunk and fed up. You’re terrified – blood roaring in your ears, and you get on the bus home and cry so hard an old lady gives you a tissue. But you feel much lighter the next day.
The one off Tinder
How did this last four months?
The mummy’s boy
When his mum offered to take you for a drink, you probably thought she was just being really nice. Little did you know, she’d be there on every date, she’d text you more than he does, and he has to run every decision past her first. She does his food shopping even though he’s moved out, he still takes his clothes home to be washed and ironed and she even picked out your Christmas present…from him. What was that story about Oedipus?
The one who ‘just really doesn’t want a relationship’
You’ve been with Joe for two years. He came to your sister’s wedding. His toothbrush is at your house, and neither of you have kissed anyone since you starting “seeing” each other about thirty months ago. But no, you are still just “seeing” each other – in fact, once, he introduced you as “the girl he was seeing at the moment“. Though when a guy tried to buy you a drink the other night, Joe kicked off. Somewhere, really, really deep down, he loves you.
What you should do is go and shag someone else.
The one who likes really weird shit in the bedroom
He’s a nice guy. He’s good-looking, occasionally a bit beige, but a sure bet. He’s not going to make you cry, at least. You reckon if anyone’s doing the dumping, a few months down the line, it’ll be you. Not that you like to think about that sort of stuff.
Then, about two months in, he asks if he can tie you up. You agree – everyone likes a bit of that stuff. You get out of bed, reach for your tights, turn around and there he is, wielding a set of industrial handcuffs, the glint in his eyes visible even in the half-light. Fair play, you wouldn’t have thought he had it in him.
The one who has really bad shoes
Dan is good-looking: really good-looking, in a sort of Next catalogue model way. He makes you laugh until you cry, your mum likes him, he takes you to interesting places, the sex is great and he has an amazing back. There’s just this one thing. Well, two, and they are attached to his feet. The problem is, it’s not the physical shoes themselves, it’s what they represent. A lack of style and judgement. You can take the bad shoes from the man, but the man will always have bad shoes, deep down. Bad shoes from the Next catalogue.
The one who is too nice
Your friends love him, your dad loves him, your gran hopes you’ll get married. He’s clever, attractive and would walk over hot coals for you – but if he asks you “are you sure you’re ok with us?” one more time, while stroking the top of your hand slowly, in circles, you are honestly going to scream. BE MEANER, HAVE SOME EDGE. STOP FUCKING STROKING MY HAND.
By Phoebe Luckhurst, Bella Eckert, Cat Reid and Daisy Bernard.
Read the boys’ version – every girl you will ever go out with, ever – here.