Every girl you will ever go out with, ever
Yeah, she dumped you
You will go out with many girls. Many, many girls. Occasionally, these relationships will get serious; often you’ll have a total flake out before they do; more rarely, she’ll have a total flake out before they do. How does anyone really know when they’re with the right person anyway?
What you do know, now, is that the “right person” is not one of the below.
The first one
You danced to Westlife at a school dance together and for five days you told everyone you were boyfriend and girlfriend. Then she texted you as you were getting the bus home on Friday to say it was over. You never spoke to her again.
The sixth form one
You did the wholesome stuff – going round theirs on a Saturday, squeaky clean and scrubbed up, for lunch with their extended family; playing FIFA with their little brother; smiling patiently at their senile nan for hours – so that you could do the less wholesome stuff. Furious copping off as soon as her parents left the room; sharing a sleeping bag with her after a house party; filthy behaviour in the back rows of cinemas. At some point, you started shagging and a for a few weeks every story you told circumvented back round to the fact you were having sex on the reg.
Then, as quickly as it was fun, it became boring. You were bored, she was bored. There was A Dumping – you shuffled into the high street branch of Costa to “talk” – and you don’t really know who broke up with who (obviously you tell your mates you instigated it) and the next week you get off with someone from History at a disco. One of your recent ex’s friends (the scary one) shoulder-barges you into a locker at first break the Monday after it happens, but otherwise the fall-out is minimal.
This cycle repeats itself twice before school’s out forever.
The one you met travelling on your gap year
Admittedly you probably wouldn’t say you were officially going out, but if Giulia had slept with that white dude with dreadlocks in Cambodia, you would have gone absolutely ballistic. After the first sweaty shag in the hostel dorm, you decided to travel together. You became intimately aware of each other’s BO, and somehow quite liked it. After two months of night buses and beach parties, you went your separate ways and have barely spoken since. You do however look back on those days with fondness, and still wish her a happy birthday on Facebook.
One of the more successful ones, on balance.
The first university one
It’s Freshers’ Week and you are blindsided by the number of women who are now living literally in your corridor. This is basically the Playboy Mansion, you think, except these girls can talk about dialectical materialism and might lend you some milk if you run out. Which is obviously a great “in”. You try it with a few girls – you really like the one a few doors down. They lend you enough for a cuppa, though you are surprised when this does not lead, almost immediately, to some furious shagging – the type where you’re both still half dressed (you have seen this in films).
Meanwhile, incidentally, you keep shagging this girl from your course after nights out. Which doesn’t mean anything – the one you’re really interested in is the one a few doors down – but you find it interesting in an academic sense. Like dialectical materialism.
Except one night you see the girl from your course hooking up with a guy from your corridor and you suddenly, obviously, realise it was her all along. You have been blindly falling in love with her. She is your other half. She is actually really, really pretty. And nice. And clever. This is like you have seen happen in films! Your life is dramatic after all!
You go out for two terms, including one holiday where you visit her family home in Norwich. This is not like a film at all. You quietly break up at the end of first year.
The second university one
Look, it’s second year, OK? Second year is about shagging as many girls as you can before finals and dissertations and grad schemes. It’s not your fault if this girl won’t bloody give up on you, and it’s really not your fault you keep shagging her. And going round to hers quite a lot. And texting her when you’re a bit hungover. And that you asked her out “officially” at some point. It is also not your fault you’re cheating on her a lot, and that this suddenly seems like a very small university, because people keep telling her.
You didn’t really mean to hurt her so much, but looking back it was a bit mean. Every so often you’ll like one of her Facebook posts or something as a sort of retrospective attempt to make peace. She probably still talks about your “emotional abuse”.
The one who literally tore your heart out of your chest and put it through a wringer
You thought Sophie was going to be The One. When she dumped you, you honestly couldn’t breathe. Your mates didn’t even take the piss out of you because you looked so totally lost. One of them even gingerly offered a pat on the back and promised “a big lads’ night out”.
Except you don’t want one of those – you want her back. You send her tortured texts, long Facebook posts, and once – a mistake, in hindsight – a 4000-word pseudo-dissertation that is part love letter, part total character assassination. She blocks you, briefly. Your best girl mate tells you you’re being “a bit much”.
Finally, it gets easier. After about a year you can be in the same room as her without wanting to scream silently, or hit something.
The one who keeps coming back
You had a pretty brief, very standard four-monther. No one said I love you, no one was particularly upset when you broke up, it was all pretty easy. Occasionally, you go to the pub and laugh about how wrong you were for each other, in a way that feel sort of enlightened and French.
Except you do notice she texts a lot when she’s hungover, or has been dumped, or is having “a bit of a tough time”. In fact, you realise you talk to her quite a lot, considering you had a pretty brief, very standard four-monther and don’t actually know her anywhere near as well as you know the majority of your friends, or even people you dated you. You sort of think about her from time to time. Sometimes, you smile when you think about her, or something she’s said. Occasionally, you look at her Facebook profile photos and can’t help smiling at one of her deadpan comments.
Shit. Is she The One?
Come on, she’s a vegetarian. Obviously she’s not The One.
The one you immediately chuck because you learn her friend is into you
You spent months fancying Jess but it just never really seemed feasible. You don’t even bother asking. Then the school dance comes along, you need a date and you ask Sarah because she was dropping some serious hints. You go out once or twice, it’s pretty fun, but you can’t quite bring yourself to commit.
A few weeks later, Jess drunkenly tells someone at a party how much she likes you. It’s Defcon 1. Now you’ve got to dump Sarah and successfully ask out Jess without seeming like too much of a dick.
Spoiler alert: this never works. Someone always hates you.
The one you go out with to end a dry spell
Look! Look at this perfectly functioning female human I’ve persuaded into a relationship! Look Mum!
The one who was clearly too good for you
You were punching in the first place. All of your friends quipped that she must be blind, but every time it cut to the core. Your couple photos would always get loads of likes on Instagram because literally everyone else fancied her. She got on with absolutely everyone, even your casually racist uncle. You were so smitten that you’d thought of names for your kids and picked out a semi-detached house in a leafy suburb in the home counties.
One day, completely out of the blue, she sacks you off. Your heart is broken. But when you sit down and think about it, it was probably a good choice on her part.
She looks quite a bit like your ex. People have pointed that out to her but it’s not a discussion you’re willing to have. You rushed into this one a bit too quickly and there’s a sense it’s doomed from the start. It is.
The one all your friends fancy
To start with, it’s really fun when your girlfriend is such an object of desire. Your standing in the group soars, everything you fire down the WhatsApp chat is now treated with as much reverence as if you were Moses coming down the mountain. After a while though it gets a bit tiresome. There’s only so many times you can laugh as seven other men graphically describe what penetrating your girlfriend might be like. You can’t have a night out without one of them getting too drunk and trying to convince her to cheat on you. You’d probably think the solution is to “get better friends”, but you know nobody else will have you.
The one who won’t stop telling you how much she love you
“I love you,” she tells you for the thirteenth time that hour. Yes, she’s drunk, but so are you. It’s just stopped mean anything any more. The three words, and eight letters that are supposed to change your life have become nothing.
The one who is really, really rich
The mum loves you, and tells you you’ve got great arms. The dad is a completely different matter. With three or four of his other daughters to contend with, and two dogs, and a Land Rover, and a Country Gold Club to preside over, and a financial firm in the city, and a trust fund for each daughter, it takes a whole evening of talking about golf and cricket to worm him round to your cause. Just make sure the dog loves you, that – not his daughter – the key to his heart. Otherwise, he’s just not that interested in you.
By Oli Dugmore, Jack Cummings, Will Lloyd, Craig O’Callahan, Tom Jenkin and Bobby Palmer.
Read the girls’ version – every boy you will ever go out with, ever – here.