Octavia Sheepshanks: Week 3

This week, OCTAVIA talks mood swings, mouthwash and her new man.

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Disclaimer: This column will, once again, be about me.

Indifference is not an emotion I am very familiar with. I’m like an inverse human tub of marmite (a limited edition one, I like to think). I either love something…or I HATE it. This is pretty tiring, as you can probably imagine, both for me and for those in my vicinity. Many an attempt at a ‘family game’ in the past has concluded with me upending the board/ table/ mood of contentment and doing a lot of shouting. Watching the Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet in my GCSE English class, I cried so much I couldn’t breathe, and the film had to be paused while the teacher fetched me water and a fresh box of tissues. When someone nicked my drink at Itchy Feet last week, I slapped him, poured water down his shirt and had to be ‘moved on’ to a different area.

This emotional rollercoaster does have its upsides, though; things that a ‘regular’ person might barely register often give me intense pleasure. My last text to my mother reads: “Dentyl mouthwash half price in Boots today!! Got two!!! Wooo!!” The other day, I received an email telling me that radiators in college react to the temperature of the room, making it counterproductive to open windows when the heating is on. I was so excited that someone had decided to send round such an informative email that I eagerly replied, “Thank you for enlightening me! I had no idea radiators could be so clever! Never again will I make the radiator/ window blunder!” I later realised that the recipient of my email was the college accommodation officer.

This dichotomy of emotion applies to people, too. At the age of 13, when other girls at my all-female boarding school were drooling over their Zac Efron calendars, I developed an unhealthy obsession with a boy at my brother’s school. This manifested itself in a series of thrilling emails (“ah so u ate the piece of cake during ur drama exam?? wel then i supose everyone does get hungry…at times…mmmm hehe”).

After some visits to said school, thinly veiled by the excuse of visiting my brother, I persuaded my parents to let him come camping at my house with two other friends. We spent about nine hours snogging, and, as I happily wrote up events in my diary that night, I assumed that we were now going out. The smudged pages still reek of Lynx Africa (fortunately he had left it behind, so I was able to give future readers the full sensual experience by spritzing it lavishly all over the page) and leave little of my dignity intact. As you may have guessed, we were not going out, and he proceeded to ignore me for about a year.

Despite the aforementioned influx of requests to take me out on a date, I suspect that most men would run several hundred miles if they could witness my stalkerish tendencies in full flow. This is fine, though. Although a friend recently commented that my future husband will probably be “a bit of a bum, in order to cancel you out”, I’ve never really been able to imagine any prospective boyfriend as someone who’s ‘not really too bothered’ about things. My ideal man would be emotional and angry, and we’d have violent arguments (and passionate reconciliations too, obv).

But they say that opposites attract, and over the past few weeks I’ve started to think that ‘they’ might be right. My new man is possibly the most easy-going, indifferent man ever to exist. At a dinner party I held over Christmas, someone put him in the freezer, and I didn’t hear a peep out of him for hours. Unfortunately, the few idyllic weeks we have shared must come to an abrupt halt. Gustav: it’s been great, but you’ve made me realise that dating a man who’s unable to stand up for himself (or stand up at all, without his head falling off) is just not for me. Ever since I left you at home by mistake and you had to be posted to me inside a trainer (Mummy, what were you thinking?!), it just hasn’t been the same.

So, once I have forcibly separated Gustav from his newspaper (he’s been reading it for weeks; surely he must be bored by now?) and we’ve had a little chat, I’ll be single once more. This time, I’d like a man who will argue back.

The gentleman in question