An old flame sent me a text message completely out of the blue this week.
I met him though work about eighteen months ago. We had swapped numbers and I sent him a friendly message hinting I wanted to see him again.
I was rather bemused when he didn't take the bait. Back then, I was rather less wise to the ways of the world and it took some time before I realised what he was doing.
He was playing with me. He was playing a little game to make me beg.
In the end, after much painstaking chit-chat, I broke my mum's golden rule that the sperm chases the egg. I succumbed to his teasing and asked him out myself.
He readily agreed and we met at the Chandos in Soho. From the off, the spark was there.
We got tipsy on a couple too many drinks (which felt quite naughty as it was a Monday night) and were perched side-by-side on a couple of bar stools. I remember leaning against each other and think I had my hand on his knee.
He even admitted that he had deliberately strung me along to get me to ask him on a date. When I asked why, he looked astonished and said: “I just wanted to see how long it would take you to ask me. I knew you would in the end.” We both giggled.
By this point, although we hadn't actually kissed, I had thought that a goodbye smooch at the end of the night was a given.
He had told me one rather disturbing fact. It transpired he still lived with his ex, from whom he had split just three weeks before.
In my happy, distracted state, this didn't sink in.
I was surprised when he suddenly looked at his watch and told me he wanted to make a move as he had an early start the next day.
Disappointed, I followed him outside. He was a tall chap and when I reached up to give him a small cuddle goodnight, he held me at arm's length.
“I'm not really in a dating mood at the moment,” he told me firmly, looking straight into my eyes. “Sorry. I had a really good time, though.”
I felt silly and awkward, recognised the classic brush-off. Mumbling a few words of goodbye, I turned into the dark to find a bus stop.
The next day, however, he messaged me to apologise.
I sent a friendly reply and tried to put the whole thing out of my mind. But I couldn't help thinking about how the little game he had played before our date had been more than coyness – it was a deliberate attempt to boost his rebounding ego.
A few months later, I got a text from him saying he was in The Chandos and was thinking of me. My spirits lifted and I sent a chatty text back. But he didn't reply.
Disgruntled, I tried to forget about it. He was obviously a time-waster.
Until, that is, the same happened two months later. 'Hi Saff, I'm in the Chandos! How are you? x'
This time, I paused before replying. Should I fall into the same trap yet again? Or give him one more chance? I replied, asking: “How's life?”
This time, I vowed to ignore him forever. He was either still playing a game or just drunk.
Every few months, he continued to send the odd message, to which I resisted replying.
The trouble is, time makes you forget your resolutions.
And after a year of no contact, he sent me a text last week. Can you guess where he was?
This time, my resolve shattered and I replied. I was shocked when I got a message back. He was exuberantly friendly and asked me about my life. Where was I living? How was my job?
A little conversation started and I was completely drawn in. He seemed to be probing to find out if I was single. He was also showing off about his life and obviously wanted to impress. “I'm going on a trip to Everest,” he informed me, “so I've been doing lots of running, cycling and climbing.”
After about four texts each way, I decided that this small talk was limited. I remembered how he had strung me along last time, waiting for me to ask him out.
I wasn't going to let it happen again. So I got flirty to move things along.
“So you've been sculpting your guns. Have you been giving free gun shows?” I asked (referring, of course, to his biceps, in the manner of the film 'Anchorman').
I waited for a response. I waited and...waited.
Nothing. I haven't heard from him since.
Was he really put off when I started being cheeky? If so, what on earth did he want from me?
Surely not endless text messages of idle chit chat?
I had hoped, silly me, that he might actually want a date.
But after days of silence, I've realised I'm still, after 18 months, on the back burner. He doesn't want to meet me, he just wants to make sure I'm still there.
I'm like the old tin of baked beans he keeps at the back of the cupboard, just in case he runs out of everything else.
So I have decided not to be those baked beans any longer. I am removing myself from his cupboard permanently and will never allow his tin opener anywhere near me.