After aeons of being single, sparsely intermingled with a series of one night stands and dodgy relationships, I’ve finally started seeing someone really nice, his name is Mr M. It’s still early days, but this is the story of how it almost didn’t get past our first night together.

Everything was going really well. We went out for a romantic dinner, (our sixth in a row) and one thing led to another, or rather one scotch led to another and I found myself staying over at his place for the first time.

Perhaps it was because I was in a strange house, or because I’m used to having a whole bed to myself, or maybe it was his snoring like a steam train coming into station, but at around 3am I found myself wandering the rooms of his house. I wouldn’t call it snooping; it was more like sleep walking, with a purpose.

Anyway innocently (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) I stumbled upon “The Mantelpiece”. Every house has one. Sometimes it’s the piano or the fridge or even hidden under a pile of books and old magazines, at the very back of the bookshelf, behind the desk in the study. It’s the place where the photos are kept.

It was at that point that our relationship almost came to a grinding halt. Not because he caught me going through his things, or because I found a secret stash of snuff pornography, but because I saw a photo of him and his ex-wife.

I was shocked. Her and I are on opposite ends of the chick scale. Where I ying she yangs. We differ in every possible area. Fashion sense, style, body shape, personality, hair style, colouring, everything. And he really liked her at one point, hell he was married to her.

It got me thinking, (as one does while skulking around in a strange house, half naked at 3am) what does the kind of woman my guy likes say about me? How could he possibly be attracted to both of us? Does he think I’m similar to her? Or perhaps it’s because we’re so different that he’s attracted to me. Could I sleep with this man again after knowing where he’d been?

But then I calmed myself. There was an upside. At least she wasn’t a supermodel. Nobody wants to live up to that kind of pressure.

If his ex had been a six-foot blonde bombshell I don’t think I would have been able to have sex with him again either, for fear my wobbly thighs would shock him to his core. After all, once you’ve flown first class, nobody wants to go back to economy. It’s all about standards and expectations.

Then a funny thought struck me. What about my past? If he saw where I had been would he be the one reaching for his jeans and running for the hills?

I did a quick mental scan of the men who’d passed through my bedroom over the last decade. There was “Bendy Boy” whose penis bent to the left much like a large banana. (Sex with him was like one long yoga class.) Then there was the commitment-phobe who couldn’t get out the door fast enough after we’d had sex, even though he did claim to ‘really like’ me.

Then there was Mr S, the restaurant manager, who sold my car CD player for drugs, and thought I wouldn’t notice it was missing. And the art director, who was about five years younger than me. I was absolutely besotted with him (why?) even after he dumped me for a “Smint Girl”. (One of those young girls paid to walk around bars/pubs/clubs promoting a breath freshener.)  And don’t even get me started on the anally retentive chef.

Suddenly my mantelpiece was looking a lot less attractive than his.

So I snuck back to the bedroom and climbed into the warm nook he had made for me. And I snuggled into a deep and peaceful sleep. Full of promises that I  would never ever look down on his ex-wife again. After all, maybe she didn’t have the best fashion sense or the longest legs, or a very refined sense of style. But if her last relationship is anything to go by, her taste in men is a damn site better than mine.

By: Paige Nick

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