Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

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I am writing this under the influence of a wicked hangover, after perhaps the most heinous episode of drunk dialling that I've ever experienced. As always, the evening started out beautifully before spiralling out of control. I had just returned from a detox at a spa in Thailand, where I lived on coconut juice – no dairy, wheat, alcohol, caffeine or anything fun. So, when I got back and was heading to a cocktail party with a load of friends, I felt amazing. And one of them, a very cute guy called Adam, is good friends with my ex-boyfriend Paul.

Adam and I were chatting about the US elections, and I told him I planned to stay home and watch the coverage, because for the first time in ages we have an exciting contest. I started thinking about how relationships resemble political parties. In the beginning, we're brave and believe in radical change, a few years later we realise it's all about compromise.

While chatting with Adam about making concessions in politics and in life, I confessed that I'd been thinking about Paul lately. He's been having a lot of problems, so I encouraged him to go in to therapy. I suppose I was hoping, deep down, he could get his life together and we could give our relationship another go.

"Paul? Depressed? I hate to burst your bubble Cat, but Paul has been hitting on everything that moves," Adam laughed.

I was shocked. According to Adam, Paul has even been trying to date a good friend of mine, who rebuffed him – and was too polite to tell me. I had been a good friend to Paul. So I was angry that he hadn't told me what was going on. Clearly, the solution was to have a rational chat with him. But who wants to be rational after seven vodka-tonics? Since I lack a shut-off valve between my mouth and my emotions, I decided to call him there and then.

My fingers were as unsteady as my brain. I checked my voicemail, and then I dialled Paul to leave an angry message. I guess he was more of a politician than I'd suspected, since he'd been keeping the truth from me, and telling me and doubtless countless other girls everything we wanted to hear.

Feeling vindicated, I joined my colleagues at the next bar and celebrated my liberation with a round of tequila shots. The next day, I met a work colleague for lunch. She gently told me that when she'd called, I had a strange outgoing message. I felt my stomach drop as I dialled into my voicemail service, and soon realised that I'd somehow recorded an outgoing message of me sobbing, and cursing Paul.

So who got to hear the drunken ravings? Well, I'd missed calls from several work contacts, including the editor of my book, who must now think that I'm clinically insane, and God knows how many others must have heard it. I was in need of a good spin-doctor. Still, I had to laugh. With my love life, there's no way in the world that I could ever run for office. Except maybe in France.

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