Alison Taylor on relationships: 'A romantic getaway with a new beau? Mmm, sort of'


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The Independent Online

Do you know what's not sexy? Yoga pants, on a bloke. Drool (mine) on a pillow. A toilet, just five feet from your bed. Welcome to my 'romantic' weekend. I've been seeing a guy for a couple of months and decided May Bank Holiday weekend was the perfect time for us to take a road trip together. Our accommodation? A shepherd's hut. In a stranger's garden.

It was quite a nice shepherd's hut. A very cute, whitewashed, Cath-Kidstoned-to-the-hilt shepherd's hut, in the idyllic grounds of a B&B in rural Oxfordshire. But still, it was accommodation originally intended for a man and his dog, with barely room to swing a cat, let alone a dog, at 12x8ft. Throw in a Channel 5 camera crew and you'd have yourself some post-watershed reality TV.

Going away with a new beau can be daunting anyway, without the added challenges of dolls' house-sized dwellings. I mean, what if you hate them once you've bedded down? What if they get angry because you're incapable of downloading a satnav app to your phone and you're parked up in a lay-by by the A2, sulking, and it's only 10 minutes into your trip? What if he's massively hungover, only capable of monosyllabic answers and turning his nose up at your, frankly extravagant, packed lunch because he just wants a Burger King? There are a lot of what ifs...

Back in the hut, and he's kicking back in these weird, black, yoga-ish pants and the wood-burning stove has rendered the hut so balmy that I've passed out on the bed and begun my drool assault on the pillow.

The next Great Idea Of Mine is to check out the local Indian restaurant, not really thinking through the proximity of the toilet to the bed we'd be sharing. Suddenly, the words of a neurotic-but-sensible friend become relevant: "Don't eat, for at least the first six months, if you are on any kind of joint trip together. Just drink".

This was the second night, too, so you'd think I'd have learnt the lessons of the previous night, when each time I needed to go, I felt compelled to turn on the tap in a bid to drown out any unfortunate noises. I'm a moron; I realise this.

But there's a fine line between intimate and gross, which brings to mind my friend's holiday experience with a new boyfriend: they drank so much one evening she was sick on herself during the night.

It's something to aim for next time, anyway. Assuming there is a next time.