Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

My sex life needs a good clean

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I got the message from Martin, the suave and sexy professional ballet dancer with whom I had two dates six months ago, last Sunday afternoon while I was sorting out my closet.

"Hey sexy," he murmured, "It's been a while since we hooked up, and after our kiss I've always wondered why we never took things further. I was wondering if you felt the same, and if you would be interested in catching up sometime. That is, if you still remember me..."

How could I forget? We made out for a full 10 minutes in the front seat of his car, steaming up his windows. But something had stopped me from inviting him upstairs, and we lost touch a few weeks later. Normally, I'm wary of recycling exes. But he was gorgeous, charming and super-fit - and the closest I'd gotten lately to a dirty afternoon was scrubbing the rings off my bathtub. So I decided to give him a call.

That night, he whisked me off to a swanky restaurant and told me how stunning I looked. Our date was going so smashingly that I found myself wondering why we hadn't clicked first time around. That is, until he started reciting the fat and calorie content of every item on the menu, and then spent half an hour describing the intricacies of his morning workout. For dessert, I suggested the crème brulée. "I wouldn't if I were you, Cat," he said. "Your metabolism may be fine now, but in a couple of years you'll regret it." The only thing I regretted at that point was not having hit the delete button on my phone sooner.

And that's when it hit me: Every year, I religiously spring clean my closet, but isn't it my little black book I should be blowing the cobwebs off? Finding a man with the same longevity as my wardrobe staples presents a serious challenge: the vast majority of my relationships go out of fashion quicker than this season's platform heels.

So I decided to spring clean my love life by applying the same ruthless logic to my mobile phone that I use with my moth-eaten garments: anyone I haven't used - or missed - in the past year gets deleted from my life. Once I started consigning my outdated relationships to the same fate as my acid-washed jeans, I found that I couldn't stop. In two minutes, my vacation fling, my surfer shag buddy and someone labelled, simply, "Random Guy From Amsterdam" were all erased from history.

It was incredibly liberating to get rid of my emotional clutter. My friend Victoria questioned my wisdom. "I always have a couple of guys in reserve who I know I can count on for a good night out," she said. "More importantly, I already know that they are good in bed."

Like Victoria, I always believed that hanging on to the numbers gave me a sense of security - but I hadn't realised how much they were holding me back. So when Martin called to ask if I was busy this week, I politely declined.

After all, if I can't bring myself to chuck out the things I've outgrown, how can I expect to have room for anything new? I may feel a bit naked and vulnerable without my fallback flings, but springtime is the perfect excuse for a sexual shopping spree.

c.townsend@independent.co.uk

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