“Why do you keep getting us in these situations?” I asked silently.

No reply. I thought for a second he shrugged, as if to say “Hey, I’m just doing my job,” but it was probably just my imagination. I gave him a pat, we were in this mess together afterall. In a way he was my best friend. And at the same time he was probably my worst friend. If it wasn’t for him I would get so much done. I’d have a high distinction average, for one. But I had to deal with his constant interruptions, and damn it if he wasn’t convincing as hell.

I looked at the girl sleeping quietly beside me. As usual he had nothing helpful to offer. The strong and silent type. “Well at least she had a good time,” I thought. He liked that. He took pride in his work, you couldn’t fault him for being lazy.

Sighing I stretched and looked at my watch. 4:30 am. Great. We went for a drink at eight, so that means we spent, let’s see, eight and a half hours together. Eight and a half hours for fifteen minutes of pretty mid range fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I had the best intentions. She had looked pretty in the dress that now lay discarded at the foot of the bed. And although I heard all the things she said that were just terrible, my friend and I managed to convince me that they were endearing. We came to the conclusion that I really liked this girl. I imagined a future together. We’d go on dates and cuddle and go for brunch (except not go for brunch because eating one meal instead of two is just silly) and my friends would love her and we’d move into together and go to France and, well that was it, because I’m not a desperate creep who sits around fantasising about living the rest of his life with a girl he’s just met.

I don’t know why things are different now but it seems to happen like this a lot. I call it the Fog of War. Before, I’m like the commander studying battle plans and giving orders over that giant radio that soldiers wear on their backs. The campaign is proceeding exactly as planned, all reports indicate the enemy is being overwhelmed by our offensive strategy that rivals Sun Tzu in ingenuity, cunning and originality. Then afterwards I’m down on the front lines seeing all my boys chewed up, bodies and body parts littered all over the battlefield. Sometimes I feel like I’m living that scene at the end of Black Hawk Down. The commander goes to the med tent and see’s all his Rangers dying and all he can do is get down on his knees and ineffectually mop up the blood while he thinks what have I done.

Shaking my head, I can’t help think that comparing dating to war is a symptom that I’ve been single way too long. Or maybe it’s more of a case of listening to my oh so smart friend too much. Mentally clicking my fingers (we can’t risk waking her up) I decide he’s really the one to blame. From now on, I decide what to do. No more being ruled by a pathological need to meet women and get laid, no more searching for the one perfect girl. There’s more to life than sex and romance. I’m going to live my life for me.

Energised, I slip out of bed and get dressed as quietly as possible. I have a close call when I’m putting my jeans on but lucky I keep my balance and her kitschy vase survives to offend another day. Phone, keys, wallet. Time to go.

As I walk down the hall and out onto the street I feel refreshed. The fog is lifting. I begin to strut. Empowered, I almost start humming. I don’t even care I’ve been up all night. Class the next morning, so what. I’m the master of my own destiny.

“Maybe we’ll meet a girl on the way home,” says my friend.

I look down at my crotch. After a long pause I tell him, “There might be a cute girl at the bus stop.”