LONG-DIS­TANCE LOVE

ROXY BOUR­DIL­LON ON THE AGONY AND EC­STASY OF LONGDISTANCE LOV­ING

Diva (UK) - - Contents -

How to sur­vive when your gal is in a dif­fer­ent time zone

Con­fes­sion time. I have had a lot of long- dis­tance re­la­tion­ships. Whole oceans full, in fact, of pin­ing, whin­ing, spon­ta­neous-sob­bing- on-pub­lic-trans­port LDRS. Some women like tomboys, oth­ers fancy femmes, I’m drawn to those in dif­fer­ent time zones.

I met my cur­rent girl­friend on­line and for the first year, we lived at op­po­site ends of the M1. Our song was Cyndi Lau­per’s I Drove All Night. I asked her how she’d found it. “Tir­ing. I put on a lot of weight, got into a lot of debt and lost a lot of friends. I couldn’t rec­om­mend it enough.”

Of course there are ben­e­fits to long- dis­tance love af­fairs. You can re­ally slack off on your shav­ing regime and use the other side of your dou­ble bed for stor­age. But the best part is that you both go the ex­tra mile, or 193 miles in our case, to make those pre­cious mo­ments you do have to­gether sparkle. Like the time I showed up at the bus sta­tion sport­ing stock­ings, sus­penders, a basque and, in or­der to avoid giv­ing the driver a heart at­tack, a flasher mac. Not ex­actly the com­fi­est of trav­el­ling at­tire, but not be­ing able to breathe for six hours had its ad­van­tages. I barely no­ticed the Me­gabus’ famed aroma of eau d’armpit. If you fancy try­ing this at home, be warned. If that Me­gabus emer­gency stops, those Me­ga­boobs might just Me­gaburst out of that Me­gabasque. At that point, I was less Sophia Loren, more Carry On Up The Coach.

With the cost of travel and raunchy un­der­crack­ers, we couldn’t stretch to proper holi­gays. So, in an at­tempt to trans­form her back gar­den into a trop­i­cal par­adise, she bought me a pad­dling pool. That’s right. I spice up our love life by dress­ing like a slutty god­dess, she does it by pur­chas­ing an in­flat­able tub de­signed for a tod­dler.

Aside from Me­ga­boob-gate and sip­ping cham­pers pad­dling-pool­side, my most po­tent mem­ory of that year is the gnawing, phys­i­cal ache that en­gulfed my heart. I spent count­less nights alone, spoon­ing my pil­low and pre­tend­ing it was her. I longed for the touch of her skin, the scent of her hair, and fre­quently found my­self wan­der­ing around my flat sniff­ing her t-shirt like a les­bian pos­sessed. When­ever we were re­united we did our best to soak up ev­ery sec­ond and store it for later, but the knowl­edge of our im­mi­nent part­ing hung heavy over our heads, as did the 4am alarm call on the Mon­day morn­ing.

I don’t know how my ner­vous sys­tem sur­vived such pro­longed tor­ment. We spoke daily, but long and wind­ing phone calls aren’t the same as faceto-fanny phys­i­cal con­tact. There’s no greater pas­sion killer than your dirty talk­ing sesh be­ing in­ter­rupted by bad sig­nal. And Lord knows, you can’t scis­sor a we­b­cam.

I won­der if queer women, just like 18th cen­tury po­ets, are pre­dis­posed to tor­tured ro­mance. There’s an epi­demic of long- dis­tance lez­zas and Wifi wifeys, and tech­nol­ogy is our saviour. How did peo­ple cope in the days be­fore 4G? Did they send car­rier pi­geons with love son­nets scrawled on parch­ment? Or were they too busy shov­ing minia­ture ta­pes­tries of their sweet­heart’s face down their bloomers?

One of the tough­est things about long- dis­tance love is the in­evitable emo­tional self-harm­ing, and by that I mean ob­ses­sive stalk­ing on so­cial me­dia. I could reg­u­larly be found, mer­lot in hand, los­ing my prover­bial and my last shred of dig­nity over any re­motely un­usual on­line ac­tiv­ity. “Whad­dya mean she LIKED your PRO­FILE PIC­TURE?? How am I sup­posed to live in con­di­tions like these??”

But de­spite all the draw­backs, the emo­tional an­guish and the wrestling with your in­ner crazy bitch, I still don’t think you should set­tle be­cause of ge­og­ra­phy. There’s a whole lot of world out there. What are the odds your soul­mate lives right around the cor­ner? Fac­tor in the queer odds and it’s even more dire. “We’re in­cred­i­bly com­pat­i­ble, we have the same post­code,” is nei­ther con­vinc­ing nor ro­man­tic. The re­al­ity is, the per­son you’re the most suited to might not just hap­pen to live within af­ford­able Uber- ing dis­tance.

I am liv­ing, breath­ing, co-habit­ing proof that long- dis­tance hook-ups can turn into last­ing love. From one ex­treme to an­other, me and my M1 honey now live per­ma­nently squashed up against each other in our minis­cule stu­dio flat.

So how do you sur­vive if you find your­self in the per­fect cou­ple in a far from per­fect sit­u­a­tion (far be­ing the op­er­a­tive word)? It comes to a point when you have to ask your­self if the pain is worth the pay­off. Does the limited time you spend to­gether make up for the ex­tended hours you spend apart? And if it does, hang in there, shower her in sappy texts, Skype of­ten and make a plan so that some­day soon you can be to­gether for real.

“Some like tomboys, oth­ers like femmes, I’m drawn to those in other time zones”

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