My winter of love: I was convinced no one wanted me. But there was a gorgeous man who did

The night of the party, I put my heartbreak aside. With nothing to lose, I walked up to a man and told him he was the most handsome one in the room

In a warehouse in Ladywood, Birmingham, with a papier-mache spine down my back and breath like a dustpan, I walked up to a man and said, without any preamble: “You are the most handsome man at this party.”

It was December 2004, the theme of the party was dinosaurs and, being a fan of puns, I had decided to go as a thesaurus. In my little room in Lupton Flats – the cheapest halls of residence at Leeds University at the time – I’d sat on the floor, beside my single bed, and patiently glued down layers of paper into a string of points. Reluctant to sacrifice my actual thesaurus, I had rooted around my reading list for another book, eventually choosing The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Listening to Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions and drinking PG Tips, it had taken me at least two hours to make the dinosaur spine, which would attach around my neck like a backwards pendant. Slipping it on and looking in the mirror, I wondered if anyone would even notice me.

Continue reading…