John Burt recalls the moment one-night stands were beaten by the marathon of long-term love.

While carrying on with as many people as possible can be a wild ride, there comes a time when the head rush of rampant one-night stands fades and it’s time to go one-on-one for the long haul. This turnaround is as inevitable as rain on a bank holiday, and it can be very sudden, as was the case with me…

Description: Kev’s ‘smell my ice cream’ prank was about to ruin the moment…

Kev’s ‘smell my ice cream’ prank was about to ruin the moment…

“There I was – a vaguely handsome, young go-getter fully enjoying my mid-to-late 20s, doing normal twenty-something things and having extremely occasional sex with virtual strangers. I was single. I had a spattering of hair on my face that I called a beard. I smoked roll-ups indoors because it was legal, I drank weak lager, I had a very low-level job in the media – in American terms, I ‘had it going on’. Kind of, But little did I know that my entire universe was about to implode. Big time.

“On this particular day, I was 28 years old. It was summertime, so it had been raining heavily, and I’d spent the previous night enjoying shelter and enthusiastic but clumsy sex with someone lovely who I’d met at around 10pm in London bar. I’d approached her after a few pints of wine to shout my name at her nose. We’d moved on to some in-depth shrieking about our jobs, and I’d yelled a debonair comment about her being pretty, before strolling up to the bar to scream for two more drinks – one for me, and one for the hot chick who’d just nipped off to the toilets to spew.

“We ended up back at her place via a load of face-licking in the back of a taxi, and it wasn’t long before we were both naked in her bedroom attempting to recreate scenes from Basic Instinct. At one point I remember falling off the bed while she was doing something mind-boggling with her tongue.

“Great girl. Brilliant night. Or so you’d think. Because, as I slalomed home the next morning, attempting to rearrange my memories in order, starting with guessing what her name might be – she looked like a Sarah – there wasn’t any joy left in my heart. This was weird. Normally, these kind of rare, no-strings vacuous sex marathons would have me bumping chests with strangers. But not this time. Impromptu love-making with a pretty blonde called something-or-other: check. Inner-peace and happiness: uncheck. Disturbing thoughts flooded into my brain like giant crashing waves made from pure fire. Why did I feel so miserable? Why was I so hollow inside, like an eggshell without any egg in it? Why did I want to weep naked in front of a mirror with “SLUT” scrawled on it in lipstick?

Description: Why did I feel so miserable

Why did I feel so miserable ?

“And then it hit me, like it hits all men eventually. I didn’t want a one-night stand that meant nothing. I wanted a cuddle in bed with someone who knew my name. I wanted to go for a walk in the afternoon holding hands with someone who had seen me at my worst as well as my best. I wanted to stroke someone’s face without it being really creepy. I wanted a girlfriend. An actual, real life, lovely, amazing, brilliant girlfriend, who I could proudly parade in front of people while they all stood back and clapped and told us how great we looked together. Yes, sir, it was time to put away childish things and become a big hairy man with a job and a car and a wife and some children and cigars and gold clubs and a barbecue.

“So far I’ve managed the hairy bit, and I’ve asked a girl to marry me. Now I just need some driving/gold/barbecue lessons. And a proper job. And some cigars. And the opposite of condoms.”

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