Since my relationship ended back in February, I have been living at home with my parents again. It's good. I get on well with my mum and dad - much better than I did when I lived here as a teenager, that's for sure. My brothers are lovely and entertaining, and I love that there is always company around when I want it. My washing is done for me and my parents own a dishwasher (something I have never had in rented accommodation), as well as a corner bath where I spend many happy - and sometimes less happy - hours. I have a lot more creature comforts than I would do in my own place, and always have someone to talk to.
And yet... after five months, I have come up against a problem. The truth is, deep down, I am still scared of my mum. Not in the same way as I was as a teenager, when all we did was scream at each other... in fact, we get on really well now, and I ask her for her advice on things all the time. The problem is that, despite the fact I am 26 not sixteen, I'd really like my mum to believe I'm still a virgin.
This is ridiculous, of course. I have had more than one boyfriend to stay over in the last ten years, and I've actually lived with two of them. Plus there was the diary-reading incident of 2001 - we don't talk about it, but we both know it happened. But despite this, when The Man I Am Seeing invited me to his house for dinner and, more crucially, for breakfast, my first thought was, "How am I going to tell my mother?"
My mum is not naïve. When she was fourteen, she had a boyfriend with a car. A few years ago, my nan found a picture of her as a teenager snogging my dad on the lawn, and was very excited to show it to us... until it turned out not to be my dad. When I once asked her to tell me something I didn't know about her, she revealed she'd dated a Moroccan boy when she was fifteen (I have no idea how; she never went on holiday abroad and she wasn't exactly brought up somewhere multi-cultural). However, my mum and dad did meet when she was seventeen, get married when she was 21, and they are still together more than thirty years later. Like many women of her generation, she missed out on being both adult and single.
I am not talking here about "having needs". My god, I certainly wouldn't admit to a one night stand! But I just can't decide how to position the news that I am staying over with a man relatively early on in the relationship, and that's a shame because the truth is that I think this guy is someone really, really special, and my decision to stay has just a little bit to do with sex, and a lot to do with spending some quality time together (and the fact that he lives an hour and a half away, and I'd like to have a glass of wine). I could just tell her this, of course, but like my teenage self, I sometimes think the less said on these things the better. I'll probably just tell her not to wait up, and then run. At least now I'm old enough not to have to ask my dad for a lift...