Imposter Syndrome

‘No thanks. I’ll just have a cup of tea please.’ I am sitting in this flat and looking around. It’s very clean and tidy. In fact, it’s quite comfortable. I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this tastefully decorated room. I think I’ve seen too many movies. Well, I suppose I should just try to relax a bit. After all, that’s what I’m here for.

Let me give you a little background. I’m in my 30’s. I have a good job. Not a very exciting job, but it pays well. I have a very nice wife. We met in school, married as soon as we were out of our teens and had our first kid within a year. We have three now. She is a stay at home mum and tells me she’s very happy with the arrangement.

You would think I should be too. We’re like those 1950’s perfect family set ups. Isn’t that what everyone really dreams of. I go to work, bring home the bacon and she keeps the house immaculately, cooks for me, takes care of all the children’s needs and is wonderful company. We have a sex life, but it’s not very exciting or frequent. It’s hard to do that when you’ve got three kids. She’s not particularly interested in having child free time together or trying to spice things up.

Maybe I’m selfish, but sometimes I feel like I’m just playing a part in my own life. I often find myself wondering ‘Is this it?’ It’s like that proverbial hamster wheel. I work five days, come home, eat, watch TV and go to sleep. Saturday, we go shopping and take the kids out for something they’ll enjoy. Sunday, I do chores in the garden and around the house and then Monday it starts all over again.

I’m sure that my life is what so many other men dream of and I often beat myself up about being ungrateful. I remind myself to remember all those with so much less than I have. I don’t have crazy dreams of running away and becoming an artist in Paris or anything like that. I just don’t want to feel I’ve wasted my life away, waiting for retirement and being so bored by then, that I just sit in an armchair in front of the telly until I die. It’s what I’ve seen so many other men do.

But it turns out, there are men out there who are like me. This is how I got to where I am now. In this flat, waiting for a woman, I’ve never met, to make me a cup of tea.

I went on a business trip to London with a guy I don’t know very well from the accounting department. We had to give a presentation to some higher ups at HQ. They put us up in a bog standard hotel. It’s fine. I stay here about once a month for these meetings. It has a bar downstairs. We arrived the afternoon before our first meeting and agreed to meet for drinks once we’d freshened up.

We got chatting and it turns out that Luke is a really good bloke. We have a lot in common, both married, with kids. After a couple of drinks, I started opening up to him and confided in him about my frustrations and worries. He listened sympathetically and then, out of the blue, just said ‘Well, we can fix that for you. No problem.’.

He explained that he has a secret way to liven up his life just enough so that he can appreciate it and not think about getting a divorce and starting again. Yikes! How did he know that I had been fighting those exact thoughts? He got out his phone and handed it to me. I looked at the phone and then looked back at him. I scrolled a bit. It was a site called Cleopatra Escorts.

‘You don’t mean you…?’ I said as I raised my eyebrows in his direction while continuing to scroll more intensely. He laughed and said ‘I certainly do. And I’ve had some seriously good times doing it too. Fancy giving it a go? I can arrange it all right now. Do you want them to come here?’

I nearly shit my trousers when he said that. ‘No! I can’t risk being caught or found out.’ He shrugged and said, ‘I’ve been doing it for years and no one ever has, but if you’re worried, we can arrange incalls. We can go to them.’ By the time I took in what he’d just said, I’d realised that I was already too invested and excited to say no, so I just nodded and smiled and let him do whatever it was he was going to do.

And this is how I ended up here. Luke stayed at the hotel to wait for his date. He said he prefers it that way. So, I’m all alone in this flat with this very attractive young Eastern European woman that Luke chose for me. I have no idea why, but she’s stunningly beautiful. Not the sort of woman I’d ever have dared ask out when I was younger. And she’s making me tea.

She returns to the room with a smile and a tray with tea and biscuits and sets them down on the coffee table in front of me. Her sultry accent is knocking me off balance and as she bends over to pour, my eyes become completely focused on her very generous cleavage. To be honest, except for a few drunken episodes, I’ve never slept with anyone but my wife.

She caught me looking, stood up and suddenly pulled her tight jumper over her head. She giggled and said ‘You want a better look? Before I knew it, we were making out on the sofa like teenagers. The tea and biscuits were going cold, I’d kicked my shoes off, and just as I was about to take my belt off, she stood up and smiled ‘Let’s move to the bedroom so I can finish what we started’.

It probably sounds a little bit adolescent, but I pretty much fell over myself in my haste to follow her like a little puppy. But, I’m not going to deny that I had so much fun. It was crazy. I didn’t even feel guilty. It wasn’t like I felt anything towards this woman. She’s friendly. She’s beautiful and entertaining, but she’s not my best friend. The experience was more like going to an amusement park for me. Doing scary, exciting, dangerous and very naughty things that you would never think of wanting to do every day and it giving you a little boost.

The following morning, Luke gave me a little wink and asked how it had gone. He laughed and fluffed my hair like a kid when I told him. Then he said, ‘How are you feeling about it?’ I thought for a moment and said, ‘I don’t feel bad at all. In fact, I feel great. I can’t wait to see my wife and kids. I feel less miserable than I’ve felt in ages and I’m actually looking forward to going home for once in quite a while.’ He nodded knowingly.

Part of me does know that my wife would never understand, much less, forgive me if she ever found out, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take to stop me from feeling like an imposter in my own life.