A long-promised tale: part 4

An occasional series where I tell the tale of my first real boyfriend. Parts one, two and three are available on the links if you want to start from the start!

To be honest… now I have a new boyfriend I felt a bit weird about telling this any more. I didn’t want to seem like I was longing for the past. But it’s part of my life. It happened and it was good and then one day it stopped happening and ultimately that was good too. If I tell the tale with fondness now, it is because, at the time, it was special.

So. I left Part 3 at the point where we had met, carried a bench and smiled at each other. I thought that was it. It was so busy and I wasn’t sure what the next part of the evening would entail: turned out to be a trip to the props store.

For an amateur theatre, their props store was pretty stunning. Hidden, at the end of a row of shops, behind a battered, green wooden door on a busy city street was a similarly battered hallway. Hatstands, picture frames and other detritus littered the cramped space. Beyond that: a steep flight of stairs as creaky as a cliched haunted house.

Up those stairs was where the awesome began. The landing opened out into a room which took up that entire level of the building. The room was stuffed with any and all props that could ever be imagined: there were whole sections for lamps, for washing machines, for outdoors, fantasy sets, sci-fi sets, historical sets. And that wasn’t all. This vast, brimful space was repeated – not just on the next floor, but on the floor after that too. Anything anyone could have hoped to feature in a play was in that room (for example, I later went there with a play set in a hairdresser in mind: within seconds I had been shown to the appropriate section and given a set of special hairdresser chairs, blow driers and a sink).

As newcomers, our minds were blown. That dusty treasure trove could have entertained me for hours. We wandered around, it was like a museum to the possibilities of theatre – I swear I got several story ideas just from the random items I saw there.

Not everyone was as enthralled as I: but the slim, nice man was. More often that not he would end up next me as we lingered by whatever had grabbed our attention. I made some exclamatory comment when I saw a stack of record players and he smiled. I could sense something. Some connection. I wanted to talk to him, I thought he wanted to talk to me. The only thing putting me off was his age.

He was clearly older than me. Quite a bit older. There was no way, I told myself, that he would be interested. He’s an actual man, not some boy from my old school. No chance. And so I continued to linger near him. The most passive approach to picking up men ever. I maneuvered myself next to him whenever possible, hoping he would break the ice. When our ‘tour guide’ paused to finish up his talk as we waited to leave I stood close. So close that I brushed against him. At the time it wasn’t creepy. Or maybe it was. I was young and painfully awkward.

And then, at last, the silence was shattered. “Wow that was really interesting” I remarked as we left the building. “Yes,” he replied, “I loved it”. Silence again. Argh!

“I have to say…” he continued, “Your t shirt is excellent. I love David Bowie.”

YES! THANK YOU BOWIE YOU WONDERFUL MAN. I knew I had to have that t shirt the moment I saw it. I just didn’t, at the time, know why.

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We pair up

Most of my friends seem to be in relationships these days. Not that strange; I am in one myself.

Not so very long ago this would have been truly unbelievable to any one of us – high school was as dry as a desert in terms of viable boyfriends and our tendency to spend lunch in our own HQ meant that we were seen, I suspect, as something of a lesbian coven (only a problem when trying to get boys!).

One by one we overcame the many obstacles that shy teenage girls face and began to date people! Some got boyfriends at uni, some through mutual friends – my first boyfriend came from a theatre group that I joined (a tale I will finish someday).

Things had changed (very much for the better)! And then, just recently, things seem to have changed again.

People are getting serious. People are moving in with each other. People are becoming a single unit when I know there are two of them really! I don’t feel like this is something I understand – the need to so seriously assert ‘We Are A Couple’. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with being serious or living together. It’s just the way they seem to go ‘Oh we’re adults now, yes, we are a serious couple of adults and we do all the same things!’

I’m sure their point of view of it makes sense. And I know I’ve A. Only been with my boyfriend 6 months when they’ve all been together for several years and B. Lived with my (previous) boyfriend before so have no desire to rush into that again.

Maybe I’m just different too? I like to be coupley but in my own way. And I like independence. And while I may sometimes secretly wish I could boss my boyfriend around the way I see my friends do, I know that that is not really what I want or need in a man. I think I need someone who knows his own mind and will not be pushed around. That’s not always the easiest route though, I guess.

Anyway. It’s late and I’m rambling. I’ve just realised it’s the weekend so I can stay up late but I think I’ll just fall asleep. WHAT HAVE I BECOME? (aaaand I didn’t publish this til Monday. But I was right. I did just fall asleep.)

The much more fun world of boys

Although I don’t suppose ‘boys’ is right any more as we are all MID-TWENTIES now. I don’t know how that happened.

Anyway. Back in the before, I’d mentioned my ex, I’d mentioned my FWB, I’d mentioned my awkward, awkward date (though I never did follow through with what happened on the date).

Well, one of these people is now my boyfriend… and it’s the FWB! 10 points if you guessed that (if you want to keep score, it’s 10 points every time you see a nun and you win if you see the pope. Insta-win. Cos he’s the hardest to spot of course.)*

This is something I probably won’t blog much about because for me this is personal and private. I wanted to mention him and I’m sure he’ll feature in general stories.       We started dating for real in January and… well. It’s good. 😀

I guess this is a short series of the main updates of my life in the 6 months that has zoomed by while the blog hibernated!

*This is a game my family and I would play when on holiday (for some reason there are more nuns on holiday) and it amused me immensely. It has no religious basis although I suppose onloookers could have thought that our utter delight when seeing members of the clergy etc stemmed from a religious rapture.

A long-promised tale: part 3

The ongoing saga of my first serious boyfriend continues (click ze links if you’ve missed parts one or two)

Week one of theatre was over. My friend J had enjoyed it but declined to return. I, however, knew that I had to continue – it was the thing that was lacking in my life back then. I needed a creative outlet or I’d go crazy!

The weeks went by and my theatre adventures settled into a routine: every Thursday one of my parents would give me a lift into the city. I’d take part in the workshop (fast becoming one of ‘the regulars’) and then we’d all retire to the bar after for a few drinks.

Although every episode had its fair share of low-level stress and awkwardness (I really do struggle with talking to people I don’t know), looking backing I mainly remember a very pleasing sensation of belonging. A core group of around 10 of us become good friends. I fit there. The things I wanted to talk about were the things they wanted to talk about too. I’m pretty sure that any measure of confidence I have with approaching strangers was sparked off in that old, dusty red bar room.

I always think: however it may have all ended I don’t regret a single moment of it. It was a pretty important part of growing up for me.

And it was a vastly important part of Men As An Actual Concept Rather Than Just A Theoretical Distant Thing.

I’d become good friends with the younger man, C, I remember in particular standing outside the Theatre with him one week before the class started. He was wearing mirrored sunglasses and smoking a cigar. A cigar.

I was hopping about feeling like the ‘cool kid’ I’d never been at school. One of my friends arrived and asked if I was heading in. I told her I would soon. I wasn’t giving up this chance for one on one communication so quickly!

Looking back I can see how pathetic this was (and how pretentious he was). I know he liked me as a friend, he would often seek me out for a chat, but I equally know that he never saw me as anything more than that. I believed strongly in the power of hope I guess.

The other man, S, I had hardly spoken too. Until the props and scenery workshop that is…

To this day I’m not 100% sure why he particularly caught my eye that night. I remember he was wearing a nice jacket. I also remember I’d recently noticed his arms – slim but in a nice, defined way – and I suppose that was in my mind as he lifted the prop furniture. I decided that I had to speak to him that night.

Our communication began in an extremely insignificant way – I saw him approach a chest which really required two people to lift. My opening was there! I scurried over to help. He smiled and thanked me… and that was it. We had to carry on tidying. People kept talking to each of us. My grand plan of approach seemed to already be over.

Of course then, I had no idea what the rest of the evening would lead to or, indeed, why it was so lucky I had chosen to put on the particular t-shirt I was wearing…