The time I went on a date: Part 2

Another lengthy tale of my awkward life, handily divided into two parts. Part One is available here.

Eventually it was time for the film. I’d promised an Orange Wednesdays voucher and failed to deliver (friend never got back to me with it!); he tried to contact a friend last minute to get one but that didn’t appear either. Discussion of this failure took up far more of the conversation than I would have liked.
Thus when he tried to insist upon paying for our tickets I outright refused. I felt bad enough as it was. Not to mention the fact that I thought he had a car and it would be no problem for him to get there: turned out he had to take a taxi straight from work. All the way across town. Expensive. Oops. And of course I had to ask where he lived: and of course it turned out to be 4 streets down the road from me. I couldn’t not offer him a lift home.

We chatted while the adverts were on. An interview was played in which a man had a thumb war with an actor, whereupon B turned to me and declared that he had never been beaten in a thumb war. This did make me laugh; he was clearly messing about but then he insisted on challenging me. He wasn’t lying when he said he was good: I nearly lost that thumb then. Guess that would have brought the date to a swift close.
He heard it click as it bent backward and apologised, holding out his hand as though ready to take my hand and ‘inspect for damage’. Far be it from me to judge such tricks, as we know I am not above that shizzle, but I just wasn’t into it. I laughed it off (I was going to stick the good old adjective ‘awkwardly’ in there but really? I think we can just take that as a standing situational thing. It was all awkward).

The film itself was fine. Part of a series, the rest of which I’d never seen, so I was rather confused throughout but whatever. It was alright. And the lead actor was kind of cute.

As we walked down the steps out of the screening room B ended up ahead of me. My glance happened to fall on the back of his neck: two small silver bars poked out of his neck. Like tiny, tiny Frankenstein’s monster bolts. It was a weirdly deep-looking piercing as well. Anyway, regardless of depth, I’m not a fan of piercings in men (personally I don’t like any piercings but that is due to my combined needles and holes phobias). Not important but still.

I drove him home. He didn’t actually show me where his house or even his actual street were: he just said the layby under the bridge was fine. So ok, I pulled over. I was extremely worried that this would be the moment he went for a kiss. He began to lean over… for a hug. Relieved, I returned the hug and promptly SMACKED HIM IN THE FACE with my upper arm. Hastily I began to withdraw and apologise: mid-apology I once again SMACKED HIM IN THE FACE, this time with my hand. He just got out then.

I drove home ever so fast and hunted out my housemate and her boyfriend. Like surrogate parents they listened to every detail, offered me about 20 pieces of conflicting advice (while B texted me about the good time he’d had) and then we went to the drive through for McFlurries. So that was good.

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The time I went on a date

It’s another random and long ongoing tale! Some may say I should finish one before I start another but yo, this is how I roll! Mainly cos I couldn’t be bothered to write the other one right now.

I originally wrote this in the before time – the date in question happened last year – but, as I had started telling this saga here before (and cos I read this and thought it was alright) I reckoned I might as well publish it. I want to state: I mean no offence to my datee here. Awkwardness was due to me. He was a nice guy who I just ultimately wasn’t interested in in that way.

Well I did it. I went on a date. A rather awkward date but that was to be expected. And hey, it wasn’t terrible.

Our original plan had been to meet at the cinema just before the film, however, B texted and asked whether I could meet him for a drink first. I really wasn’t sure about this – I’d thought that he might suggest going for a drink after but before? According to my friends and family: before is better. Gets it over and done with, it’s got a clear time limit and then at the end you can just go. I hadn’t thought of any of these things but, on reflection, I agreed.

And so we met 45 minutes before the film. I know that’s not long but hey; one drink (cos how early can I eat dinner, huh?) I’d driven there and as I opened my car door my phone bleeped: a text from him. He was already there. Fighting the sudden urge to leap in my car and keep driving until there was no more Britain to drive on, I headed toward the cinema. There he was. He looked… strangely red around the eyes. Like he’d been crying. I don’t know why – I wasn’t that late (two minutes tops).

He hugged me. Previous statements have declared how I feel about physical contact so I need say no more on that front.

He’d never been to that area before and so I suggested a bar. He offered to buy drinks – a coke for me, a pint for him. Pleasant but stilted conversation ensued. As we moved to sit at a table he decided to do a ‘cheers’-clink move with his glass. Sadly I had just leaned down to sip through my straw, half way through that sip I realised why he was shoving his glass at me and quickly tapped mine on his. I didn’t quite twig that some coke had just entered my mouth, the movement whipped the straw out of my mouth and the coke followed. I spluttered and dribbled awkwardly.

As I listened to him speak I began to feel awful. He told me about his life – his family back down south and his upcoming visit for his nephew’s birthday. There was a whole life there with just one gap: a gap for a girlfriend to slot into. I felt like I could see a path I would never take, it would never be me in that gap – it was all there before me but I knew, even then, that I just wasn’t interested in dating him.And no, it probably was no great loss to him, I’m sure he had no trouble finding dates. But it was the strangest sensation of seeing little snippets of a whole life laid out like a patchwork quilt with a square missing. I’m sure it’s just my overactive imagination but in that moment I really felt like I’d Seen Something. I don’t know. Just my own guilt talking really.

Part two will follow shortly (this got long. Like, seriously long. But I swear it’ll just be two parts).

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.

Precipice

I wait, buzzing with nerves, on the edge of a precipice. On one side lies, I think, happiness or at least the potential for it. On the other there’s just some pain, some sadness.

Each also has a doorway; an opening marked ‘A New Phase in Life’. I don’t know yet which route I’m going to be taking. That decision was taken out of my hands after I, in a rush of emotion followed by clear-headed determination, set off this chain of events last night.

And so I wait. I think I know what is more likely and try to prepare for that outcome. I honestly don’t know what the best result is though, I know what would feel best right now but beyond that?

‘No one is ever told what would have happened’ says Aslan to Lucy in ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’. For some reason that quote has always stuck with me. Once again, it is relevant.

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…

A long promised tale: part 2

So. Here I sit, in my living room, ‘Newsnight’ being mainly ignored in the background, red blanket wrapped around me because I’m still recovering from this damn cold (on antibiotics now!) and at last I think I might actually be in the mood to tell this story properly.

We left me before having just entered the studio theatre, peering around at the assorted strangers. Were there any cute ones? The honest answer is: yes.

The even more honest answer is: there were maybe two but on second glance, was that one a woman? A really masculine looking woman… surely it was a man? And yet he brought to mind my sewing teacher from school.

Looking back, I’m honestly not sure how much I ever believed that the person before me was a woman. He had a slightly feminine haircut and way of moving. And there was that resemblance to the sewing teacher (on reflection I think she just looked manly). But really it was just something I mentioned to J which then became ‘A Thing’.

Anyway. If he was a man: he was a rather cute one. If he was a woman: um. Not so much. I hoped for the former as I only swing one way (and if I did swing the other way, I don’t think ‘she’ would be my type).

Anyway. The second cute guy was shorter and blonder and muscular(…er?). Younger too I guessed but I stink at guessing ages. The rest of the group was made up of a pretty wide range of people – a couple of girls who looked to be around my age, some older women, guys from maybe 25 to 40 and finally, two older gentlemen.

I took my seat. I remember that first class pretty well. We had to think of a character and then come up to the front one by one. We then acted like our character and answered questions from the rest of the group who had to guess ‘who’ we were. I chose to be a rock star as I had recently become somewhat obsessed with David Bowie. It was a bit awkward. Actually. It was a lot awkward. I think people struggled to guess.

Next we were paired up. Then we had to stand in front of the class, one pair at a time, and improvise our two characters meeting in a lift. I was paired with E. She looked my age (I thought) but turned out to be around 8 years older. I stink at guessing.

Our ‘improv’ went fairly well, I guess. Nothing stands out about it now! The two cute guys were paired up. I forget what the blonde one did… I think he was some sort of young delinquent. The other one was ‘World War Two Veteran’. He did it really well – he sounded so weary and lonely! We watched as these two guys put together a strangely sweet little scene from nowhere – an unexpected connection between the very old and the very young. Memorable. As were the men themselves.

A long-promised tale

A while ago on here I promised to tell the story of my first serious boyfriend: ‘The Guy I Liked’ Actually it was on this post: https://crimineaux.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/making-contact/

Now I hope it to be a tale worth telling and as such I am just going to plunge straight in…

A English city. A girl who suddenly feels alone even though she’s still at home.

Alone because all of my friends, except one, had just gone off to university. I decided not to, it wasn’t the right place for me at the time (I did go two years later). But I was lonely. I think it was my mum who saw the advert:

‘Local Theatre Company seeks new members. Come along to our Tuesday welcome evenings and get involved!’

So I did. And I learned about the weekly actor’s workshop every Thursday. I was very nervous but I knew I had to do it. Unfortunately, approximately one minute before I was supposed to leave I nipped to the toilet with my phone in my pocket. My phone did not stay in my pocket. My phone jumped down the toilet. That was a bad time.

Anyway. Off I went. I’d persuaded my friend, J, to go with me for moral support. I dressed in what was hopefully a creative, artistic yet casual manner. Possibly I just looked like an ass.

My nervousness increased as we entered the building. There were about twelve other people in the black painted ‘Studio Theatre’, including that week’s teacher. A few others appeared to be new and the teacher had everyone introduce themselves. As usual I couldn’t help but have a quick scout out for interesting looking men…

To be continued (as this is gonna get long. Figured bite size chunks would go down better!)