Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Birthday Party

To tell you the truth, I didn't want to go - not because I didn't fancy it, more that I was shattered by a general malaise, a lack of vitamin C, and probably B and A too, and being kept awake at the weekend - the sleep catch-up days - by a neighbouring Pole who likes to blast out Radio 2 at 9am. It was all playing havoc with my delicate state of mind.

Nonetheless, Kate, the wife of my old Uni mate Dan, had invited me to her birthday party. I was in two minds.

'You might meet someone,' said Large Northern Flatmate.
'Ha!' I ejaculated. "Fat chance."
Large Northern Flatmate stopped short of recommending I stay in with him. After all, his girlfriend was coming over - which is why he wasn't going himself - and nothing more could put the sexual dampeners on their relationship than the sight of me watching telly in a towel.

'Fuck it, I'm going to go,' I announced. Despite having all the energy of roadkill, I couldn't face the idea of returning to work on Monday morning having done nothing more with my weekend than drinking cheap wine, chainsmoking, and playing Spider fucking Solitaire on the computer.

When I got to the pub, I was spaced out, an exhausted fish out of water. Dan was pleased to see me, but then he's pleased to see everyone. His birthday wife Kate was obviously chatting to all the other guests, and I only knew Stuart, another friend from University, there with his 8 week old baby daughter and new wife.

I tried talking to her at one point while she sat in the corner with her babe in her arms, facing her.
'Is she asleep?' I offered.
'Huh?' she said over the music.
'IS SHE ASLEEP?'' If she was, she wouldn't be for much longer.
'What?'
I leant in, grinning, and staring at the back of her child's head.
'I said, 'IS SHE ASLEEP?'
'Uh, no. She's feeding.'
I grimaced. Suddenly I could see tit. Oh god, social awkwardness, social awkwardness.

Brilliant. I've known her for three minutes and already I've seen her nipple being sucked.

The other guests were older than I expected; this was a Fortieth birthday party after all. Even Dan's father was there. I last met him at Dan's stag party - my first one - almost a decade ago. Everyone else seemed to be coupled. Brilliant.

Then I saw a cute girl nearby. Very cute. Probably someone's girlfriend. With nothing else to do, I sauntered closer to the buffet table and wolfed down some chicken on sticks when the girl came towards me to grab a chair.
Strangely, somehow, she looked familiar.

'I know you, don't I?'
'Yes, we met at Dan's Thirtieth.'
I searched my mind. Possibly.
'I'd arrived late; you were very drunk.'
I recoiled at the suggestion. Although it is not unknown for me to get very drunk, I am incredibly good at hiding it. My 'very drunk' doesn't involve rolling around, slurring, smashing things, vomiting, and joining AA the following morning. It's similar, but on a much smaller, more socially acceptable level.
Honestly.

We sat down and chatted, and I pieced together the details of this ambiguous meeting; it was in the East End. It was the upstairs of a pub with a DJ. I was there with Hippy Dave. Yes, I was drunk, but I prefer the term 'Merrily Controlled'. I did remember it.

Apparently, I had told her that she looked like Liv Tyler. I could see why. And I recall, back then, being gutted that she had to leave so early as she was lovely. Chatting to her properly this time, I realised how fabulous she is. She has a great laugh. She's cute and intelligent and self-deprecating, like a Peep Show girl. ("She knows about cubits, she's not comfortable in her own skin, she's one of Me!")

So naturally, as we talked, I braced myself for the word 'Boyfriend' to invade the conversation like the German Army marching into Paris.
It didn't.
Casually, I checked out her left hand - no rings.
I offered to buy her a drink but she was insistent - genuinely, resolutely adamant that she should buy me a drink instead. Jesus! (I politely refused.)

As we sat and talked, the minutes turned to hours. We found ourselves not bothering to mingle, preferring instead to chat in the corner about all manner of things. I decided not to go outside for a cigarette as I guessed that she'd be forced to chat to other people and that would be the end of our conversation. Regrettably she no longer lives in London but bloody Leicestershire some 100 motherfucking miles away. Still, it beats New York's 8,000 mile round-trip.

But there was one thing I couldn't understand. How the hell did she get to 31 without being snared by some swaggering arsehole??? She's like an unclaimed lottery ticket; one with charm and looks and intelligence and a sense of humour. It's only a matter of time before other men discover she's the female equivalent of a four-bedroomed townhouse in Kensington that's come on the market for a tenner.

Things were going fine until we had to leave. I said I would escort her to a tube station and, as we said our goodbyes to the other partygoers, Dan grabbed me conspiratorially.
'She's a lovely girl,' he said. 'I put in a good word for you.'
'Erm, what?'

I looked around. One of the female guests was staring at me with the same affection one might feel towards a puppy that would normally have shat on the carpet, but hasn't. We had been the object of scrutiny the whole evening.

Oh no. This was becoming the Goodbye Walk to the tube. Don't Goodbye Kisses happen at the end of the Goodbye Walk? Oh Fucksticks. I'm going to crash and burn.

We seemed to get on, but is she just being friendly? Maybe she's like the Unicorn, or God, one of those mythical, non-existent creatures; The Woman Who Seems To Like Me. But is she actually keen? She's not particularly tactile. She rates highly on the chatometer, but gets nil points for actual flirting.

We left the pub and out into the cool night. I lit a cigarette on impulse and soon gathered that she didn't smoke. My male intuition (78% less accurate than the female one) gauged that I'd gone down in her estimation. On extinguishing my cigarette, I reached for my chewing gum and offered her one, which she took.
Fuck, does this mean a goodbye kiss is on the cards? Oh Buddha.
Suddenly I began to shit it. Our long, easy conversation in the pub was beginning to elude me as I realised the Enormity of Everything. I was going to blow this all to smithereens.

As we got to Holborn tube, I realised it had gone midnight. Now I had another reason to panic as we were minutes away from missing the last tube. We got deep underground to the Piccadilly line where I was going west and she was heading east. Here we go...

'Well goodbye,' I said.
'Goodbye,' she replied.
Is she being aloof here? What bodypart is coming towards me? Aha! A cheek. I can handle a cheek. I gave her a kiss on it and gave her a small hug, hoping I didn't smell too much of cheap cigarettes.

Then I ballsed it up at the very last hurdle. There were only ever two options:
a) Tell her I had a great time and, coolly and calmly, leave, probably forever.
b) Tell her I had a great time, and ask for her number - despite time being of the essence - then coolly and calmy leave.

Instead, I opted for the middle way - the stupid, non-existent middle way.
As we were about to walk off, I found myself saying 'Oh, just one more thing...'
She stopped and turned.
'I, um... Oh.'
I realised I had something vitally important to tell her, but I didn't know what it was. My mind was absolutely empty; a vast, expansive tract of fuck-all.
'Umm, you see... ah! I don't quite know what I'm trying to say. It can't be important, obviously. Never mind.'
She looked confused. I was eighteen and inept again.

I think I was after a number, or some opportunity to meet up, but I was also aware that she's not local anymore and we were going to miss our trains at this rate.
'Forget it,' I said. 'Goodbye!'
I ran off.

Smoooothe.

40 comments:

elif said...

you should get her number from mutual friends and give her a call to see if she wants to meet up. so she doesn't like in london but it's not too far away, is it? come oooooooon

daisyfae said...

get her fucking number from friends! if she blows you off you're no worse off than if you don't try! DO IT!!!

Homer said...

You fucking divot. Get her phone number, stat. Leicester to London's only an hour and a bit on the train.

Dom said...

I think the term you want is 'Swayingly Refreshed'.

Anyway, ignore this lot, DO NOT get her number. You'll just crash, burn and hurt yourself. Instead make sure she gets my email address and I'll take the bullet for you :D

Angela-la-la said...

You are unfuckingbelievable! Get her number or I'll hunt you down and get you!

dave fishwick said...

''Ha!' I ejaculated.'

I've only read up to that bit, and felt that I had to post, and er, repeat it.

fwengebola said...

elif ~ Hmmmf, but it'll be so awkward. One of us will have to travel 100 miles just to 'meet up for a coffee', which is a little weird. Dammit, I should've layed the groundwork last night.
df ~ I could do - but What Then? I'll have to sleep on this.
Homer ~ I think I may call said mutual friends and work out what the score is. An hour's too far to get blown out again.
Dom ~ I was actually interested in heeding your advice until I read the second bit. Thanks.
Ang ~ I can't help it. It's not intentional.
Dave ~ You mean you only got a paragraph in before commenting? It gets worse, I'm afraid.

dave fishwick said...

Yeah, one paragraph in. Now that I've read that whole story, the only thing I can say is that's exactly the sort of thing I'd do. Seriously. Anyway, one thing that I'd also do is get her fucking number off your chums. Please. Now. You need to act on it pronto (pronto?!).

fwengebola said...

Pronto?
Is there a time limit among friends too - i.e. waiting 3 days before calling? I was rather hoping they'd contact me first to see how it went. Christ, I'm a coward.

elif said...

by the way i meant "she doesnt LIVE in london" but yeah you got the idea. damn i obviously can't type when i'm ill. 100 miles is not so far away, it only takes like 1,5 hours by car. given the fact that you went to the states to see a girl, that's nothing. DO IT or you shall never see your fellas in the south of turkey again!!!

luna said...

hahaha! "I don't quite know what I'm trying to say..."
She must be thinking she smells !

Anyway get her e-mail from your good fairy mate and start the msn chatting.

Otherwise you'd have blown your exceptional (undeserved) good fortune TWICE within the same week!
And I can't take any more of your recriminatory I-wish-I'd-done-it lamentation posts, do you hear?
So get your arse in gear.

As long as she's oblivious of your blog you still have a chance.

Dandelion said...

Go Fweng! And don't come back till you've done it.


[I'm only saying this for your own good, you understand]

Adman said...

100 miles away is the perfect distance! It means you don't have to visit more than once a week! Although she'd probably expect you to call allot...

bittersweet said...

*slap slap*

find her number ... it will be a romantic tale, once you have changed the ending.

Miss Milk said...

Ahh. You, my dear, fail.

Source her number off somebody else before it's too late. Honestly.

Z said...

She is hoping you'll call. She's wondering what she did to blow it. Reassure her, Fweng, she's too lovely to disappoint.

Get her number, phone her and, having chatted, get her email. You won't be self-conscious, getting to know her by email.

Jo said...

Stop being a knob and get her number.

Hannah said...

ARGH. Get her bloody number.

(I'm rarely unequivocal in these matters, but this tale provokes me. Just Do It.)

Peach said...

lol, I don't believe a word of it and you obviously got her number and are in the middle of a longish distance beginning of relationship thing1

Vi said...

For FUCKS SAKE!!!!

Find out her number!!!!!

I tell you what, I reckon you wanna be single all your life the way you are behaving!!!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

GET HER BLOOOOODY NUMBER

(ps. I know you deleted it, but this is where facebook comes in handy. poke poke)

fwengebola said...

elif ~ That's not really a threat, is it? If you're intending to murder all the Brits in Bodrum, then do it.
Luna ~ Yes. Email. That could work. I think that might work.
dand ~ Yes, I could, but Leicestershire? She's in Leicestershire!
Adman ~ 40 miles away would be even better. I wish I still had a car.
BS ~ I am trying to get her number, but it's proving kinda difficult.
MM ~ Source her number? Do you work in the Media?
Z ~ How do you know she's hoping I'll call? How can you be so sure? Start a new religion, and I'll follow you.
Jo ~ Why does non-number acquiring make me a knob?
Hannah ~ But I'm not sure. She's in Leicestershire and the tubes were about to stop and you're all just being girly.
Peach ~ The day I write posts that are untrue will be the day I stop blogging.
Vi ~ No... it's just Things... Aren't... Perfect... Enough...
Fuck.
PDEWYMO ~ Yes, thank you very much for that largely pointless reminder.

C said...

oh you bloody londoner! Leicestershire is not the outer hebrides! Dude, I travel that way many weekends- you're there in no time and trust me it's a sweet way to conduct a romance- i should know. PLUs, what have you to loose, if she aint interested, you don't have to see her again, she's in bloody leicester-outer hebrides-shire!

You know she's probably wondering why you won't call her and thinking it's because you were just being friendly..

Z said...

She remembered you from a 30th birthday party of a university contemporary of yours - that wasn't a couple of weeks ago, I assume? - you were drunk, discreetly so, but she both noticed and wasn't terminally put off.

You both enjoyed talking all evening and you weren't even flirting - she liked your company.

She looked confused when you became tongue-tied, because she'd expected you to ask for her number.

What more do you want? Water turning into wine? Cars turning into lamp posts? It's all right, you don't have to worship me - just doing what I suggest is quite enough

Paperbag Princess said...

I guess it depends on whether you treat your comments section as a democracy - in which case, i'd say the overwhelming vote is to - and i'll say it again - get in touch with the lovely girl.

Or, if you prefer, you are our proverbial lab rat and we say run after the goddamn cheese!

JamieSmitten said...

Oh my. I am deducting stud points for this. Please do what all these ^ people have said and contact her. Some women like inept 18-yr-old-like men.

Dandelion said...

Stuff and nonsense, fweng.
Leicestershire schmeicestershire. Why let geography stand in your way?

Dandelion said...

ps z is right. I can't believe you didn't know this about her.

pps what are you not sure about?

Miss Milk said...

Media?! No! I'm 17 for God's sake, and you're acting like the kind of guys I meet. Aren't you supposed to have grown up by now? I'm so disillusioned.

Dom said...

Blokes never grow up. We all act like we're aged 4 :D

fwengebola said...

C ~ But isn't it a long way generally? She's probably not wondering why I'm not calling, as I don't have her number.
Z ~ Yes... you're right. This kinda makes sense! But I'm still not 100% certain. Dammit, why are these things so annoying?
PP ~ So, either way, I no longer have a say in things anymore? Pshht, makes no difference.
Dand ~ It's a fair distance away. And as for your second comment, I assumed she was hanging out with me because she didn't know anyone else at the party. Trust me, it's easier to assume disinterest in all cases.
MM ~ 17? Well men don't exactly mature, so consider this a lesson learned.
Dom ~ Oh look, you just said that.

Jo said...

Because that is my word of choice for silly people.

Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

you fuckwit! exactly what I would have done.......

dave fishwick said...

So then old fruit, what's the situation a few days on?

Dandelion said...

The distance is relevant how, exactly, if she turns out to be your One True Love?

And you're not supposed to be sure. Or do you want her to ask you to ask her to the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance?

fwengebola said...

Jo ~ I understand the concept of 'knob' being a silly person in your vernacular, but I take umbrage at your suggestion that by notgetting her number...
Oh fuck it, I don't care.
Comment Deleted ~ Was that a phone number??
Anon ~ Fuckwits Anonymous.
DF ~ It's up, Dave. Don't get too excited.
Dand ~ Stop being romantic and female. I didn't realise that Not Being Sure was a good sign.
Can't we engineer something with a radioactive suit and tapes of Van Halen??

Dandelion said...

Ooh, I didn't realise that was Van Halen.

I was just digging out my old-skool walkman for just that purpose, but it seems you've seen sense.

luna said...

I get it: you're waiting to be set on fire (sensorially speaking) by a sexy trick woman;and when the entire chorus of commenters veto her and warn you of this bad,bad,girl,you'll propose!!!

Because above your time,sanity,life,friends and public standing,you love..

BEING CONTRARY!!!!

Consequently I suggest to all previous posters that we all start dissing the charming prospect in question...

fwengebola said...

Actually, I definitely don't love being contrary. I'm just surrounded by people who never agree with me.