Here I go again, sat in front of my laptop debating whether or not I should blog about another man related event that has occurred in my life. The reason for my hesitation is perhaps because I feel a tad ashamed of myself, fearful that this next post may lead whoever to read it to think of me as a bloody idiot. And maybe I am I bloody idiot, and maybe I'm not afraid to admit it because I know I am not the only one in this crazy monogamy meddling, fidelity fearing generation that makes questionable choices and decisions on who they decide to spend their time with.

I recently blogged about my bold move to Bristol. Quite modest of me to describe my own life choice as bold, but where I come from, both in residence and in mind, it was difficult for me to move away from the my home-town, after many failed attempts at doing so before. This move has not only aided my journey in getting over my dubious past, but it also has been a great opportunity for me to re-discover myself, which, some say can only be done if you travel the world, climb a mountain, or visit a couple of mosques in Thailand. 

Some habits stay with us no matter how old we get. I used to compete with myself daily during school to write my name neater and neater on the top right hand of the page - more and more immaculately each day - setting myself the target that by the end of the year I’d have written it the neatest way possible - more pristine and perfect  than all of the name signings that had gone before.  I still practise today, doodling over my notebook at work to see if 26 years of practise has taken its course. 

Other such peculiar goals would and still do include; passing the next target (be it a drain, a lamp post or someone walking their dog) on the pavement before the approaching car beats me to it, or washing up whatever is on the draining board before the person helping me with the dreaded after dinner deed places the next utensil down to dry. 

The reason I refer of such peculiar habits is because I fear that one of my mind-generated routines will remain with me as the aforementioned have. This is my habit of meeting chaps, dating them, hanging out with them, and then freaking out that they aren't the ones for me, meeting them, telling them, getting upset and freaking out that I may have made the wrong decision. (I must mention here, this has only happened three times, I like to exaggerate. One of which is detailed in this next post.)

Friends and family members, that are very much in love, say to me. ‘You’ll find the right guy, and you will know straight away that he is the right guy.’ Okay thanks, but when, where, what, when and how?  And why hasn't it happened yet? And that's easy for you to say as you've found the right guy...

Others say to me, ‘I didn't really like the guy at first, but we spent more time together and now look at us, we’ve just got back from our engagement holiday in Vienna.’ Okay thanks, but I have met lots of guys that I didn't really like at first, and I don't think they liked me all that much either, so how on earth would we get to Vienna? 

With this paradoxical advice I am given, I really don’t know where I stand in terms of meeting the right guy, or where the right guy might be standing for that matter. But for now, here’s another story for you:

My brother recently started dating a girl from work, not something I could do as strongly indicated in my last blog, but I was pleased to be invited over to his girlfriend’s house for a gathering one Saturday. We were instructed to dress to impress and bring a bottle or two. (Two.)

I had already formed judgement on the guest list after looking at the Facebook event.  I wasn't too fussed until my brother mentioned that his girlfriend was friends with a fair few 'lads' from school and the poor boy was nervous about meeting them. 'Relaaax,' I told him, as I scrolled through the Facebook page to see what and who I was up against.  

Of course, the one guy Josh that most caught my attention over the other attendees was of course to be the one I hit it off with the following evening, him having no idea that I already knew what University he attended, that he enjoyed motor cycling and he had recently visited Iceland.

We got to my brothers girlfriend’s house and after cocktails were poured, we made our way into the living room. My eyes immediately clocked Josh’s. He was sat down, beer in hand looking pretty bloody dapper. He got up to shake my brothers hand, he boasted a beautiful little smirk. Holy shit this guy was tall. 

Unintentionally staring while him and my brother spoke about the potency of the cocktails, he turned to me as if I was an old friend: 'Hullo there, I'm Josh, nice to meet you!' I know who you are I thought - and then came that awkward British man opposite British woman moment, that sheer uncertainty on whether to shake hands or pretend to be Europeon for three seconds. I awkwardly put my hand out and looked up at him, 'I'm Chelsea, I'm his sister.' I nodded at my brother who ever so slightly frowned at me,  an almost telepathic frown to tell me to stop acting weird. Josh gently took my hand and leaned in to kiss me on the cheek.  I said something twattish and cliché like 'Woaah! Easy!' And he laughed and his smile calmed my nerves a little.  He was very well spoken and had a permanent smirk on his face that he wore well. He began chatting away to my brother, all the while looking at me as though I was included in the conversation about motorbikes and his trip to Iceland. I know about your trip to Iceland, my inner voice mocked. 

More cocktails were consumed, shots were shotted, and soon came a drinking number game recommended by Josh. A little tipsy at this point,  yet I managed to fluke it and win a few rounds. ‘You’re good at this,’ Josh said, his smirk widened and I smiled, a little embarrassed and overwhelmed by his but an intense and flattering glare. My brother gave me that look again.

The night proceeded to a student-fuelled cheesy club and I don’t know who arranged such a thing but we somehow all ended up in  V.I.P area with Leis decorating our necks and vodka shots decorating our fronts. Vodka shots. Shots of bloody Vodka. I don't know when I will ever discipline my self enough to avoid the very drink that makes me very mouthy, and very, very drunk.

As the night went on, my mouthiness increased and the party number decreased as everyone was sensible enough to know then they had had enough. Not me though! And luckily, not Josh either.

Next vodka infused memory I recall is us dancing, cheesy club style. Now, I do usually see everything wrong with a little bump and grind, I can't stand watching a couple, (be it a couple of strangers or an actual couple) slide up and down each other like they are rein-acting our favourite scene from Jungle book, but on this particular evening,  ALL DIGNITY ESCAPED ME. It was a little bit out of character, but my body, my body was telling me ye-eh-es. 

In the early hours of Sunday morning, Josh decided it was his time to leave and as he did he asked for my mobile number. I fibbed and told him I didn't have a mobile so I typed in my home address into the notes on his IPhone. Don’t ask me why. We took separate taxis home and I fell asleep in my clothes and mascara.

Post weekend, I had booked a Tuesday off work for life admin and while sipping on a shit cup of tea I flinched at my mind montage, playing back scenes of me and posh boy dancing. I visited his Facebook profile for the second time,  a reminder of the face that was near mine for most of Saturday night.

Moments later, and these sorts of things are always so very timely, I heard the letter box go. I raced down the stairs as if I knew I was going to receive something more enticing than my bank statement or council tax bill. It had crossed my mind a couple of times what Josh would actually do with my address, but I really did not expect the chap to go to the trouble of writing me , the mouthy drunk girl, a letter especially after I'd fibbed about not having a mobile in the 21st century.
I would have loved to have been the postman, who not even 10 steps away would have heard me shriek in disbelief, 'OH MY GOD ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?' I ran back up the stairs almost tripping over my haste, repeating the words ‘He wrote me a letter, he wrote me a fucking letter?!'

The brown envelope was addressed to 'Chelsea (Girl with no number),' followed by my address, perhaps only legible because I knew it was my address. Not scoring too highly on the handwriting side of things, but that's just my inner child sneering after my many years of handwriting practice on the top left hand side of the page. 

The letter read:
Dear Chelsea,
First of all I would like to take the time to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘’bullshit ‘’ exchanged last night.
So if you’re free one evening this week or on the weekend, let me know. It would be a pleasure to see you again.

Just so you know, my handwriting is not usually this bad, but holding a messenger owl in one hand whilst writing is pretty tricky.

                                                                                                         (Mobile number)

*the owl reference is to do with my collection of owls, ornaments rather than the real things. I have an owl tattoo on my wrist which automatically prompts people to ask me about owls leading me to disclose information on my ever growing collection.
I noticed on the envelope - and I do love my coincidences - a stamp that read National letter writing week and the dates begun from Monday up until the end of the week. This is perfect, I thought, already tearing out a page from my notebook to start writing back. I wasn't going to text him, no no no, I was going to reply by the same means. My head was going crazy, 'Oh this is perfect, imagine the wedding speeches, 'It all started with a letter, and, who writes letters any more right?' Shitttttt,. shit, shit.  

Dear Josh,

Thank you for your letter. I appreciate you taking the time to so neatly present your mobile number at the bottom of an even more neatly presented letter, but as it is ‘national letter writing week,’ which coincidentally was only brought to my attention by the envelope that was pushed through my letterbox this morning by your owl messenger, I thought it apt to reply by the same means.

I hope you get this in time,
I am free Saturday PM

          Chelsea (Girl with number: Mobile number here)

It's funny writing a letter, because you don't really know if they will get it and when they will read it. A little note stating 'seen 10:15am' doesn't come swooping through the letter box once the envelope has been opened. This made it all much more exciting.

A few days later, I was on the bus to meet a friend for dinner, My phone rang with a number I didn't recognise and I presumed it would be my different-mobile-number-a-month friend calling me to tell me she was late, or I was. To my surprise, and I was surprised, I was greeted with a very enthusiastic ‘Hullo there, I’ve just read your letter!’ I'm cant quite re-iterate how I responded or what I sounded like as I was caught off guard and I am crap at talking to people on the phone. It was a bit of a blur. But he heroically kept it brief, telling me he was very much looking forward to Saturday and that he would pick me up at eight. A phrase I only thought apparent in American romcoms. 

Saturday night came around a little quicker than my nerves could handle. But it was refreshing to feel nervous about a date, or rather, refreshing to actually be going on a date after such a long time. Between the exchange of our letters and the movie-like phone call, we had text eachother some lengthy messages. None of that, 'what you up to?' 'Not much you' shit. The texts  showed interest and ingenuity and granted me a comfortable feeling that this quite charming, mature and thoughtful chap who had a 'good place in mind' for our first date, could change my perspective on my poor habit of failed flings and repetitious relationships .

I dressed up in a little black dress which puffed out slightly at the bottom. My asda priced black wedges were ruined by the spilling of sticky drinks and I didn’t want him to know they were the only nice shoes I owned. I wore my little black pumps and a floral jacket and put my hair up all big fifties style. I felt confident and excited, but as the time crept to eight o clock, I couldn't quite seem to calm my pre-date nerves down. A glass of rose wine had to be consumed. 

8.00 p.m. on the dot, my door knocked and my stomach knotted. Five days ago this door was accustomed with a letter written by the very hand that was knocking on it. I couldn't fathom the strange fate of it all. I answered the door, and there he stood in all his charm and glory, tall, handsome, well dressed and even more well-spoken than I could remember after Saturday nights wine, cocktail and vodka intake.

I was nervous, ridiculously nervous. I answered the door and mumbled an ‘oh hello!’ as if I was expecting some other dashing gentleman to arrive at my door. I continued to mumble, signalling for him to follow me upstairs so I could finish my already finished hair (aka glass of rose wine I had stashed in the bathroom to polish off before I left) I went in to the bathroom, finished my wine and hid the glass in the cabinet. I closed my eyes in an impromptu prayer that the evening ahead should go well. Please let it go well, please let it go well.

And of course it did, it went better and beyond well. He took me to a 1920's cocktail bar, almost as if we were persevering the letter writing era. We sipped cocktails at a table in the corner, a candle flame burning in the middle and Jazz music played in the background. It was all very fancy and romantic. and after a few Ginni Hendricks, Josh became a little confident, placing his hands on my waist as I ordered us more cocktails at the bar, on my thigh under the table as if it was a secret, on my face as he leaned in for a kiss over the table. Cautious of the candle mind you.

With more cocktails came more confidence, and I led him to the Jazz fuelled dance-floor. Just as I did the Saturday night prior although not getting so stuck to the floor as i walked. We danced in ways, a little, no, a lot, classier than before. I was being twirled around and tilted back (I didn't even know I could do that shit). I felt like everyone was looking at us, and I LIKED IT. Everything about the evening was perfectly old fashioned, ‘right up my street’ my close friends would say to me when I later swooned over the evening with them the next day ‘And he wrote you a fucking letter!?’

By far, the best and classiest first date I have ever been on, in fact the only date I can really, really class as a real first date. 

This was the start of lots of little romantic dates and meet ups over the subsequent two months.  Our second date rather hastily followed the Sunday morning after the Jazz and Gin. It was a groggy but sophisticated visit to Queens square to look at vintage and retro cars. Again, unintentionally following our old fashioned theme. I felt like I had escaped the twenty first century, looking at cars I didn't know the names of before being treated to eggs benedict. I know darling, I know. 

We agreed we would see more of each other.

As the weeks passed, I got to know Josh quite well. We went to bars, and restaurants, for walks in parks and over bridges. He was charming and funny and he enjoyed it when I mocked his pompousness. When he spoke, especially when making a joke or witty comment, he would follow it up with a loud ‘Uhhhmmm and he'd look at me with his confident eyes as if it was the cue for for me to giggle girlishly. He also said nice things about me, I had nice eyes, I was funny and that he could tell I really cared for people close to me. 

The thing I most liked about Josh, was that he remembered shit. My favourite film, what was on my work agenda, why I died my hair ginger. He was interested in me and what I had to say. He also remembered I had a thing for canned lemonade drinks, so when I went round to his one night and he had stocked up on a six pack and had them chilled in the fridge ready for my arrival, I knew I was in the right place.

One evening, he promised to take me to the best lemonade place in town. As we walked underneath the pretty lights reflecting the harbour, he sat down with his legs dangling over the water. I sat down beside him as he pulled out two cans of lemonade out of his bag. He was an old romantic.

Of course, in the romantic life of Chelsea - the old fashioned love story does not continue. I won’t delve in to the dark and complex depths of my mind, but after eight weeks, I still wasn't getting where I wanted to be, or where I thought I would be with Josh. Perhaps alter ego Sheila go the better of me when I cried to my best friend that something must be wrong with me because I wanted to like him more than I did. I wanted to take it further. And I really did, there was nothing I didn't like about him. Ridiculous, I realise. Friends, family members questioned me, hoping I wasn't calling things off because he was 'too nice.' 21st century girl style.

But this wasn't the case. I guess it was when I was round Josh's  house one evening, it was getting late and the poor chap, after all his efforts, charisma and chivalry, was perhaps entitled to 'second base,' and I yes I am referring it to second base despite turning 26 this year.  (In fact I may  forever refer to it in pre-virgin terms , besides I've come a long way since calling it hanky-panky.) I sat up to avoid falling asleep and he asked me if I would like to stay over. I had denied the offer on two occasions before and I still didn't feel ready enough. At this point I think I knew we couldn't continue, because I didn't want to stay over then and I couldn't imagine my self staying over ever. I told him I had an early start and that I would see him the following day. 

That night, my body tossed and turned as did my mind.  The two opposing theories outlined by friends of 'Love at first sight,' or  'Stick at it and then you will feel love' battled with my brain. Neither theory seemed to be working for me.  

I know what you are thinking, or even shouting at the screen right now; ‘WHAT IS EVEN WRONG WITH YOU, YOU TWAT!?’ And that’s fine, because my mind shouted at me in the same accusatory tone.

I suggested we meet for a drink the following day. Arguably more nervous than I was before our first date,I met him at a bar, ordered my self a white wine spritzer, him a beer and I was completely honest. Not so honest that I let him in to the strange and dangerous complexities of my own incomprehensible head, but honest enough to assure him that it wasn't him, it was me - of course I didn't say that 'cause I may as well of just shot myself there and then, but you know what I mean. Without me disclosing too much, he so charmingly understood. He was appreciative and kind. But what else would I have expected.

He went on to say he was glad we didn't take things further, his hands calmed mine as they shook and his assuring  voice calmed my nerves. He mentioned a time in his past where he felt similar. This made me feel more of a human and less of a weird, soulless relationshiphobe. Although ,following this, and I don’t wish to add to my already mounted twat label, he did say: ‘People can be on different paths at different times and it’s a shame. I felt like you do now for a long time, but  after meeting you, I don’t feel like that anymore. But I do understand.’ Inner voice: ‘you’reatwatyou’reatwatyou’reatwat)

We ended our short and sweet fling with a long cuddle, after he dropped me to my house. We both agreed we would ‘still be friends.’ But no further contact has been made. I wish him all the happiness and greatness he deserves.

Maybe he just wasn’t my type. Gah! I don’t even know what my type is? But I can say with confidence that I am no longer the 18 year old girl that likes the bad boys. My mum no longer serenades me with that crap song by an ex-XFactor contestant, so that must mean something 'with the bad boys, are always catching your eye!' Mum used to sing to me when it came on the radio years ago; altering the lyrics slightly whilst pointing her fingers at me accusingly, 'your eye!,'  concealing the jibe as a jovial dance move that wasn’t actually choreographed in the music video. Mum, and readers, the bad boys aren’t catching my eye anymore, in fact no one really is. Maybe, and dare I say it after my complaints and digs at those who have said it to me - ‘I’m not in the right place for a relationship?’

I’m in the right place for myself though, and I think that’s the problem. Even though its not a problem. I am happy being on my own - and I use the term lightly because I am not really on my own at all.  I am surrounded by a beautiful family and friendship circle. I have a lot of love to give and I am happy giving it to them. For the first time, I am doing things for me, I’m doing things that I wouldn’t do normally if I was still residing in my little ghost town in Devon (went to see the ballet the other day, I mean come on!) I have time to write, to be, and I wouldn’t be doing all this if I was in a relationship with someone I was unsure about (and people do that!)  And whilst doing these new things, visiting new places, I do not wish to be stringing anyone along because I have been strung along, and its ‘orrible. I  will NEVER allow myself to do that to someone else, cause, that’s a bad habit. I will continue to neaten my handwritten name, and step on the drain before the car overtakes me, but the habit of meeting people and holding out for something that isnt quite there, is a habit i have broken. Startingggg....now. 

No comments: