flirting

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What if?

Published June 15, 2013 by crazyinpink

I sat listening to these strangers reading their poems, their personal thoughts and feelings on show, expressing what was going on inside them.  Some shook visibly.  Others wore a mask of confidence which faltered slightly on their walk back off the stage.  Some pretentiously assumed they were better than everyone else; nerves probably weren’t featured in their extensive, over-articulate vocabulary.

My mind wandered back to the course I took on creative writing and the poems I wrote then.  Forgetting the fact that they were nowhere near as good as the standard before me, I wondered whether I’d ever have the courage to stand up and read something I’d written to a room full of strangers.  What if I had stuck with my English degree?  Would I be attending events like this poetry slam to participate, instead of sitting at the back with some friends and giggling at the various displays of awkward pretension?

Continuing this counterfactual exercise, during one particularly complicated philosophical poem I couldn’t quite follow, I considered what my life could have become.

What if I had followed my first plan to be a journalist?  What if I followed the more serious and thought-out idea of becoming a teacher?  Would I be here encouraging a student or looking for ideas for class on Monday?

What if I’d never got sick?  Would my life be a blur of activity, eating pizza without a care, wearing jeans everyday, fitting into the size 12 clothes that now hang abandoned in my wardrobe? Would I know that my friends were true and would stand by me no matter what?  Would I have found that inner strength being chronically ill has given me?

What if I never had to choose between different parts of my life?  Would my education have suffered because my time was stretched between so many different pursuits?  Would my relationships have failed if I had been perfectly healthy?  Might I be sitting here with a proper grown up job, my hand entwined in someone else’s?

The room applauded the deep and no doubt tortured soul of the poet as he stepped down.  The sound brought me out of my own soul-searching.

I looked down at my loose fitting size 16 dress smoothing it over my leggings and folded my legs under my chair, kicking over my handbag full of pills and my notebook full of scribbles lest I forget anything important.  On my left sat a friend who had talked me into coming.  She had her own on-going fight with depression but never failed to try to understand what everyday was like for me.  I felt such warmth towards her and all my true friends who had accepted the different me that had come from being sick.  I wouldn’t have appreciated these friends so much, my time would still be filled with superfluous people who didn’t care that much.

A breath came on my neck with whispered words of sarcasm in my ear.  On my right sat a man I’d known for years but in recent weeks had gotten to know so well.  As I smiled in response to his witty remark and our eyes met, I realised that the person I used to be might have flirted aggressively with him until I scared him off or, more probably, completely disregarded him as too shy or too…something else.  I wouldn’t have gotten to know someone so lovely who seemed to get me so fully.

The next poet steps up to the microphone.  I shift in my seat to find a more comfortable position.  My hip bumps into my great friend on my left.  I see the stage past the profile of the guy on my right, his long eyelashes bringing themselves to my attention; I’d never noticed them before.

Actually, I’m pretty content with how things have turned out, I think.

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A Digital Fairytale – Part Two

Published December 6, 2012 by crazyinpink

Melody sat, trying to find the words to express this odd flirtationship she was in, but somehow failing.  Her tendency to turn everything into something funny usually worked well.  Her friends always expected gossip and amusing anecdotes about her escapades, usually involving a guy.  But this time, her story-telling was doing her a disservice.  She was giddy and excited about her romance with Edward and yet, scared of being taken in by someone she still hadn’t met.  Instead of being happy for her and encouraging her, the way she wanted them to, her friends seemed confused and assumed she couldn’t have any real feelings for this guy, it was just a bit of fun.  It had started like that.  But since that night they’d heard each other’s voices, her feelings had changed.

Talking on the phone made Ed seem more real.  She knew what he sounded like, the tone of his voice and how he laughed.  It brought all the texts and messages they had shared to life.  She longed to know him in real life, see if their virtual spark translated to reality. 

Edward wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  She knew that.  He was moody and insecure, needing constant reassurance that she still liked him.  Traits which might have put her off if they belonged to anyone else, but she was still drawn to him.  Still felt that stupid grin spread across her face when she read his latest message. Maybe because they were at a distance, they were being far more honest with each other than was usual.  For Melody at least. 

This honesty came across clearly when Edward confessed his dream of waking up every day next to her.  All he wanted in the world was Melody.  She didn’t quite know how to react to such admissions.  She was never one to initiate talks of feelings and found it difficult to express herself in such situations.  Edward, afraid that he had overstepped the mark, assumed he had scared her off when she didn’t reply straight away.  But she needed time to work out how she felt about him saying such lovely things.

She often needed to take time out from their intense communication, not only to process what was going on in this increasingly bizarre scenario, but also to live her life.  On more than one occasion she had to tell him that she couldn’t be glued to her phone all the time and reassure him that it didn’t mean she had gone off him in any way.

They were talking of visiting each other, Melody’s friends insisting she go to meet him with someone so she wasn’t alone.  She trusted Ed but knew that she had to be smart about this.  The trouble was finding someone willing to go to another country (albeit one only a quick flight away).  During the time she was thinking about this, Ed’s messages began to change slightly.  

He stopped sending hearts and his tone was slightly colder, as if he was pulling away.  Melody, not the best at negotiating relationships, asked him why. Ed had been thinking about the difficulties of a long-distance relationship and how tough it would be if they pursued it.  Melody had thought those thoughts too but had talked herself into the ‘wait and see’ school of thought. But Ed, the more pessimistic of the couple, couldn’t talk himself round.  He said they were kidding themselves that they could have something real.

Melody didn’t know how to feel.  She knew Ed was being rational and she, more than anyone else, appreciated rationality.  On the other hand, she felt a little heart-broken. She had shared a lot with him and had let herself fall head over heels for someone she had never met. Ed had fallen for her too, she knew he had. 

Agreeing to remain friends and text in a platonic, non-committal way, they continued to talk.  Both of them knowing their feelings were too strong to ignore…

 

Skipping in public

Published August 22, 2012 by crazyinpink

Yesterday, I had an after-work thing with Butter.  It was quite unexpected.  It wasn’t a date or anything but I was so giddy afterwards that I actually skipped for a bit.  In public. 

I don’t know what came over me but on a random trip to the kitchen, I stopped by Butter’s desk and mentioned that I had a few hours to kill after work.  I asked him if he was free to go for a coffee or something.  A momentary flicker of surprise crossed his face.  He quickly said yes and invited me to come round to his since he lives near work.  It was at this point that I realised what I had said.

Now, back in my Jam phase, I used to agonise for hours over how to casually suggest a casual cup of coffee with him.  Casually, of course. I spent 9 to 5 planning what to say, practising how I was going to say it.  I never worked up the nerve to actually do it.  When I eventually asked by text, I got a polite brush off.

Yet, there I was.  Only days after I stayed late at work on Friday afternoon just to keep Butter company as he waited for a package to be delivered.  I loitered and chatted for more than half an hour after everyone else had escaped to the pub.  It was great to be on our own and not be constantly interrupted. Somewhere in the midst of our conversation he gave me his phone number.

Yesterday afternoon passed in a state of anticipation.  I was simultaneously impressed by my own spontaneity, excited about hanging out with him away from the office and anxious about how awkward it could be to go to his house.  We would have to walk there with Jam to the house where they both live. Was it going to be just the two of us? Or would we be in a strange ‘friendzone’ trio?

In reality, I needn’t have worried.  At the last minute, a technical issue meant most of my team had to stay late to rectify it. That meant Jam.  So, Butter and I set off together.  We had a pleasant walk out of work, chatting away.  I pointed out a milkshake place I had been to a few weeks ago with a nearby gym that had a balcony.  It had proved quite hilarious to sit and drink milkshakes while watching poor souls lunge and squat just across the street.  He suggested we go there. 

I went on ahead as he popped into his house, literally a stone’s throw from said milkshake place. He, for some inexplicable reason, got changed.  We sat for over an hour talking.  It was really nice and really easy. There were a few quiet moments, mainly when we were both too interested in our milkshakes but it didn’t feel awkward.  It was great.  When we parted, I had to go to a friend’s, he was going to football, I contemplated hugging him.  I didn’t, a huge group of people on their way to a gig came at us at that precise moment. 

I walked slowly back to my car.  I was grinning to myself and had that giddy feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. It wasn’t a date but it was the closest I’ve had in a while. Caught up in my own head, I forgot myself and skipped a few paces. My phone beeped. Still, grinning I checked it, assuming it was my friend I had been texting earlier.

It was a tweet from my Fairy Godmother. Thanking me for covering her shift in work and saying I was such an awesome friend.

Tiny bubbles of guilt fizzed in my giddiness. I haven’t spoken to her about this whole thing yet. Nothing had happened between Butter and I. But I still felt guilty.  I had asked him on a pre-date. Surely that’s a violation of the code of sisterhood. She told me a week ago that she was over him. She still has no idea of the feelings I’ve realised I have. I’m seeing her on Friday and asked if we could meet up before the scheduled event (a treasure hunt) to catch-up.  I have to tell her how I feel. Nothing can happen until I do. Nothing might happen anyway. I just have a feeling… Our paths haven’t crossed much in work today but I caught him glancing at me repeatedly while talking to someone a few desks away. Daydreaming early, I imagined how our goodbye might have been if I had just hugged him.

The giddiness is back. I just need it to de-carbonise.  

When to give up on a crush

Published August 8, 2012 by crazyinpink

I can’t believe I’m even thinking this but I’ve been mulling it over in my head for the last few days.  I think it might be time to call it a day and let the sun go down on my flirtationship with Jam.

Last week, I asked him out for coffee.  He had to work late that night and so asked if we could reschedule for this week instead.  I managed to wear down my boss by constantly annoying him and wangled my way into getting a couple of hours of work. (Result!)  I saw Jam on Monday for a few hours and I’m currently sitting facing him but nothing has been mentioned about it.

I think the fog-crush has lifted a bit. I’m beginning to think that maybe all those little things that he’s said or done that I got excited about haven’t been signs that he liked me at all.  He is a really nice guy and he is positively lovely to everyone so him being so nice to me perhaps wasn’t such a big deal.  

And anyway, since my return to work someone else has been a lot nicer.

Butter instantly asked me how I am after surgery and, although he doesn’t know the technical details of my health problems, was asking me all sorts of questions about what happened and my future treatment.  In my experience, its only ever my closest friends that care enough to ask in-depth questions because they want to try to understand what you’re going through.  The fact that he had picked up on little things I’d mentioned on ‘bad days’ and was genuinely concerned when I had a ‘really bad, nearly ended up in hospital, mascara all down my face’ day, really surprised me.  No one in work has ever really strayed into the sticky subject. Except, of course, my Fairy Godmother.

Ah. The Fairy Godmother element. I could never be the girl who goes for a guy her friend has a thing for. I don’t even know if I necessarily want to pursue this intriguing new aspect of my love life. The rumours are rife that Butter is fond of me and there was that time he asked me to come with him and Jam to the cinema. I didn’t know what, if anything, I wanted from him. Then last night, after a weird date with Lucius that involved a moonlit walk singing Disney duets, I dreamt about Butter. The details are hazy but we were definitely together and I was really happy.

Dreams, of course, don’t mean anything…though, my first boyfriend when I was 15 was the result of me having a dream about him, telling a friend who then gave him my number. I came into work this morning in a new dress I’ve only worn once before. I told myself it was to distract from the fact that my hair needs washed.  But I had a jittery anticipation in my tummy.  I really wanted to look pretty today. Then, Jam arrived and greeted me.  I realised that the jitteryness was still there. Before I really digested this, I heard that Butter is off sick today and I felt a wave of disappointment crash over me.

Now I’m trying to work out exactly what is going on in my Tramadol-filled head.

Yesterday, I considered drawing a line under the Jam episode and start trying to move on.  Last night I had a great evening with a friend and even noted when he kissed me goodnight how easier things would be if I had feelings for him.  During the night, I dreamt about another guy and woke up happy.  Today, I just don’t know anything.

A new month, a new me?

Published July 5, 2012 by crazyinpink

July has only just begun and already so many things have happened. I’ll try and create a cohesive list but I only had three hours sleep last night so, to quote one of my favourite tv shows, ‘bear with!’

 

1) I got a date for my operation!

YAY! Not really something most people would be excited about but then again, most people haven’t spent the last three and a half years in total agony fighting within the health system to get someone to listen and investigate the pain.  My consultant has made it clear he thinks it unlikely he will find anything.  He left it up to me and I’d rather know one way or the other.  I’ve pretty much accepted that I’ll have to make sacrifices in life and that I’ll probably always have to live with this condition but it would just be a relief of sorts to have someone confirm what it is causing all this.  The confirmation letter came two days ago, I go in on the 17th.  I’m half-excited, half-terrified but I’ve decided that whatever comes of it, I can rest assured that I did everything within my power to find out what’s wrong with me. (Yes, in my mind I am convinced it is endo but even though I was diagnosed 4 years ago, no one seems to take heed of it)

 

2) I foresaw my possible future in a comedy movie

I went to see the Five Year Engagement yesterday. I knew that my Fairy Godmother had seen it and didn’t like it at all. I quite like Jason Segel and found the idea of it intriguing.  Now, it isn’t laugh-a-minute and I didn’t find it as funny as Knocked Up or I Love You, Man but I did enjoy it.  It got its laughs from awkward situations, something which I easily identify with. I have a tshirt that says ‘Well, this is awkward’ on the front and ‘well, that was awkward’ on the back. I should wear that a lot. 

Anyway, yes, the female character (played by Emily Blunt – an odd but strangely believable choice) is an academic. I don’t think I’d be giving away too much of the plot if I said that she gets a post-doc fellowship and they move for her to take it up, thus prolonging the length of their engagement.  As she settles into the academic life, I found myself getting more and more uncomfortable.  Jason Segel as her husband-to-be (adorable as ever) struggles with the strain her intellectual success puts on their relationship.  I’ll be honest, it scared the crap out of me. I’ve been thinking that my health would be the biggest obstacle to a future serious relationship, I never even thought about my probable career choice.  What if I become Violet?  What if I pursue my academic dreams to the detriment of my personal life? I left the cinema with a head full of thoughts and worries over my future.

3) I flirted like nobody’s business

I am a flirt anyway and I’m okay with it.  It’s just part of who I am, I like the chase and the banter.  But this week it went into overdrive.  In work on Monday, I discovered further proof that Jam and I are, in fact, made for each other when he revealed he loved Irn Bru just as much as I do.  This may seem like the stupidest thing in the world to get excited about but considering how much stick I get for being addicted to the orange stuff, it was just too cool to find this out.  He had stopped drinking it because it had too much sugar and was making him hyper and he hadn’t even heard of sugar-free. So, naturally, I brought him a bottle on Tuesday and left it on his desk.  When I saw him an hour or so later he was practically bouncing up and down saying he knew straight away it was from me and that it had totally made his day.  By the end of the day, he was telling me that I had re-ignited his old addiction and that he needed more.  We joked that I was enabling him.  I flirted with him shamelessly, boosting his ego to the point where he said that I quote; “always make him feel awesome”.  I was his very own enabler with both his Irn Bru addiction and making him feel better just by being around.  Naturally, this delighted me. However I also spent most of Tuesday working alongside his housemate Butter (upon whom my friend has a crush) and chatting to him.  Butter and I get along great and we barely shut up all day.  At one point I realised that I was perhaps being too friendly to him but then he threw some things into the conversation which made me wonder.  Talking about the house he shares with Jam and its lack of tidiness, I expressed surprise that Jam would be untidy.  Butter responded, ‘Well, when you see his room, you’ll believe it.’  I stumbled and questioned this, asking why on earth I would be in his room to which he mysteriously replied, ‘But when you come to our house, you’re going to be in his room’ as if it was the most obvious thing on earth.  So, all over again I am left in a wonderment over how Jam feels about me and in a new quandary over whether I should do anything.

4) I discovered that in spite of everything, my life is pretty damn awesome

An old school friend got in touch last week to say she was moving in a stone’s throw from where I lived and would I fancy a catch-up? I popped by yesterday and saw her for the first time in three years.  We chatted and caught up fully.  Every story I told seemed so fantastic to her. Even the medical saga.  She marvelled at how so much has happened to me since we left school while she has done very little.  I suppose, when you look at it objectively, I have achieved quite a lot.  It’s easy to forget and get so bogged down in the here and now but really, I have a lot to be thankful for.

5) Things are FINALLY back to normal with Best Friend (hooray!)

The weirdness that has been lingering over us since early March was finally Expecto Patronumed away today as we had brunch and saw each other for the first time in weeks. It feels so good to have my friend back.  I don’t know what did it, maybe the time apart, but whatever it was, I’m so pleased that phase is over.  He did raise concerns over my male companions, particularly after I told him about the last conversation I had with Lucius. (We had coffee and Lucius told me, while holding my hand, that he was attracted to me but couldn’t act on it because he wanted to keep me as a friend and if he let himself start he would ‘ruin’ me and remove all my innocence.  It was certainly an….interesting conversation.) He did like the sound of Jam though.  Although, truth be told, I am so infatuated with Jam that I was making him sound like a god among mere mortals.  A theoretically attainable object of perfection.  The next best thing to Benedict Cumberbatch. I haven’t had it this bad in a looooooooooong time.  I feel like I’m 14 again.

An unusually deep conversation

Published June 20, 2012 by crazyinpink

As seems to be the way of it lately, I had a lot of boy news for my workmate (and Fairy Godmother) after the weekend.

I had gone to the barn dance at church on Saturday night. My first dance partner was a five year old boy, then a man in his 40s and his girlfriend dragged me up for a trio dance. Although a group of us were there, the rest mysteriously disappeared when the dancing started, leaving me and Dan, an extremely quiet guy around my  age.  There were high hopes for me and Dan to get together when the young adults group started about two years ago, but I was just starting my romance with Mickey at the time.  Anyway, after both of us being pulled up by random people, we decided to be dance partners.

The first time we went to awkwardly hold hands, there was a tiny electric shock. We pulled back and I laughed nervously, suddenly struck by how brown his eyes were. We learned the dance and as we waited for the next instructions we kept holding hands, even though no other couples seemed to be. The two of us swung around, held hands, promenaded and all the rest for the next few songs before taking a break, walking back to our seats still (yup, you guessed it) holding hands. Dan is a nice guy, the quietest guy I’ve ever known.  I used to think he just didn’t like me as he never really spoke to me then I caught him smiling to himself at all the stupid things I say and realised that he had a wee twinkle in his eye and seemed to be the only one with my sense of humour.

We spent the rest of the evening either sitting talking or dancing together. When the others eventually returned they were all winking and grinning at us. I’m not entirely sure of what was happening.

But wait. I like Jam, don’t I?

This was essentially what prompted the discussion with my Fairy Godmother. I know that I like Jam (butterflies don’t lie) but then there are all these other guys that keep coming in and out of focus. On Monday evening we continued talking about all the men and how I felt.

In an uncharacteristic move, I found myself saying that I think I’m ready for a serious relationship. I’ve always been a bit Chandler-esque about committment in the past, loving the chase but not the couply phase.  Now I think I’d quite like to see what a long-term relationship would be like. It’s just finding someone to have that with.

I worry sometimes about finding someone who can handle me.  I’ve never been ‘normal’ and I don’t know how to be the perfect girlfriend.  I don’t necessarily need a boyfriend, there are too many girls like that, I’m happy enough being single. I know who I am and I know what I want from life, if I get married then great but it’s not the only goal I want to achieve.  I would love to have kids but I know that with two diseases festering in my woman parts, that might be difficult if not impossible.  How do you go into a relationship with that knowledge? Holding a bomb and deciding when to detonate it. Too soon and you could scare the guy off.  Too late and you might be too invested in the relationship.  Even besides the whole baby business, my condition, my treatments, my lifestyle.  It’s taken me three years to come to terms with it.  I found out that some friends just couldn’t. I’ve yet to find a guy who could.  Someone who would understand and take care of me when I need taken care of.

I spilled my guts to my Fairy G and she said she hopes I get that relationship and how great would it be if I found it with Jam. Then she said that if I find it with Butter (Jam’s friend and housemate upon whom she has a bit of a crush) then I have her blessing. I found this strange but she said she had a feeling that something might develop there.  As if I wasn’t already confused enough.

The Crush – Part Two

Published June 12, 2012 by crazyinpink

Last night was great. I went to the birthday crazy golfing and got to hang out with Jam and meet his friends.

I only knew Jam and a guy from work (nicknamed Butter, my workmate and I have little else to do at times) so with every person that arrived Jam introduced me. His introductions were like Bridget Jones’s putting in wee things about me and how we knew each other. Everyone was really nice. There were too many of us to place together so we split into two teams. Even though I wasn’t in Jam’s team, he kept hanging back every now and then to check on me and make sure I felt included. Butter was in my team so I knew someone anyway. We were actually quite competitive and had a good laugh around the course. Butter asked if I was coming for food with them and when we had all finished Jam invited me to come with them.
We ended up in a Chinese restaurant at a long table. The girl sitting opposite me hadn’t been in my team but soon got chatting and asking me all sorts of questions. Jam had obviously told her about me as she knew I was going to do a PhD. Jam was beside her and I often found her sitting looking at me when I was sitting look at Jam. She told him off for saying something he ‘shouldn’t say around girls he likes’ at which he blushed and changed the subject. We talked about Toy Story and I had got him a dopey Toy Story birthday card which at this point was still in my bag.
He got me to tell his friends how he was in work and asked if he was different outside of work. He was, but not that much. He was obviously more relaxed with his friends, quipping and telling stories, showing a lot more of his sense of humour that I see glimpses of in the office. He made it clear in my various introductions that we don’t directly work together, more we just see each other in the office. He told his friends about our little chats when I arrive and leave each day and I chipped in by saying that most of the day I’m in an office with people I don’t really care to talk to so I look forward to chatting with Jam.

I had a lot of fun and got on so well with his friends. They were all really nice and welcoming, it must have seemed a bit random that I just turned up when I clearly wasn’t really part of the group. But Jam did make an effort to make sure I felt like I was all night. I gave him his card as we left and he said he really appreciated it.
Even if this doesn’t grow into a relationship (although that’s what I’m hoping will eventually happen) I feel like I’ve made a really good friend.