Tag Archives: chatting up

“I believe, ma’am, I may safely promise you never to dance with him.” – Lizzie, Pride and Prejudice

27 Mar

I know I haven’t written in ages, and I apologise. I am particularly sad to have missed out on posts I had planned for Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day, but also such gems as Steak & BJ Day [on March 14th, so we can all be prepared for next year!]. To make up for this lack of dedication I will now present you with an anecdote from my weekend.

The backstory: I should state from the off that I’m not the usual target for male club predators; I’m not in the habit of showing off my underwear as an outfit, and any attempt in chatting me up usually ends in a) telling them to fuck off [if they are obnoxious], b) slapping them [I’ve only resorted to this once, the guy in question was seriously invading my personal space], c) running away [in my experience the most effective method when they are too drunk to reason with] or d) informing them with much faux regret [if they are not obnoxious twats] that I have a super amazing boyfriend already, so thanks, but no thanks.

So: we are in a club, on a Saturday night, and I am wearing a playsuit with no tights. This could be an important and relevant point to the story as these two things rarely happen, and I was, as my companions Maths Geek, Clev, Dr. Love and K-3 Informed me, looking rather leggy. It first began as we took a breather from the various opportunities offered for merriment at this establishment, namely a ball-pit, bouncy castle, and an air hockey table that Dr. Love and I competed at with probably quite unseemly enthusiasm. A couple of feet away at another seating area a company of young men sat, occasionally looking our way, as we hit each other over the head with inflatable dolphins, changed our flats for heels, and generally giggled away.

One young chap in particular kept giving us the eye. Little was thought of it, until, having been to the dancefloor and come back to rest again [Dr. Love was suffering a little], the gentleman in question persisted in what can only be termed as “staring”, and began a surreptitious progress towards my end of the sofa, until we were in a state of such physical intimacy that I could barely move without bumping into some part of him. Dr. Love then discovered to her great amusement that the cunning fellow had a phone number written on his arm – Maths Geek later remorselessly questioned him on this, demanding to know whether it was his own – he claimed it was a friend’s, and quickly rubbed it off before we could dial it to find out…

Now, despite the fact we were sitting as close as two bosom bodies, and the fact that probably at least two or three hours had passed, and even despite Maths Geek spontaneously reaching over and undoing his top button, the man remained mute. He did not say hello, or hi, or anything remotely akin to a greeting – he sat, occasionally caught my eye and smiled with a suggestive eyebrow wiggle, but never said a word. This was quite the opposite to the scenarios I was used to encountering at clubs, where getting an unwelcome acquaintence to shut up and leave you alone is more frequently the problem. I actually felt uncomfortable because nothing had been said, but the longer he left it, the more difficult it was to start a plausible or casual conversation, and I felt strangely determined that I shouldn’t encourage him by saying hello for him – after all, I was out with my “girlies” [an excellent Chem phraseology] and his internal anguish was not really my problem.

His friends then demanded it was time to leave. Evidently this brought the matter to a crisis, as, after some protests that he would stay [awkwardly made right next to me, with no one else but Dr. Love and I in the vicinity], he was persuaded to depart. But not for long – we watched him walk down to the dancefloor and exit, then come back up the stairs to where we were seated, only to walk past and take his perambulation once over – back down to the dancefloor, back up the stairs and – “do you want to dance?”

Oh. That’s it then, he finally plucked up the courage, crap, what do I say!? “I admire your persistence..” I begin, but he can’t hear me over the exorbitant bass emitting from the speakers. I resign myself to play the cruel heart-crusher, and simply say “I have a boyfriend, I’m sorry,” trying to look as genuinely apologetic as I can, which was relatively easy, as the only really obnoxious thing he had done was to uninvitedly help himself to my glass of tap water.

He walked off, probably never to be seen again.

Now, I haven’t told you this story to highlight my status as some kind of sex goddess who brings misery on hapless chaps. The real nugget of interest, for me, is the reaction of my friends.

Dr. Love thought he was a weirdo. [probably accurate]

K-3 was primarily preoccupied with her own conquests on the dancefloor.

Maths Geek told me off.

According to Maths Geek, I had committed a terrible sin – I had cruelly and unnecessarily crushed the heart and self-confidence of a man who would now be too terrified ever to approach a girl again, and it was all my fault. I had acted foolishly in refusing to dance – what harm could it have done?

I do see her point. I should really have said hello, made some polite conversation, and made the poor boy aware of Chem’s existence before he wasted an entire evening. The trouble is, I’m a bit crap at small talk, and there never seems to be a good moment to drop in your unavailability without feeling like you’ve poked someone unexpectedly and unnecessarily hard with a pointy stick, right in the eye. If you say it too late, you’re leading them on, but say it too early, and you’re jumping the gun – what if they have no romantic designs upon you at all?  Then you will come across as over-defensive and probably a little bit weird.

The thing is, though, I would have felt ten times worse than I did [and I really did feel bad for ages, wondering if I was too harsh] if I had said yes, gone and danced, and waited until his hands went exploring to say “hold up there old boy: actually I’m not interested at all.” I would have felt like I was leading him on, which I would have been, as there was no chance it was going anywhere remotely amorous, and it was all too painfully clear from the previous few hours that this was more than just a casual request from him– it had a lot riding on it.

I know many girls will think that my refusal was silly, over-thought or old fashioned, but if I flipped it round the other way, I know I would probably be unhappy if Chem was off dancing with other girls who didn’t know about me. Maths Geek may disagree, but that’s allowed. Perhaps my dislike of dancing with other men is irrational, based on previous experiences in which men have taken too many liberties [dancerape, anyone?] and I should be more laid back about the whole thing.

I do of course see the funny side of it – and this was only increased when I told Chem about the incident, whose advice to me was “seems like I should lend you some sort of stick to keep them off you,” only to be topped by my mother’s solution – “I’m going to buy you and your sister fake engagement rings!”