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» Teenage Crushes - Part Two

Cowardice & Emily Bronte
*If you're not into cathartic and nostalgic ramblings, look away now.*

To paraphrase Brian Eno, keeping diaries will only ever give you a detailed insight into all the early-Januaries of your life. It's almost impossible to commit to a diary full time. The longest I ever managed was for 6 months a couple of years ago. I set about detailing my past. Except my past is almost exclusively populated by embarrassing situations or complete non-events surrounding girls I fancied. So here, straight out of the diary and brought to you in unashamed honesty, is an anthology of all my (sometimes pre)teenage crushes.

Saying I've never had much luck with women is like saying Hitler was a bit harsh on Jews. I don't know why I've been so unlucky. Maybe it's because I like old music. Maybe it's because I never really got into being fashionable. Maybe it was because I mixed with the right crowd at school. Maybe it's because I'm blonde. They say blondeness is a sign of fertility and therefore an attractive quality. I can't think of a single section of society that likes blonde men. Except Hitler, but enough of that. Most English men like blonde, American women (Cameron Diaz), most English women like dark-haired, Irish men (Westlife), most American women like dark-haired, English men (Hugh Grant) and most American men like burgers and cheese (Kirsty Alley). Frankly, in the modern world, a blonde English man stands no chance.

My first dabblings with women was when I was 7 with a girl I knew at school called Sarah, from South Africa. She moved away a year later, but a few years ago I tracked her down and met up with her near Reading, where she lives. I would like to highlight that it was only once, nothing happened and I've not been back since. Also, I'm not a stalker. (Thinking about it, she perfectly fitted the criteria of qualities I look for in women which I've since attributed to Cheryl Cole. Maybe it goes back further than I think.)

A year later was a girl called Lauren. I was 8 and "on the rebound" and, at our school at that time, pretend marriages were all the rage. So we were going to get hitched. It was all great and exciting. The big day haunts me still. She came down the aisle and all was well. It came to the "I do"s and she turned to me. She and her 2 bridesmaids, in startling harmony, shouted "No!" right in my face and ran off giggling. I didn't find it very funny. The crowd dispersed like salt in water and I was left alone. I held it together till I got the boys toilets and then bawled my little heart out. She was the first girl I ever danced with too. A couple of years on, I found myself going out with her again. On a school trip to the Isle of Wight for 4 or 5 days we were closer than ever. That isn't really saying much as it was back in the day when going out with someone meant smiling at them in the classroom and passing notes. On the last night of the trip there was a disco. I'd never had so much fun before. What a perfect way to end it. All credit to my dad, who was one of the parents helping organise the trip. At the end of the disco, the last song played was My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. There was me and Lauren awkwardly stood sort-of next to each other and not really knowing what to do. Along comes my dad, who must've clocked this, and starts pairing people up. The legend. So we danced. I say danced. We hugged whilst gently swaying. Christ, this is taking me back. Those were magical days. The second the song finished we turned on our heels and walked off in opposing directions. I don't know if we were both shy or just me. Maybe she'd heard from someone that a couple of days previous I'd stood on top of a bunk bed and had a roommate photograph me entirely naked but for a small (yes, small) piece of paper covering my pre-pubescent modesty with "I LOVE YOU" written on it. (At EIGHT... ffs.) That rumour, well, fact, got about incredibly quickly. This being the days before text messaging. I shredded that picture when it came through. You could barely read the words anyway... A little while after that trip we broke up because I thought she fancied someone else. I was right. His name was, and in all likelihood still is, Charles. Not only was he ginger (proper, pale ginger) but he was French too. Gene Hunt would have had a field day. She started going out with him immediately. The prick. I've seen her since and her love life was in a right mucking fuddle. Good.

I nearly forgot. A couple of years after all this, when I was 13 (finally, we're on topic), she phoned me up and asked me out. Being the barely sentient arrogant twunt I undoubtably was I took it all in stride. We went out once. Didn't talk much. We went bowling with some friends and I doubt we exchanged a whole sentance all night. I didn't hear from her again for a whole year, when she, again out of the blue, called me up to call me a sleazy, lying, two-faced, cheating bastard. I would have asked her how she'd reckoned that one out, but I was in the middle of a nose bleed at the time so I just said "Alright then, bye" and hung up. She could have been joking for all I know.

Well into teenage angst territory now and attention falls on Roxanna who lived, and still lives, down the road from me. I met her at one of the many barbeques we used to have at my house. I knew she faniced me from the subtleties of our conversations. I just remembered how long this whole affair was going on for before it all got fucked up. Word got out that I was going to ask her out. She got shy and instantly went off me. We've since got back in touch and I realise now it was for the best. She's far too serious.

Shortly afterwards, in the same year, I developed a paralising crush on her best mate, Gemma. Gemma was tall, olive skinned and dark. She also had a boyfriend called Nick. As this all happened so long ago, the foreshortening effect of hindsight makes it seem like it was over in a heartbeat, but trust me, it was a very long time. Relativity, as Einstein would tell us. Way back then I was still naively confident that girls liked me. Gemma did, at any rate, so she wasn't really helping me shake off the delusion. In one day, she dumped Nick and gave me opportunity to go out with her. I remember it now. I'm there. In the centre of the school playground. I stood facing her and she smiled at me. Just me and her... and about 60 onlookers forming an equidistant circle around us, watching intently. Some delightful chap yelled "Kiss her!". Kiss her? Kiss Gemma? The girl who I fantasized about while listening to Here, There and Everywhere? Kiss her? Her? Kiss? Infront of all of you? Fuck no. I lost my bottle, which promply smashed on the floor showering her feet in metaphorical orange squash. My nerve was gone. The onlookers stared, unsure of what to do. Poke the husk? He might be alive in there. But no. I wasn't. I was devastated. How could I be so cowardly? Was this me? Was this who I am? How could someone like this even hope to deal with life?

After her was the most powerful, certainly the most resonant, crush I was ever victim to. The one about which I thought of as true, real love. Maybe it was, but I never got the chance to find out. A lovely girl. Lovely from head to toe, skin to bone. She could do nothing to upset anyone. I think by now I must have been 14 because I would fantasise about corrupting this very angel and fucking her silly on my bedroom floor. From the moment I saw her she infatuated me. Beautiful, pale face. Golden hair. Sapphire eyes. I was amazed. For months, whole terms would slip by and I would just fancy her, think of her, dream of her. Finally I plucked up the courage to do what a real man would do. I asked her friend for her e-mail address. I added her on MSN and on the odd occasion when she would come online I would talk enthusiastically at her. She didn't know who I was, but she was lovely, so she talked back. I remember one day, back in the real world, I spoke to her for the first time. I pointed to her with my begloved hand (which was also holding a Coke can) and said "It was me you were talking to online". She smiled and said "Oh, okay" without breaking stride and she was gone. So aloof. So unobtainable. So ethereal. Then, one sunny Valentines Day, when I was sat at my computer, alone, she came online. Fuck it, thought I, death or glory awaits. "Hello" I began. When she replied I spared no thought for hesitation or subtlety and dove in head first. "I love you", I typed. Then my computer crashed. By the time I got back online, she was gone. When she came on again later that day, I was still in great spirits. Glory, I thought. But no. I had shocked her. She didn't love me. Of course she didn't love me. She didn't even know me. I carried on "loving" her, though she had changed schools and moved away, for about another 3 years. At the leaving party for year 11 she made a surprise appearance. I hadn't seen her in years, I was now tucking into my hormones like there was no tomorrow and she turned up in a skin tight, black leather catsuit. I don't know how I didn't die that night. She even danced with me for a bit. I say danced. She danced while I rhythmlessly swung my arms and shuffled my feet and generally looked and felt like embarrasment personified and feeling very self-conscious about the whole personification situation. She said to me, "When you next meet a nice girl, don't send her love letters right away". I remember going outside and feeling the slow dawning realisation that she was in the doorway watching me. I sat there, trying to ignore her on that chair. That chair whose left hind leg sunk into the soft mud and flung me backwards across the wet grass. I picked myself up and looked over. She was gone. Forever. I wonder where Elizabeth is right now...

I wish I could tell you that any of these stories ended happily but, true to teenage tradition, they never did. Like I said. Maybe it was my lack of fashion interest, my taste in music or the colour of my hair, but things just never worked out for me.

A short time after, when I must have been 17, I fell for a classically pretty girl. My attraction was entirely about her looks. A beautiful distraction from the baggage I'd accumulated from years of pining for Elizabeth. Her name was May and she was, at that time, perfect for me. Gorgeous and seemingly no hidden depth. That's not to say she was shallow. Far from it. But she wore her heart on her sleeves and what you saw was what you got. And I liked what I saw. In classic Meek style, I did quite literally nothing about this. So cowardly (which I'd learned from the Gemma experience) and so bumbling (which Elizabeth had taught me) was I that I let her slip by. Despite evidence to suggest she wouldn't have rejected me like all the others, I played it safe and sat admiring from afar. One day, an epiphone befell me, seemingly out of boredom, and I decided, you know what? Bollocks. I'm going to ask her out. I think she likes me. I went and found her. There she was. This attractive, open and caring person. With Luke. The cunt. The cunt. The cunt. The absolute cunt. He asked her out the day before. Sometimes I wonder if there is method behind this chaos but I soon realise that no, there is none. We are all flung about, colliding, reacting, causing and affecting. It was just shit luck and a lesson well learned. More powerful and poignant than all the others. Don't let great things pass you by.

Here the diary entries end. After that I was spent. I had no more to hope for. I felt useless. I saw no point in pursuing anyone. Noone was pursuing me so why should I bother?

Well, the place where this baroque charade had been staged, my secondary school, called me back. Little did I know it wished to pay me back for all my pubescent years of tortured teenage heartache with the greatest gift of all. I only went there to pick up my mate's A-level certificates. I dropped in on my old media studies teacher and he told me that he was going to be shooting a TV pilot episode right there in the school over summer and asked if I'd lend a hand (I was, at the time, studying Sound Design). I told him I would be delighted. It was fun. For the first couple of days my work was focused and professional. From day 3 onwards, you might aswell have left the boom mic on the floor for the good it would have done. It swayed in and out of shot. It bumped against the ceiling. Listening to the final cut I'm amazed it managed to pick up any dialogue at all. It's operator, me, was distracted by the smiling face of a dark-haired, brown eyed, leggy and thoroughly lovely girl. She was my dream. She had come true. In one of the classrooms we were shooting in, a quote was printed on the wall. "He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose" - Emily Bronte. It hit me. And it stung. It hurt with the pain of all those years of fear and cowardice and regret. All those wasted opportunities. All those months I squandered in limerent hiding. That single statement summed up exactly what was wrong with me and my life. I'd always wanted that which I was too afraid to take. Well not this time.

On the final day of shooting, I gave this girl, lets called her Sophie (that being her name etc) a lift home. Shortly before she left the car, I steeled myself and passed her my phone. I mumbled something about numbers and she got the gist. She gave me her number. For the first time in my life, a girl gave me her number. And I felt 14 again; presumably because that's when a girl is supposed to give you her number for the first time.

That was 2 and a half years ago now and we're together and couldn't be happier.

I know that alot of people who frequent this site are older than me, but I also know that there are some fairly young whipper-snappers among us too. So heed Emily's advice. If you crave the rose, grasp the thorn.
(Thu 5th Nov 2009, 23:28, More)

» Schadenfreude

Not me laughing at others but others laughing at me
In Cornwall earlier this year, I'd just handed over a shiny £2 coin for an enormous ice cream. Two steps away from the parlour I put my tongue out for the first delicious lick of Cornish creamy goodness WHEN I WAS VICIOUSLY BITTEN BY A SEAGULL. ON THE TONGUE. My ice cream was covered in blood, my girlfriend, who span around to see what my yelp was for, sighed and said:

"What's wrong? Is it cherry sauce? Did you think it was raspberry?"

To which I replied:

"O. A 'eagull bi my thung"

Three Cornish children laughed at me in their thick accents as I stepped back to buy another one. I threw the ice cream at them but missed.
(Fri 18th Dec 2009, 10:43, More)

» Losing it

I actually scared myself once...
When visiting my girlfriend while she was away at university, I discovered just how horrendous the people who lived above her were (and definitely still are).

We'd had a nice evening in, she'd cooked, I'd done the washing up, we'd watched some film or other and camped down on the double-bed made of sofa cushions we methodically laid out every weekend. As pillow-talk gave way to longer and longer sleepy pauses, it became apparent that the people upstairs had music on. Very loud and very shit music. After banging on their door and the ceiling a few times it became increasingly obvious that they'd gone out and left this musical horseshit to boom on out of their radio in their absence. After a failed attempt to blot out the signal with silence with an FM transmitted I had in the car, we resolved to ignore it as best we could and lock the house door so they at least they wouldn't get any sleep that night either.

At about 3 am, still totally awake, we heard someone trying the front door. Then banging on the front door. Then kicking the front door. Then screaming at the front door. The commotion eventually died down and we grinned a vengeful grin together.

Then we heard a fucking loud scrabbly thud in the next room; the bathroom. Not daring to open our safely locked door, we hear thumping footsteps cross the hallway, out into the porch and the house door being opened from the inside. In our sleep-deprived minds we hadn't suspected that a malnourished hipster student who can squeeze into drain-pipe trousers can climb up a drain-pipe and maneuver their way through the tiny window over the toilet. A thought which still scares me to this day. Nevertheless, they were in.

My girlfriend, bumbling mess of hair and pyjama material that she was, scurried to the front door to politely ask the neighbours to turn the music that they left on all night down. It is now 4 am.

These cacophonous troglodytes clatterfuck their way up the stairs, each footfall a thunderous blast into our room below. I think we all know what happens next and I'm hope this helps you understand my reaction. They turned the music up.

In one poetic motion I arced from the bed to the door, into the hall, planted my feet squarely below me and yelled up from my very centre: "Shut the fuck up, you miserable cunts". Seven words it took a full 10 seconds to bellow, emphasis on the final word, and all of them in a voice I'd never heard before. I grabbed the suddenly weightless hoover and began pounding lumps of plaster out of the ceiling. I moved on to their door and painlessly hammered it with my every limb and appendage. My head was giddy, everything was starry. I felt like I was having a euphoric, angry migraine. I'd never understood the phrase "the red mist descends" but suddenly, my head was swimming in it. I turned around and stomped back into the hallway, turned my head up to yell again, when I caught sight of my girlfriend, stood in the bedroom doorway. The look on her face froze me where I stood. She was petrified. Of me.

The red mist, the madness, fell away instantly and I was suddenly aware of the ache in my back, the gravel in my throat, the sharp pangs of pain in my joints and extremities where they'd hit the door, the sweat that was pouring over my body. "Go back inside" I whispered, and then stood with my head against the corner of the hall for 20 minutes, trying to control my breathing. After 20 minutes, I realised the music had stopped and I'd been stood in silence for quite a while. I'd never completely lost the plot like that before, but it scared the hell out of my that I had. I thought then, as I still think now, that if their door had given way I would have probably seriously hurt someone. I had simply no idea what I was doing.

I didn't sleep that night.
(Tue 26th Jul 2011, 17:10, More)

» Fairgrounds, theme parks, circuses and carnivals

The forces of inertia don't like me... nor do wasps
On one of my first few dates with my girlfriend, I took her to Thorpe Park. It was a pretty decent day for it and a good time was generally had on the way there, in the queue to get in and a small portion of time immediately after entering the park. I had taken the precaution of bringing a small plastic bag to keep my phone and wallet in during water rides. Indeed, it was very effective on the Tidal Wave, keeping them dry as a funeral drum in my now soaking wet shorts. No point taking them out, they'll only get damp against the wet cloth, best leave them in there...

The next ride of the day was chosen to be Stealth. Quick blast of air to dry us off and we can stop waddling round in wet clothes. As I'm sure we're all aware, Stealth is a quick-thrill ride, the main draw of which is the fact it accelerates from 0 to 84 mph in 1.9 seconds. And it did. And we did. And the small, slippery plastic bag in my pocket didn't. The small, slippery plastic bag containing my wallet, my phone and my car keys jolted out of my pocket the instant we moved. We sped off, up the incline, round the top, back down the other side, levelled off and slowed down. Then I noticed. I noticed but it didn't particularly phase me at the time. If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, as they say, then you probably haven't realised the seriousness of the situation.

I went and told one of the ride's operators and they told me there was nothing they could do to try and find or retrieve the bag until the ride closed down for the day at about 8 pm. Meantime, they said, I should go and report the loss at Customer Services in case it fell onto a public path and someone handed it in. My wallet had my money, my phone had all my numbers and my keys opened and operated my car. In one instant we had gone from out at a theme park to stranded at a theme park. She took it rather well. She seemed a little unsettled at how calm I was taking it all, but generally she reassured me that it would all be ok. She also, humiliatingly, bought me lunch, as I no longer could afford to. We scoffed down some KFC, tried our best to shrug the situation into the back of our minds and got on with trying to make the best of the rest of our now extended stay at Thorpe Park.

We wandered around for a little while after lunch, deciding that our next ride would be Vortex, a sort of pendulous arm thing that spins and swings simultaneously. The queue was rather long, the Sun was rather hot and the last woman to get off the ride was taking rather a long time to exit. Her head also hung rather low to her chest and her arms were rather limp. A rumour rippled its way down the line that she'd died. Our vantage point leaning on the wooden fencing gave us a clear view and this woman did in fact look quite dead. Were it not for the ride harness pinning her shoulders back, she would have flopped to the ground headfirst like a rag doll. The ride operators called the medics and after 20 minutes of waiting, the selfish bitch finally came to, threw up and was carried away under the armpits by the medics. Everyone in the queue was told to fuck off until they'd cleaned up.

Exasperated by how awfully this date was turning out, I pushed my hair off my face and swept it back with my fingers, dislodging something small and hard that had fallen into it. Bringing my hand back round in front of me to inspect whatever acorn or berry had gotten tangled in my locks, I noticed immediately the black and yellow stripes, twitching legs and ugly fizzog of a motherfucking wasp. I shook my hand at once to get rid of it, but too late. The little bastard sunk its sting into me with such vitriol, it was unable to dislodge itself. There I stood, penniless, isolated and waving my wasp about when I snapped to, manned the fuck up, gripped the fucker about its thorax and yanked. Its upper half came away easily, leaving the abdomen still anchored to my finger. I held the squirming torso up to eye level, shot it a look of disgust and threw it away like the garbage it was. I gingerly extracted the bastard's turgid belly from my tender finger and threw it after its upper half. Sympathy was immediately forthcoming from the lovely lass, but I ushered her concern away, insisting it was fine really and didn't hurt at all. However, my manly visage was merely skin deep and in my head all I could hear was my own voice yell "aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! it fucking huuuuuurts! baaaaaaaastaaaaaaaaard!"

Not to allow the day to be ruined, I marched us onto the closest ride available, and then the next, and then the next. I worked the park efficiently and effortlessly, trying to keep us out of as much calamity as possible. At half past 7, exhausted and wind-beaten by the rush of the rollercoasters, we made our way back to Stealth. I reiterated the first half of our story of woe to the operator who took up the phone, punched a few numbers and my heart sank as he said: "Hi, yeah, there's this guy who's lost his keys and phone and wallet in a plastic bag... yeah, the blond guy... oh... oh, really?... it, it is?... *sigh* ok... yep, I'll let him know..." He replaced the receiver with slow deliberation, raised his gaze to mine and said "I'm sorry. That was Customer Services."

"Yes? And?" I stammered impatiently.

"...and" he continued, "they've had your things since 3 o'clock this afternoon. They tried to contact you but the number you gave them was your mobile number, and..."

"Yes, yes, I get it" I blushed.

We meekly stepped into customer services to collect my bastard vital possessions from a grinning bastard desk clerk.

I am astounded to this day that I ever got another date.
(Wed 15th Jun 2011, 11:28, More)

» My most gullible moment

A good one to try out...
In conversation with someone, try and slip this beauty in...

YOU - "I've got a great knock-knock joke!"
THEM - "Yeah?"
YOU - "Yeah. You start..."
THEM - "Knock-knock"
YOU - "Who's there?"
THEM - "...erm...I dunno..."

Works more often than you'd think, the gullible pricks...
(Fri 22nd Aug 2008, 0:05, More)
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