Sunday, 12 June 2011

Repeat After Me

    "IT'S A NICE PLACE, ISN'T IT,"
    "WHAT?"
    He shuffles a little closer along the seat until his lips are practically touching my left ear.  Attempting to overpower the music, he repeats again, "I SAID, IT'S A NICE PLACE," and now he's smiling to no one in particular and nodding along to the music. 
    Yes, it's a very nice place if you're still at uni and looking to drink yourself into oblivion until the horrific memory of that Maths exam is completely out of your head. Not a very nice place if you left work an hour ago, have to prepare for a presentation the next morning and were looking forward to a quiet dinner with perfectly charming second date guy, who right this second is doing some weird shoulder dance. 
    Attractive.

    "FANCY A DRINK?"
    "WHAT?"
    "FANCY ANOTHER DRINK?" he motions his hand to his mouth to mime a glass.
    "YES, I'D LOVE ONE, THANKS,"
    "SAME COCKTAIL?"
    "WHAT?"
    He starts pointing to my empty glass as he stands up, "DO YOU WANT THE SAME COCKTAIL?"
    "OH.  YES," I nod vigorously, hoping I won't have to repeat myself.  So he smiles at me and drifts through the crowd to the bar.  I say drifts - it's more a 'one step forward, two shoves back' route as he gets blocked by drunken dancers who are looking like losers but thinking they're cool.
    OK, I know I sound old, but I'm not old.  I'm just tired. 

I'm not too sure what to do with myself as I sit there on my own, so I do what we all seem to do these days when faced with an uncomfortable situation.  I take out my Blackberry and I start texting/tweeting/emailing - whatever I can to not look a loner.
    "ON YOUR OWN?" a guy in his late teens has plonked himself down next to me.  He's wearing a bright yellow flannel shirt and is sipping his Bulmers through a straw. 
    I instinctively grab hold of my Blackberry as if this guy is about to take it, which is silly because he's only a few years younger than me. 
    I smile at him and shake my head.  It's good to keep the conversation as brief as possible in these sorts of situations.  Guys in clubs are like stray cats - once you acknowledge them, they'll never leave you alone. 
    "I LOVE THIS SONG," he informs me as J-LO starts playing.  "COME AND DANCE," he stands up from the seat and takes my hand in his, pulling me up.
    "No, it's really fine," I tell him, trying to get my hand back, meanwhile keeping an eye out for my date.  Surely he should be back by now. 
    "Oh, come on.  I bet you're a great dancer," he says with a smile, "you NEED to dance,"
    I NEED to go home and sleep.
    This is like the final year of uni all over again.  I'm trying to be responsible, but other forces are saying otherwise.  So I stand up.
    And then immediately sit back down when I notice date coming my way again, cocktails in hand. 
    Yellow Flannel Guy looks over at the direction my eyes have flown towards, and then straight back at me.  "Oh," he mouths. "I'll catch you later, yeah,"
    "IT'S A REALLY NICE PLACE, ISN'T IT," date says again as soon as he sits down.
    Yes, you've mentioned that.  Twenty times.
    "HAVING FUN?"
    "WHAT?"
    "ARE YOU HAVING FUN?"
   My eyes dart over to Yellow Flannel Guy who's laughing along with Red Skinny Jeans Guy and Side Ponytail Girl.  And for some strange reason, I get a real longing to join them. 
    I'm on a date in a club and I'm sitting down.  Surely that's not right? 
    "I'M NOT REALLY ENJOYING MYSELF WITH YOU," I say, and immediately regret my words.
    "WHAT?"
    Thank goodness for that!
    "I'M HAVING A GREAT TIME,"
    He smiles.
    And I want to leave.
    Actually, no.  I don't want to leave.  I want to dance. 
    "SO HOW WAS WORK?"
    "WHAT?"
    "WORK.  HOW WAS IT?"
    "OH," I drink a little of my drink before I answer.  I feel my throat needs the replenishment.  "IT WAS TIRING. THERE'S A LOT TO DO BEFORE TOMORROW,"
    "SORRY?"
    Oh, for goodness sake!!!
    "TOO MUCH WORK. VERY TIRING," I unhappily repeat.  He says something back but I don't hear it, so I laugh for no reason.  Let's hope it was funny.
    My eyes are drifting longingly around the room.  Yes, these people look crazy drink-dancing (which I think should be make just as illegal as drink driving).  Yes, there's the occasional lonely guy trying to casually dance with every girl.  And yes, there are a few cougars parading the premises.  But all these people are having fun, and that's what I want to do. 
    But instead I'm still sitting.
    Sitting and not dancing.
    "ANOTHER DRINK?"  
    "I CAN'T HEAR YOU,"
    "ANOTHER DRINK?"
    "HUH?"
    "I SAID, WOULD YOU LIKE ANOTHER DRINK?" I finally understand, but I stop him just as he's about to stand up.
    "I'M GOING TO HEAD HOME.  I'M REALLY TIRED," I throw in a fake yawn just for added emphasis, apologise a million times and slip out of the club.  Because if you want to talk to your date you take them somewhere quiet, right?  You don't chaperone them to a busy club and expect a life changing conversation. 
    So I was right to leave, I've decided.
    End of.

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