First of all, let’s get one thing absolutely straight. There is no better day to be single than Valentine’s Day because you don’t have to put up with all that dreadful guff. Rip off restaurant prices, melted 3 percent cacao chocolates, naff cards, tandem surfing – ughh, spare me. However, I couldn’t not write about love on Valentine’s Day, so here goes…
I don’t know why I like dishing out love advice so much, my own personal experiences don’t show magnificent success so you should probably dismiss this as waffly old cobblers. However I have watched every single episode of ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Seinfeld’ at least three times, so I have a lot of background knowledge. In a nutshell, if I could go back and tell my 20 year old self one thing about love it would be this: don’t fear rejection. One of the best things about getting older is that I can now look back and laugh at the times I was a total grade A thunderous idiot. I’ve already written a post about my rejection greatest hits (see 99 ways to get rejected by a surfer dude (part 1)…) but here are some more from the back catalogue…
- White bikini surf lesson
One time a guy I’d had a crush on for ages had a new girlfriend and he asked me if I could give her a surf lesson. I was horrified and appalled at this suggestion, so of course I said “yes”. I had the Stockholm Syndrome of crushes and I was curious about what his girlfriend would be like. On the day of the lesson the girlfriend turned up in a white bikini. I was shocked by this because what kind of woman can keep such close track of her Red Tide of Doom? I knew that she must be a control freak. The worst thing was that she could kinda surf the unbroken waves, sort of. I know this is going to come up one day when I meet my maker, so it’s better if I just own up to it now. I did what any emotionally mature, well adjusted woman would do. I told her the following…
“always look down at the nose of the board when you are popping up, that way you can check that the nose isn’t going underwater. Grab the rails of the board when you pop up, it will give you better stability. And why are you bending those knees so much? Straighten them. Don’t be afraid to stand up really straight and proud”.
- the local lifeguard fundraising event
The local lifeguard fundraiser is a smorgasbord of hot shirtless men with a social conscious, and there’s pizza. On the night in question I was wearing a pair of pink high-waisted shorts which I got at a clothing swap, and a black top. The shorts give me a mild case of camel toe, but not too noticeable.
So there I was and suddenly on the other side of the bar I see the hottest guy in town, standing there like a brooding Mr Darcy. This Argentinian beefcake looks like one of those Grecian sculptures that idealize the male body, with the added bonus of shoulders like the US Olympic Swim Team. He’s so hot he probably has to carry round a broom to sweep away all the women’s panties that get thrown at him on a daily basis. I’d tried chatting him up in the surf lineup a few times, but always got the brush off and a look that said “why on earth are you trying to talk to me?” Undeterred by this, and tequila-fueled, I decided that tonight was the night I had to talk him. I quick nipped to the loos to frantically brush Body Shop bronzer over my boobs and apply my pomegranate Chapstick. The French DJ started playing Daftpunk’s ‘Get Lucky’ and I foolishly took this as a good sign, and before you could say “terrible, deluded mistake” I’d trotted my camel toe ass over to talk to him.
The best I can say is that he tolerated my conversation. I got the impression he only liked talking to girls at parties that he rated as 9 or 10s, and I’m a solid 7. He had his arms folded the entire time and there was no eye contact because he was much more interested in watching the hot chicks gyrating on the dancefloor. I tried to perform a sort of Goal Defence netball move to block his line of vision, but there was a trestle table in the way. When I am hitting on a guy I attempt to gently build sexual tension, but the sexual tension was extremely low. I grabbed lasciviously at a big chunky piece of man meat (I’m referring to his arm), but he still wouldn’t make eye contact. He told me I was “sweet” which everyone knows is just guy code for “there is absolutely no way that I am going home with you”. I waxed lyrical about his surfing style, but all I got back from him was that I “take the set waves”. Translated this means “you are worse than crap”. Then he started telling me about his recent foot fungus operation. I was horrified that I am now apparently of an age where men in bars will tell me about their operations. Sexual tension was now zero. I started to realise that whilst he is almost uncomfortably good looking, it’s true that the good Lord never gives with two hands.
When he announced that he was leaving, any normal, sane person would have just accepted defeat and let him leave. So obviously I didn’t do that. In my deluded state I pursued him outside the venue. And that’s where he delivered the killer line “ you seem like a nice person, but I really like your friend”. Of course this friend has the holy trinity of hotness because she’s blonder, thinner and more than 10 years younger. I thought of dozens of witty retorts to that comment – the next day. In that moment I took the only remaining course of action which was to jump on my bike, pedal home, and wonder if that convent I saw near the surf break in Nicaragua would accept walk-ins.
For a few days I did have Vietnam style you-seem-like-a-nice-person-but-I-really-like-your-friend flashbacks and I had to self-medicate with kitkats. But then I figured out the economic potential of that statement, and I’m getting it printed on 3,000 polyester/ acrylic made in china t shirts. I know a guy in San Jose who can pump out a job lot. Special bargain price of $9.99. $5 delivery charge. Discounts on bulk orders. But the real lesson that I learnt that night is that if ever someone starts trying to chat you up and you are not interested – just tell them about your foot fungus operation.
- The hand hold technique
When God closes an Argentinian beefcake door, he always opens an Italian hunk window. The hand hold technique is an excellent way of letting someone know you’re interested in a non-embarrassing way. You grab his hand and if he’s interested he will continue holding your hand. If he’s not interested he will drop it like a hot stone. But at least it’s not like you went in for a full snog, so you can just brush it off like it was a friendly gesture. I tried it out recently on a man who I wanted to be my ‘one before The One’. This is the person who you know will mean drama and tears; but then you will meet a ginger balding guy in the cleaning products aisle at Waitrose and he will ask you if you like The Smiths.
Of course I’d heard about my one before The One’s womanizing past, but I thought it was just because he’d not met a stable, feminine force yet (aka, me). I’d heard about the fights on the beach, but I put that down to his sensitive, creative side. And all those tattoos, that was his artistic soulfulness. The lesson I take from this experience is that I need to keep things based in reality, not ridiculous fantasy. Okay, the hand hold technique didn’t work this time, but don’t let that put you off from trying it. This guy was – and I mean this in the entirely non-pejorative sense – the absolute dregs.
- Books for love
One time I saw this guy I’d had the hots on for ages at the 2nd hand book store. There he was weaving his way amongst the discarded John Grishams and Danielle Steeles. I knew that this was my opportunity to attack. I have hundreds of beautiful books at my house so I invited him round to mine to borrow a book. “Ok” he replied, “if I don’t find anything here, I’ll stop at your house on the way back”. So I rushed home to give my house a quick clean, flush the loo, remove dead bugs from window sills, put on a Bruno Mars album, shave legs, that sort of thing. Then I set about set about creating 2 piles of books, one pile in English and another pile in Spanish. I created the Spanish pile because he is bi-lingual and I wanted to appear considerate and thoughtful. I stole those books from my housemate’s bedroom. Both piles were carefully curated, there were a few Paulo Coelho and Eckhart Tolles in there. I’ve not actually read those books, but I wanted him to think I was deep. Then I waited … and waited.
I wanted to go check the surf, but I daren’t miss his arrival. Then it was dark and I was still waiting. By about 8pm I finally succumbed to the realization that he wasn’t coming and as I stared at those 2 piles of books the thought that hit me was that classic line from Sex and the City “he’s just not into you”. He wasn’t into me and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Funnily enough, I bumped into him a few weeks later and he was so drunk he had to hold onto the floor to stop himself from falling off the planet. He invited me back to house, and I suspect it wasn’t his books that he wanted to show me. By that point I had completely gone off him. So I told him…
“I’m sorry but I’m just not that into you, and also I’ve just remembered there is a packet of Cadbury’s Chocolate Mini Rolls in my cupboard at home and right now I am more interested in that. Thankyou. Be on your way, and goodnight.”
I had high hopes for Mr Utah because we shared similar passions, namely carbs and cutbacks. You always patted the stray mangy dogs on the beach, and when you were gardening you always moved the earthworms to a safe spot so they wouldn’t get hurt. I really respected you for that. Your idea of a hot date was taking me to some stinky bat caves or jumping off perilous waterfalls, but it was wonderful. The time you said “How on earth have you managed to stay single for so long?” is still the single most sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. You were never happier than when you were cleaning the kitchen using non-chemical alternatives like vinegar or baking soda, even though I brought Flash Lemon Liquid Cleaner from the UK. You’re still the only man I’ve ever met who didn’t need to be told to put the bins out, and you always sluiced them out with the hose. I really loved your cooking, especially when you added poppy seeds to the banana bread. You knew all the same song lyrics as me, and this is something which is really, really important in a relationship. We never argued, except for that time you said ‘Like a Prayer’ was Madonna’s greatest song, and everyone knows it’s either ‘Borderline’ or ‘Live to Tell’.
I was really sad when you broke up with me. A few months later when I saw you with your new girlfriend, it felt like a dagger in my chest. It was hard living in a small town and always bumping into you. But when you feel really broken, you start to figure out the things that are really important and it’s those things that build you back up again. Getting my heart smashed into a million pieces was probably the best thing that ever happened to me; even though it took 2 months of anti-depressants, 3 months of therapy and Amazon’s entire broken hearts category before I could say that. It gave me a stronger sense of self, resilience, and empathy with others. And I had to learn to laugh at myself, and that’s one of the greatest gifts of all.
So my kookbitches, I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and I hope you get to go surfing. You might get to meet someone cool in the waves, because all the boring people are blowing up crap balloons, getting glitter on the carpet, or watching Love Actually for the 19th time.