This is it. This is the story that inspired this entire series. It’s a story full of clichés and Hollywood-type moments but has a very un-Hollywood-type ending (spoiler alert: the guy does not get the girl).
The story begins with a newly single girl, fresh out of a nearly-9 year relationship going out for a girls’ night. She’s not looking for anything. She just wants to dress up, drink and dance with her friends.
The girls begin their night in a dimly lit bar – it’s overcrowded, humming with chatter, laughter and music. It’s so full, most patrons are standing but the girls have managed to secure a seat. Cocktail after cocktail, the girls sit giggling and talking. They’re in the very centre of the bar.
He was out on a boys’ night. A group comprised of friends and friends of friends. They were enjoying being inside away from the cold night air. The warm bodies in the bar were fogging up the floor-to-ceiling window they were sitting against.
The boys were quick to notice the girls. The girls, on the other hand, were completely oblivious to anything or anyone around them. It wasn’t long before one of the boys grew tired of watching and found the courage to walk over and start a conversation with her group. After seeing the success his friend seemed to be having with the girls, he grabbed his glass and what was, by this stage, an empty pitcher and walked over to offer her a cocktail. She looked up from the conversation and finally noticed the man standing in front of her. Tall, dark and handsome and offering her a drink from a pitcher with nothing but leftover ice and a few fragments of fruit and mint leaves used to flavour whatever cocktail was once in there. Her attention then shifted to the full glass in his hand and, while laughing, she reached up and swapped his glass with her empty one.
Taking this as a green light, he sat down and the conversation began to flow. Using the noise in the bar as an excuse, he moved closer to her until they were almost touching. They spoke of tattoos after he noticed the small tattoo on her forearm. He had tattoos from his shoulders to his wrists and she ran her finger tips over them as she asked what the story was behind each one. Just as he began to grow comfortable in her presence, the rest of the girls grew tired of sitting in the same bar and decided to explore a new crowd. Without warning, one of her girlfriends pulled her by the arm and told him to come find her at ‘whatever bar they end up in’ and she was whisked away before phone numbers could be exchanged.
Fast forward a few hours and the two boys had found the girls again but by this stage only two girls remained – not that they minded as these were the girls they were interested in anyway. Eager to continue the night, they found a dance floor and some more drinks, only leaving when the club started to close. The four of them piled into a taxi and headed back to hers where they continued talking and dozing on the floor of her lounge room in between conversation topics. The boys left at lunch time – this time, after he got her number.
He saw her again for dinner a couple of days later. Her parents had been recruited to babysit their grandchild to allow her to go out.
Dinner was sushi – something he had never had before. He tried everything she suggested and even swallowed things that he thought were completely vile. Although amused by his sportsmanship, she noticed that their conversation was limited to what dish they had in front of them. She began to try to change the conversation onto other topics – where he grew up, what was his story, why had he been single for 11 years (!!) – but even those stories came up short. There was nothing for her to sink her teeth into. The date ended after a couple of hours and she was thankful that she had promised to relieve her parents from babysitting duties at a reasonable hour.
He asked to see her again a couple of nights later. Convincing herself that his severe lack of substance was a result of first date jitters, she agreed. He came over after her daughter went down for the night – she wasn’t going to waste another babysitting favour on him.
As it was their second date, she dressed in a simple tee and skinny leg jeans even though all they would be doing was lounging around. He, however, showed up in gym shorts, a hoodie and ugg boots. When she opened her front door to greet him, she scanned him quickly from head to toe – and it was not the up-and-down you’d want to get from a girl – she was less than impressed by his casualness.
They spent the night watching tv and barely speaking – and it wasn’t because she was enraptured by the program on screen. As a girl who was proud of her ability to talk to anyone she came across, she struggled with him. Really struggled. There seemed to be nothing she wanted to discuss with him, no big ideas, no topics of controversy and further, there seemed to be nothing that she wanted to know about him. Nothing he said inspired her to ask more. As far as she was concerned, there were no tidbits about his life she wanted to hear and no anecdotes about hers that she wanted to share. She found herself bored and watching the clock. Finally he left for the night and she took herself to bed having been ready for it hours ago.
He continued to message regularly and repeatedly with the usual pointless messages some couples seem to send – good morning messages, how is your day messages, messages about the weather, lunches and good nights. He asked to see her again and she invited him around but this time she decided there was only one thing left to do to see if he was worth her time – they would have to have sex.
He arrived again that night in his gym shorts, hoodie and ugg boots. Although not surprised by his attire this time, she continued to be unimpressed. This time he brought a plate of homemade chocolate dipped strawberries. He had learnt that they were her favourite dessert and had made a plate of them for her to share with her daughter the next day. She knew she should have been chuffed by this gesture but it made her roll her eyes. Over the week, children had been the only conversation topic that he seemed to be able to hold. He had even thought it appropriate to send her a picture of his mother holding his baby niece – two people she had never met – the thought of this message continues to make her uncomfortable to this day. She shoved the strawberries in her fridge. They’d be going straight in the trash, plate and all the next morning.
They sat in front of the tv again. Or rather, she sat and he decided he needed to perform a series of endless yoga poses on the living room floor in front of her because he ‘needed to stretch’. She had never realised how unattractive it was to see a man lifting his feet to his head until this night. She tried her hardest to focus all her attention on the tv. After she had had enough of seeing him pull weird and unflattering poses, she invited him upstairs. As she was walking up the stairs, he stopped to check himself out in one of her mirrors. After looking at himself from different angles – thankfully, none involved feet near his head again – he remarked how glad he was that he wasn’t ‘a hairy guy’ because apparently hairy guys look less muscular.
Things started to heat up in the bedroom and he moved down to start working on her. After several seconds of absolute pain, she realised it wasn’t going to get any better and he truly had no idea what he was doing. She pulled his head up and decided to progress things further so she wouldn’t have to explain why she stopped him so abruptly and tell him how terrible he was. However, he then proceeded to use the same aggressive motion but this time with his hips. She was about to push him off but as quickly as it had started, it stopped. She had never been happier for sex to be over.
Unsure how to kick him out without it being obvious that she couldn’t stand being around him, she thought it would be easier to just let him stay over. She instantly regretted it though. He had caught his reflection in her mirrored bedside lamp and proceeded to talk about how handsome he was. She switched off the light, hoping that darkness would shut him up. It didn’t. He grew restless, apparently excited at the prospect of sleeping next to her. He kicked his legs about like a child and thrashed his body around as though he was a shark killing its prey – apparently in an attempt to burn off his energy. She checked the time, it was well after midnight. In a few hours she would kick him out using her daughter’s early wake time as an excuse. She rolled over, put her back to him and willed herself to sleep.
She woke him early. Two hours before she said she would and told him it was time to go. He left, ugg boots and all but after locking the door behind him, she found his socks on the living room floor. She could have easily opened the door again and called out to him but she couldn’t bring herself to. Instead she walked over to the rubbish bin and threw them out along with the strawberries. She then went upstairs and sat in the shower, scrubbing every inch of skin that he had touched until she felt clean.
She messaged him two days later, whilst in line for coffee, with a stream of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ excuses saying that she couldn’t see him anymore. He responded, seeing through all her excuses and wanting to know more – she didn’t bother replying. After all, what could she say but ‘you bore me’?
Dress – Jadore
Heels – Jo Mercer