Romeo Fabulini wrote:
And guys are forever trying to walk a tightrope between being too pushy and too wimpy.
When I was 22, I got to know a fabulous seeming girl called Mary at an art-student pub in Bristol* where I was a regular; we had mutual friends, we got on really well, we usually sat together. I had a strong feeling we could have a relationship. She invited me to have tea and toasted tea-cakes (and a joint or two) at her flat (well, bedsit really) in Clifton one Saturday afternoon. Although I generally got on well with girls and had had plenty of dates, I had been told before by a couple of girls I was too pushy and tried to go too far, too fast, so I thought "I'll play this gently". After the teacakes I was leaving and I said "Let's go out for a date" or words to that effect. She put on a kind of consoling voice and said "I'm sorry, I don't think so - I'd rather we were just friends."
I was devastated! For one thing, my strong intuition about it had turned out to be false which made me feel kind of lost, like my compass had broken. Also I was disappointed but I eventually got over it. The idea that if a girl said "No" she meant "No" seemed the respectful thing to assume. I changed pubs. About 2 years later I met the woman who was to become my first wife and one evening we both went to a club in Bristol (the Dug-Out of fond memory) and we ended up apart, talking to different groups of friends (there were 2 bars in the place). I was in the other bar, and guess who should appear but Mary! She seemed very pleased to see me and bought me a drink. We were chatting by the bar and she said "You know, I really fancied you a couple of years ago. What happened?". I said "But I asked you out and you said "No"! She said: "I just wanted to see how hard you'd try."
I immediately turned on my heel and walked away, leaving the pint of cider untouched. I was so cross! I told my soon-to-be wife about it and she laughed and said "You're angry with yourself, not her, because you now realise how close you were." I didn't think that was accurate. I realised what a narrow escape I had had. If she was the kind of girl who made men beg (so to speak) for a date, how many more hoops would she have created for me to jump through once we were an item?
Looking back I must say that this was one of the experiences in my life which helped me develop my own views about what kind of relationship I wanted and what sort of person I wanted to be with. The first wife thing didn't work out, but for different reasons!
I am with someone now. We met at a Halloween party in 1993 and went home together afterwards and have not been apart for over 20 years.
*The Adam and Eve, if you're reading this, Mary.