How to get A Head Start...
Today I have decided to tell you a little story. As you may have guessed, yesterday was officially a Bad Day. On my way to the station from work I was trying to think of funny things to cheer myself up a bit and there is one memory that never fails to make me laugh like a proverbial drain. (It really has to be a proverbial one because otherwise.. well.. it would be a kind of sewage-like gurgle. And that just isn't ladylike.)
There are few things I must fill you in on before I tell this story.
1) Do you remember when I told you that I had a crazy ex-boyfriend? Well. We split up before I went to university, but, would you believe it? We went to the SAME university. He was a year above me because I took a year out to go travelling, but he spent a while 'stalking' me and generally making my life pretty miserable. It was ok after about 4 months, because the university people stepped in and threatened him with things, so I was left alone. Which, obviously, suited me very well.
2) I spent most of my university career doing musical theatre. If you like you can go to www.musictheatrewarwick.co.uk. If you go to the media section, I was in Assassins, Guys and Dolls, City of Angels... they've done other shows since I left. Nobody thought it was possible, but they have moved on. Bastards.
Right, sorry, yeah. The story.
I was doing a show called Company in my first year, in the summer term. I had just started going out with this guy, we'll call him Dan. Okay, that's his name, just to explain that logic.
He had just split up with a girl called Lucy. ( I can't do the psuedonym thing, it confuses me and makes me feel like the story can't flow properly)
Lucy was, well, the very definition of pretention. She frequently wore berets and (and this is just one example of her pretentiousness) would do some basic yoga/breathing exercises before a rehearsal, and then draw an imaginary circle on the floor, breath deeply through her nose with eyes tight shut, then open them very wide, and with a grand sweep of her arms she would step into (and I quote) 'the forum'. More breathing, more focussing, more elaborate arm gestures. Oh, how we laughed. We enjoyed that VERY much.
So. This Lucy had recently been dumped by my boyfriend. Do you know why? Can you guess? No, you can't. Because it's RIDICULOUS. She had cheated on Dan with no other than My Crazy Ex. I KNOW.
So they were seeing each other. Did I mention, by the way that Dan, Lucy and I were all doing the same show? Many long long rehearsals. Much, much fun.
During one of these rehearsals Lucy came over to me, and in a very serious manner, with a slight tilt of the head and squeeze on the shoulder, asked if we could go outside "for a chat".
I kind of mumbled an assent and followed her, prompting furious "what's going on? where the hell are you two going? if there's a fight can I watch?" stares and jiggling of eyebrows from my friends. Oustide we went. She sat me down. We had the following conversation.
Lucy: The reason I wanted to talk, Léonie, is that I don't want it to be awkward.
Me: Okay, fair enough, neither do I. Good idea.
Lucy: (slow nod of head and invasion of personal space by touching my arm) Mmmm..
Me: (Drawing back slightly) Er.. mmm.
Lucy: The thing is Léonie..
Me: Er.. yes Lucy?
Lucy: I just can't really understand why Dan would dump me.. for you.
Me: Excuse me? Wha..? Huh?
Lucy: I mean, we are very similar, I know
(WHAT?! No. Just... No.)
Lucy: But I still just don't get it.
Me: (trying not to laugh IN HER STUPID SMUG FACE) Thing is, Lucy..
Lucy: Yes, Léonie?
Me: He said you were a really nice girl and everything...
Lucy: Yes, Léonie?
Me: He just said you gave really crap head. (Smile, shrug)
(LONG pause. She moves away almost imperceptibly and the smug look of understanding and pity slips into one of barely concealed fury)
Lucy: (quietly) What?
Me: I was just kidding, Lucy.
Lucy: I will have you know, Léonie..
Me: Yes, Lucy?
Lucy: I will have you know I am VERY GOOD in bed. (Whisks around and walks back inside, presumably to see what's going down in the forum)
I stood there for a bit. had a little look around. Listened to the laughter bubbling up, starting in my feet, washing upwards until my mouth caught on. It took me a good ten minutes before I was sufficiently composed to be able to relay the event to any of my expectant friends.
Was it mature? Was I cool? Would I make a good UN peacekeeper with that sort of attitude? Maybe not.
But the experience has taught me the following:
If you are ever in a situation where you don't understand where the other person is coming from, you feel awkward, nervous or intimidated by someone, don't panic. All you need to do in order to re-gain that upper hand is tell them that you heard that they give an exceptionally poor blow job.
Seriously, job interviews, awkward in-laws, trouble with the police? Works every time.