The first time I heard her speak she shouted in my direction and much to my disgust, at me. She was gone in a second and I’d barely blinked. The second time I heard her speak she was blatently trying to chat up a guy I’d my eye on, I got my shoulder bumped as she whirled past. I’d observed her a few times, flirting with any guy in sight and she wasn’t taking any prisoners. Then there was the time when a group of us were parting at the end of the night and she shouted at one of the guys asking if was he ‘going to ride the blonde wan’, pointing at me. My clenched teeth and fists and sense of decorum stopped me from reacting.
She popped up at parties, she walked into pubs with people I knew. I’d heard her routine on numerous occasions by now. Always the same, loud, brash, tottering on her heels as she fell into another guy. I couldn’t work out if this was the real her or just the one she wants people to see, there had to be something else to her. Then there was a cliched conversation in the Ladies – she confessed that some guy was ‘freaking her out’ and wouldn’t leave her alone, admired my eyeshadow and asked me if I’d spotted ‘anyone nice’ in the pub. We bonded over Duran Duran on the dancefloor and she became more intriguing but my guard was still very much up.
Then came the night that it was literally me, her, a guy that left early and her friend who was being chatted up.. so that left eh, only me and her really.
‘Did he just take your number? OMG, he’s very cute! I was only gone a minute! That was the second guy tonight!’ I was trying to work out what she was getting at because popular as I was, she had been chatting to what seemed like every guy in the room at some point. Then she stopped and said she wished she could just calm down in front of guys, not scare them by literally exploding into the conversation, taking it over and leaving them in no doubt whom she wanted to be the star attraction, give them a chance to speak. She just stopped, stared at me and said how she’d love to be like me, the way I can ‘just stand in a pub and guys come over to me’, that I seemed perfectly happy to just be me, that she knew she made a tit of herself but was just a bit all over the place.
Now, this got me thinking. Was she really that clever that it was all a game? Was she lulling me into a sense of false security, hoping as she’d done to others, that it wouldn’t be long before she nailed the last stiletto into the coffin of my confidence, so to speak. Is this how she was with any new person, that she went into full defence mode, made a show of them and wanted them to slink away in a cloud of self doubt? Or was there a hint, just a hint that she might be a real person with real feelings and just needed to take a bit of a look at herself, admit that being the all singing, all dancing life and soul of the party was keeping everyone at her preferred distance in case they got too close. Everyone has barriers after all.
I did wonder if there had been a breakthrough, between me and her I mean. Did she now feel less threatened by me and realise that perhaps we could have a bit of a laugh? I wasn’t fully convinced on this one but, in my quest to give everyone a chance, I put it on the back burner for definite consideration. A few weeks later we both laughed as we recalled a previous night out, she in no uncertain terms told me what she’d like to do to an unsuspecting guy within sight and she pushed a guy off the couch so I could sit down. Cue more laughter and another drink. And cue a definite thaw. The fact that we both needed to buy our own bodyweight in crisps for the taxi journey home made me realise we might have even more in common.