I'm not exactly what you'd call 'a looker'. At the moment I look like Danny Baker after a particularly harsh night out, which will make this next statement come sharply into focus: I'm better looking now than I was ten years ago. Yes, Quasimodo's ugly brother looked even worse a decade ago. There aren't any photos of me from the age of 16-24 as once they were developed the image of my face caused the developers to instantly burn the pictures and join the nearest monastery. I didn't have my first kiss til 17, and the thought of asking someone out was terrifying as who'd want to be arm in arm with the blob? So what possessed me to chat someone up in Jabez Clegg that night? It was doomed to hideous, embarrassing, cringe-making failure. Here's my story.
When I was at college, I had a small but close group of friends. A mix of genders, ethnicities and interests. One of the girls from our group was dating a guy from another group, and as such both groups would go out clubbing together. Our club of choice/necessity was Jabez Clegg.
Jabez was, to be honest, a bit of a flea pit. It was hot, crowded and the floors were sticky but it was also cheap and the staff had a somewhat laissez-faire attitude to the licensing laws as far as underage drinking went. It also was somewhat of a cattle market. Guys and girls getting off with each other left, right and centre. Apart from me, the fat wallflower.
This night was different.
I'd ended up with the guys from the other group, so maybe my inhibitions were down and I wasn't too worried about what my friends would think after seeing me crash and burn. Maybe I just wanted to get the sting of rejection out of the way. Whatever it was I decided tonight would be the night I chatted someone up.
We were dancing close to a couple of girls. I caught the eye of one and walked over. At this point my brain decided to pop out for some milk or something and I was left with my mouth in charge. Not a good idea. I reached the girl, leaned over and said:
"Is there any point in me trying?"
Well done Aaron you fucking idiot. What in my head had sounded like an offbeat, funny line came out as a pathetic, self pitying dribble.
Brilliant. She hasn't heard. I decided to check out, cut my losses. Sadly my brain was only just coming back from the shops (he'd picked up some cheese and biscuits so was late) so the message didn't reach my mouth. I repeated the shit line.
I. Repeated. The. Line.
By now the guys had seen I was talking to the girl and I was aware of the six pairs of eyes glancing over. Jesus, what was I doing? My role was to make the other chaps look good in comparison, not to strike out on my own. There was no way of getting out of this with any sort of dignity. I had to plough on.
"You know, to chat you up." (Cringe).
"Ah, my boyfriend is at the bar."
A way out. Out of nowhere a lifeline. I could head back to the guys, tell them she was attached. No shame in not getting off a girl with a boyfriend. Again, my mouth was the spanner in the works.
"I won't tell if you won't"
What the actual fuck? Now I'd turned all creepy and weird. I'd become a sleaze. Everything I'd wanted to avoid. I was ready to walk off when....
"Are you sure you won't tell?"
Whether it was pity, alcohol, or she was genuinely impressed by my tenacity I'll never know but her arms were round my neck and we were snogging. I'D MANAGED TO CHAT SOMEONE UP! Her friend looked appalled, the guys cheered, I felt ALIVE! We broke apart and I walked off, proud and elated. It was worth it. I'd avoided embarrassment.
Then I did a victory fist pump. Oh God.
When I look back, it's not the cringeworthy way I chatted her up that makes me wince, it's the juvenile, laddy, dickish celebration.
I never chatted a woman up in a club again. Probably for the best.