So, the last time I ‘blogged’, I had left fourteen-year-old me underneath a table, wading through stale sandwich crumbs and slimy banana skins, not to mention a very questionable looking cheese wrapper which looked decidedly like something I hope to God it wasn’t. Meanwhile, my now ‘boyfriend’ was causing noisy havoc down the hallways of the Nichols building, celebrating his success of wearing me down into ‘going out’ with him. My best friend, Lucy, who I’m pretty sure was the one to give away my secret in the first place, was now smirking at me whilst hanging her head down to peer inside of my hovel for one. She was affording me one of her signature smug looks. One that said, ‘yes, that fool running up and down the school building, sounding like his pants are literally on fire, is now your boyfriend!’ Said friend was silently told to ‘please shut the hell up and leave me to die of shock and humiliation in peace!’
The afternoon was spent in double Food and Technology, a GCSE which would prove to be thoroughly pointless to my future endeavours. Having recently tried to engage with a virtual bake off at my daughter’s school, I can assure you I was left feeling both embarrassed and ashamed of my efforts. However, it was over the course of this two hour stretch, that Lucy and I began dissecting the rather horrifying events of lunchtime. Most of the other students were, by now, fighting the urge to attempt sleeping with their eyes wide open during one of Mrs Kepple’s long winded lectures about HACCP (hell if I can remember what this actually stands for, suffice to say my A* was obviously a complete fluke). Fortunately for us, Lucy and I had managed to bypass the enforced seating plan because we were laughably known for our exemplary behaviour and focussed attitude towards our studies. Little did our teacher know, was that we had the magical ability to switch off our attention to her monotonous voice and very rarely listened to a single thing she said.
“Oh my God!” was used no less than thirty-three and half times during that afternoon, most of which by me who was now feeling physically sick and wishing she had stayed at home and put her ridiculous notions of dating firmly out of her head. Meanwhile, Lucy who was still sporting a taunting grin on her face, clearly relishing in my severe bout of awkwardness, was mocking me by highlighting all the things one is expected to do with a boy when you were ‘going out’ with them.
Now let me put it out there now, this was the year of 1997, when fourteen-year-olds still looked halfway between child and adult, did not engage in any activity which would bypass a PG rating and still considered having mixed sex parties as somewhere between exciting and horrifying. I realise things have since progressed and our actions may be more akin to what ten-year-olds behave like nowadays, but I am verging on the precipice of the dreaded ‘midlife’ episode of my existence, so bear with me.
“He’ll want to hold your hand, hug you, maybe even…kiss you!” She smirked whilst listing out these sweat worthy scenarios, one by one, on her fingers.
“Oh, holy mother of hell!” I gasped on a frequency I can only imagine dogs and certain aquatic animals can hear.
After school, I was back, yet again, outside of the Nichol’s building waiting for my taxi to come and get me, because did I mention I literally lived in the middle of nowhere? Seriously, my house was opposite a non-working farm where the youngest animal was about ninety-four million years old and should you be attacked by the gnarly serial killer in the middle of the night, there would only be a fat horse and a blind goat to hear you scream. Anyway, I digress. I was waiting for my taxi with the driver who apparently only allowed himself to smile on special occasions, most likely funerals or worldwide disasters, when who should appear but my newly obtained ‘boyfriend’.
Looking a little sheepish and wringing his hands nervously in front of him, I furrowed my brow in complete confusion over his sudden change in demeanour. This is the boy who had literally thrown himself on top of me during one of the many infamous ‘bundles’ which occurred during the changeover of periods, when half the school would be walking down the stairs to get to their next lesson. Yet now I had finally agreed to something other than indifference over his ‘liking me’, he was suddenly acting coy.
“Hi,” he said with an awkward smile.
“Hi,” I replied.
“So…” he started, then returned to silence again.
Readers, this should have been the first clue as to how things would go with my husband. If he can get away with saying nothing, he most certainly will. His brain is permanently set to, ‘Say nothing! Do not implicate yourself even further. You cannot piss her off anymore if you say nothing and look stupid!’ Oh, contraire man brain. Remaining silent whilst I’m losing my ever-loving shit only makes me want to commit some very questionable acts of violence. It’s like trying to have an argument with a Labrador but without the cuteness.
“So, where are we going to go?” I eventually asked him, to which he shot a confused looking pair of eyes up my way and gave me yet more silence. “You know, you asked if I would go out with you. So, where are we going to go?”
Readers, this should have forewarned him that I was not going to be the easiest of people to bullshit. Unfortunately for him, he would have to make some form of concerted effort if he wanted me to engage with all the other crap that goes hand in hand with being someone’s other half.
“Oh, I hadn’t…” he flustered whilst rubbing the back of his neck and looking extremely put out by the very notion that he would actually have to take me on a ‘date’ of some kind. Meanwhile, I enjoyed his squirming about uncomfortably, all the while thinking, ‘No you hadn’t thought this through. Not in the three years of you hounding me did you think you would actually have to take me somewhere!’ Because ladies and gentlemen, ‘going out’ with somebody at a British secondary school in the nineties, usually meant you walked around holding one another’s sweaty hands and, if he was lucky, got to have the odd pash behind the bike shed.
Whilst enjoying my small revenge for all the years he had publicly embarrassed me, he seemed to brush this thought away with a small head shake and a charming smile that was usually reserved for the middle-aged female teachers. The ones that would tell each other what a nice boy he was and always chose him to run the odd errand, which he would do with a polite nod of his head, quickly followed by an ‘of course,’ and a ‘no problem miss’. Conversely, when I asked him to get his four-year-old a drink the other day, I was met with a stare that would have had you believe I just asked him to kindly remove his genitals with a pair of the kids’ safety scissors.
“Where would you like to go?”
Cue my fourteen-year-old girl shoulder shrug. Hey, he should have been happy I had managed to answer ‘ok’ from underneath the table at lunchtime. My bravery was officially wiped out for the day!
“How about swimming at the rec, on Saturday?” He asked, gesturing towards the recreation centre behind us, presumably because it was there and had been the first thing he laid his eyes upon.
“Ok,” I muttered, just before my cheerful taxi driver showed up.
“Ok. See you tomorrow.”
Once sat inside of the taxi with the hairy guy up front, who simply grunted by means of a ‘hello’, I suddenly asked myself what the hell I had just agreed to.
Oh Taylor, you really haven’t thought this one through have you? You just agreed to go on a first date which involves you essentially wearing only your underwear and having your concealer washed away in a matter of seconds. Bloody hell!
I’m going to leave fourteen-year-old me in a stupor for now but will get back to ‘First Dates’ in my next blog.
Look out for my debut novel release, Learning Italian, coming this month!