(Fittingly, I had just turned 23 when this happened.)
Curtis* and I had one of those TV show kind of meetings on one of the busiest streets in Glasgow. I remember the exact day, not because of him, but because that morning, my brother and now sister-in-law had just landed from Vancouver to visit me for a couple weeks in Scotland. So naturally, I got them caffeinated and took them to city centre to explore a wee bit. We were walking down Sauchiehall Street when a cute guy with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes stopped me and handed me a flyer for a tattoo shop down the street.
“Where did you get your work done?” he asked, “It’s all stunning.”
“Oh, thank you! I got it all done in Canada.” (Like I even needed to say that – I had an accent!**)
And maybe my accent is what did it, but we kept on talking, and before I continued on my way, he stopped me shyly and asked for my number. I was crazy kinds of flattered, and this guy was cute! So obviously I gave it to him, and then I returned to my brother, who gave me a little eyebrow wiggle and a big grin, and I’m pretty sure an, “Oooooooh well! Who was that?!” (I love my brother. I wish I could properly convey how adorably he said that shit. It was golden.)
SIDENOTE: This was kind of an especially big deal because I don’t get asked out on dates. Like, ever. I can think of all kinds of awful reasons why, and my friends can think of all kinds of great reasons why, but it’s just become a fact of my life. In fact, I do believe that this story may be the last time I was asked out on a date and I was certain it was a romantic date. And it was almost three years ago, so…yikes. CHANGE OF SUBJECT.
So I get a text like, instantly (see: the next day) from Curtis and we make plans for our date. It turns out we both live in the west end of Glasgow, so he picks a pub for us to meet at and we’re set.
I am TOTALLY nervous as I’m getting ready to go out. I’m nervous the pub is gonna be a dive (not an uncommon problem in Glasgow, and I say that with love), I’m nervous that I don’t know this guy like, at all (even though we’ve been texting lots leading up to the date), I’m nervous about what to wear – the list is endless. Thank goodness my brother and sister-in-law were there for outfit and ego confirmations. But I’m still a bit of a shaky mess as I walk into the pub.
I had NOTHING to be nervous about. It was kind of a perfect first date. The pub was classy and clean and it had a great wine selection. My date was handsome, sweet, funny, easy to talk to, and we played the pub quiz together and did pretty well if I do say so myself! He took the bus home with me even though he didn’t live as far west as I did to make sure I got there safely. He walked me to my door. We had a fantastic goodnight kiss and started making plans for our next date. It was promising.
And then it all fell apart. (Did you think this would be a good dating story? If so, you don’t know me well enough.)
He was texting me every day, playful jokes, asking how my day was, etc. We chose a day for our next date, which was exciting!!
Then I came down with what I (and the doctors at the ER) think was a strain of shingles.
Basically, a monster rash. I’d post photos, but I am far too vain. So instead I’ll say this: I looked like a leper, I was lethargic, painfully itchy, and at its worst, my face was so swollen that I couldn’t open my left eye and my breathing became laboured. That’s when I woke my brother up, phoned my best friend, and went to the ER.
And it ruined everything. It ruined some things literally – like the trip to Portugal I was going to take with my brother and sister-in-law, which would have more serious repercussions than I could ever know at the time (that’s another story for another day). Instead I was bed ridden, barely able to move, for over a week. And then it ruined some things figuratively – like my budding romance/friendship with Curtis.
Not because he saw me. THANK GOD HE DIDN’T SEE ME. (Guys, literally no one saw me. I was like a monster in a cave for a week. I wouldn’t even go out for groceries, that’s how bad it was.) But I did have to put off our date by a few days, because I was still feeling so rough. Curtis was heartbroken. I told him I looked like Cthulhu and he said he didn’t care, and that if he had his way our second date would have been the day after our first date, and so on. It was sweet. I was simultaneously blushing and so glad he couldn’t see me. (Again, I reiterate, it was a MONSTER RASH.)
But when I got better, apparently, something had changed. We set another second date. The day before it was supposed to happen, he texted me and bailed. We set another date. On the day of, I still hadn’t heard from him to confirm our plans, even though he had been texting me goofy photos the day before, so I got in touch. He waffled and made up excuses. He was still stuck at work. He needed to go home and shower and would text me after. And so on.
Needless to say the second date never happened. Instead, I received what remains to be one of the strangest and longest text messages EVER. From Curtis, obvs. It was a TOME about how we couldn’t go out again, because his life was in complete upheaval and he didn’t want to drag me through the mud with him. It went on and on and it made us sound like we were seriously involved. I wouldn’t say married, but maybe engaged. I read it and then picked my jaw up off the floor. What the hell? It was a second date, not our wedding day. I texted him back saying something along the lines of “Whoa, it’s gonna be all right – wanna just hang as friends? That’s cool, too!”
And then I never heard from him again.
Bottom line: Girls get stereotyped as being the crazy ones who over-analyze and freak out about relationships, but in my experience, guys are just as guilty of it, if not worse.
ALSO: Not every girl wants to get married, guys. The word “married” freaks some of us out. Some of us just want to hang out and make out. So chill the fuck out. It’s gonna be okay.
*Not his real name, but I’m not that creative about fake names, so let’s just say his name also starts with a C and ends with an S. And because I don’t want to leave you guessing, it was Chris. You’re welcome.
**I know I technically always have an accent, but in Scotland, guys tend to think it’s cute, so it becomes worth mentioning. In Canada it’s just the boring way I speak.