I was recently invited out to the nightclubs with a group of friends. Though this has been the sort of activity I haven’t enjoyed much in the past, I had quite a nice time. I think time spent with my very best friends is always going to be time well spent.
Historically, I’ve often come back from night clubbing experiences with stories of awkward encounters with strangers. Unfortunately, this most recent visit wasn’t any different in that regard. But the awkward encounter I’d like to tell you about this time is a little different – it wasn’t a brief encounter with a stranger, it was a drawn out interaction which lasted a few days.
Anyway – I was in the club and I was enjoying myself, dancing away. While dancing in clubs used to be less appealing to me, I now find it to be quite a nice way to live in the moment and to release stress. I was having great time, when a women a couple of years younger than me indicated that she wanted to say something. I leaned forward so that she could talk in my ear.
“If you’re trying to catch my friend’s attention, there’s no point – she’s taken,” she said.
“Ha! No need to worry about that. I didn’t even think about trying to catch her attention,” I replied.
“That was my way of asking you to dance with me,” she said.
“Oh, okay. Fair enough!” I replied. I thought her communication skills were a bit poor, since that’s a very indirect way of asking a question, but then I did also reason that alcohol can inhibit a person’s social skills.
So then she took both of my hands and the two of us started dancing. The me of several years ago would have been very unhappy about the idea of a stranger holding both of my hands, but I’m quite comfortable with physical contact these days, so I wasn’t too bothered. I was quite proud of myself, in fact.
“Do you think I’m good looking?” she asked me.
I thought this was a bit of an awkward question.
“First of all,” I said, “everybody is beautiful. Of course, that includes you. But second of all, you shouldn’t concern yourself with the opinions of strangers in nightclubs.”
“Aww, you’re really sweet,” she said. Which was nice – although what I’d said wasn’t really “sweet” it was just an objective statement on my perspectives. I decided to just accept the compliment and thanked her.
Over the next hour or so, the pair of us continued to dance. Throughout this time, she kept giving me compliments – pretty much all of them tied to my appearance. I thanked her each time and said that it was good that she liked to give out a lot of compliments. Some of the things she said, such as “Just go ahead and do what you want to do” and “You’re not religious are you?” were statements which I would look back on with a different interpretation later.
Eventually the time came for her to go home. Before she left, she told me her full name and showed me her Facebook account. She asked me to add her as soon as I got home. The night concluded for me shortly after and I thought it had been a pleasant evening. Though slightly tired, the next day I sent a message to the new friend I’d made and I suggested that we meet up. After all, I always like to take any opportunity I can to solidify a new friendship!
However, I began to grow a little concerned when, after explaining what had happened to my friends, they expressed that I might have inadvertently arranged a romantic date for myself. This made me somewhat anxious, because I was not interested in going on a date with this stranger. I sent them a few messages about how I liked making new friends and I hoped that that would be the end of any potential misconceptions. After all, I thought to myself, why would somebody assume something was a date if there had been no overt romantic context to our interactions?
A few days later, the pair of us met in Costa. I ordered a delicious hot chocolate and she arrived a little later. We chatted for a while, talking about our lives and so forth and everything seemed to be going fine. This was just like meeting any of my platonic friends and I had nothing to worry about. I thought, however, that I should be 100% sure…
“Yes,” I said, “I am pleased you decided to meet me today. I love making new friends and each time I meet a new person who I get on with, I invite them to meet up with me. Friendship is probably the thing which is most important to me in life.”
She didn’t give much of a reply to this, but texted something on her phone. A tad rude, I thought, but who am I to dictate what a person does with their autonomy? The conversation resumed very briefly, but then all of a sudden she had a call about a suspicious washing machine related incident, so had to leave right away to assist her housemate.
I didn’t think that this sounded genuine, and couldn’t help but smiling in amusement to myself as she apologised and left. I finished the hot chocolate, which was particularly delicious, and then decided to get some groceries. Perhaps, I thought, she had thought it was a date and then, once I made it clear that it was not, she had been too embarrassed and made an excuse to leave?
For a moment, I felt bad. That was awfully cynical. It wasn’t entirely impossible that the washing machine related incident had been genuine, after all and I do like to trust people. But then I saw her casually wandering around the streets with her friend and I knew that it had been a lie. In order to save her an awkward interaction, I prtended not to see – but again, I couldn’t help but smile to myself, proud that I had not been deceived.
In retrospect, the “do what you want to do” might have been in reference to some physical, romantic affection she wanted me to bestow upon her and the question about religion may even have been in relation to the fact that some religious people are averse to casual sex. There had even been a time when I thought she was leaning forward to say something in my ear, only for me to lean forward myself and accidentally headbutt her in the mouth – as if she had been trying to kiss me.
It was an interesting experience for me. I just wanted to make friends and, it seems, she wanted something else. It’s a shame that people don’t communicate more directly about these things – it could have saved us both some time! But we all learn from our mistakes and grow following each experience. Hopefully I won’t accidentally go on a date again.
(Don’t miss today’s Finger Puppet Show!)