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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Chancer

I don’t believe in luck.

Let me rephrase that. I don’t believe luck can be made, as if some people have a knack in striking lucky and some people don’t. No. I believe in chance. Taking chances. Putting yourself in a position where there are risks; an equal chance of failure or success, and being willing to accept whichever comes your way.

And when it comes to me, I do this regularly. Though I am often not aware that I am in this position till much later. People who know me, ask me, how is it that I have the balls to:

Demand a refund due to the terrible projection of a movie in the cinema
Ask for huge reductions in my ‘past-its-sell-by-date’ shopping basket
Send food back in a restaurant when it’s not exactly what I ordered
Greet Ken Loach as if he were an old mate (he’s not)
Ask for a job from someone I have just met
Walk up to a stranger and ask him out for a drink

And when I think about it, I really don’t know how. I mean, it’s not that I am not scared to do all these things – I am. It’s just that the fear doesn’t hit me, till some time later, usually when I get home, and then I think to myself

‘What the fuck did I just do??’

I have a delayed reaction I guess. To everyone else, I seem super confident, outspoken and flirtatious – and I am – but inside I shit bricks like everyone else, even though I appear to be calm, relaxed and cool on the outside. (Those acting lessons I took many years ago paid off I guess).

But this ‘confidence’ doesn’t seem to work in my favour all the time, especially with guys, much to my detriment.

I recall getting drunk a while back with a friend of mine, E, who I had a huge crush on at the time. (He later turned out to be gay, and not Bi as he and I had thought, but that’s another story). E and I had been drinking all afternoon and ended up where you normally do on a nice autumn day: sitting in Trafalger Square, getting drunk and having a ‘truth session’. E admits to me he was intimidated by me when we first met and that until I approached him, he was too scared to talk to me. After a couple more beers I managed to find out why.

Me: So what is it about me that’s off-putting?

E: You’re not off-putting. You’re very sexy. I mean, you’re gorgeous!

Me: (Embarrassed) Thank you. Why is that scary?

E: That’s not scary. You’re fucking lovely. (He reaches over, puts his hand on my thigh) Of all the women I have ever known, you would be the one I would want to sleep with, you’re sexy, intelligent, you’ve got great fucking tits…

Me: You forgot funny…

E: Yes, funny too. If I wasn’t with T (his boyfriend), I would be asking you out.

Me: (My heart raising a little – I liked him, remember) Um, thank you.

E: I can’t believe you are single!

Me: (Melancholic now) Neither can I…

E: I think I know why. But I don’t know if I should tell you…

Me: Why? Please. I need to know!

E: Ok. You did ask… Because of the way you are. The way you come across to people is that you don’t need, or even want, a man.

Me: What?! That’s not true!

E: No, you seem like you’ve either already got a man or that you have no interest in having one; either way you’ve got no need for a new one in your life. That’s how you come across anyway.

Me: (Too stunned to speak)

E: You’re so confident, you’re very unapproachable. For a guy to be able to even talk to you, he needs to have a huge pair of balls, let alone chat you up. That’s why I ignored you when we met. Not because I didn’t like you, but because I did like you, but you really scared me. Does that make sense?

Me: Sort of. But I thought I had ‘Desperate and Needy’ written all over my forehead when it comes to men?

E: No. More like: ‘I have all the men I need, now get lost’ written all over your forehead.

Me: Oh. Fuck. Bollocks. Shit. Damn. Help!

And then it started raining and we said goodbye. And I privately vowed to work on this brash outer self of mine and try and be a bit more demure, soft, cuddly and feminine: thus more approachable. Maybe then guys would chat me up, right?

It lasted about a year. And I still didn’t get chatted up. And I realised that being quiet and shy-acting, just wasn’t in my nature. Instead of coming across all sweet and girly, I appeared to have lost my brain and the ability to have an intellectual discussion, the very things that (I think) are appealing about me (minus the breasts of course).

Not only is it in my nature to be outgoing and assertive, I think I also enjoy taking chances and putting myself on the line, especially when it comes to men. Maybe I like the thrill of it. I mean as well as the possibility of failure, there’s also the chance of success that is just as heart racing. Take the following over the last year:

My asking the sales assistant who was helping me try on ski trousers out for a drink (he had a girlfriend)
My walking up to a guy I had seen on the studio lot and asking him out to dinner (he had a girlfriend)
My getting an actors phone number (never called him, can’t afford to shit in my own backyard)
My chatting up one of my gym instructors (he had a wife and kid)
My meeting a guy from a personal ad (we ended up shagging)
My chatting up a guy on the bus (we ended up shagging)
My following a cute guy around in the supermarket (he had a boyfriend)
My flirting with a guy in my local newsagents (both of us with The Guardian, him with a smile, me in a hurry – haven’t seen him since)
My asking a total stranger out for a beer (haven’t heard back from him)

All of these situations have made my heart beat a little faster, which must be good for my soul, if not for my metabolic rate. And even though I have been gutted (to say the least) about the ones that didn’t work out, at least I have taken chances and put myself ‘out there’.

Without risk, there is no serendipity. Life would be exceedingly dull. And a dull life is one not worth living.

I reckon anyway.

Even if I do hide my head in my hands on a semi-regular basis wishing I hadn’t been so forward…

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