Writing my first official “I’m hopeless and therefore you should fill my life with internet love” post triggered a whole host of awful romantic stories from my past. Today I will share with you, my dear reader, a tale which begun when my understanding of romance and dating was about as complex as this guy:
Allow me to set the scene for you:
15 year old, yet-to-have-a-girlfriend Mr Ridley (with the exception of year 6, where I ‘dated’ my fellow school captain for 2 weeks at the start of year 6, and she dumped me on the 13th of February, so I decided to cross out her name on her Valentines Day card and give it to another girl, clearly my smoothness was evident from a young age), was daydreaming his way through another exhilarating day of year 10 work, when a young lady (Kristy) approaches. Evidently another strapping young lad in my class had broken her heart, and as one of 7 guys in my year, and certainly the safest option, she decided to entertain me with a bargain. “If we’re both not married by 40, we will get married.”
As you can imagine dear reader, my mind was swirling with questions. A woman wanted to marry me? In 25 years? I won’t have to cross out any more names on Valentines Day cards? Where do I sign up? Hands were shook, and the bond of future marital bliss was forged.
Jump forward 6 years, Mr Ridley is now a cool as a cucumber uni student with a 1980 Mitsubishi Sigma station wagon with cream velour interior, so you can probably tell, I was a rad motherfucker*.
I receive a phone call, which even by 2008 standards was a pretty big deal. It was my friend Kristy from high school, asking me to come over for dinner and catch up. I thought that sounded like a great idea, I hadn’t seen most of my friends from high school since I had graduated and thought it would be nice to catch up with every one again. We settle on a 7pm Saturday start time. I arrive early, as I do to all things, and she greets me all dolled up and walks me to the table. It’s at this point I begin to suspect things may not lead to the kind of group get together that I was expecting, but I’m sure it would be nice to share a meal with Kristy.
I was not two bites into a potato bake when the first and only warning shot was unleashed. “It’s so difficult to meet guys these days.” I believed her, I knew how hard it was to meet women, so surely that was all a barren market, and not me being horrifically unappealing. I gave her a sympathetic pep-talk discussing how great she was, and most guys would be lucky to have her. The next sentence to leave her lips floored me completely, and I’m not one to be shocked easily – “I was thinking we should move our marriage up a few years.” I had forgotten about it to be honest, I was happy to adjust it down a few years, I wasn’t the most confident guy on the block, however the idea of marrying anyone due to not meeting anyone just felt icky to early-20’s Mr Ridley. So what harm could 35 do?
“Oh sure! How many years were you thinking? Down to 35?”
“I’m thinking we move it forward 18 years to June next year.”
My initial reaction was to laugh, a reaction which didn’t go down very well with my new pre-fiance. “I believe you should propose in August this year, and we’ll get married in June next year.” Not only was I going to be marrying her, but I would have my proposal date selected in advance too? How was a man meant to say no? It’s at this point my mind started racing as to where the hell I can escape to and fake my death?
Something important to know about me, dear reader, is that I am very patient, so where most men would have been through a window already, a part of my brain (the part which has lead me here) told me to hear her out. So I had to push on, I decided I’d ask her where we would spend our honeymoon, a question she was well equipped to answer. Apparently we were to spend 2 weeks in lovely New Zealand doing a Lord of the Rings Adventure tour. Now this almost got me over the line, the thought of me in a fantastic blonde wig tracking the Uruk Hai to Isengard. However the Gandalf the Grey-Matter stood firmly against this.
Four hours of my life rolls on, I’m running out of dismissive nods, and finally after all of the endless marriage planning I was left with a single question. “What do you think?” I attempted to let her down gently, which proved significantly harder to do than normal as she seemed to be ignoring every word I said. I gave her a tentative, “I’ll need to think about it, before I commit to anything.” The words themselves seemed to destroy her, and if that didn’t the phone call three days later to suggest that we are clearly going in different directions in life really didn’t go down well, so it’s been a solid 7 years since that lovely evening, and I’ve never had a marriage proposal-proposal occur since, which is a real shame, I think my first round gave me a lot more confidence in having some input into planning our whole lives. In that time I’ve met a couple of women who I’d love to take on a Lord of the Rings Adventure tour, however, none of them have made it even close to the proposal-proposal stage, however my lovely reader, things will always go upward, or downward, from a second storey balcony, as you’ll find out next time.
*Mr Ridley is not a rad motherfucker.