The other day I stepped into a bookshop I have always looked at from the outside. It looks like it should be in New York, and when I stepped in there it felt just like that too. I LOVE bookshops. The cool old vintage ones and the not-so-cool modern ones. I just love books. Books are cool. I remember noticing that when I move house the first two things I do is make my bed and then set up my book shelf/stack. It’s just something about how homely they make the place. So fill a whole shop with them, and I’m there.
In this New-York-ish shop, a guy stepped forward from out the back to offer assistance to my shelve browsing. Immediately, the words “you’re so hot” entered my head. He was. I fancied everything about him. His style, his shoes, his scarf, his glasses, his hair…and I think his face. I think I remember liking that bit too, but I was mainly focusing on how cool he was.
I was in the search for a book that might contain potential tattoo designs – ancient/arty/folklore-y sketches of animals, or anything near to that. I successfully tipped a tonne of books on the floor in the process, making a tit of myself. Smooth tends not my middle name. I giggled and joked and chattered away, feeling the butterflies of nerves and secretly loving this. I hadn’t had this in ages. The last time this kind of encounter happened was about this time last year, with a super cool Californian skater who worked in my favourite coffee shop in San Francisco… the coffee shop in which I met the first guy I dated in Cali, too! Ha. It seems I have a habit of meeting guys in shops. This first one we properly/shonkily/confusingly dated in a cool Californian way, and the second chap I ended up going on a couple of cute dates and had a good old snog, before it all went tits up and I headed back home to the UK.
After twenty minutes of browsing and bantering in this bookshop, I decided what to buy. There was another book he recommended, so he wrote down the name of it on a piece of paper. Then he handed it over to me and said that he’d written his number too, and that if I want to go and watch a film…
This is the bit I’m writing about:
A guy gave me his number and asked if I wanted to go on a date.
I stepped out of the shop filled with complete excitement and complete terror. I noticed as the thoughts of whether I am good enough, the self-judgement of my somewhat dodgy looks, all my fears that he’ll think I’m weird or that I AM weird, and my fears of what this might bring, all kicked into a massive frenzy within bloody seconds. But before I could fall any deeper into this spiral of negativity, I stopped and pulled myself out and just let myself bask in the beauty of SOMEONE FANCYING ME. I stopped all that future tripping and gave myself the treat of that rushing feeling of having a crush. I felt so alive and happy it freaked me out. Turns out feeling shit about yourself or feeling comfortable about keeping in your own little box or just feeling comfortable with not feeling this kind of spark, can become quite a comfort zone.
This ability to hold fire on these judging or worrying thoughts didn’t last too long, but I have managed to keep a distance from them. They do just holla up whenever I think about the guy but noticing them makes me smile, rather than become all-consumed by them. They still suck though, but I figure this is all completely normal.
It’s my fear of inadequacy. It’s my fear of past trauma that comes to the surface at the thought of anything like this. It’s my fear of SOMEONE LIKING ME (I have a big issue about this – my fear of being loved is so flippin’ huge). It’s my fear of LETTING SOMEONE IN. My fear of not just keeping my Me to me. It’s my fear of him being a massive weirdo. Or me being a massive weirdo. It’s my fear of intimacy. My fear of someone seeing my lumpy bumpy bits. My fear of someone liking these bits. I’m perfectly happy if someone doesn’t like them – rejection is not something I fear as much. Or maybe it is, I just haven’t discovered that yet.
I want to call him but every time I go to do so I just get overwhelmed with fear. And I have never had this before. I can watch this fear wanting to take a hold and wrap me up in its short-sighted blanket, but thankfully I know myself too well and I know that this fear will never keep me tucked underneath. Instead it just sits on my shoulder, chatting away like a talking blanket would and as fear does so well. I just hope it settles down a little bit and enables me to pluck up the courage to actually CALL.
It’s this year that I have to blame. Fo sho. This year of complete fucking mayhem has made this little lovely encounter feel completely bloody terrifying. But, maybe this year will mean that this lovely encounter and potential date, can be all the more lovely because it is beginning to feel like such a treat to feel normal again. And most importantly, like a proper 25 year old again. Whatever happens and whatever comes from this, it feels like the start of this game of things again. The game of fancying boys and feeling available.
Maybe I’ll call, maybe I’ll just drop by and say hi in his super cool shop this week, maybe I’ll suggest a film or a coffee shop where we can take our first date, or maybe I’ll just chicken out and send him a text…but whatever I do I’ll let this blanket of fear know I’m hot enough without it, thanks.