As I sit here, deadline looming, pondering over what to write, I mull over the events of the week and it becomes increasingly clear to me that almost every woman I know has got one.
That awful school photograph with the dodgy haircut and equally dodgy teeth that your mother refuses to throw away. That home video of you and your cousin carrying out a hopeless rendition of “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, age 7. That song on your I-pod, that for their sake, you hope no opportunistic deviant mugs you for after many a happy hour of warbling away to Katie Melua – oh, just me then – still, the sentiment remains the same.
Recently, in one of these said ‘happy’ hours of listening to Katie Melua and friends (Sinead O’Connor and Celine Dion are also quite high up there) I literally winced as realisation dawned that with every passing poignantly painful warble, that Katie had a point.
The lyrics are as follows:
You know the one. Secretly I’m sure you all love that song; but then again Barry Manilow’s greatest hit is still going strong thanks to some broad named, “Mandy”, which actually serves my ultimate point.
The event of the week that, despite my best efforts, I seem to be unable to shake off is a very minor, seemingly otherwise insignificant encounter with an ex boyfriend of mine.
However, this was not just any old boyfriend, it was thee ex-boyfriend. The first significant boyfriend. The boyfriend after the break-up that broke your heart into a thousand irretrievable pieces and made you a little more human, at a time in your life when you thought you were pretty much indestructible.
The ex-boyfriend that for a horrifying split second, that when you catch sight of him, really makes you want to run, screaming for the hills, before your face manages to regain composure – and by this point of course, he’s already seen the twists and contortions of anguish morph into mild hysteria.
The encounter itself five years on, I must reiterate, was of no real relevance to my daily life. Except for the fact that I really really wished that I’d just stuck to the unwritten code of women everywhere:
“Never, under ANY circumstances, EVER leave the house without looking your ABSOLUTE best
–you never know who you could end up bumping into.”
And I know I’m not alone. That dash to the local store to pick up a pint of milk when our sense of style and general good hygiene have abandoned us on a Saturday morning, we’re all guilty of it. The need to dress well, apply make-up, maybe go all out and indeed comb ones hair free of the scraggy unwashed pony-tail has been tossed with reckless abandon to one side, along with the concealer and eyeliner.
What’s so infuriating is the fact that I’ve gotten away with it at least a hundred times before since I finished uni and moved back home to the same village as him, and actually, technically, happen to work on the same road as him. What’s even more surprising is that thanks to the careful manoeuvring of the powers that be, I very rarely run into him more frequently than once every six months – which may have just reaffirmed the fact that I need to get out more.
I heard him before I saw him.
It was the wolf-whistle that initially wrenched me back to reality and grabbed my attention. I spun on one trainer-clad heel, ready to toss some low-life my filthiest look – not difficult given the circumstances- when I saw him.
The cheeky grin, the familiar flirtatious glint in his eyes, the bad-boy persona coupled with the tall, well-defined but lithe physique that frankly, had never looked better, sent a ‘zaaapp’ of electricity through my body that I remembered of old. From a distance, I heard him drawl something in response to my stunned expression and I’m ashamed to say that I literally screamed an incoherent greeting and performed the equivalent of some sort of elaborate social ‘duck-and- roll’ before scuttling away, tail well and truly between legs.
Afterwards, I somehow refrained from repeatedly stabbing myself with a BBQ fork and I was left with a residual sense of regret and vulnerability. The fact that in the style stakes he’d had the exfoliated upper hand and the realisation that in that moment, despite the fact that I was an accomplished, confident 22 year old, I was suddenly that love-struck, swooning 17 year old again, jibbering, flushed and pathetic.
So girls, let this be a lesson to you all! In order to avoid dating and social suicide such as this in future, for goodness sake, leave the hideous sweat pants at home!
(image courtesy of mnn.com)