Passionate vs intense – yeah, there’s a difference

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A long time ago – when I was still a teenager – I went out on a few dates with a pretty boy. He wasn’t my type at all: blond hair, blue eyes, very preppy – he was doing a baccalauréat in maths and sciences while mine was literature and languages.

The Literature and Maths groups didn’t really mix – it was all very cliquey – but we used to meet in the corridors on the way to class and this particular boy and I exchanged the kind of looks understood by teenagers the world over.

Even back then I was into personality rather than into looks, but this boy proved to be one of the few exceptions I made in my life, because there really was nothing to recommend him to my attention apart from the fact he was extremely good looking in that unique way that people couldn’t help but stare.

But I don’t think I would ever have gone on a date with him if it wasn’t for the fact that on the day he asked me out I saw him cross the grand courtyard on his way to me, pass the fountain and promptly stumble on… nothing whatsoever. He stumbled, faltered but quickly regained his composure and I thought the whole thing was just so cute. Okay, I admit you had to be there – but it really was cute.

My best friend Valérie was crushing badly on some other pretty boy called Fabrice who belonged to the local football team. He didn’t go to our grammar school, was doing some apprenticeship at a college. I knew him a little as I knew most of the football team since my dad was the coach.

One day, I met Fabrice in the street when I was on my way to join Valérie in the town’s library. After some small talk he mentioned her and I immediately seized my chance to play matchmaker.

“Why don’t you come with me, I’m meeting her now.”

He agreed readily but as we approached the library he said: “wait…is she in there?”

“Well, yes. Why?”

“I’m not going in there. It’s…the…library.”

“And? You’re allergic to them? You’ve got a moral objection to them? What exactly is the problem?!”

“It’s just not my scene.”

……………………..

“Right. It’s not your scene, fair enough. But can’t you just, you know, pass through the door? Just once?”

“I’ll wait outside – if you get her, we can go and grab some coffee.”

“Fine.”

So I went in and found her buried in some research for an essay she was writing. I quickly explained that Fabrice was outside, waiting to take her for coffee.

She got all excited and then nervous and started to gather her things.

“There’s something you should know though, he had the strangest reaction when I said you were in here.”

“And?”

“…and it strikes me that not only is he the kind of guy who’s never read a book in his life, but he might also regard those who read as…weird.”

“What?! I DON’T CARE!”

“Oh. Ok then. I was just saying, because I personally find that really off-putting.” 

“I like him! I don’t care if he burns books in his spare time!”

Well, I had to laugh – teenagers were always ruled by their hormones.

Off she went to meet him and by the end of the day they were an item.

The next day, I went on my third date with my pretty boy. I had a feeling it would be the last because we were – predictably enough – very different people and we hadn’t gelled at all on our previous meetings. I wasn’t sure why he kept asking me out to be honest.

This third date was as boring as the other two…until he asked me what book I’d last read and I revived like a parched flower that’s finally been watered. My latest book was “Tristessa” by Jack Kerouac and I proceeded to explain at length why I had loved it. At some point I realised there was a really long monologue going on…and he was looking at me kind of funny.

“What?”

“Nothing. It’s just…you’re very…intense.”

I was silent for a few seconds as I processed this.

“Intense?! What do you mean by that? Intense…Because I loved a book?! Are you serious?

Well, I’m sorry I like to read and I like to feel things…except I’m not, am I!!”

I got more and more pissed off as the reality of what he’d said hit home. Even with my limited experience, I was well aware that being called intense was not a good thing. In fact, it was a bloody awful thing…and there I was proving him right by freaking out.

I looked at him and all I saw was that amazingly pretty face that suddenly didn’t look so pretty anymore. He was bland, we had nothing in common and what the fuck was I doing here? I’d gone out with him because of his arresting looks. He’d gone out with me because even back then I was into style and fashion and it had blinded him to my bookworm nature. It was all a huge mistake.

That was the end of pretty boy and I. But it was an important lesson because that’s when I first realised this is how it goes:

if a guy likes you: you’re ‘passionate.’
If a guy is not that into you: you’re ‘intense.’

I’ve been called passionate far more often than intense over the years, thank fuck.

I never again made the mistake of dating someone who was just pretty. It was never who I am but I guess you have to try everything (most things anyway) at least once.

As for Valérie and her own pretty boy, they lasted exactly 2 and a half weeks – at least he never did tell her she was intense.

*Pics from last Tuesday when I was in a Charlie’s angels kind of mood*

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One Saturday

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“It’s been a while since I was back on my old hunting grounds” says A, the reformed man-whore. “We’re staying up all night, right? Plus, Brexit isn’t happening so I’m fucking mad.”

“You’re not starting THAT” – this from S, Labour and Remainer through and through.

A wants to retort – I can tell – but he thinks better of it, thank fuck.
“Fine, I’m taking Nat to the bar.”

It’s Saturday crowded, ugh. Looks like we’re gonna be here a while.

“Let’s get shots, we’re gonna get him so wrecked he’ll admit Corbyn is a terrorist by the end of the night.”

We laugh and turn to look at S, he knows us too well, obviously caught the gist of it and he surreptitiously shows us the finger.

Back at the table with our drinks, in a dark corner of the pub, we resolutely avoid politics because we intend to stay friends, and alternate between other serious talk and general gossip. There are some very politically incorrect and tasteless jokes. Some reminiscing as well – it’s a typical boozy night between people who have known each other for years.

By 11 everybody is close to wasted.
“Right, clubbing!” says A like we’re on a mission, which I guess we are. He’s come down from London and will stay on a mate’s sofa – no way is he doing that just for a quiet evening.

It’s a short walk to the club, the streets are heaving though, the English are tough and walk around half naked even in the middle of winter. Some girls look like they couldn’t be bothered to get dressed and came out in their underwear – flesh on display always wins pitted against possible hypothermia. You can easily tell the foreigners apart as they all wear coats, hats, scarves, the lot.

Timing is everything – the DJ is starting the 80’s part of the evening when we walk in the club. None of the other 2 are as obsessed as I am but they get it – it won’t be a one-woman show on that dance floor.

An hour or 10 minutes later – who can tell, not me – we move on to the 90’s and I’m reminded once again no DJ is perfect because Alanis Morrisette (ugh!) is my cue to sneak outside to get some fresh air.

I walk straight up to a baby face who’s smoking. “Give us one?” My English is appalling when I’m drunk. He obliges happily. He lights it up for me and I take my first drag in fuck knows how long. Christ, it tastes like shite, how did I ever do this day in, day out? Instead of being clever and stubbing it out I persevere, like I’m punishing myself – it’s acrid, horrid and soon my head is swimming.

A appears as baby face is prattling on about something or other.

Shit. Busted.

“You didn’t!” He glares at me. Actually looks personally offended.

“Chill. I’m revisiting and it ain’t fun. I kind of feel sick actually.”

He doesn’t say another word, I’m dragged back inside – I barely have time to thank baby face again – disgust at catching me with a cigarette is all over A’s face.
Well, come on now. If I wasn’t so drunk, I’d say something, because this is a bit rich coming from someone who used to spend every weekend coked up to his eyeballs, but whatever – I’m letting it go.

Back in the club we’re assaulted by the heat of too many people packed in too small a place – another reminder of why I don’t like clubs – and alcohol fumes.

There’s more shots, more stupid jokes, more laughter and at some point
we reach the moment – that moment we came for – when there’s no more talk, no more drinking, just dancing, the whole planet could be in meltdown and none of it would matter because we’re caught in that euphoria, the moving to the beat and being alive. Only sex compares – nothing else does.

Late, I don’t know when, we leave and the cold hits me, immediately ramping up the feeling of intoxication.

“Where is my denim jacket… I’ve lost it. Guys, guys, wait, I LOVE that jacket – I’m not going home without.”

“I don’t remember you wearing it” says A, trying and failing to put on his own – he’s battling with it and looks ridiculous – the left shark in that Katy Perry video comes to mind.

“You’re so wrecked, what a fucking mess you are…hang on…WAIT. That’s mine, you lunatic!”

I snatch it from him and sure enough it’s my size 8 ladies denim jacket.

“Did you even come out with a jacket?!” I ask him, tempted to slap him into shape.

None of us remember, least of all him. This mystery won’t be elucidated tonight. I’ve had enough, I want my bed and I get into a taxi. A gets in with me.

“What are you doing? You’re going in the opposite direction! Get out ffs.”

I pause. Remember this is my good friend. “Are you gonna be okay?”

“Oh yeah. And yeah.”

He hugs me fiercely and finally gets out only to reappear at the window to tell the driver:
“Look out for her, she’s very special.”

I am quite sure I roll my eyes.

“Sweet. But I’m not 16! Go, go, go!”

I apologise to the taxi driver who no doubt deals with stuff like that all the time. I’m not sure I’d have the patience myself.

“It’s fine.” He says. “Good night?”

“Amazing” I reply.

In the morning I get a text from A:

“I’m dying, I’m so fucking glad I’m not working tomorrow. Top night though.”

I type a response quickly:

“I feel like an ice pick is lodged in my forehead but yeah – great night!”

Best of all, nobody even came close to guessing my heart was breaking.

Small slices of life

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Building castles, pies in the sky, leaving pebbles underneath the neon lights. Did you see the marble statue looking down on us, with an enigmatic and slightly benign smile, injecting magic in an otherwise pink and subdued night. On the merry-go-round, eyes shut tight, the unicorns turn and dance with the swines.

A little star dust is the only make up worthy of the dreams in my eyes, and the whisky coloured words no less than our misfit minds deserve.

Give us a few light years and we will have figured out nothing, but by then we might have written a couple of epic stories & modern myths.

Somewhere, a giant will weep in the darkness and indifference while secrets — never meant to be kept — will burst, tired of waiting for deliverance.

The poets are dead, I don’t want nor need their decayed crowns on my head, I’m happy with graffiti on my walls, stylish and sexy, never mind the bald eagles — utterly appalled — screaming at me in fury.

What else matters but our collection of moments, small slices of life, gathered in my hands whilst I strike a pose—hold it for the pages of Vogue—before releasing them all…and people slow to a crawl…awed and warmed by the radiant colours flying up into the ether. 

Books


Shame you were busy
Sweetie
Though
I went to a masquerade
Ball
Plied my trade
As a medieval whore
Behind the doors
Of a gloomy castle
Received a rose
From a lovable rascal
Lived, breathed, loved
Not a minute was lost
I only wish your lunchtime
Had been as exciting as mine
You were keeping the books
While I dived straight into one
No need to ask
Which one of us missed out

Anniversaire – toujours

So, since apparently the selfies are not p*****g people off too much…and I am still celebrating my birthday…and I am hesitating between outfits (though narrowed it down to two) for today’s shenanigans…I am shamelessly leaving these here…and anybody who might feel compelled to help me decide…thanks for your help! 😉

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