Don’t panic, this is not some disturbing updated analogy about the birds and the bees – on a side note, has anyone experienced the speech that phrase actually refers to? Anytime my friends or I were educated about sex it came in a very blunt form, with no animal metaphors and too many disturbing anatomical diagrams. I can’t help but feel that our generation might have a more wistful and romantic attitude towards sex if it were explained metaphorically, perhaps by actual talking birds and bees, riding into health class on the backs of unicorns.
*This educational reform may have they unintended side effect of an increase in teenage pregnancies. And may be difficult to implement given the known scarcity of unicorns.
Anyhow, what I intend to educate my dear readers about in this post is not the reproduction of the human race or any David Attenborough style anthropological observations on Dutch mating rituals, but rather the latest development in my international existence. My friends here know, my family in Australia knows, some other friends know, so it’s time to let the internet in on the worst kept secret at the Koninklijk Conservatoirum. I B, the perpetual bachelorette, have a boyfriend.
That’s right. A boyfriend. Let’s call him Flying Tiger, maybe Tiger for short. As calling someone “Flying” is just stupid.
In case you are wondering, when it comes to wooing and seduction, I am totally suave, refined and elegant. Just like my normal self, really.
It all started at the local watering hole. The girls and I went to join the Portuguese Mafia, turning up somewhat inebriated, and decided that whiskey was the next step. The guys were a bit surprised by this, and I think out of respect Tiger decided to engage me in more conversation than had ever previously occurred between us. The details of this conversation were (and are) a bit hazy for me, but apparently I entered into an agreement, sealed with a pinky promise, that if Tiger would find me a bottle of authentic port I would make trifle in exchange. Cross-cultural enrichment here we come!
He kept his word, scouring The Hague to find the specific brand he wanted, and duly presented me with a bottle of port a few weeks later. Now, having registered his interest, the generous thing to have done in this situation would surely have been to offer that we drink some of it together, n’est-ce pas? And what did I do, being the grand master of social interaction that I am? I took the bottle to the next dinner party with the girls and drank it with them as the spoils of war.
I still haven’t made him trifle.
I knew for certain that he was interested in me when he started texting me for no apparent reason over the Christmas break. I often wouldn’t reply for hours or days, which I swear had nothing to do with playing games or keeping him dangling, but rather I was always waiting to be back in the Netherlands before texting, as I was too stingy to pay the extra costs of using my phone outside Holland. I know, I know, I’m a hopeless romantic.
It all came to a head on my birthday. He had it all planned out, waiting until I’d gone home after dinner with everyone to ask if he could come over to give me my present. Sneaky bugger. He turned up and gave me a necklace, and his hands were trembling as he tied the clasp around my neck. He was a nervous as hell, but still had the courage to say “I like you”.
What did I say in reply?
Smooth B, smooth.
The next time he came over he brought me flowers. I put them in a vase near some candles. The next day I lit the candles, accidently setting the flowers on fire.
Smooth B, smooth.
He figured out my weaknesses pretty quickly, turning up one day with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. I thanked him, kissed him and while he was distracted sent him home, and proceeded to eat the ice cream all by myself.
Actually, that one was pretty smooth, and I’d do it again.
I’m not the only one of us being awkward though. One time Tiger spent a ridiculous amount of time staring into my eyes. I expected to hear some deep, philosophical observation, or perhaps a compliment, but what he came out with was “I like your right eye more than your left.”
Smooth Flying Tiger, smooth.
In the grand design of Gen Y relationships, it first started as a self-delusional (on my part) “undefined but definitely not a relationship” thing, because heaven forbid you take a chance and commit without a back-out option. Of course, it was absolutely no different to an “actual” relationship, but required one of us to actually come out and call a spade a shovel.
Surprisingly for me, I actually did that with much more charm than the cliché in the last paragraph would suggest. At his place after dinner, we were playing I Spy. It went a little something like this:
B: I spy with my little eye something beginning with B.
T: Box ?
T: Book ?
T: You ?
B: Nice, but no. Do you give up?
T: Ok, I give up. What?
B: A boyfriend!
Smooth B, smooth.