Tuesday night I decided to pick a fight with the Triathlete.

Well, not a fight as such, but I did decide he needed a bit of a slap with a kid leather glove or a tumbler of gin tossed in his face or whatever it was that women did to show their displeasure in the 1920s. Bust a Charleston on his ass? Tempting…

Anyway, since his text on Sunday suggesting a drink “soon” and my positive response, I had heard nothing. My flatmate and I have had many discussions about what exactly “soon” means in the world of men and have yet to come up with a conclusive answer – as far as we can tell, it’s somewhere between “tomorrow” and “before the earth completes its rotation of the sun.”

I consulted the book. Now, there are strict instructions about how to deal with a man’s waning interest: you’re meant to completely ignore them and then when they do wise up and throw themselves prostrate at your door you’re meant to treat them with utter scorn. But I don’t think Triathlete’s interest is waning as such. I just think he’s being a bit useless. And for this, the book has a completely different suggestion:

“Lay your cards down petulantly, not soulfully, in something after this fashion: ‘Well, there seems to be no pleasing you today! I have been as pleasant as I could, but you are apparently determined to be dull, so I shall go and spent my time in more responsive company. Let us meet again when you feel more amiable!’”

I consulted with best friend.

“I think I’m going to send a text along those lines to give him a bit of a prod. What should I say?”

“I think you should send that little paragraph verbatim.”

She was right – he already thinks I’m insane and I already think he’s an asshole, so what did I have to lose? And anyway, what’s the point of following a 1920s guide if you don’t get to be all 1920s-ish about things? So I sent him a slightly modified version:

“Well, I have been as pleasant as I could, but you are apparently determined to be dull, so I shall go and spent my time in more responsive company. Give me a call when you feel more amiable!”

Best friend and I took odds on whether or not I’d hear from him again (I was 70:30 against, she was 70:30 for).

Five minutes later, a text flashed up on my mobile:

“Sorry? Come on, you don’t always reply straight away. Sorry, I’m still at work and about to go bowling, which I’m rubbish at. What are you up to? X”

So far, so good. According to the book, I wasn’t meant to forgive him straight away but was still meant to be charming and airy and flattering. So I sent this:

“My response time is neither here nor there [once you start talking all 1920s-ish it’s hard to stop]. I’m out for drinks tonight with a friend [a lie – I went for a run and then went home and ate crackers in front of the TV]. Have fun tonight – I’m sure you’re a brilliant bowler [I don’t think that’s exactly the sort of flattery the book had in mind, but I had to work with what I was given].”

He then proceeded to text me throughout the evening and we eventually agreed that he could buy me a drink on Sunday.

So, success! I am going to use that line ALL THE TIME. I’m actually regretting that I’ve already used it on Triathlete because it’s just so bloody brilliant.

As for my flirting project, so far I’ve made lots of pleasing eye contact on the tube, been given a free cupcake from the friendly bakery man at Waitrose and received a much-fuller-than-usual salad box from the vegan lunch place around the corner. More than anything, though, it’s making every day life just a little bit more interesting. And I’m sure I’m saving myself from future frown lines by ditching myMean City Face for a while.

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