For my 49th and 50th blog I wanted to share with you two personal experiences. One involving crushing rejection (see below) which made it even harder to talk to girls. I decided to split the story into two posts, to make it easier to read.The second (posted later this week) a chance to overcome my fear of rejection, by making use of a toilet.
Some of my younger readers will find this hard to believe but telephone numbers had to memorised, or at least written down.
It was a time before mobile phones, text or instant messaging – yes, the struggle was real.
To arrange something with a friend you had to know their telephone number.
If you did not have the telephone number you rang someone who did have their number.
Knowing a girls telephone number elevated you in social standing between your friends.
However, this is not all it is cracked up to be.
A Friend of a Friend
At High School I was shy and awkward around girls.
Most of my friends would talk to girls with ease. I would be on the peripherary, wondering what their secret was.
Asking a girl out is fraught with danger.
You can’t just announce you like someone, or even go up to them and ask them out – well, I couldn’t.
Asking her at school, or worse in front of her friends, filled me with dread.
I needed a different tactic.
Although I had difficulty talking to girls I knew one or two I had grown up with – much easier to talk to them.
She was also friends with the girl I wanted to ask out.
I spent ages thinking about how I could broach the subject. I knew that she would have her phone number.
After several days of swerving the conversation I finally told her there was someone I liked.
‘Oh, you mean Tracy?’ she said.
‘Er, no. Yes. How did you know?’
‘It’s obvious, the way you look at her.’
She agreed to call me and give me her friends tel number.
I sit, at home, watching the phone. I check and it is 5.12pm. No phone call. I wait for what seems like three hours and I check the time. 5.27pm. No phone call.
I pick up the phone and check the dialing tone.
I unplug the phone at the socket and plug it back in, just to make sure.
Finally, at around 6.30pm, the phone rings.
‘Erm, I told her that you wanted her telephone number.’
‘I had to. You would be upset if I just gave your telephone number out to someone you did not know that well.
Plus, if she was OK with me giving the number out then this is a good sign, right?’
My voice became small and distant, my hands clammy. ‘I suppose..’
‘Good. Call her tonight.’
I put the phone down and stare at the number in front of me.
What if this is a big joke between both of them?
Girls are not that cruel, right?
The (Laser) Quest
I dialed the first few numbers.
I felt sick, slamming the phone down with a force that almost knocked it off the table.
Several night passed before I tried again.
What would I say? Where would we go? What if someone else picks up the phone (like her Dad?).
I needed to something that was going to impress her. Somewhere we could get to know each other more.
Now, keep in mind that I was around fourteen or fifteen years old.
Money was in short supply and we were in that awkward phase. Not kids, but definitely not adults.
What do girls like to do?
I know. Laser Quest!
If you have not come across Laser Quest before, it is a game played in the dark in teams of five to ten people. You shoot a laser gun running around in the dark, getting hot and sweaty, attempting to shoot people on the opposite team.
Loud music, smoke machines and strobe lights would attempt to disorientate you.
Perfect for a first date and getting to know someone, right?
I Wish Facebook Existed
My confidence high, I picked up the phone and dialed the number.
I felt sick, my heart was racing and I was about to put the phone down as the number rang out.
Please don’t be her Dad.
Female but too old to be Tracy.
Her Mother. A sigh of relief that it wasn’t her Dad.
‘It’s Ian. Is Tracy there?’
‘Yes, I’ll just get her.’
GULP. Keep calm. Don’t say anything stupid. Be cool.
‘Hi, Its Ian.’
‘How did you get my number?’
Silence (WHAT? You know how I got your number? Your friend gave it to me!)
‘Erm, you gave it to Dominica and she passed it on to me. She said you were OK with it.’
‘Oh, yeah.’ (Was this an attempt to mess with me? Giving your number out was a big thing back then.)
‘Oh, right. Good. Erm, I was thinking. If you are not doing anything at the weekend. I thought we could go to Laser Quest? Just you and me? If you wanted to?
Laser Quest? (Deep down I knew I had lost her at this point. She sounded so offended at what I was suggesting)
‘No? Oh, OK. Er, see you at school maybe.’
‘Er, yeah. Bye.’
I stood, as the dead tone droned in the background, reeling from the rejection.
I must have stood there for a while as the dead tone became louder and louder, eventually snapping me out of my haze.
I could feel my cheeks were burning with embarrassment and my head was starting to hurt.
The feeling of crushing rejection, pushing me down, was horrible.
Laser Quest? What was I thinking?
How was I ever going to ask a girl out again?
Normally this part of the post would provide some insight or learning. This will come in Part Two.
In Part Two I attempt to overcome my fear of rejection and make use of toilet to do so.
Oh, it features some nudity as well.
Believe and take action.