It’s noon on Saturday and Country Girl is about to arrive at my place. I’m so excited about today and seeing her, spending it with her, having good, clean fun with her, enjoying a great day together. This is what I want my life to be like. This could the start of everything I’ve been hoping for.
The Killers concert is later tonight, but I’ve got a whole day of running wild in London with Country Girl planned. At the back of my mind is the idea that we might end up spending the night together, but I’m not counting on it as I feel it’s too soon for us. That’s also balanced out by the Apartment Test, where I get to see if she’s interested in me or after a man with money, but I’m not focussing on that. A day of fun beckons!
Her town doesn’t have a train service into London, while mine has a fast service, so she agrees to drive to my town and we’ll catch a train into London. At the appointed time my doorbell goes and I’m pleased to see her. She gives me an angelic smile as I open my door for her. My heart skips a beat at the sight of her.
“Your place isn’t easy to find,” she says cursorily.
“Yes, perhaps I should have said for you to text me when you get here and I’ll come fetch you,” I say, giving her a polite kiss on the lips and gesturing for her to enter my apartment.
“I just need to put my shoes on and then we can get going,” I tell her.
I fiddle with my shoes in the hallway and watch with interest as she walks into my lounge. I see her facial complexion change, she bites down and I see her jaw clench. She’s unimpressed by what she sees. I notice her shoulders drop a little too.
She doesn’t say another word and I can see on her face that she’s not happy. I’m a little surprised and disappointed at her reaction to my home. I wonder what she was expecting? A millionaire’s penthouse?
I just smile, knowing what I’m capable of and that this place is just a temporary stepping stone. I’m used to far better and I’ll get there again, but until then it’s serving a surprise purpose of pointing out gold-diggers to me.
Is Country Girl a gold-digger? Is she a Taker?
We walk to my train station where I buy us tickets that allow us unlimited train travel around London. Country Girl doesn’t say a word, no “thank you” I note. We sit next to each other on the train and conversation is scarce. She’s more interested in looking out the window. I tell myself she’s taking in more countryside, it’s her thing after all.
Once in London we make our way to the first destination that I have lined up. It’s at a newly-opened Hilton hotel next the Thames in central London. While walking I try to make small-talk but Country girl isn’t interested. In fact, she’s starting to seem a little withdrawn.
At the reception to the restaurant where we’ll be having lunch, the manager finds the booking I had made during the week and mentions that it’s “for the Groupon deal”. I notice Country Girl clench her jaw. I really didn’t need him mentioning that but now the cat’s out the bag. Maybe he’s done me a favour?
Once seated I try to strike up conversation but Country Girl only answers with short sentences. It seems words are expensive today. As we make our way through a truly sumptuous, luxurious seafood platter and a bottle of Italian wine, I sit there thinking what I might have said or done, or not said or not done to have upset her. I cannot think of a single thing that might have caused her umbrage.
Lunch over and I say to her with a smile, “Right, now onto the next stop on our magical mystery tour.”
Her response? Silence.
As I lead her along the South Bank to our next experience, it occurs to me that she didn’t say thank you for lunch either. We walk in silence and I tell myself that she’s just taking it all in. Maybe she’s forgotten what London’s like, she’s spending so much time with the birds, bees and trees. I make excuses for her behaviour.
We sit down a while later in a quaint, quirky, brightly-coloured coffee and tea shop hidden away on the South Bank. We didn’t have dessert in the Hilton and I thought this a nice way of killing time until the Killers concert at Wembley Stadium. In my mind’s eye earlier in the week when I was planning all this, I envisaged us sitting and chatting away merrily, getting to know one another, having a good time.
Instead we sit in stony silence, hardly making eye contact, pretending to be people-watching. I’m racking my brain, trying to figure out what to do here. Should I politely ask if something is the matter? Should I tackle the crisis head-on or should I uncharacteristically be patient and wait for her to warm up, to become the person I was so excited about meeting that first night? I decide to play it cool and be patient.
Perhaps something bad has happened and she’s still processing it? Perhaps I have indeed said or done something wrong and eventually she’ll talk to me about it? Perhaps she’s on her period and this is how she is when it’s that time of the month? My ex-girlfriend became a total bitch for three days a month, so much so that I would make a concerted effort to keep out of her way. On and on I go, making excuses for her.
The time arrives when we have to start making our way to Wembley Stadium. We leave the coffee and tea shop and again I notice that Country Girl doesn’t say thank you for my having bought everything there. She seems to have left her manners at home today.
On the train to Wembley we hardly say a word. She’s in her trench and I’m in no-man’s land, feeling slightly shell-shocked at her behaviour. Who is this person? I’m not feeling angry, just confused. What the hell is going on here?
Inside the stadium she says that she’s feeling cold, so I buy her a coffee…and she doesn’t say thank you.
My father was a great one for sayings. One of his favourites was, “The more you do for people, the less they appreciate it.” I had always disliked that saying of his, finding it rather cynical and distasteful. However, today I’m starting to agree with him.
We find our seats and the opening act is already under way. There’s a great atmosphere in the stadium and it’s an impressive sight, all those people thronging together, looking at an elaborate stage. Ever the optimist I try to make more small talk with Country Girl but still her answers comprise single words.
Now I’m starting to get fed up. I don’t know what her problem is, but I don’t like it. I don’t deserve this. I should be here with someone who is crazy about me and not silently crazy at me. Then I remember that I had bought these tickets in the belief that I would be here with Krazy Girl. I would so much more have preferred to be here with her, instead of with this sulky cow.
Another couple take up their seats next to us and the woman is sitting next to Country Girl. The opening act leaves the stage and an expectant hush fills the massive venue; everyone is ready to see The Killers. Country Girl turns to the woman next to her and starts a conversation with her. She’s animated and friendly towards this stranger, her normal self again, totally ignoring me.
The Killers come on stage in a blaze of lights, fireworks and special effects…Country Girl and the other woman continue with their excited little conversation. I can’t believe it. What have I done wrong to be experiencing this? As the concert gets going, their chat continues and I’m overcome by a strange feeling. I’m all alone and now feeling lonely, surrounded by 80 000 people…and a weirdo next to me.
All attraction I had felt for her is now gone. All the good feelings I had been feeling are now stone cold dead. All the things I have been hoping for from the future feel further away than ever before. Halfway through the concert and they’re still chatting, pausing occasionally to listen to a popular tune. Still she ignores me. I make up my mind that I won’t be seeing her again after tonight.
I look down amongst the crowd, looking to see if there’s anything to lift my now deflated mood. All I can see is happy couples, holding hands or bopping along together. I want to be like them. I want to be with someone that wants to do that with me, someone who wants to be with me. I don’t want to be with this horror-show by my side. Despite my best efforts, despite my plans, bookings and money spent, I feel like a failure because it was all for nothing.
The Killers start playing ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ and for some reason Country Girl turns to me and gives me a smile, a fake smile. Her eyes weren’t smiling. She turns away and strikes up a conversation with her new friend again. What the fuck was that about? Am I seeing the real her now? Am I finding out why she’s single? Is she schizo? Is this why she works in nature conservation, because she can’t get along with people? Is this why she was an accountant, she’s more comfortable with numbers?
After the concert we’re queuing to get on the train that would take us back to my town. We stand side by side and we don’t say a word to each other. She only speaks to complain about how long it’s all taking. There’s ample time and opportunity for her to thank me for taking her to the concert, but it isn’t forthcoming. I’ve had enough of her and I never want to see her again.
We sit in silence on the train back to my town. I can’t wait to get the hell away from her. I have no interest in even speaking to her. Her behaviour has been disgusting and appalling. I’m starting to feel angry. I can do much better than her; I deserve better than her. She’s a Taker and possibly a gold-digger too. Her attitude changed once she had seen my apartment, that’s the only thing I can say for sure.
Eventually we’re standing next to her car parked outside my place. She just stares at me blankly. I guess she must be all talked-out from the concert and her throat must be sore.
“Tell me, do you think we’re right for each other?” I ask.
“I’m not sure,” she says.
“I don’t think we are. Goodbye,” I say and walk off.
She seems to think that cold, aloof behaviour is acceptable, so how does she like it now?
What I really wanted to say is, “Fuck off, you ungrateful fucking little bitch!” but I have more class than that.
The next day I’m telling my best friend of my bitter disappointment. He laughs and trots out his mantra, “These bitches be crazy. Give it time. They’ll show you the crazy.” I’m starting to think he’s right.
LESSONS LEARNED: 1) Don’t get my hopes up until she’s passed the Apartment Test 2) Find a way of figuring out quickly if she’s a Giver or a Taker 3) By a third date the real person starts to come through.
The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It