Missed Connections... and being "that guy"

calendar 18 Nov 2015

I'm writing this directly after returning home from seeing Frank Turner at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, so what you read might be misspelled, ranty or unfair. If so, apologies (if you care).

In the shuffle back from back room of the Academy to the exit, I got chatting to a sweet, nerdy girl who complimented me on my singing. She was lovely; small, bespectacled and charming. We joked about Terry Pratchett, and I said "I feel like I should get your number... but I don't want to spoil it". And herein lines my point.

I sit on Twitter - and to a much lesser extent the wider Internet - and read story upon story of attractive, nerdy women who are beset by nerds or drunkards who want to impress their personalities - or bodies - upon women. Now, I'm probably going to end up being a patronising White Knight figure in this post, so if that's the case, I guess I'm guilty as charged, but I wonder if on this occasion I fell victim to that.

But the word "victim" is a massively powerful word, charged with imagery I have no right to. And I should make it clear that I'm not saying I'm a male victim of female oppression or any kind of bullshit like that. I'm saying that, if I am a victim, it's of douchebag men who give a bad name to the people who find it difficult to talk to those they might want to further a relationship with. (It doesn't matter what that relationship is; it could be friendship, a business partnership, or something more.)

The fact is though, that I bailed on what could have been a fun night, should this person have been up for it. That however assumes that this person is up for the same kinds of things that I am, meaning something more than a little 90-second chat. (And when I say "something more", I'm basically talking about the exchange of details, rather than anything bodily. Ugh. I told you I was drunk. I did say that, right?)

Anyway, I don't really know if this post has a point, just that there are things in my head that I think it's important to say. I wanted to be able to charm this person and say "hey, d'you fancy getting a coffee", but the simple fact is that people - regardless of sex - sometimes just want to come out for a night, and don't want to be hit upon. They might want a friendly chat, and it just might be the case that the person they're chatting with is of the opposite sex, or is otherwise compatible. And for me to assume that this person is flirting is my bad. Isn't it?

It probably doesn't help that I've recently come off an attempt to ask someone out who, it turns out, was not single. So my radar isn't working particularly well anyway, but even if it were, a mixture of my lack of self-confidence and the more enlightened, fairer world that I'm proud to be standing at the very beginning of, has conspired to make me inert, unable to make a sensible, classy move forwards.

And I guess that's the rub. It's no-one else's fault. It's not society, or other men, but maybe my own for being in my head - or on Twitter - far too much. I'll let you be the judge.

And, if by any chance you were the bespectacled Pratchett fan who approached me as we left, and struck up a conversation, I'm sorry if I bailed early, but I'm also sorry if you read this and thought "jeez, I just wanted to have a nice chat with a guy, and NOTHING MORE".

I guess basically, I'm sorry. Also, Frank Turner was awesome, and was basically everything I'd hoped. And his crowd is lovely (I spoke to one or two others and they were very friendly. I think musicians who are good people attract good people as their fans.)

Good night.