...are not always as bad as they sound. But sometimes they are.
Once upon a few years ago I went out with quite possibly one of the strangest men in the world. He made his way into my life under the guise of a rock-god front-man of a Swedish band, but oh how this story ends! Let me explain...
I used to play bass in a band called Smiling Politely. We thought we were rather cool, especially after we played at the Annandale and had one song on the radio. Once. We requested ourselves. But that's how Nirvana got started, and we were proud of our acclaim. Looking back, we weren't very good at all but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. Anyway, one day we received a message from a Swedish band with the same name who wanted our website. We told them no, because obviously with all our fame we didn't want to be mistaken for some Swedish no-names. Nevertheless, we got to talking, and when our drummer Luke was travelling through Europe he ended up staying with Charlie and Christian, two members of the Swedish Smiling Politely. I say their names here with the knowledge that nobody reads my blog, especially (I hope) my ex. In the end, Charlie and Christian decided to come to Australia and ended up staying with Luke and Matt (our guitarist) just until they got on their feet, which ended up being the best part of a year. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was romantically involved with Charlie.
Oh what a story for the grandkids! Obviously I wasn't thinking of grandkids at this stage, in fact I figured that Charlie would be leaving after a year and we could put that happy chapter of our lives behind us and very firmly closed. We had great fun together to begin with. We had parties at The House (as we very creatively named their place) every weekend and enjoyed our youth, as young people do (or don't, if you ask old people.)
It didn't take very long, however, for me to realise that perhaps Charlie wasn't the guy for me. For one thing, he was incredibly clingy. I'm not the type of girl to enjoy the company of a clingy guy. I'd get up from our circle to go to, say, the bathroom, and Charlie would grab my hand and ask where I was going. I would assure him I wasn't going far and would be back soon, whereupon he would kiss my hand and stroke my face while telling me he'd miss me. In the couple of minutes I was gone I was quite frankly never worried about missing him. And if he was getting up to go the the bathroom, we would go through the ritual again. During a night of drinking trips to the bathroom were not infrequent, and this little display of affection got old very very fast.
It also got to the point of creepy with similar speed. After another night and a few drinks at The House, I had decided I had hit my own personal wall and was ready for bed. The guys had a very comfortable lounge suite, so I curled up on the armchair and nodded right off to sleep, but not before Charlie badgered me about sleeping somewhere more sensible. I honestly was happy to sleep exactly where I was, and did just that. I slept peacefully curled up on the armchair for a couple of hours before something woke me up, and I don't think I've ever woken up to a more disturbing scene. Charlie was perched on the end of the couch, head resting dreamily in his hands, watching me. He had been watching me sleep. It probably wasn't the creepiest thing that could've happened, but I was a 20 year old in no mood for anything serious or for men watching me sleep.
Still, it got worse. Apart from watching me sleep and being terribly clingy, he also liked to smell me. Not in a nice "what perfume do you wear?" kind of way, more in a "*sniiiiiff* my GOD you smell so GOOD" kind of way. It wasn't so bad to begin with and I never expected him to make a habit of it. But habitual it became. Every time I was near him, which was quite a lot, he would take a great big breath of me. It was rather disconcerting, and I asked him if he would mind not sniffing me quite so much. He agreed, but explained that our chemical attraction was incontrovertible. Right. Of course, he kept it up. He was nothing if not persistent. We spoke about it again and reached the compromise that he could sniff me once each time we met. And yet he still did it every five minutes from that point on. Saying hi, *sniiiiiiiff*. Going up an escalator, *sniiiiiiff*. Heaven forbid we ever get close. Suffice to say, I did not like being sniffed.
Another issue with Charlie, hereafter referred to as Sniffy, was that he didn't quite grasp the concept of sarcasm. I like to think I have a wonderfully dry sense of humour and take the piss out of anyone within earshot, including myself. As it turned out, Sniffy didn't understand that it was a joke, and by consequence was offended by just about everything I said. I thought it might be a Swedish thing but Christian never suffered the same affliction. It really wasn't fair. We agreed that I would try and make less sarcastic jokes if he would try and realise I didn't actually mean them.
But seriously, who was I kidding? It was never going to work and one or both of us would walking across eggshells forevermore. It's simply a part of my personality to make jokes at the expense of the people I like, and a part of his to take offence to it. After a night of watching romantic comedies (his idea), he suggested I stay the night. He told me he loved me. I told him we were over. I said I was pretty sure he didn't love me as he barely knew me (our passionate love affair lasted less than two months), and what he did know about me was that I was rude and offensive. I wasn't made of stone though and felt pretty about about the whole thing. His one parting request was to kiss me on his favourite part of my body (I was dubious), which turned out to be a freckle on my ear. Having never actually seen my own ears I was unaware I even had a freckle there and had never had it pointed out before. The fact that Sniffy was the one to do so was probably foreseeable. So I let him kiss my ear (it looks even weirder in writing), and on my way I went.
The fact that he lived with my best mates did mean that we saw each other rather a lot from then on, and he was often in the company of his latest squeeze. I wasn't jealous, but I did pity his choice of women and felt rather small for having joined his league of lovers. Worst of all, I overheard a rather private conversation one night I really rather would not have heard. Ellie (remember Ellie from the previous Mega Bus story?), Amzzz and I were settling down for bed in the living room of The House, with Christian and Sniffy in the next room. The House had paper-thin walls, and in lieu of a door had a curtain dividing these two rooms. Consequentially, we overheard every word of their conversation. I was at a loss to explain why they were speaking in English rather than their native Swedish, unless they wanted us to hear. All things considered though, I'm not sure they did. They had made real efforts to not speak Swedish around us so as not to be exclusive, and I think their state of inebriation made their voices all the louder. The basic gist of Sniffy's lamentations were that I was "the one" but obviously I was right and we could never be together. Where would we live if we got married? Would he leave his family and live in Australia, or would I leave mine and live in Sweden? Oh the calamity! He talked about our imagined future in great length, which made me feel a little shallow for entering into the relationship knowing it had a use by date of one year, but all in all it cemented in my mind the knowledge that I had most definitely made the right decision.
Poor old Sniffy, he just didn't get that we were never meant to be. He even tried to get close to my parents and brothers. He really did try to do all the right things, like notice the freckle on my right ear and comment on how I looked when sleeping. It was all a little much for me and I'm glad I had the perspicacity to realise so early on it was never meant to be. I broke his little heart all the same.
Sniffy is now engaged, so it's all's well that ends well. I'm not sure what she smells like, but hope their pheromones hit it off in a way that ours never quite managed.