Thursday, 21 August 2008

How to Make Out with Girls

When I was about seven, Fate threw me a hint that might have been life-changing. Like a fool I forgot it, and it went away.

It happened at a party in a big house, full of unfamiliar furniture and unfamiliar children. I think it was near Thame. In fact, I think it belonged to some people named Viney, connected with the book printers Hazell, Watson and Viney.

I was wearing my kilt, which my mother must have judged appropriate wear for Christmas in Buckinghamshire. We played sardines and postman's knock, and got wildly over-excited. After, there was a meal with jellies and little sausages skewered on sharp sticks.

I am not sure how the business with the cocktail sticks started. I think some of the boys began prodding each other with them. Perhaps being prodded in a kilt gave me the idea, but I started chasing the girls in their party frocks, threatening to prick their legs. As a shy, socially retarded child, this was uncharacteristic; I think I must have been pretty high on jelly.

Anyway, something puzzling began to happen. The girls shrieked and fled, as one might expect, but their eyes shone and I saw little breathless clusters of them laughing and pointing me out to each other. All of a sudden, I was a success. It was a new feeling.

When my mother came to collect me, the hostess made some remark about me having been the life and soul of the party - a comment which may have reflected tight-lipped irritation, but which I took at face value.

Sadly, I didn't absorb the secret that had been revealed - that most girls prefer a brash bastard to a prim goody goody any day. If I had only taken that in, I might have been poking sticks at girls' legs throughout those arid teenage years.


  1. And I thought the grand denouement of this story was going to be that it turned out you'd tucked your kilt into your sporran after a loo visit and had been running around unawares all afternoon!


    While confidence in a man never goes amiss, personally I draw the line at being stabbed in the leg with a cocktail stick and would never find such behaviour attractive. As for b****rds, they can go take a running jump! However girls do LOVE attention and that was probably what they were really responding to I would've thought.

    It's a difficult one though 'cos a guy kind of has to develop a natural charm in order to get away with impressive displays of confidence otherwise he can easily come across as creepy/inappropriate. I think showing a genuine interest in a woman and talking to her like a real human being, not forgetting the odd well-chosen compliment such as 'That's a really nice bracelet you have on today' is probably the answer. Also he has to be able to read the signals and know she genuinely likes him before making a move.

  2. You're right of course, Laura. Besides, one can't really choose to be who one is, one just is, by nature and nurture in some casual combination. As for charm, as you say; listening with a genuine interest is a big part of it (but I forgive my jelly high 7 year old self!)

  3. There's just too much potential for double entendre and innuendo in this post... I'm struggling hard to resist!

  4. It was all the gobby, rough boys who got the girls when I was at school. I was always told that I was "too nice". Years later I can see that it had nothing to do with being nice or being horrible. It was simply having the confidence to flirt, to know when to do it and to know when to stop. One of life's more valuable skills and the hardest to learn.

  5. Rol - Hmm. I see what you mean. Rather more than I intended.

    Steve - I agree - it was all about confidence. Perhaps Huxley's 'emotion registers' would have helped, although probably they would have destroyed more egos than they boosted!