I have always been spectacularly unsuccessful when it comes to dating. Thankfully I found a lady prepared to take pity on me and dive sufficiently far down the evolutionary ladder, sparing me the continued embarrassment of romantic failure.
I blamed this on being a slightly overweight teen. Puppy fat, but fat nonetheless; just enough to be crossed off the list of teenage desirables. I countered this, or so I thought at the time, by trying to be either funny or crass, and in so doing achieved the feat of being even less attractive for my efforts.
The odd thing is, I've never felt any discomfort around women. Quite the opposite. Having two older sisters probably taught me that these strange alien creatures were not that strange and alien afterall. I do recall, at the age of 12 having a crush on a certain Joanne Chapman, who for reasons best known to herself agreed to "Go out" with me. Going out, please note, involved standing around at break times, both having the excruciating feeling of having nothing to say to each other. To combat this I actually bought a box of Milk Tray one day which she gracefully accepted. A few days later however the same chocolates were handed back to me unopened via my then teacher. Happily, this was to coincide with Mothers day so the chocolate didn't go entirely to waste. Never let it be said that I cannot turn a negative into a plus.
I've always had a fairly self effacing attitude towards my own inadequacies, adopting the view that I may just as well be at the head of the queue rather than having to join it. I think that during my teenage years I just tried too hard, wanted to impress too much, and in so doing never really reflected who I was. Truth was, and still is, I'm actually a fairly gentle soul. Don't be fooled by some of my blogs; I'm deliberately contrarian when I write because it makes the whole exercise more fun to compose and, so I'm told, more fun to read. As I became an older teenager I lost the puppy fat, toned up, and became a marginally more attractive specimen, although I still had the brain of a walnut combined with the mouth of a planet. So still not exactly a catch, then.
I was never the kind of guy who had a lot of girlfriends anyway. Beyond the bravado I was actually quite shy and largely clueless. It was many years before I learned that the only image worth projecting is an honest one, and that no amount of window dressing is going to make a person desirable in the long term. I do recall having quite a fear of rejection, possibly linked to some the abuse you get as a "fat" kid. Funny how the critique you get during those early years hangs around in the dusty vaults of our minds. A nasty little voice always ready to remind us of our lesser qualities. Still, in my case it was probably a good thing. Anything that curbed my arrogance was a plus. Again, how much of this was just a cover, just window dressing behind which the real man cowered?
Oh well, too early to think too deep. Suffice to say that I may as well just come clean and admit to myself that I never had the ladies falling over themselves to get to me. And even if they had I'm not sure I would have known what to do with them once they arrived?