This is sort of the story that inspired me to blog in the first place. It shows at once how clear things appear to outsiders and how muddled everything looks from within, which is one of my major problems.
A while ago a friend of mine (M.) brought a girl along to a social event. In the middle of the evening, both disappeared for several hours. When M. came back later, I asked him where they had been. He answered that the girl had asked him to go to the park for a more quiet chat. I giggled smugly and said that it was obvious that she liked him. M. denied this, and said they had just gone out because the bar was too loud, and that choosing the nightly park didn’t mean anything . I remember telling him there and then “It’s a rule: when you go to the park with someone at night it always means something“.
Fast forward a week later.
M. and his girl appeared at another social event, this time together. In a quiet moment I asked him what was going on. Turns out the park-rule was right on the money, the girl had liked him right from the start and they were now going out.
And here for the cruel twist that turns this tepid anecdote into a fable with a moral:
Just days after lecturing poor M. (we’re still friends btw) about the park rule, I went to a friend’s house for dinner. S. and I aren’t terribly close, so he was surprised when I told him I’d broken up with my boyfriend a while ago. We had wine with dinner, and thought of going to the pub afterwards. However, when walking down the road, S. proposed a change of plans. He asked me whether I’d ever seen London at night from Primrose Hill. I declined, and we decided to just buy a bottle of wine and stay outside. After walking up the hill we settled on a bench, opened the bottle and enjoyed the stunning view.
All was well and good for about two minutes.
And then S. tried to kiss me.
Turns out the aforementioned rule was not only true for M. and his girl, but also applied to S. and me. I was completely unaware of the changed dynamics, and in retrospect want to smack myself for overseeing the obvious signs. But in the situation, I was simply sitting on the park bench in the warm summer night, glass of wine in hand and blissfully unaware that S. had other plans in mind than just enjoying the view.
However, our story ends not quite as romantically as M.’s. Instead it got quite awkward when I didn’t kiss S. back, and the walk back down the hill which followed suit was short and very silent.
1) When someone* asks you to go to the park at night, it probably means something.
2) Knowing a rule and recognising it in others does not necessarily mean being aware of it in your own daily life, or being able to behave accordingly.
*”someone” shall henceforth refer to a person of your target group of partners, be that of opposite or same sex.