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September 25, 2011 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

An Uncomfortably Personal Account of My Own Folly and the Tossers I have Known

Imagine for a moment that you and I are artfully draped over a table in a corner of Havana Bar, both of us flatteringly nuzzled by the glow of tropically suggestive lamps, and that we have been drinking steadily for three hours.

There’s a natural lull in the conversation and, feeling that we’ve really made a connection over the past few G&Ts, I lean over and ask you, my recently acquired bestest pal in the whole wide world, what your list looks like.

Come on now, everyone has a list. It’s that superficial inventory of requirements that pops into your head whenever the subject of an ideal romantic partner arises. Some qualities might be vague and others a touch more specific; ‘nice’ belonging to the former category and ‘a retired Olympic gymnast whose vying passions for LARPing and Nordic cuisine somehow create a neverending sense of turmoil within her’ the latter. My inquiry is fueled by equal parts curiosity and the overwhelming urge to warn you against the very notion of having a list because, may I assure you, mine led to nothing but trouble. Allow me to illustrate what I mean, you coyly quiet thing, by revealing the qualities which used to occupy the Top Three positions on my list.

Outdoorsy yet intellectual:

A bit greedy and a touch unrealistic, right? The sort of man who reads Ulysses from cover to cover for a lark couldn’t possibly also be an accomplished walker. Yet after reading the perpetually delicious Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods I was determined to meet such an individual. No one was more surprised than me when I actually found him though. My visions of us scampering about the countryside were tragically, however, not to be. Oh, he took me into the great outdoors alright, but I fear I was somewhat unequal to the task of keeping up my end of the intellectual banter while simultaneously trudging up a goat track and wilting under the glare of a sadistically radiant sun.

A musician:

I’m certainly not the only girl who swoons at the idea of some guitar-wielding gentleman serenading her with a song but, not content with simply waiting for Antonio Banderas to make his way into my life, I was foolish enough to actively seek out a mysterious musician. I got exactly what I wanted too—a man whose mystery morphed into a paralyzing inability to confirm if/when/where we were ever going to meet up. I had more chance of George Harrison texting me back. Musicians, and every heterosexual male in Young Labour apparently, are not only notoriously flaky but also as difficult to pin down as that pesky 70s indie-fringe you whimsically got a few weeks ago at the salon.


Wow. This guy. Let me tell you about this guy. He who shall be somewhat less than affectionately referred to as Penis Face was, physically speaking, the polar opposite of what I usually find attractive in a male and yet so energetic and confident that I somehow forgot he was about a head shorter than me. Aesthetic appeal was the least of my worries. I’m not prone to getting all flustered and pouty when a fellow has a wee flirt with other girls but Penis Face sure distinguished himself by, on one memorable occasion, pushing me out of the way so that he could do just that. The experience of being spatially readjusted in this manner encouraged me to look upon his behaviour thereafter with a rather less indulgent eye and thus, when a set of unidentified teeth marks one day graced his shoulder, I pursued the matter with a withering sense of resignation. Upon being questioned on the origin of said teeth marks, Penis Face favoured me with a charming, if sheepish smile, and suggested that perhaps he had “slept on it funny”. There are few things less attractive than an inept liar.

I’m sure that these boys were, on the whole, perfectly lovely.  I suspect that I’m not still with any of them because of my rabid insistence on their possession of the very qualities which inevitably led me to resent them for quite some time. There was another boy, of course, amongst all of this. He was perfect and I simply couldn’t begin to tell you why. I sometimes try to account for why I liked him so much and why things didn’t work out there either but words, I’m somewhat bemused to report, fail me.


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  1. georgi says:

    oh Louise i’m actually giggling.. the type of giggling that makes your eyes awkwardly water a little bit. As I read this I could hear your voice in my head saying this to me and see your face giggling opposite mine, possibly amongst the background of the ‘too-cool-to-be-polite’ waitresses at sweet mother’s, or the other place we frequent.. miss your face. xxxxxxxxxx

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