Previously the Theatre Producer and I went on holiday to Serbia for a wedding.
This time it’s a proper ‘do nothing’ holiday somewhere hot. We’re going away for an entire week with no plans apart from sleeping a lot and reading books, by a pool. I can’t wait.
Although I’m not sure that the Theatre Producer is prepared for what will happen.
I get restless if I don’t have something to do, I can do a lazy weekend, just, but after that I get a bit, bouncy. Colouring in books will only keep me amused for so long. I have a lot of energy, I was a bit of a naughty child and I think by about day three I’ll be running laps of the villa making dinosaur noises, at 3am.
I almost feel sorry for her, or at least I would if velociraptors knew what pity was. Roar!
I’m going to meet The Theatre Producer’s parents this weekend, well basically her whole family. It’s her nephews 2nd birthday party and I have been invited.
This raises the tricky subject of what to wear. I’ve already been told not to dress ‘Too Chelsea’ so I’ve been thinking hard about what would be appropriate. It’s a tough gig to style.
Entirely logically, I thought ‘If I was 2 years old what sort of thing would I like my guests to wear?’
Which is why I chose the outfit pictured, it’s exactly what I’d like people to be wearing if it was my 2nd birthday. Fact.
Sadly it has been vetoed by TP on grounds of ‘first impressions’, apparently turning up as a crocodile/dinosaur might give her mum and dad the wrong idea about me.
Girls are rubbish sometimes.
The problem with writing about dating and relationships, is that when it goes well it doesn’t make very good copy.
I’ve been seeing The Theatre Producer for over three months now and it’s been really good. Good in an easy way, no fretting over what a text message means or why I’ve been invited around for a meal and then not talked to.
It’s not really been like any dating I’ve done before, she hasn’t even tried to stop me seeing my friends.
I’m honestly at a loss about what to write about. I could sum up the last few months with ‘we did some things, it was nice, I ate too much’. That is about it really.
We’ve seen a lot of theatre, cooked a lot of recipes together, drunk a lot and spent whole evenings giggling about utter nonsense. It has been good, which is hard to write about.
Maybe I should just draw pictures of dinosaurs instead.
It was the day of the wedding at last. It was also bloody hot. It was the sort of weather that would make you say ‘steady on girl’ if someone even suggested you wear more than just shorts. I was in heaven.
Here are the three things I didn’t want to be wearing that day.
1) A dinosaur costume
2) A rubber one-piece
3) A suit
Sadly my first two looks had been vetoed so I had to go with the last one. It was a wedding after all, although it turns out the first costume would have been weirdly appropriate. More on that later.
At about midday everyone got all spruced up. I got into my linen suit and The Theatre Producer put on her fancy dress.
It had flowers on it and was a faintly vintage number that made me suspicious that some WW2 fighter pilot would whisk her away at any moment. I resolved to spend the rest of the day standing near her and growling at any men that got too close.
We waltzed down to the lobby and found lots of other people were looking like they were on their way to a job interview/prom.
There was a little bit of ‘ooh you look nice’ and then we all piled into a coach and went on a drive. Passing Serbians would have been impressed by how formally dressed British people get before they go on a coach tour.
We passed the time talking about weddings while the coach driver stopped for directions. Literally stopped in the middle of the road and shouted at people in garages.
Someone on the coach had been to a Pagan wedding which involved people getting all nudie. This sounded well skills until I realised it would probably be just ancient Aunts and the creepy man you went to school with getting their danglies out. WELL RUBS.
Eventually we arrived at the venue. It was a lovely restaurant with an outside bit full of huge trees, gazebos and a sort of thing with pillars that could be used for getting married in. Or at night, with the right lighting, summoning the ancient gods of Olympus*.
Lots of people appeared and we stood around excitedly drinking water in the brilliant sunshine. The water was quickly swapped for boozes and the venue gained the appearance of a summer party in England, a very well dressed one.
Tiny lady hats
The groom was standing around nervously doing catalogue poses in his suit while we waited for the bride. She appeared in a long, very warm looking dress with a cool hat. Not that the hat would help keep her cool, it was one of those splendid tiny lady hats with mesh on it.
She appeared and got photographed a lot, then she walked up to see her massively grinning soon to be husband.
The service wasn’t that religious, it alternated between readings in Serbian and English. One of the English readings was about dinosaurs and romance. It was aces. It was the first time I’d ever been at a wedding where dinosaurs were mentioned.
After the couple said ‘yes’ at key points (huge cheers). After the service was over everyone cheered some more. Then the newly married pair walked over to a big wooden log thing and set it on fire. It fizzled for a bit and then went.
Yes, they had fired a cannon to mark their marriage. Everyone jumped.
It was amazing, the only thing that would have made it better would have been if they had fired it again, or constantly for the rest of the evening. Bangbangbangbang.
More booze was handed out including Jagermeister which apparently is a completely acceptable afternoon drink in Serbia rather than the ingredient for a cocktail designed to make you sick. We had some ‘sipping vodka’ accept no-one told us it was for sipping in time so we downed it.
Yes we are that classy.
We went inside it was much cooler, which was actually quiet pleasant. Not that I like being cold, I just felt less like I was going to burst into flames at any moment.
The table we had been assigned to was called ‘batwing’ and was the furthest away from the top table, but incidentally right by the bar. WIN.
I wasn’t sure what The Theatre Producer had done to get put on this table but I’m sure she is very sorry.
A band started playing. They were pretty good doing covers of wedding favourites, but they were SUPER LOUD. So loud I couldn’t really have a conversation with anyone.
Toast: Hello, how do you know the newly weds?
Guest: I can ask, but I’m not sure if this restaurant does have any beds.
Toast: The family are lovely, I wouldn’t go so far as to call them fat heads. Anyway would you like some wine?
Guest: Tuesday, we fly back on Tuesday.
Toast: This suit? Oh I bought it while mashed one time.
Guest: You’re going for a climb?
And so on. I gave up even nodding politely to things I couldn’t hear properly after I accidentally implied I was pro-bear baiting.
Let the meat begin!
Food started to arrive. The opened with the classic meat and cheese starter. It was a good one too and served with apparently unlimited bread. I ate my roll and it was immediately replaced with another loaf by a little man with silvery hair.
After the starter most people indicated they were full (through the medium of mime of course) but the meal had just begun.
We had a lovely meaty soup with more bread before the serious business of meat could begin. There wasn’t just one course of meat, or two. Three would have been an insult to the auspicious occasion and four some how lacking.
No this Serbian wedding feast was to feature five, yes five courses of meat as it’s main dish.
Each meat sub-course was big enough to be a main dish at any other event. It was jolly tasty but also physically and mentally exhausting.
Half way through there was a little break for speeches, and all the ladies were ordered up for a special ladies dance with the incredibly loud band playing Serbian music.
The ladies danced. The song ended, but before they could return the band started playing another song just for them. All of the men were stood around watching while increasingly ‘glowing’ ladies danced to accordion music.
The song went on.
It lasted at least two beers and a gin and tonic before The Theatre Producer and her fellow naughty table girls escaped and returned. Some less brave women were still dancing away though.
Before anyone could relax more meat was poured on our plates.
The final course was meatballs which most people couldn’t face. That is their loss because it was the best and I felt a sense of achievement that only mountain climbers will understand when I finished the final bit of meat.
We drank a lot of booze. There was a bit of dancing but the dance floor didn’t fill until the band took a break and someone put on their iPhone. You’ve not seen joy until you’ve seen a whole family mime jazz flute to Paul Simon.
The loud Serbian band seemed a little bit miffed by that.
Slice of cake anyone?
Some cakes appeared, the wedding cake was wheeled into porn-style disco music. One of the other cakes was made out of pancakes and had a top like a Crème brûlée.
It was amazing. I could have eaten that all day but annoyingly I had been eating vast amounts of meat for most of the afternoon. Fool.
There was more dancing. Then out of no-where a brass band appeared and started stomping around and playing honking tunes while everyone shouted at each other about ‘IT’S A BRASS BAND’ and ‘WHY WERE THEY HIDING IN THE KITCHEN FOR MOST OF THE NIGHT?’
And at about midnight we piled back into the coach (looking slightly more crumpled than before) and went back to the hotel.
*This might have happened later, but I was terribly drunk so I missed it.
After all the New York excitement I have gotten a little out of sync with Toast so I am attempting something of a catchup now.
Jen suggested an impromptu trip to the Natural History Museum on the Sunday after we arrived home. This is a girl suggesting a trip to see dinosaurs so of COURSE I wanted to go!
I was still feeling a little spaced out from jet lag and a week of drinking so was not on top form but Jen was fine with this. She really is incredibly good dealing with me being a little spaced out and erratic. We looked at dinosaurs, I threated to lick one and she egged me on as I waggled my tongue near it. We looked for monkey hands but didn’t find any.
There was a lot of talk about bonobos, who apparently masturbate when faced with stress or in celebration. This was not a conversation instigated by me but it did cause much amusement.
Once we had done the dinosaurs and got lost looking for the whales, we realised that we were both pretty hungry and decamped to a nearby café for grub.
The date only lasted a few hours and it was a little nervous and confused at times as I was off form but I had a really lovely time.
Marriage Percentage: 53%. Dinosaurs would ordinarily add way more but Jen’s percentage is rather high already so I’m trying to keep on the right side of cautious.
I was very aware that I also had tentative arrangements to see the Irish Girl and was starting to feel a little stressed about putting myself into a parallel situation with two girls I liked.
Even though I’d planned a number of internet dates with New Yorkers, I’d had such an awesome time with Kim that I had decided to concentrate on her as I felt she was cute, funny and able to take her margaritas in a fashion that even a sailor would have been proud of.
Toast covered Wednesday night’s activities. I was very good, I didn’t kiss a single person or even try to kiss them, even though I found that I fancied girls immensely more the moment they opened their mouths. Thankfully Blossom’s friends weren’t classic Biscuit types and I was particularly off form after a day walking round the city and feeding myself almost exclusively on sugar.
Thursday I traveled over to meet Kim at work. She works in a large studio divided up into different areas. She came out to meet me and was wearing a cheeky nautical themed number, complete with canvas deck shoes. When she took me upstairs I got a little too excited over the lift (el-ee-vay-tor) which was a huge industrial affair that looked like it should have a robot exoskeleton or massive mother alien xenomorph climbing out of it. However, by far the best part was the free bar. It looked a little like a film set because three sides were decked in a style resembling a cozy London pub, with antique photographs adorning the walls , comfortably worn leather furniture and Chicago Blues wafting across the smoky atmosphere. The fourth wall was open and a studio audience was conspicuous by its absence, which gave the place a simultaneously homely and yet unreal feel.
Kim and I ended up on opposite sides of the bar at the far end and there was a little bit of a heavy atmosphere as one of their colleagues had just been sacked so no one was particularly chatty.
I had a secret weapon however: I am English.
With Kim chatting to a colleague I turned to the nearest person and thrust my hand out to introduce myself and started chatting. I did this with anyone who came into range and was soon chums with most of the people there.
Being a bit of a deaf-o, and unaccustomed to the accents, I kept mishearing everyones’ names. Soon we had a ‘Charleston’ and a ‘Graham’ and I was being called upon to knight everyone with their new English name.
After a fair amount of free booze we all set off to see an art show of a colleague of theirs. It was in a bar and was filled with slightly wanky meeja types and girls a little too cool for school. Charleston complained that he was rubbish at approaching ladies (even though he is ‘chiselled’ handsome) so I decided to help him out by explaining that you just need to ask the right things, about robots or lasers.
Offering to demonstrate, he pointed me towards a lady he wanted to talk to so I politely introduced myself, apologised for disturbing her and told her that my friend wanted to ask her a question about dinosaurs.
Apparently, when he asked “what’s your favourite dinosaur”, the girl just looked blankly at him and said “dino… what???”. I consoled Charleston that any girl who did not know what a dinosaur was didn’t deserve him.
Kim and I were just chatting and having fun. There were no shenanigans because I was pretending to be a chum she met in England, partly for giggles but partly (I suspect) so she didn’t have to explain why she was taking a man she barely knew out with her!
Most people were very nice, the girls especially so as soon as I opened my mouth. One girl even got a bit fighty when she thought I had pushed into a queue. As soon as I spoke she turned all sultry and said “well you can just talk to me in that accent all day long”.
This was clearly more of a potent effect than I had expected. Suddenly I knew how Spiderman felt: “With great power comes great responsibility”. One of Kim’s friends even got quite flirty and touchy whilst dancing.
In a moment of sort of sexy ambivalence, the touchy girl and Charleston had a’ lap-dance off’ for me, Kim and ‘Rosemary’ as we sat on the sofas. It was simultaneously arousing and disturbing so I stuffed a couple of dollars into Charleston’s belt line and he gleefully ran off to the nearest group of girls to dance for them and flash the cash sticking out of his pants.
I think it was around this time that I fell in love with New York.
Eventually it was time to grab a taxi home and so Rosemary, Kim and I piled in. After we had dropped Rosemary off, Kim asked what I was planning to do. Looking a little blankly and hopful I said “…err… I could stay at yours?”. She smiled and agreed on the stipulation that it was just for sleeps as she had work early.
It was lovely just cuddling up, although less lovely dragging myself out of bed in the morning to head to the subway for home.
The following day she sent me a really sweet text message:
“My friends love you. And I really wish you could stay a bit longer cause its so freakin rad. I think you brought us all closer last night”
I beamed to Toast and MyLoveLifeInYourHands that I would happily have her as a girlfriend if I was staying.
Marriage percentage: 35%
I had loads of fun, even though we were pretending to be just chums. It made me sad that I knew I had to leave in only a few days.