My friend is a Spanish teachers wet-dream; she has a massive love of the culture, watches the films, knows the history and to top it off she’s basically fluent in the language. I, however, can barely string a sentence together and get hopelessly anxious when I can’t communicate. Now you think we’d be an pretty good combo and the fact that my friend can speak Spanish would alleviate all my worries, yeah? Nope.
Although we had a great time travelling about when we booked the holiday we didn’t really think about how different we both are. I love a good book, history and having a wander, whereas my friend is a big fan of clubs, dancing and everything that goes along with that. I have a bit of an on again, off again relationship with clubs. Half the time I just don’t feel comfortable in them, but occasionally when I want a good dance I’ll shimmy my way through the crowds with unstoppable gusto. Unfortunately on this trip my anxiety was getting the better of me so an uncomfortable night out was on the cards.
Our evening got off to an awkward start, earlier that day we’d befriended one of the campiest, loveliest people you could ever hope to meet, Eddy. Now Eddy was one of those people that knew absolutely everyone so our evening kicked off at a house party held by a group of American students, where our British sarcasm went down as well as a vegan at a butchers, as did my friends drunken impression of a New Yorker. Our American hosts clearly resented the two random British girls crashing their party so as soon as we reached the club it was a swift goodbye.
Within about 10 minutes of being there it happened… my friend had found ‘the love of her life’. After a quick toilet trip where she confirmed that his eyes were perfect, he had an amazing accent and was basically the best person ever; I was left to my own devices.
For the first half an hour or so I occupied myself with getting a drink and exploring. But it turns out it doesn’t take too long to explore a square room, so I took to the dance floor, until the someone I was dancing with turned from a seemingly good mover into a small dog trying to hump a pillow. Having exhausted my options somewhat, I chose to spend the rest of my time wandering around and situating myself in various points in the club and staying there until I looked weird.
It was at one of my little hangout spots that I noticed him, staring at me from across the smoke filled room. It felt like a film. Through a mass of people I clocked the small Spanish man giving me the sort of smile that makes children cry. As hard as I squinted I couldn’t make him into the equivalent of my friends six foot something hunk and I was left with the depressing reality that my only admirer was a 4 foot 9 tubby guy in the midst of a mid-life crisis.
Now in situations like these, and unfortunately I’ve had quite a few of them, I like to run away. I know that’s not how women should react, we should stand up and just say “I’m not interested” but for some reason when I was nineteen, if I felt like someone might try to flirt with me, my fight or flight kicked in. I avoided them like the plague and normally people got the message; the message being: I’m not great at social situations, very sorry, please leave me alone. Unfortunately my Spanish Gnome didn’t catch on. After thinking that I’d successfully evaded him and rewarding myself with a vodka and coke I spotted him sauntering over, creepy grin intact.
As he got nearer I realised that I’d accidently backed myself into a corner and couldn’t escape. Although socially inept, I’ve been brought up to be polite so I smiled and shook his hand when he offered it. It was at that point he seemed to think we were somehow soul mates and started to talk to me in strongly accented Spanish. When I motioned that I didn’t understand him and used my limited grasp of the language to say, “Sorry no comprende”, he seemed to take that as a challenge. No matter how many times I repeated that phrase he didn’t seem to be hearing me. Eventually he cottoned on and laughed before starting to speak in halting English. Instantly I panicked. Now I would actually have to talk to the bloke.
It’s at this point that I made the decision which eventually helped me make my escape. I decided to talk gibberish, utter nonsense. I’m not overly proud of this, I literally preferred to speak like someone had smashed their fists on a keyboard rather than have to explain I just wasn’t interested, but I was young. So mustering up various languages including a bit of hindi and a few well placed creole swear words I managed speak complete nonsense at him for five minutes whilst putting on my craziest I’m a psycho grin. Eventually he went from looking reasonably happy to ever so slightly scared. So for good measure, I laughed manically, slapped him on the back and power walked my way to freedom. Which is how I managed to out- weird the creepiest guy in the club.
Needless to say I couldn’t chill on the outskirts of the dance floor anymore so I spent a fair amount of time bonding with the Spanish ladies in the women’s loos.
Finally our night came to a close and we got outside where sitting on an empty Spanish street without her shoes on my friend shoved a cherry on top of my evening by smiling drunkenly up at me, to say that she’d forgotten the name of guy she’d spent the entire night glued to. Perfect.