Scottie catches up on the genre he used to love, the rom-com, and decides that his tastes should be redefined.
When it comes to either music or movies, I can sometimes go through phases of what I like to watch. One month, I could do an X-Men & Avengers marathon, the next I could stay up all night watching nothing but Borgen. Last week, I returned to a phase that I haven’t had since I was about nineteen; cheesy, low-budget gay rom-coms. I should state now that, like my taste in men, I probably need to redefine my standards in movies.
In the space of two nights, I watched three gay rom-coms; The One (which was so awful that I couldn’t even finish it), eCupid and Is It Just Me?. All three were just as cheesy as you’d expect, with endings that you could predict from the opening credits. Still, I found myself going all teary-eyed and gasping at all the right moments, totally lost in the flawed-but-sweet plot of each one. At one point, I found myself with my arms around my pillow like a five year old holds onto his teddy bear for dear life, totally forgetting I’m now in my mid-twenties.
It made sense that I would react more to the last one because the storyline revolved around a gay dating columnist who couldn’t find a romantic, relationship-orientated guy in a sea of muscle-bound, sex-mad Adonis-types. I even thought the lead actor looked like me – I was that sucked into the story. As I watched the low-budget, American version of my life (minus the sea of Adonis men) play out, the horrific thought struck me: no longer the sassy Carrie Bradshaw of Ireland, I had downgraded myself to Bridget Jones.
Where did it all go wrong? God knows. Just like the classy Bridget, I may have consumed one too many muffins and had one too many cocktails (especially at that singles party – Christ, the hangover…) without taking note of what I was actually doing. In fairness, it wasn’t just in the romantic department that summoned me to look at what I was actually doing. I needed a makeover; tone up, lose the ego, and re-adjust my perspective on what I was doing with myself. Months had passed of me being in the Grand Canyon of lulls, and it was high-time to get out of it. Cue one exercise bike and two job interviews later, things were looking up. The Gods of Work (those ancient Anglo-Celtic ones: Sterling and Euro) finally decided to notice me again and now I probably won’t have time for even the speediest of dates. Still, I got the kick up the arse that I needed – amazing the difference a few days can make to your life.
Saturday afternoon came around, and I went into the city centre to meet up with my best friend, who had travelled to Dublin for his brother’s surprise birthday party the night before. I went to our favourite café, ordered my favourite drink and tried to take my favourite seat, only to find that the entire café was packed. Despite it snowing outside, I had no choice but to brave the elements and sit under the canopy outside, near the café entrance. Wearing my scarf and coat, I was able for the Celtic winter weather and enjoyed my coffee.
My head occasionally looked up at the customers going into the café, and one was definitely worthy of the attention. Brown hair and blue eyes, wrapped up in a scarf and jacket as well. Our eyes met briefly as he passed by, only to return from the warmth a few minutes later with his coffee.
“Is it not too cold to be outside?” he asked me with a smile and something of an American twang.
Cue the bashful babbling.
“Ah, no… sure, you have a scarf too.”
Seriously, I write a bloody dating column, and that’s the best reply I can come up with??? I mentally slapped myself in embarrassment as he smiled and turned the corner to where the rest of the outdoor seating was. Idiot, I thought. Bloody idiot – well done for blowing that chance.
After about five minutes, he reappears with a smile on his face and coffee in his hands: “nope, I can’t stand it!”
Eventually, I ended up going back in myself to get another coffee, still waiting for my friend to arrive. I was able to do what I hoped as well; there was a table nearby where Coffee Guy was sitting, now lost in his newspaper and coffee. Excellent, I thought to myself; he reads the Irish Times, he’s cute and intelligent! I settled myself down with my second coffee and took out my laptop – I can look intelligent too, occasionally. Every so often (by that, I mean every few seconds) my eyes involuntarily took themselves off my laptop’s screen and landed on him, still lost on his paper. It wasn’t until my friend arrived that I noticed, from the corner of my eye, that Coffee Guy was looking over at me every so often. I couldn’t help but smile, which made my friend think I was having some sort of fit.
“Right,” my friend announced, “will we go for a walk? I need the cold air to keep me awake.”
Time for action. Enough with the rom-coms, the moaning and the wishing. Now or never.
“Hold on,” I replied. “I’m about to do something stupid.”
I took out a notepad, ripped a strip off one of the pages, and grabbed a pen from my laptop bag.
“Why are you writing your number?”
“To give it to a guy,” I replied.
“Oh Scott,” my friend moaned, “I’m embarrassed for you.”
As my friend got up laughing, I proceeded to write the number down with my name, and the line “if you’d like to grab a coffee sometime …” I didn’t know what else to say, because I never did that before. The movies don’t show you what people write on the paper, they just show that paper is passed!
Then I noticed that Coffee Guy was getting ready to leave the café too. Panic stations. I had to get myself ready, and walk over to his table before he left. Hastily, I did so, before turning to flee the café, hoping to every god available that I didn’t just make a total arse out of myself.
Maybe I did, but either way, I still got a text about ten minutes later: “Scott?”
“Yep,” I replied soon afterwards. “Coffee Guy, I presume?”
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick