could i steal a chip?

Over the past several weeks I’ve become friendly with a dynamic, fast-talking young Scottish guy.  We originally met at a work event but, although our professional (sorry for the word) synergies weren’t quite aligned, or at least not yet, our personalities gelled quickly.  Over a couple of subsequent meetings a bantery rapport was developed and we riffed off each other at various networking events.  Being a general misanthrope, this doesn’t happen all too often.

His girlfriend joined us in town towards the end of yesterday evening.  I had met her briefly once before and she’d seemed fine and open after initially being guarded and wary.  In our subsequent meetings he was always wary of his duties to her: curfews, her checking up, calling, texts.  Even the one evening when she was away and we went out, she kept calling, checking back until fairly late into the evening.

Now I’ve never known an evening out to improve with the introduction of girlfriends half way through.  Whether it’s two or twelve guys, a dynamic is agreed, established and settled.  Throw in a handful of girlfriends and it becomes disturbed and upset with new obligation.  Particularly if there’s a number mismatch, as there always is in my presence – being terminally single.

She joined us grudgingly yesterday evening, that much was clear, yet she apparently couldn’t go home alone or let her boyfriend stay out.  She looked grouchy on arriving but slowly thawed.  On leaving the bar, the three of us were buoyed by the idea of food, so went to a nearby Burger restaurant in Soho.

Seated here, a couple of young girls sat down at the small table next to us.  One left for the toilet, leaving another on her own: American, confident, animated, full of beans.  Glances had been exchanged when they were originally seated, and enviously checked out our food. 

Her friend momentarily gone, she turned to us again and a bowl of half empty chips.  “God, that looks good,” she said.  “I am SO hungry, could I steal a chip?”  This was when my friend’s girlfriend sneered and emitted such ice I thought all our burgers would immediately go cold.  “Sure!” my friend said, I nodded and smiled, it was fine with me too.  But she was already recoiling at the unspoken venom fired in her direction.  “Er, no it’s totally fine.  I’m getting bad vibes now, I’ll.. sorry.”  Awkwardness swept the two tables.  Apart from the space around my friend’s girlfriend, who sat there nonplussed with her curling upper lip.

“Well put yourself in my position,” she urged.  “If the roles were reversed, and it was a guy who had come over like that.”  At the time, I couldn’t quite do that empathy.  Too much was going on in the conversation.  I just shrugged.  Ok, it was fine, you scary bitter young lady.  Her boyfriend chuckled, though possibly equally taken aback by his girlfriend. 

Walking back through town towards Waterloo half an hour later I considered it again: if the roles had been reversed.  Two girls, one guy.  Same situation.  Let’s presume that makes me part of the couple (a ludicrous concept).  The only reason I would have been so cold to an approaching male would have been if the relationship were new and / or I was still insecure in it.  Surely you just have to enjoy an established level of trust and comfort not to feel threatened like that?  Back the fuck off, dickhead-vibes would only have radiated from me if it was an early date and I was feeling insecure about how I was matching up.  Perhaps they seem more established and settled than they are.  Who can say?

Or maybe she’s just another surly ice madam.

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