Fearsome female control freakery

I had my doubts about his girlfriend before: was she insecure in the relationship, horribly cold, a control freak, an attention seeker, merely a tiring ball-ache?  I was meeting up with him for the first time in about two months, a fast-talking young Scottish guy with bags of energy.  Our pre-Christmas relationship had fizzled as we realised professional, personal and social differences. 

Still, we did get on well and didn’t want to lose touch, so we decided to meet up later in the Thursday evening, after the leaders’ election debate, in the upstairs bar of a dimly lit, sofa-rich venue in Soho.

We’d only been there for about half hour when his phone buzzed, and he said the words in passing, before answering the phone.

“Laura’s coming, by the way..”

“Oh.”  My heart sank.  It was covertly agreed beforehand that this would be a boysy catch-up.  We’d enjoyed evenings before Christmas like this, where, freed from his girlfriend, we’d had several drinks and chatted to girls: had fun.  Despite being in a long term relationship, he clearly loved it (“all in the chase, man”): the attention and thrill of performance which he revelled in.  He explained where we were to her, then hung up.

“Yeah, sorry.  I didn’t know.  She’s been out with a mate from work so…”

She arrived a few minutes later, drunk and gabbling about cocktails, hijacking the evening for a time, consummately strangling the momentum of chat we’d built up.  I nodded, smiled, asked civil questions about work and her teaching course – she was clearly destined to become yet another female teacher who spoke excessively about her work.  It was starting already, I thought, listening, glazed over.  My friend had recoiled at the social invasion too, even though she was his girlfriend.  He became quickly tired, sullen, unresponsive and slumped in the sofa like he wanted it to swallow him.  I continued to make polite small talk with her, not much caring about the answers to my questions. 

She’d sat without a drink for a short time, saying she didn’t want one immediately because of those crazy strong cocktails.  When I rose to visit the bar, she gladly accepted my offer.

I returned, graciously deposited bottles of beer (“you’re very welcome”) and resumed chatting about business to my friend, marginalising his girlfriend.  I‘d bought the pain in the arse a drink; the least she could do was let us talk about what we wanted to talk about.  Hell, I’d be really charitable and not even mind if she wanted to join in. 

But predictably enough, she didn’t.  She sat there peripheral and vaguely sulky.  Neither of us made any attempt to change the conversation or integrate her and she didn’t try to become more involved, sitting there mute and drunk, swigging distractedly at her beer.

On finishing the bottle, she began pulling on her coat and looking pointedly at her boyfriend.  We’d only been there little over an hour in total.

“I’ve got to go, I have to be up for work in the morning,” she said.


Chilly glances and icy looks were exchanged. 

“You going too then mate, or…?” I asked, my voice wavering, tension escalating deliciously.

“Er, ehmm..” he dithered, not knowing.

“If you want to see the lady home, that’s cool,” I said.  “We can call it a night.”

She saw he was more leaning towards staying there, letting her go.  Those cold eyes of hers returned.  She was used to getting her way, bending her malleable man.  That sort of thing terrifies me about females.

Still he said nothing assertive, either that he’d stay or go, exuded a confused ambivalent lethargy.

“Right.  Ok then!” she said, and walked out.

“You want to go after her?”

“Nah, she’ll be fine.”  He shrugged, as if he didn’t care.  “Want another one then?” he smiled, a lightbulb flicked back on.

He tried to persuade me that I would get on with her if I spent more time with her, if we went out on full nights together.  I wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince me or himself.  He’d said this once before, following the chip incident, and I’d blithely nodded in agreement.  Yeah, maybe.. (whatever, don’t care). 

When I mentioned potential wedding bells, he blibbled uncertainly like men do, but said that she had mentioned it.  “I’ve got an empire to build man!” he exclaimed.  I asked him if he wanted to though: marriage etc. if everything with her was all going well enough.  He shrugged. 

Given my expert form in relationships, I counselled, “If you love her, go for it, living together for two and a half years should have given you a good enough idea.  If you don’t, shit, you’re 25 years old mate.”  I left it at that, not needing to scream at him that he could be completely wasting his youth.  Because he’d actually use it too, wholeheartedly seize a young, single metropolitan life with everything he has.  Unlike me, who sits back, thinks too much, doesn’t so much go with the flow as build a dam, then effortlessly screws up.

He shrugged again, not wanting the conversation, so we moved it on elsewhere.


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