My wife and I went down the pub last week with an old mate we haven’t seen for a while and very funny it was, too.
To be fair, not all of it was funny, but the story I’m about to tell you creased me up…
A bit of background first. Our mate has been a bit of a ‘man about town’ in his past and has never been short of a female friend or three. In fact, it was often quite difficult to keep up with and I have, in the past, made the mistake of saying ‘nice to meet you Paula’ only to find out that Paula was last week’s flame and I was actually speaking with Pippa.
I don’t think Pippa was massively pleased, but I’m not sure because she left 5 seconds after I’d made my mistake.
Anyway, back to our mate, who has always told us that he has difficulty with the ‘L’ word. (The ‘L’ word being ‘Love’… his difficulty being that he can never say it.)
So, there he was, Simon told us… a few months ago, in Madrid with a lady who had made it past the highly significant 3 month marker. The weather was warm, they had had a fabulous day exploring the city, stopped in a piazza for a wonderful meal (probably tapas, I would imagine) and we’re drinking wonderful wine.
Soft music was playing in the background and a gentle breeze was playing across the square. Their hands we entwined under the table and their heads were almost touching.
Suddenly there was a silence between them… not uncomfortable, but Simon, for some reason felt that he had to fill the silence that was now stretching, just a little. He needed an ice breaker.
‘You know, Bridget, this has been a wonderful day and I have something to say to you.’ Bridget’s eyes were shining and her lips parted in a slight smile. ‘Bridget… I really… am very fond of you.’
Back in the pub Simon winced slightly as he told us about the way the expression crashed off Bridget’s face and was replaced by incredulity, annoyance, anger and any number of other emotions.
‘I really wish I hadn’t said anything… it would have been better if I’d said nothing.’
I know exactly how he feels. If there’s a silence I always feel the need to fill it with something – usually a wisecrack. But after Simon’s story, I’m going to think twice before I say anything. It’s so easy to get it wrong with disastrous consequences.