It has to be my perfume. The weird guys here must really love One Direction’s Our Moment or something, because they can’t seem to get enough of me.
On Friday night, two of my flatmates and I went to a local pub to hang out and enjoy the unique British pub culture. We were talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company when things went downhill. Caitlin, my flatmate, and I needed to use the “loo.” We left our friend Nikki alone for a matter of minutes, only to return to her conversing with someone we’d nicknamed “Penn State.” This 20-something guy had been seen all over Camden over the short 10 days we’d lived there, and he always seemed very odd, wearing a Penn State letterman jacket from the ‘80s and hovering alone near groups of girls. Now he was hovering around us.
We were being friendly, but Penn State just didn’t know how to interact with females. One of the first things he asked was, “How do you know when a girl isn’t attracted to you?”
Over the course of the next 25 minutes, we tried to explain that when girls start talking to their friends instead of you, it’s time to walk away. So when we began a conversation among ourselves and he remained standing there, we knew we were in trouble.
In an effort to escape, we made an excuse to go to the other side of the bar. He followed. He then cornered me and told me I was cute. He waited expectantly for me to share the sentiment, but I didn’t and changed the topic. Caitlin and Nikki quickly devised a plan to get us out of there. Again, it’s me. Always me.
Last Tuesday night after a long day at work, I decided to stop by Sainsbury’s (our nearby grocery store) to pick up some food for dinner. Everything was fine. I was in my own world, listening to some James Bay and trying to decide on which frozen vegetable to buy, when I heard a voice next to my ear. I took out my earbuds and turned to see a very strange boy with a black streak on his cheek.
“The mixed vegetables are the best,” he said in a breathy, British accent.
“Oh. I like green beans,” I replied in hopes that that’d be the extent of our conversation. It wasn’t.
The guy continued to stick with me as I moved towards the checkout. I had a few more things I’d wanted, but decided they weren’t essentials.
Aaron, as he introduced himself, followed me all the way there. I politely acknowledged his musings, and then tried to part ways by saying, “Nice to meet you.”
At this point, I was really uncomfortable. Aaron then decided he would check out with me. All he had was a large bottle of water and he said he would just add it to my cart and pay me the difference. I told him no, but he insisted. I began to assume that he just needed a little money, so I buried my fight-or-flight urges.
The girl at the register gave me the, “Are you okay?” eyes before I packed up my groceries. Aaron tried to help me out, but I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door. Fortunately, we had to part ways there because he was going the opposite direction. Unfortunately, before I could do anything, he opened his arms and gave me a huge hug. A hug. (!!)
I didn’t know what to do. I panicked and gave the awkward, “nice to meet you” laugh and ran off. As I turned away, he said, “See you soon.”
I watched over my shoulder the entire walk home. I took a longer route to ensure he wouldn’t follow. As soon as I was in the safety of my flat, I recounted the tale to my three flatmates and they all hugged me to negate Aaron’s unrequited hug.
Essentially, I’ve been here two weeks and have already had numerous horrific encounters with the opposite sex. Honestly, I’d hoped for a more profound column this semester on how I’d grown and matured, but instead, life in Britain is just as uncomfortable as it was in Columbia. You’re welcome. Enjoy.