Dash reckons I should write a post about each of my ex-boyfriends. Personally, I think this will be boring for you, but it might actually be therapeutic for me, so I'm going to do it anyway.
Let's start with the first kiss story, actually. I've mentioned it on this blog before, but only in passing.
I was 15 at the time and on exchange at a school in Melbourne, Australia. It was the first time I'd been overseas on my own and I was using the chance to do everything I'd never get away with at home.
I'd been told that near the end of the school term I was spending there, there would be a formal dance. It was my first ball and I excitedly shopped until I found a slinky strapless sparkly blue dress to wear. Now, about a date...
My host "sister" Emma (from the family I was staying with), told me she'd set me up with a nice boy named Ryan. We met a week before the dance at a house party. But before we were introduced, I had consumed large amounts of warm white box wine and was more than slightly tipsy. I was trashed. For the first time ever. Thankfully, I am a very sweet drunk - giggly, affectionate and a little bit sleepy.
I do remember a few details from that night...
Ryan was cute. And we sat together on the front stairs of the veranda after we'd been introduced while I told him over and over again that I was "NOT drunk!" The poor boy. Thankfully I think he was a bit past it too. We seemed to get along like a house on fire. He filled my polystyrene cup with more revolting wine and we discussed the details of the impending dance and the differences and similarities between our countries.
I also remember that I had been to the bank earlier to cash some traveller's cheques, but they'd been closed. My purse, traveller's cheques, passport, house keys and various other important things were still in my handbag, which I had brought along and stashed in one of the bedrooms with everyone else's handbags.
Murphy's Law (which still holds in Australia, as I discovered)... mine was one of two handbags to get stolen that night. I was distraught - how would I get home to South Africa? Ryan was supportive. He endeared himself to me as he searched the house from top to bottom for my bag (which never surfaced) and held my hand as I panicked.
A week later, at the dance, he was gorgeous in his tux and complimented me non-stop on my dress, upstyled hair and even my earrings. The corsage he brought me was a pale yellow rose - my favouorite. I felt like I was in a dream.
As we danced, he twirled me around like a pro (have you noticed that I am drawn to men who can dance?). We were directly under the disco ball at the swanky hotel, surrounded by my teachers and school friends, when he leant in and kissed me.
It was completely inappropriate and I'm sure my reputation was instantly wrecked with the teachers (who had previously seen me as small, sweet and reasonably well-mannered), but it was lovely.
I remember my first thought being, "Wow... that's warmer than I expected. But nice. Very nice."
Yet after the dance, at the after-party, he started to get on my nerves. He wouldn't leave me alone for a minute. A Canadian exchange friend and I hid out in the bathrooms for awhile just to get some space from our dates.
Cute had become super-clingy very quickly and Ryan started to irritate me enormously. He was like a puppy dog, following me around everywhere I went. By the end of the after-party, I had decided in my quick-to-judge teenage mind that Ryan was not the boy for me.
Our group of friends spent the remainder of the night sleeping on the floor of a friend's living room. When I awoke, bobby pins and hair spiking up all over the show with mascara smeared down my cheeks, I found Ryan lying there staring at me. That was slightly freaky. I didn't like it at all.
Thankfully, all the exchange students were heading off for a weekend of sightseeing in Sydney that afternoon and I could escape him (although flying with a killer hangover is NOT fun, I must say).
The following week, we were all out at another party and Ryan was behind me every time I turned around. He wouldn't leave me be for a second. I eventually took him outside and had "the chat". You know, the one that goes, "You're a great guy and it's been fun. But I leave in just over a week to go back to my own country and there's no point in getting emotionally involved when we'll probably never see each other again. Ya da ya da ya da..."
Shame, the poor boy was upset. He told me he'd come and visit me in South Africa (way to freak a girl out!) and that I was so special and he didn't want to lose me etc...
It was awful. I've always been one of those girls who watches the guy cry while she delivers a break-up speech. I just separate myself emotionally from the whole situation. Until TSC, that is. I can't stay emotionally uninvolved when we fight. But I hated break-ups. The more emotional a guy got, the more detached I'd become. And the more I'd hate myself for it afterwards.
Ryan called me the night before I flew home and cried some more. It was a long conversation. We swapped contact details and he promised to write regularly. And then, as expected, I never heard from him again. And I'm sure that within a week he was right as rain and madly in love with someone else.
I still have our dance photos in the scrapbook I made of the trip and I look back at them once every few years.
I used to wish that my first kiss had been with someone else - maybe a boyfriend who lasted longer. But actually, I'm glad it was Ryan, a random Australian guy I met on exchange. Because he was sweet and it was special and it will always be one of those memories I can't shake... Kind of a Cinderella thing, I guess. The glitter ball, the middle of the dance floor, two teenagers in their best formal wear in a magical land called Oz...
It makes for a nice memory.