By Rupi Lal
“YOU need to chill out man,” that’s what they kept saying. “Chill, it’ll happen when you least expect it.” – Yeah whatever, I thought. But, and I hate to say this, they were right.
I kind of gave up hope if I’m honest, thought maybe marriage wasn’t meant for me. No, actually, that’s a lie – what I really thought was “How the fuck is he getting married before me?!” – yeah, now that’s real, that’s the truth. Yet another friend was getting hitched before me and this guy is such a two-face; if his wife-to-be and parents really knew what he’s like, they wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole. But Dan was getting married and once again, I wasn’t. Bloody hell!
“Chill” – You know what…? I can even hear you thinking it.
So with another wedding happening without me as the groom, the same question then comes into my head, as it always does… “What’s wrong with me?” Why is Dan getting married when he’s a shit head and I am not…? Maybe it’s my name, Andy, that’s wrong? Or am I just too nice? Too much a good guy that I become unattractive…? Is that even possible? Must be, because “nice” is “safe”, isn’t it? And girls don’t want that, do they? They want someone “risky”… Someone unsafe. Someone with a sense of danger and what’s the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done? Mix colours with whites in the washing machine… Oooooh….! “Scary” isn’t it…Not.
Right, so, what changed? How is it that now all these people who told me to “chill” were actually right? It’s because I actually found her… My one. My wife to be. Well, maybe it’s truer to say Alice found me and you’ll never guess where… It was one of those padlock party thingys… Before you say anything, I know… Okay! I can’t believe I was there, but after not meeting anyone for so long and the thought of everyone I knew getting married before me, I decided enough was enough! And so I went to Vertu Bar in the Jewellery Quarter, on my own might I add – no way I taking a friend with me or worse telling anyone about my going to one of these things. I always imagined sad-o’s going to these events; dorks and geeks or worse, those that are just plain ugly. And, well, you know, it would be that sort of ugly where you feel wrong for thinking it because maybe they had something bad happen to them ages ago…?
Anyway, for those who don’t know, a padlock party consists of girls wearing bracelets with a small padlock hanging from them. The lads will be given a key each to try and open said padlocks. If your key opens their padlock, it’s off to the front desk, you get given a raffle ticket each for a prize draw at the end of the night then change to a new key, they to a new padlock and after maybe talking to one another, you move on to another lady. It’s basically an ice-breaker; a way to start talking – “Could I, or would you like it if I tried my key?” and to be fair, it works. Oh, the prize draw at the end is usually for wine, chocolates or the top prize, a cheap mp3 player – not even a real iPod shuffle!
Alice looked great that night; long blonde hair, great legs and a dark blue coat that just oozed class. I never imaged someone like me could pull a bird like her but somehow I did. And like I said before, it was all Alice’s doing. It’s supposed to be the guy going to the girl to ask to try their key in the padlock but she came to me. “You wanna try your key love?” she said. How could I refuse? She was stunning! So I tried and it bloody worked; I thought “Frigg’ me Andy mate, you’re in here son!” We got our raffle tickets, new padlock and key and were meant to eventually drift off to other singles there that night but I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I swear it was that coat… Made her stand out from the crowd. I kept going back to her, felt like I had to; there was no way I was letting this one slip through my fingers. We exchanged phone numbers that night and now, five months later, I’m engaged to the woman of my dreams.
I was always comparing myself to others. I just had to be better than my mates; at school; at college; uni and then at work. To see them all getting married before me was just wrong… They were all winning and I was losing! I was losing at life. They found their “other halves” whilst I was still on me tod. I hated it. I couldn’t just “chill” – I was doubting myself. Nothing else made me feel this – I was thinking, “yeah whatever” and that’s not me. At times I doubted myself being worthy of it ever happening to me but, thankfully it did… I won too. I won Alice and now, finally, I can relax because I know I’m in love. They were right. They said it and I didn’t believe them but now I’ve found my one and I am extremely happy. Now I can actually “chill”.
And hey, Alice and I often “Netflix and Chill” (lol).
© Rupi Lal 2016