Eleven digits.


Oh god, oh god, oh god.

I gave my phone number to a girl last night.

An actual girl.

Oh god.

Ok. Let me give some context. This is all a case of tremendous peer pressure. My friend from university, my non-genetically-linked-big-brother of sorts, is visiting this weekend. We’ve known each other since I was a bright-eyed and innocent fresher (his words not mine). We lived together in student housing in my second year, he’s one of my ‘boys’.

‘My boys’ are the name I give to my (significant) male friends. My sweet, supportive male friends, the important and very special influences in my life. I have several of this kind of male friend, all from different times in my life, and I stay in touch with or see them regularly. They have common qualities; they’re all fundamentally lovely. Other criteria for this includes:

•Excellent hugs,
•Have looked after me when I’ve been blind drunk at least once (its usually more than once),
•Haven’t tried to have sex with me,
•And they’re usually taller than me.

I love these men fiercely.

The other great common aspect of these friends, is that you can put any two of them in a social situation and they’ll instantly get on. It’s their inherent awesomeness! BB insists it’s because I have impeccable taste in friends. Horrific taste in crushes [thanks] but excellent taste in friends – they get on well because they’re all good people. I took BB and my friend K, another member of this exclusive brotherhood, to the pub last night. They got on very well – mostly because they instantly started trading anecdotes about when I’ve been too drunk to stand.

Thanks guys.

I went to get a round in. The barmaid who served me had been behind the bar the last time I had been at this pub with K. It was a few weeks ago. I remember her as she had worn a really cute top and I had complimented her on it. That sounds more suave than it was. I actually just exclaimed “Wow! I love your shirt!” at her when she was collecting glasses. It really wasn’t a line. She said thank you, I smiled awkwardly and then she moved on.

I came back with the drinks and told K that she was here again.

This gave my boys an idea.

I’d been whinging about how I’m terrified of speaking to women so they decided I was going to go back and talk to her. Another defining characteristic of my boys is that they are stubborn. Very stubborn.

I felt shy and stupid – I had no idea what to say! BB bought a round, which helped slightly. When K went to buy his round, he told me to come help him carry glasses. An obvious ploy. I was still determined to not talk to the pretty barmaid. How often does must attractive woman selling alcohol get harassed by drunk customers? Can’t the poor woman work in peace?! I didn’t even know if she was gay! He ordered our drinks, having a conversation with the barmaid while I stood next to him mute and embarrassed. As she went to get another bottle of beer, K looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “now what is so difficult about that?”

Now, I’m as stubborn as my boys and I wasn’t going to be belittled by anybody. Especially not by K. I fixed him with a look which said “fuck off then”. He handed me a ten pound note and told the barmaid I was paying.

I stood at the bar, which was slightly too high for me to lean across, so I was on tiptoe. I could feel one foot leave the floor in some horrible parody pose and blushed at the thought of what I’d look like to the boys sat at their table. I knew they’d be watching my progress eagerly. The barmaid gave me the third bottle of beer and took my (K’s) money. When she came back I attempted to engage her in conversation. I can’t even remember what I said, but she chatted back. I was astonished when she asked me a question. Is- is this… a conversation? This is pretty good!

We talked for a little while, until a drunk guy lurched up to me and started talking to me. BB clocked this from the table and swiftly came up to me, putting his arm around me and giving me a kiss on the cheek in his best boyfriend impression. Boys are fantastic. Passing for one of their property is a horrible concept, but so useful. When I was with a (female) date and a drunk came to our table, we couldn’t get rid of him after he guessed we were together. I don’t think it was anything we did, more my look of indignant fury than my short hair. But indicate to a man that you are in a relationship with a man and they’ll back off pretty quick.

BB took me back to our table and promptly began to quiz me about my conversation with the barmaid, K chipping in as well. They decided I should give her my number. I had thought the conversation had been nice enough, but I wasn’t sure she was actually gay, or even remotely interested. I was still recovering from actually making conversation with a woman! They pestered and I wrote out my number on a scrap of paper. I clutched it in my hand while we argued and over our drinks. The barmaid started collecting empty glasses and the boys egged me on to give it to her when she came to our table. I wasn’t about to let them watch me – it was difficult enough working up the nerve to do it at all!

We realised that we needed to drink up and get the tube. We’d had many of the beers and I announced I should have some water. The boys seized this opportunity to harangue me about giving the barmaid my number. I swiftly declared I wasn’t thirsty – but K insisted he needed water. So I went to the bar. It was probably the beer, but I felt a surge of courage. As she returned with two glasses of water I said to her that if she’d like to get a drink sometime she could give me a call [not verbatim it wasn’t that eloquent].

And I gave a woman my phone number.

She didn’t throw me out. She smiled! She even said she was thinking of doing the same thing! I kept my cool, went back to the boys and told them. They were most impressed and proud. Hooray.

We left the bar soon after to catch the last tube, me babbling most of the way – I was in shock. K went his way and BB got my drunk ass home safe.

I can’t believe I’ve successfully given a woman my phone number. I wouldn’t have dared to do that if those two hadn’t bullied me/used their Jedi mind tricks (read: manipulating my stubbornness). It was terrifying – terrifying – but after I felt really good. I felt brave. I think I could even do that again. So I’m (begrudgingly) grateful to those boys.

What a lovely pair of bullying friends.

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