If ever there was an object lesson in crazily inept courtship, it was that between Kath Douglas and I – to the point where we spent practically as much time circling around each other in a strange courtship ritual as we did actually dating one another.
I cannot remember when I first clapped eyes on her, but it must have been pretty soon after I started working at McDonald’s, because I remember her turning eighteen the month after I joined and then going on leave for a long time to take her A levels.
There were a number of things which made her attractive to me, even more so than my usual requirement of ‘two x-chromosomes, a pulse and being prepared to talk to me’. She had the gingerest hair of anyone I have ever known, either to that point or since. She had an outbreak of freckles across her cheekbones. And she had the bluest eyelids I had ever seen, so blue that I wondered if she had some sort of problem with the blood supply to them. Yes, I really was so gormless that I didn’t recognise eye shadow when I saw it.
The problem was that, much as I fancied her, I couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it. Not only was she eighteen months older than me, she was so far out of my league in every other respect that it really wasn’t worth even trying.
The other problem was that everywhere Kath went, her friend Lorraine did, too. I have to be honest and say that I have no recollection at all of what Lorraine really looked like. In my mind, she was the same height as Kath, dark haired, laughed a lot and was maybe a dress size bigger (this doesn’t mean much, Kath could make a twiglet look obese). But because I only had eyes for Kath, I am in the odd position of being able to remember Lorraine’s full name (Lorraine Karen Maria Perry, if you are interested) but little else about her.
The point of which is that I wasn’t going to ask Kath out because she would reject me, and I wasn’t going to ask her out in front of Lorraine because then she would have to go off and laugh about me, too.
With the benefit of hindsight I realise that my colleagues at first found this hopelessness on my part slightly endearing, and then utterly frustrating and annoying. And one of them did something about it. Which you can read about tomorrow.