Years and years and years ago, I was invited along to a fancy party hosted by a popular gossip magazine at the time. The party was held on a yacht on the Thames and was attended by celebs from the world of TV and comedy. I was invited along with a couple of my friends because we knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone. The wine flowed freely all night, canapés were served and we all danced around our handbags. It was a fab night and at midnight the boat docked at Greenwich pier and we all disembarked.
At this point in the evening, what we should have done is make our merry way home. However, when you are in your early twenties with a belly full of wine, this is usually when the party is just getting started. So, a smaller group was formed to go on to the after-party.
It was here that I started talking to a man, who was at the height of his fame and possibly the nicest, friendliest chap in the world. We chatted for what seemed like hours and then he looked at his watch and said it was time for him to be on his way. We shook hands and bid farewell.
‘What a lovely man!’ I said to my friend later when we went for a tandem wee. ‘What a shame he had to leave so early’ (it was 3am).
She agreed, and we made our way over to the bar, where I spotted him again.
‘Ah, you decided to stay!’ I squealed as I plonked myself down on the stool next to him.
“Yes, yes I did’ he politely replied ‘but this time, I really must get going. It was lovely to meet you.’ And, he was off again.
I ordered another drink, made more new friends at the bar and then the DJ played my favourite song and we all shimmied over to the dance floor.
And, there he was again!
‘Hello!!!! You’re still here!’ I exclaimed loudly over the music.
As I bounded towards him for the third time, he turned his back on me and retreated swiftly out of the building.
The penny finally dropped and I have not stopped cringing about that night for twenty years.
I am reminded of it every time his faces pops up on TV, and every time I make the mistake of repeating the same thing again. As much as I wish I could say I learnt from the experience and have never embarrassed myself in the same way since, there have sadly been many equally cringeworthy moments over the years.
For someone who hates to talk on the phone and is reasonably quiet on social media, I am actually quite chatty when you meet me face to face.
More than quite.
There are times when I just cannot stop talking. Especially if I am with someone I like, then I almost never run out of things to say. This is not so much of a problem when I am with someone who loves idle chit-chat as much as I do *waves at Eva*, but there have been times when I have literally talked at or over someone I don’t particularly know very well.
If I have had even a sniff of wine then I don’t even notice when their eyes start to glaze over but are too polite to tell me to SHUT THE FUCK UP.
It is like I have years worth of things stored up to talk to this person about and I can’t get them out quickly enough. I am not sure if it is because I come from a big family where if you don’t talk fast and efficiently, you don’t get heard; or if it’s just a really bad habit that I’ve never been able to get fully under control.
I am now so completely paranoid about it that I sometimes return from the school run and have to replay a conversation I had in the playground just to reassure myself that I allowed the other person to get a word in.
Did I speak over them? Do they think I am all ME ME ME? Why can’t I stop the verbal diarrhoea?
If I have been out drinking the night before and wake up with THE FEAR (everyone knows about THE FEAR, right?) then it will most likely be over what I said, and how many times I said it.
Sometimes, if I am recovering from a big bout of THE FEAR then I might say nothing at all, terrified from appearing over-familiar, which makes people think I am either rude, aloof or dismissive when really, it is quite the opposite.
Mostly it is harmless. Annoying, maybe… but it always comes from a good place of being genuinely interested and excited to talk to someone.
Either that or… *shuts up*