I’m a big fan of Danny Wallace and have very much enjoyed reading his latest book, Awkward Situations for Men. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a collection of columns in which he’s written about funny and awkward moments in his life. I’d highly recommend it, but it has got me wondering why my writing career hasn’t developed beyond the glory days of the Columnsphere in Bath Impact. After all, I could be Danny Wallace. I even sort of look like him (in that we both wear what he terms ‘Media Glasses’) and my life is full of awkward moments.
I had one just recently, in fact, when I discovered the potential pitfalls of going somewhere with your brother’s girlfriend but without your brother.
As I learned at DisneyLand when I was younger, “it’s a small world after all,” and Mavis* has moved nearby for the summer. So we now attend the same church. A couple of weeks ago, we rocked up together and sat in the same pew, behind some friends of mine. Conversation flowed after the service, and a dinner invite from my friends was forthcoming – which I didn’t hesitate in gratefully accepting. So far, so good.
But then as the invite was also kindly extended to Mavis I started to realise** that perhaps my (married) friends had misread the relationship between us. Somehow I hadn’t found it necessary to prefix the earlier introductions with “this is my brother’s girlfriend…” and I’m not even sure it would have sounded too good if I had. But now, as I put the date in my diary, panicked thoughts were running through my head. How was I going to let on that Mavis and I were not an item? Would it be really awkward when my friends found out? Did they even need to find out?
It may surprise you to know that I managed to keep my mouth shut at that point; “when in doubt, say nothing” is probably quite a good policy. Mavis and I confirmed arrangements for our hot date and I was left pondering what would happen next.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long. After Mavis had gone home, my friend asked, in quite a knowing tone, how I knew her. The way he then said “Oh, she’s your brother’s girlfriend” in a much more surprised tone implied that the situation wasn’t what he expected. There was nothing to worry about, however – the truth was out in a manner reminiscent of ripping off a plaster, and everyone knew where they stood.
A further twist was later added when Mavis’s sister was also invited. My friends were amazing hosts, and I had a lovely evening out with my brother’s girlfriend, her sister, and a guy called Pete. Good Times.
*Following Danny Wallace’s example, names have been changed. It could have been worse, I could have called her Colin.
**I nearly wrote “realise with horror…” but that may have appeared as an unfortunate slur on my brother’s taste in women, or wrongly given the impression that I am uncomfortable being seen with girls.