Friday, December 22, 2006

25p From Every Phone Call Does Not Go To Charity

25p From Every Phone Call Does Not Go To Charity

If I've made a concerted effort not to drink at the Christmas Party [free glass of wine aside] then I can't say the same about not dancing. I've lost track of the number of songs that have made me grace the dancefloor - I've even persuaded D who, ironically given the fact that he actually can dance, never dances at parties to join me for 'You Sexy Thing'. Now I'm dancing with one of the attendants as we show off our not-quite-ready-for-Strictly-Come-Dancing moves.

"It was my aim of the night to get you to dance with me"

I feel a fleeting moment of panic. Humour over dancing with someone who is now his boss is fine. The possibility that I'm going to have to extricate myself from something else certainly isn't. He's drunk, but is there ever a polite way to do this?

I opt to stay quiet and hope this doesn't continue.

"My next aim is to get you to dance with [History Boy]"

In a flash my panic is replaced by something much more complex. I wasn't expecting this. Have the boys concocted some amusing tally of who can dance with the new Duty Manager?


"It would be good to see you in public as a couple"

My mouth starts to move but nothing manages to fall out. There's not a part of that sentence that I don't need explaining, not least the notion that in any sense are History Boy and I a "couple".


"We decided..."

Oh good lord, there's a "we" in that sentence. How many people have decided this? Has there been a WYP vote or something? Has my life mutated into a reality tv show when I wasn't looking?

Thankfully the song changes and I move back into the larger group, studiously making sure I am nowhere near either my Former Dance Partner or History Boy lest I combust or, worse, start a whole new chain of rumours. I also suspect that I can take this gossip on the chin more than History Boy might - the perverse value of being talked about is something I can't entirely disregard, egomaniac and Northern Division member that I am, but not something which I imagine History Boy shares.

Several dances later, however, I've managed to shake off the nagging feeling. What is one throw away sentence after all? Nothing more than beer and the need to gossip speaking. I dance - or at least something that passes as such - with History Boy, because why not? That we share the fact that we both have at least one brain cell pointing in the right direction does not for a relationship make.

It's only when we're in North Bar a couple of hours later and out of the corner of my eye I catch my Former Dance Partner making heart signs that I feel uneasy. I don't intend to stop talking to History Boy - I'm an adult after all - but it's becoming slightly offputting as I attempt to silently stop the interest it seems to be creating without alerting History Boy to the circus which is beginning to surround us.

History Boy goes to the toilet and I take the opportunity it presents.

"What are you doing?"

Former Dance Partner smirks, raises an eyebrow and draws another heart sign.

"You and [History Boy]"

I'm aware now that the eight or so people around the table are now listening. A couple whisper things I really don't want to hear. Oh God - is everyone in on this?


The girl to my left who has come to the party with one of the other attendants and whose name I don't yet know takes up the baton.

"Because you've been flirting with him for hours".

This shocks me more than any of the other stuff. Not least because I hadn't been aware that I was flirting. Talking with my hands about Oxford and why we both miss it, yes. Flirting, no. Flirting was what I was doing with the man on the table behind us who offered me his Christmas pudding flavoured beer, not what I was doing with History Boy. Or at least not what I was aware of doing. And so I can't quite shake this off as easily as the earlier comments.

I'm still aware of it at kicking out time. There's a parade of hugs and kisses - even for Former Dance Partner, despite my disquiet, and for History Boy's friend who I met less than ten minutes earlier - whilst History Boy and I indulge in a particularly stilted form of goodbye that involves him brushing me on the back. Twice. Crap.

This morning I get a text: "Haha sorry for tryin [sic] to fix you up with [History Boy]. Good match though! :P".

It's strange but just this once I can't help wondering if my reality tv voters have seen something I haven't.

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