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How Not To Get A Date

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James is not shy about admitting he has skills. If you ask him about football he could probably talk for hours and keep the conversation going. That’s all well and good when trying to work on the podcast or anything else work related. He just has a knack for that kind of thing and it’s caused him to be in high demand in his field. From Gazetta Football Italia to the Tour de France he’s cast a wide net.

What James lacks is an ability to flirt successfully. He’s oft thought it was something that was reminiscent of watching a car crash – something so bad you just couldn’t look away. Not even being voted the nation’s greatest authority on football by FHM can improve his success in that department.

To be fair to FHM he needs a lot more help than the wardrobe they provided him with. He might look the part, he may be able to talk about other things, but when it comes down to it there’s no way to fix his inability to flirt without someone offering him tips.

Case and point is Sid Lowe, the current object of his affections. One of the most notable recent examples was when they were doing the Euro 2012 podcast. It hadn’t started badly, he’d commented about the bar ambience at the start of the call. Everything had been going so well and then he happened. He opened his mouth and what came out was “is it a gay bar?”.

Subtle James, real subtle!

If that wasn’t bad enough there was the slightly awkward laugh that followed it as Sid had rapidly tried to rescue the situation for him. Not that it even occurred to him that he might have to do something about it. He’d been too mortified that he’d just blurted that out to do anything but make the situation worse by pointing out it might be a gay hotel.

Nobody might be judging Sid’s sexual preferences but he was doing plenty of judging of his inability to keep things professional. He wasn’t sure what Sid’s preferences were regarding partners, he’d prefer to avoid that issue all together, and even if it was a discussion his fellow journalist would want broadcast online.

Journalists had a tendency to be a fairly gossipy bunch anyway but that might be taking things a bit too far. He wasn’t sure whether Sid would even be responsive to that sort of conversation anyway. James briefly wondered whether there would ever be a time in his life when he didn’t completely embarrass himself when it came to flirting and couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer.

He was so busy mulling it over, asking questions almost automatically (he had a list just in case his mind totally went blank), that he nearly missed Sid’s comment about his favourite restaurant. Problem was James couldn’t work out if Sid had brought the conversation around almost full circle deliberately to just to make him feel better.

He was still pondering this when he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He was surprised when he saw Sid’s name pop up as the sender of the message he’d received.

Podcast was interesting today.

James hit reply and when the screen came up for him to type a response he couldn’t think of a thing to say. The message didn’t give much away regarding whether Sid was expecting an apology or not. Maybe he should stick with something generic and wait to see what he got as a response?

Always interesting to hear your views on Spain

As James headed up to his hotel room in the lift he stared at the screen of his phone which remained stubbornly blank. By the time he reached his floor he sighed and stuffed his mobile into his pocket. His mum would have warned him that watching his phone and demanding it beep wouldn’t provide him with what he wanted. Technically she would’ve been talking about a kettle but he figured she’d left him get away with it this once. Somewhat predictably it was as he was opening the door to his hotel room that his phone buzzed.

Wasn’t what I was referring to. Something you want to say?

That didn’t sound like it was going to be a receptive response to his question he’d asked inadvertently. Right, he had to fix this problem because otherwise he’d be the one to explain why Sid didn’t want to talk to him on the phone any more for the podcast.

It was just the first thing that came to mind and didn’t have the sense to keep to myself

Sid knew him so that was a plausible reason for them to have stumbled onto that conversation. At least he hoped it was.

Are you sure?

What is it you want to say? That I was asking you a personal and highly inappropriate question?

The silence was almost unnerving and James had to control the urge to write another text in order to detract from the lack of response. He was never very good with silence either, especially when he had definitely made a fool of himself.

You’ll be telling me I make you nervous next!

That’s the accent

It was only when he hit send that he realised they were words he could never take back. He’d done so well at hiding his crush thus far that he should never have got frustrated and blurted it out. That was a rookie mistake and it wasn’t as if he hadn’t kept previous attractions to himself either. Sid it appeared just had that affect on him. Damn it!

Why was it so hard to hide the parts of himself that he’d found it so easy to keep hidden before? There was just something about Sid that made him have to think about what he said with great care. Otherwise he’d just say what he felt, be himself without reservations and James wasn’t sure he was ready for that in his personal life. He’d never had that before and to feel so comfortable with someone.... James tried not to think about it too often.

His phone began to buzz again and when he glanced down at the phone he saw Sid’s name light up the screen. The call was completely unexpected and he swallowed hard before he hit the reject button. He didn’t have to hear Sid’s voice to know he was going to be let down with some degree of gentleness.

He’d rather hold onto the dream just that little bit longer.

Maybe when the football’s over we should get together and you can tell me exactly how much you like my accent

I’m not sure you’d appreciate it. Invariably in that sort of scenario I happen and then it turns into a disaster

James wasn’t quite sure what had possessed him to be that honest about the whole thing but really, he couldn’t regret it any more than he had already. At least he hoped not.

Maybe I can help with that.