I was recently invited to a party by a male friend of mine, to be held at a mutual female acquaintance's house. Since I didn't know the host of the party very well, and had received the invite second-hand, I was a little nervous about who was going to be there. Would I know anyone? Would I meet anyone interesting to talk to; or in fact, anyone interested in talking to me?
I still get a little nervous in social situations with strangers sometimes, as I have plenty of memories of parties and functions where I used to sit in the corner feeling like a nerd hoping that someone would talk to me. The bad feelings that went along with those memories still come up from time to time.
But parties are supposed to be fun, right? I didn't want to bail just because I felt a little nervous about going. So to help take the pressure off, I decided that my intention for this party was simply to have fun and to practise some of the new social skills that I'd been working on lately involving being playful and humorous in conversations. I decided I wasn't going to try and “pick up”, or feel desperate about meeting people or being the life of the party. I was simply going to have fun.
I found the house: a medium sized terrace house in inner Sydney, and wandered in. All the action was out in the small backyard, where the early arrivals were sitting in seats around the edge of the garden. There wasn't a great deal of space as the backyard was quite small, and even smaller once you took out the area taken by the garden. It didn't look like the sort of party that would trash the garden; everyone looked pretty well behaved. We were all pretty much in each other's space, so it was going to be uber-social.
I said “Hi” to a few people, and found myself sitting next to a pretty girl when the small crowd settled down into the seats.
“Hi, I'm Jenny”, she said.
“I'm Graham, nice to meet you.”
We began chatting quite naturally, and almost immediately she asked me the question I no longer ask women: “What do you do?”. I used to think this was a polite, normal way to get into conversation with people; but I've since learned to steer clear of talking about work because it's so routine and doesn't usually lead to a fun conversation. Nevertheless, she'd asked, so I figured I had to answer:
“I'm a Porn Star.”
“Really?”, she replied raising her eyebrows. “That sounds fascinating. Is it hard to get into?”
“Oh yes. It's very hard. It's very competitive. There's a great deal of script development work and characterisations to work on. Learning all those lines takes a long time you know. And the nuances of the characters can be very subtle. The work is not always easy to come by, you know.”
We'd only been talking for 30 seconds, and the sexual innuendo was flying already. “No, it does sound hard. And how do you find working with the other actors and actresses?”
“Well, of course with such in depth plot lines, we always have penetrating insights into the human condition which we play out between each other. It's really very deep work.”
“Of course, I see what you mean”, she said smiling and playing along with the game nicely.
“It was pretty tough to get into, given the high level of acting skills required. It's not always easy to find an opening, but I studied hard and it's very fulfilling work. Very fulfilling.”, I joked.
“So tell me,” pretty Jenny asked, “How could I get into that line of work? Is there some kind of audition process?”, she grinned.
“Well, of course I'd have to do a screen test with you...”
“A screen test? Really?”, she lit up almost cutting off my sentence, “Where could we do that?”
Jenny was cute, and was already letting me know that she was interested. Sure, we were just joking around, but there's always a degree of truth behind any good joke.
“Well my office would be the best place, … but a bedroom would suffice.”
“Do you think we could do it here somewhere?”, she asked keenly.
Jenny certainly seemed interested in connecting on a deeper, more physical level.
Right about now, a friend named Jeff who I'd met in my acting class a few months before wandered in and joined the conversation. He picked up the vibe immediately and ran with it. “How's your latest movie going Graham?”, Jeff inquired mischievously.
“Oh sweet. Yeah, we've been filming all week. It's hard work of course, but very rewarding.”
“Ah cool. You know,”, Jeff added directing his comments towards Jenny, “Graham's an awesome director.”
“I thought he was the star, not the director?”, Jenny replied with a puzzled look. Can't these guys get their story straight?
“Well you know, we take turns. Sometimes he directs and I star, sometimes I direct and he stars. It's a great industry like that.” Great save, Jeff.
The three of us bantered back and forth for several minutes before Jeff excused himself to chat to some other partygoers. His performance had been exemplary; I didn't actually know Jeff all that well, but I don't think I could have got him to do any better even if he'd been my full-time wing man. It was true that I knew him from acting class; everything else was just a fun improvisation.
Suddenly out of the blue Jenny said in a serious tone: “I hope you know I'm not going to have sex with you tonight.”
Well that was out of left field... But I recognised that it was just a test. Women throw men tests all the time to catch us a little off-guard and see what we're really made of. Often they don't even know that they're doing it, but I'd heard this one before and was ready for it.
I raised my eyebrows in mock shock. “My god Jenny, we've only known each other 15 minutes; I can't believe that you're thinking about having sex with me already! I'm shocked. “, I pause, “You seemed like such a nice girl, too.”
Jenny laughed and immediately went back to flirting with me. I had passed the test with flying colours.
I looked deeply into Jenny's eyes. “You know, I feel a real connection with you.”, I said as I reached out and put my hand on her chest just over her heart.
“Yeah, me too...”
“I can feel your heartbeat.”
“What does it feel like?”, she asked.
“Strong... passionate... alive. I can sense that you're a very passionate woman. You really feel things deeply, don't you?”
“Yes... Yes, I do...”
Jenny smiled and gazed into my eyes. It was as if there was just the two of us there.
I know we'd only just met, but my impulse was to kiss her. All last year, my acting teacher had been pushing me to stop sitting on my impulses, and start taking action instead. It felt like now was the perfect time to put his advice into action. As I moved in towards her lips, she made the slightest movement towards me that signalled she was willing and able.
Jenny and I kissed for a few seconds, and she tasted sweet. Almost immediately the dreaded thought “What are those people just opposite us thinking?” popped into my head. That horrible, inhibiting worry over what other people think still happens from time to time, but the voice is gradually getting softer over time as I gain more and more self-confidence. In this case, the other people in question were seated directly opposite us only a few feet away, so they could hardly be missing what was going on. I replied to the voice in my head, “Yeah thanks for that, but I'm in the middle of something here.”... and went on sweetly kissing Jenny's soft, supple lips.
We disengaged after a short while, and smiled at each other.
“You're really sweet.”, I said.
“Mmmm... so are you!”
We went back to chatting and flirting with each other, interspersed with more kissing. After a while, I took Jenny by the hand and led her to the front room where we found an appropriate make-out couch. After a while on the couch, we went about as far as we were comfortable in public, and retreated back to the party in the backyard. More people had arrived so there weren't enough seats any more. We found a seat in the corner where Jenny sat on my knee and introduced me to a friend of hers named John.
John seemed rather quiet. He worked in I.T. at the same place as Jenny. Nice enough guy, but a little shy. Having worked in I.T. myself in a former life, I saw my old self in John. I was a little more preoccupied with Jenny though, I have to admit.
As the night drew to a close, Jenny and I decided to make a run for it. “So... your place, or mine?” I asked mischievously. It was hard not to have some kind of expectation, but I reminded myself that my aim for the evening was simply to have fun and be playful; nothing more. If anything else happened, that would simply be a bonus.
“Umm... Yours!”, she replied enthusiastically.
“Cool, let's go...” and we hit the road.
I'll leave the rest to your fertile imagination.
Jenny and I both smiled and joked the next morning, “Great party!” “Yeah, great party!”. Lots of mutual smirking.
I had an email from Jenny later on that week, saying that things were a bit awkward at work between her and John. It turned out that he was actually her ex-boyfriend, but they'd broken up because he was hard to talk to and wouldn't open up with her. Jenny liked how open I was with her, after all the joking around about being a porn star had established a fun and strong connection between us.
John had sent Jenny an email saying he felt really hurt seeing her kissing another guy right in front of him. So it turned out someone was thinking something unpleasant. I had nothing against John; he seemed like a lovely guy. Several years ago, I was him: the nerdy guy sitting in the corner feeling bad as I watched some other guy kiss the girl I was keen on. Ouch. What a horrible feeling that was. I much preferred being the guy doing the kissing and taking the girl home with me. After a lovely evening connecting with a pretty girl at a great party, the cream on the cake was being reminded just how far I'd come in recent years in becoming a confident man.