The opening notes of Fame came up into my ears as my first steps out into the cold began. I’d fuelled up on protein, taken a pre-run poop, and wrapped up in my wooly hat and mittens. I was ready to kick running’s ass.
Baby look at me, and tell me what you see, you ain’t seen the best of me yet…
I turned to my running partner, mouthing the words dramatically. We had five minutes of warming up to do before breaking into a jog, and so? And so I danced.
Likely misguidedly, I feel totally hot in my work out clothes. There’s something about the endorphins when I’m exercising, how good it feels to use my body, how my Lycra pants remind me of my most womanly curves. Add in a pumping soundtrack and the generally elevated mood I find myself in of late (radical self love is good to you like that), and I started to Billy Elliott the fuck out of the street – even though, as we’ve established before, I ain’t no Beyonce.
It made Amy, my running partner, laugh, and so I played to my audience. We sang the song together and as the clock worked its way up to five minutes I span and I pirouetted, leaped and jazz hands-ed. I was being a total dork, because I could be and I didn’t care and I was laughing and she was laughing and anyway, it was fucking cold out, man. I needed more than a brisk walk to keep warm.
At the allotted time we briefly paused to start our GPS system to track our workout. By this point Fame was over and Jennifer Lopez’s Do It Well had commenced, an excellent choice for speeding up my best time. I was vaguely aware as my head was down and I fiddled with the buttons of my phone through arm bands and mitten-ed fingers that Amy was talking to somebody.
When you have a friend like Amy, it’s something you tend not to register – men hit on her ALL the time. She’s tiny, and beautiful, and has the kind of energy that says “Oh hi! I’m like, totally engaged in life and will make you want to be too!” that is just irresistible. I’ve never met a man who hasn’t been soft on her. Amy is the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up – her most special asset is that when people talk, she actually listens. I can count on one hand the number of people I know who do that.
(I’m not one of them.)
Over my Heavy Beatz I suddenly heard the word “dancer”, and looked up to see both Amy and a tall, dark-skinned, afro-ed beauty of a man looking at me expectantly. I pulled out an earphone and he looked me right in the eye to say, ‘Are you a dancer? I saw you dancing. It was… fantastic. Funny.’
He had an accent, a soft foreign lilt. I giggled, embarrassed, and I said, ‘Oh, I was just…’
I turned to Amy, silently suggesting that if she was going to give this guy her number she’d best do it now because I was getting cold, and my app was about to start timing us. But she wasn’t looking at him, she was looking at me, and he was looking at me, and so I figured I’d best just wrap this whole thing up and so I started to walk away as I said, ‘Sorry, we’re just about to run.’
‘Yeah, I don’t mean to interrupt,’ he said. ‘I just saw you, and you looked so good, and, I don’t know, can I give you my number?’
‘HUH?’ I said, confused.
Amy hit my arm. ‘YES YOU CAN GIVE HER YOUR NUMBER,’ she enunciated, glaring at me.
I didn’t understand. Me? MY number? Now? I burst out laughing. ‘Sure,’ I said, suddenly hysterical. I was being hit on because some cutie had seen me act a fool, and chased me down the street to tell me so? ALRIGHTY THEN.
In my excitement I couldn’t get his digits into my phone, and so I ended up giving him my number, and then I said I had to go because I was supposed to be running, and he started to run alongside us, just one or two steps, and it was cute, and I said goodbye, laughing again, and he said he’d text me, and then I had the best run I’ve ever had, shaving a whole 90 seconds off my best minute time because why the fuck not push myself when apparently my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard?
(Also, I think I ran on air.)
Anyway. Turns out the cute man is actually a boy who is still in high school, so this story doesn’t quite have the ending you may have hoped.