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I am extremely dedicated when it comes to liking someone. I am picky, that’s for sure. I don’t just romantically like anyone. A whole bunch of things need to be ‘just right’ to inspire the butterflies in my tummy, and the sparkle in my eye. But once it actually happens, and I end up liking you, my dedication is quite spectacular. However, I am decidedly useless when it comes to romantic interactions with members of the opposite sex. I will probably end up screwing it all up in one way or another, leaving you decidedly certain that you’d never like to see me again and/or filing for a restraining order. That’s a joke. That’s never really happened… I don’t think. So, really, if there’s one piece of advice I can give you for when my heart quickens its pace in your direction, it’s to run. As far and as fast as you can. Or else face the threat of a hopelessly romantic and idealistic writer developing feelings for you.
And we don’t want that, do we?

Now, you may wonder how to tell if I like you; and what warning signs there might be? Well – and let’s all release an audibly loud sigh of relief – I will tell you. I have no illusions when it comes to just how tactful I am. And this means that I can tell you without a single doubt, that I’m not. Yes, I love words. I’m obsessed with them. But I don’t know how to not put my very heart into them. I may have an Honours degree in Performance, but pretending not to like you just seems futile. So, chances are, I will tell you that I like you. And it won’t be done in a simple SMS or in a blunt proclamation in person. Oh no. The romantic in me will come up with some plan that’ll see me jumping through hoops in an effort to perform a feat of emotional confession worthy of any RomCom. And as an added warning, it may include a mix tape/CD of some kind and/or photographs of the things I like about you written out on paper all around the room. When this happens, run.

Once you know I like you, because in all honesty, it will be impossible to ignore (I have been known to be as subtle as a falling tree), you may have a varied array of reactions. But be warned – the slightest bit of hope will see me resolve not to give up. I may have my own reasons, imagined or real. I’ll believe in facts as simple as the fact that I like who I am when I’m around you, or that we can talk about anything and everything for hours. Hey, perhaps our shared obsession with the chocolate flavoured Steri Stumpie will even be good enough for me. Whatever it is, if you have no intention of seeing what there is between us, it’s best you tell me as soon as possible and in as blunt a means as possible. And don’t even think about asking if we can just be friends, because I’ll need time to get to that point. Otherwise, I will daydream about you finally seeing just what we could be, and I’ll probably end up liking you more. And that’s no good for anyone.

At some point, it will all get too much. I may go on a rampage and drink too much, turning me into a sniffling and sobbing wreck. Ignore this. In fact, it’s best if you just leave. Because I have no filter, and will talk to pretty much anyone about how I feel about you. The next day I’ll realise what an idiot move this is, and I’ll also know I probably exaggerated a bit when I told the hobo on the side of the road that we were “made for one another”. But in those moments, I will believe it. So, I suggest you leave and pretend it never happened. Hey, if you’re up for a drunken screaming match at 4 in the morning, whilst I make proclamations about my feelings for you that I probably will never remember, stick around. That truly is some people’s ideas of fun. Just do me a favour. Note the following disclaimer, you have been warned. If you choose to stick around during my far-from-sober moments, you have no right to make me feel worse the next day by reiterating what an idiot I am when I call to apologise. I’m already beating myself up about it enough as it is. Don’t kick me when I’m down. That’s just mean, yo.

In the end, I will make many mistakes. I’ll like you too much. I’ll fluctuate between putting it all out there and telling you exactly how I feel, and playing hard to get. I don’t do this on purpose, you must understand. I do it because when it comes to relationships, I’m probably the biggest idiot on Earth. And not because I want to be. I blame my idealistic and hopelessly romantic nature, coupled with my moments of braveness which then result in me back-peddling as quickly as possible in an effort to not scare you completely away. So, let’s save ourselves some time.
Unless you like me too, let’s swear to conduct ourselves as follows:
When we both respectively realise that I like you, run.
Run far, and run fast.
Because I like you.
Now, run.

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I have no filter. I’m not sure if it was a side-effect of my mum already being 40 when she gave birth to me, but I’ve never had one. If I thought twice before I spoke, I’d never say anything at all. And whilst this may not seem so serious or negative a characteristic with which to be born, it is. As a result of my “I think it therefore I say it” condition, I only ever end up removing my own foot from my mouth, to put the other one in. As a result of this frequently placing me into somewhat awkward situations, I shall now launch myself into a description of what NOT to say when faced with similar situations to those I describe. Note: I don’t take responsibility for any repercussions of your reading this. I have no filter. And you have been warned.

“Oh. That’s nice.”
This phrase is basically the worst phrase in the English language. Deceptively simple and painfully monosyllabic, it is rarely used in the appropriate context and frequently results in an awkward silence that cannot be salvaged. I have been known to utter such a phrase when all other words fail me – and whilst this may not seem possible, it is. One such occasion that springs to mind, is when a young man divulged the details of his seemingly passionate and annoyingly immortal love for me. In person. With chocolates. And a Mix CD (the modern twist on an Old School favourite.) Aghast, and left without a clear notion as to where to begin explaining the myriad of reasons as to why this was just not for me, I choked. My brain blanked and the space where I’m pretty sure my filter ought to be, was flooded with this go-to utterance that left the two of us in a vortex of silence. It seemed as if there wasn’t a single sound in all the world except the echo of these three words off of every surface in the room. I’m not proud, but to be fair, this brain fail was probably the best response I could give. In my defense, a three word cop out was probably a lot kinder than the verbal tidal wave that might’ve bowled him over as every word I knew stumbled out of me in an effort to let this well-intentioned young man down gently, but firmly. Stop judging, I said I’m not proud, alright?

“Are you gay?”
I don’t know if anyone of you know this, but the myth about women having a gaydar that works 100% of the time is just that – a myth. Or at least it is when it comes to me. (Wondering whether I’m life’s personal joke as I fumble my way without either a filter or a gaydar – not ideal.) And whilst I’m pretty sure that when a gay man is around I can tell he’s gay; I can’t entirely tell when a straight man is straight. You must understand, it’s not entirely my fault, too! With the way men’s fashion is going, we’ll soon all be shopping in the same stores – and the stores will all be Forever New and Hip Hop. So, as a result, I may or may not have asked one or two men who may or may not have been trying to pick me up at a club, whether they may or may not have been gay… And I don’t know if any of you know this either, but that’s a question that I don’t think a single straight man anywhere on the planet won’t take offense to. I’m not an entirely awful person, I just genuinely couldn’t tell. And since my ability to shut up is as successful as Julius Malema’s, well, I always end up apologising profusely – and buying the offended individual a drink or ten. My bad.

I’m allergic to heroine.”
What? Stop looking at me like that. It’s not like I’ve tried heroine. I haven’t! And now I bet you’re wondering, how do I know that I’m allergic to it then? Well, smart ass, because I’m allergic to codeine which contains opium which is the base material for morphine and heroine. And yes, I did just stick my tongue out at you. Now, I’m not sure why, but people have begun asking somewhat generalised questions when attempting to get to know me (a practice which I find somewhat nonsensical). And so, when posed with a frustratingly obtuse inquiry such as “what can you tell me about yourself?” I tend to go for shock value. And without a thought of what reaction I might elicit, out rushes this little known fact about myself. I’ve never met anyone whose face hasn’t expressed either surprise, horror, or a resolve never to speak to me again, when I’ve shared this little titbit. In other words, I need to take up a new hobby so I can tell people about that instead.

Come play with me!”
This may come as a surprise – or it may not – but I’m a Never Never Land baby. This said, it means that childish things such as blowing bubbles, jumping in puddles, and building forts are still activities in which I like to take part. With friends. I like to play. And I believe it’s healthy for adults to play. All adults need to find some way of allowing their inner child out, and I do this successfully and frequently. So, when I call on a new friend who has yet to learn this about me, their expectations and reactions to my invite to play can be one of several. In the most extreme case, I never hear from the person again. Good riddance, I say in such a case. Bubble blowing is an activity reserved for the wonderful. Some people seem to understand me straight away and join into this revelry in all that is childlike and happy straight away – a reaction that has resulted in many incredible memories! And the third kind… Well, let’s just say that it’s rather awkward informing an individual what you really meant by play, when it’s been interpreted in a rather more, err, adult way. There’s no pleasant way of telling someone to put their, aah, toy away.

In the end, the examples that lend themselves as evidence to my lack of a filter are numerous and seemingly infinite. I’ve been informed that it’s possible to ‘grow’ a filter by many individuals who seem rather in control of everything they have to say. But on second thought, so long as I say everything I mean and mean everything I say, I’ll stick to this for now. Because that’s how I roll. Bitch.