My lovely friend Adrian got married at the weekend to an equally lovely girl called Stephanie. For many years Adrian had a checklist of what his perfect woman would be like and despite countless speed dates/internet dates, he never found one that ticked off everything.
We worried that he would never meet his perfect woman and that his standards were unrealistically high. Until he met Stephanie. I wasn’t there but the story goes that the first time he took her to meet his friends they went to a bar that played hip hop and served ribs. She ate the ribs and knew the lyrics to every hip hop track that came on.
Our friends’ words to Adrian were simple: ‘Marry her.’
He did – and it was one of the sweetest, loveliest, most feel-good weddings I’ve ever been to and I usually hate weddings. I find them to be a reminder of everything that I don’t have and everything I’ll never be. I feel like everybody is looking at me like a saddo singleton and that wives look at me with suspicion in case I want to grab their husbands. I don’t.
Anyway, I must be in a happier place because I felt none of that on Saturday. I just felt lots of love for everyone and had a lot of fun with rejection. It turns out that my friend Sarah has the mind of an evil genius and kept coming up with challenges.
Here they are:
In the church there was this fabulous glass wall that meant you could see the team of six bell ringers at work. It’s the first time I’d ever seen it and it was cool. ‘Go and ask them if you can join in,’ she said. I did. I went to the vicar and asked if I could have a go. I felt cheeky, like I was asking asking the teacher for something I shouldn’t. He was charming but definitive. ‘Not today but if you are ever in the area again feel free to call in and we can see what we’ll do.’ He wasn’t bothered by the request and I wasn’t bothered by the knock down. Strangely painless and quite thrilling.
At the champagne reception there were some chicken and prawn nibbles. ‘Go and ask the waitress if you can have some lobster’ said my evil rejection sidekick. I did. The poor thing was probably only 18 and looked a bit confused. ‘Er, sorry we’ve run out,’ she said. She looked relieved when I smiled and said no problem but I felt a bit bad for making her stressed.
The dinner was in Warwick Castle – an almost Disney like medieval castle – which had suits or armour in the dining room. My rejection dare was to ask if I could try one on. I did. Again, the poor unsuspecting guy behind the bar was a bit confused by the request. ‘I wish I could say yes,’ he explained ‘but they’re worth rather a lot of money and nobody’s allowed to touch them.’ ‘Really?’ I asked? ‘Not even a head?’ ‘Sorry,’ he said. Now by this stage I was pretty tipsy, so it didn’t embarrass me at all and we ended up chatting about what I was doing. He said he liked the sound of it and was going to try it too. Rejection therapy while drinking is easy.
Until, of course my final rejection when I went to the bar to ask for free drinks at gone midnight. Nobody dared me to do this one – I was just drunk and cocky. I ordered some drinks and just when he was giving them to me I asked: ‘Any chance I could have those for free? It’s my birthday.’ I don’t know why I lied, I just did. It popped out. ‘OK,’ he said, passing the drinks. ‘Happy birthday.’ Then I felt bad and told them that it wasn’t my birthday. His face fell. ‘So you lied?’ he asked. ‘Er, yes, sorry.’ I could feel my friend squirm next to me. Him: ‘You shouldn’t lie…’ Me: ‘Er, I know, sorry…’
Then it got really, really awkward. I told him that I would pay, it was just a game I was playing and he said no he wouldn’t take our money. Anyway, it turned out he was religious and not a big fan of lying, which for the record, neither am I. I ended up insisting that I buy him a drink and then it was all very weird and will teach me not to get too greedy – or drunk – while doing rejection therapy.
There’s a fine line between being a charmingly cheeky opportunist and a grabby, greedy liar.
BUT on the upside – while it didn’t end on a high note the day really was so much fun and having weird rejection challenges made it even more fun. Obviously the stuff I asked for has nothing to do with my usual fears of rejection at work or men, but going up and asking for unlikely things really helps to get you over embarrassment and fear of awkward moments which can hold us all back. It’s all oddly thrilling too, it makes life more interesting.
Sign up for sporadic updates from self-help land and life in general, including details on upcoming talks and events. Promise not to bombard you.