Please tick the ‘yes’ box. (with an actual pen)
By Simon Wan
When I was beginning my journey into the world of romance and dizzy bubbles, the majority of my time was devoted to folding little bits of paper and trying to sneak them into the coat pockets of the prettiest girls in my class or summoning the courage to hand it to them face to face. A few well thought out sentences, usually written in a rainbow of coloured pencils or felt tip pens (if I really really liked her) and two neatly drawn squares with, ‘yes’ and ‘no’. The sentence almost certainly included the phrases, ‘do you want to be my girlfriend at playtime?’ and, ‘Please tick yes if you like me’.
Waiting for the giggles to subside and my current crushes best friend to hand me back that little love soaked origami was a delicious nightmare. I knew that if it was folded nicely I was in business. Opening that little note and seeing a bright pink tick in the ‘yes’ box was the highlight of my school day. Especially if there were little love hearts and a series of stars around the box.
Things are a little different these days. When I say a little, I mean a lot. With the majority of school kids having all kinds of social media vanity platforms, each one showing a filtered Hollywood highlight of everyone’s best side, is there still room for that face to face, handwritten, awkwardly delivered note? I for one hope so. When I was a boy, experimenting with the first trickles of a relationship there was a level of unknown excitement. A level of unpredictability which I feel has been lost in the modern age of instant connection. At the risk of sounding like an old fogey I think that the new generations of lovers and fighters are missing out in the pre-first-kiss merry-go-round.
It’s hard to steal that magic smile now. That stolen frame of promise. That rare backwards look from the person that fills your belly with stupid butterflies. Fleeting moments have all but been lost to ‘Profile Pics’ and ‘SnapChat’. In less then a second you can see thousands of specially selected photos of your latest fantasy. You can see them at home, at work, at play, on holiday, at Christmas, on the beach, in the bath, in the kitchen, at funerals, at a BBQ. You know in seconds their favorite music, TV show, what shop they like to visit and of course what they had for lunch. So much mystique and delicious wonder, cut out in a click of a button. I wonder what the hell the avant garde of passion are left to talk about in that all important first date.
The first date. There was nothing more exciting that. So, you finally got their phone number, and waiting until everyone you knew was out of the house or dropping that coin into a payphone down the road, you arranged a time and a place, hoping that his or her whole family weren’t listening in and judging every single syllable you hastily muttered in the hope of love. Doesn’t matter where. Local picture house, shopping mall, post office, under a tree, next to the horse who keeps falling over, who cares. You had a yes, and you had a place and most importantly you had a time. All you could do then was wait. Wait and hold your breath until you saw that face that made you melt. Hoping that nothing came up in between you and that amazing first hello. So much anticipation. So much glorious anticipation.
‘Okay, I’ll be there at two o’clock. Yep, next to the horse…yeah the one that falls over…’ Boom.
And that was that. Once that phone call was over. All you had was a promise. A secret contract. I’ll be there if you will, and until it actually was two o’clock and the horse had fallen over again, you really had no way of knowing if he or she would turn up at all. You could then spend the next few days or hours thinking up great things to say, sharpen up your game, remember all the cool things that you’ve done that might impress. You had time and space to try and think about all the things that your new hope had mentioned they liked. Did they like, strawberries or hate them? Had they been to that concert the other week or did they say that they weren’t allowed to go because they’d been grounded. Tiny, stupid titbits of information that you could only remember using your brain. No updated stream of electronic trivia that in many ways puts paid to any kind of conversation. Where’s the fun in going on a first date already knowing everything about them from a Facebook feed?
There’s so much information that people offer on an electric plate these days. Edited perfection, geared towards a landscape of people trying to be special, or just trying to fit in. Don’t get me wrong i’m as much a part of the problem as the next fellow, I’m guilty of posting pictures of my cat and what we’re both eating, but I’m old and I was lucky enough to start dating in a world that was slower than it is today. I do feel sorry for the future generations of romantics. Finding out is much more fun than knowing. That way your mind starts to work. You have to make an effort, you have to bring your best game to the table and you can’t just assume that you actually have a personality because all of your over manicured images on Instagram have smashed the million ‘likes’ mark. It doesn’t mean anything. Plus when you do actually meet for the first time, you’ll actually have something to explore. Mainly, each other.
If you are reading this and are considering asking someone out or have your eye on someone who is messing with your pulse, don’t hawk their online profile like a cyber stalking freak and obsess over their top five sexiest pictures, don’t look at their holiday snaps and try and work out which one is the ex. Unfollow them on facebook, unlink your twitter account, block them on snapchat. Get a little sheet of paper, some fancy pens and write them a note. Make sure you include the phrases, ‘Will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend at lunch time’ and ‘Please tick yes if you like me’. If they get back to you without being a lazy button clicker, if they actually call you instead of texting, if they even tick that silly little box, then they’re probably worth it
About the Author:
Simon Wan spent his early life dodging detentions and falling in love all over the UK and Ireland. His love for girls is matched by his love of cats, skateboards, food, music and robots. A post university adventure in pop music took him to the strangest night clubs and festivals and his adventures in film making took him all over the world. Simon recently took to stage and screen and attained international acclaim with nominations and awards for his performances in British Kung Fu film drama Dog and stage production Mr Foo with Tina Malone. He played the lead in Hong Kongs first sell out immersive theatre experience where he got a great sun tan. He has now decided to become author because he can write books wearing just a towel and he can type really fast.
Random bit of singing in my old production office
(click on cover to go to amazon page)
The strongest image from the first few years of my life is of a shining beacon of rebellion and beauty: Princess Leia. She was sassy, and she knew her way around a blaster. We’re starting from the very beginning, so no hot sauce until I’m at least 16, and when I say hot sauce I mean sex.
Such is the life of our hero as he negotiates the twin ambitions of finding the love of his life and becoming a superstar, and taking “the one” to his Mom’s for her famous Sunday roast. It’s a life tale of comic disasters, sex (lots of sex), relationship woes, and discovering your nakedness plastered over social media. Warm, funny, very hip, this is David Nicholls with the naughty bits on display for the world to see.