Does anyone have any idea what they are actually doing?

As my time on the road continues, so does my confusion with the opposite gender. On the back of another questionable interaction, I took to the archives to try and locate some common themes of my short-comings with the male species.

August brought me to Munich Adam*. Following hostel dorm banter, I had decided to change from my pyjamas and take up Munich Adam’s invitation for a drink. As pints went down that invitation was extended to join him over the next few days in the Alps. I had expressed my enthusiasm alongside my uncertainty. I had already made other plans for the next week and needed to be in Amsterdam on the Monday. Along with this was the overwhelming need to make myself unavailable. Could I really avoid the ‘easy’ label if I was on route to the cosy mountains of Innsbruck? Munich Adam and I returned to our dorm room. I left first thing the next morning without a word. Why? I wanted to go. Munich Adam had been so kind and was undeniably attractive. I’d switched my phone on midway to Cologne to find a message asking if I was still interested. “YES,” I should have replied. But instead I saw better to send something mysterious and flaky that was quickly lost in cyber translation.

I carried on my trip with one less Instagram follower and decided time was better spent not dwelling on the what if’s. I can’t help thinking now but, had the roles been reversed and Munich Adam had done the same to me, how would I have felt?

Maybe something like how I felt a few months later. Manchester saw the introduction of Manchester Nathan and I found myself again caught between the cracks of unobtainable and impossible. Fast forward a few days and an unreplied Facebook message, I had begun drafting a blog titled ‘An Open Letter To Those Who Wronged’ whilst the Dixie Chicks ’Not Ready to Make Nice’ played repeatedly in the background. I imagined my Mum quoting her best “don’t get mad, get even”. I guess feminists breed feminists and retribution always tastes sweeter when your Mother says so. But what was I even seeking retribution for? Aren’t we all Manchester Nathan to varying extents and at different times? And better yet, did Munich Adam and others like him think of me in this way?

I took to messenger to get London Jenny’s opinion on the whole ordeal. I asked London Jenny how her and her boyfriend were doing to get the conversation rolling when she informed me of her recent breakup. Turned out that London Jake was “a bit messed up” and that instead of talking about their problems he chose the effective method of ignoring her while he stewed over them. Poor culinary form London Jake.

And so I’d found my answer: none of us have any idea what we are actually doing.

What a simple but profound breakthrough. We have these precious things called words and yet none of us know how to use them. We sit around and offer advice to friends over cups of coffee and yet we are the ones who need advising the most. We are just running in circles trying to decide whether or not to use our emotions. We are kind of like big chickens, lost, but with good intentions nonetheless.

But what if we did know what we were doing, or at least tried to? What if being upfront and honest and open wasn’t terrifying but something empowering, attractive even? What if we realised we were all just as fallible as each other and that the wrongs of others are really just a reflection of the wrongs we commit ourselves?

There will be more cities and there will likely be more boys (sorry Mum). Whilst I’m quite certain Prince Charming didn’t meet Cinderella in a 12 bed mixed dorm, I don’t think this lesson will go without benefit. In the confusing realm of human relations, be that gender-same or opposite, we all could really use a lesson in being human.

You suck. I suck. We all suck, so we might as well suck together.

* names have been changed to avoid life-long embarrassment (although identity can easily be attributed to city, lol soz).