Monday, 22 October 2012

Starry Starry Night

Most of my readers are women.  I intend it that way.  But some new readers are male and they tell me they prefer funny themes to deep and meaningful ones; what women commonly call D&Ms.  So with Tortoise Sex and posts like this I’m hoping to humour them.
The title doesn’t quote Don McLean, though I like the opening bars of Vincent. 

I’m recalling the episode I mentioned in the blog Paros to Sifnos, which due to popular request I’m going to elaborate upon.

During my fifteen minutes of fame on Neighbours, I was in Melbourne doing a Celebratory Charity Fashion Parade.  I’d saunter up the cat-walk trying to look tall, as you do, then rush back-stage to change clothes.  For most of the day, during rehearsals and the show, I had been exchanging banter with a handsome man I hadn’t met before.  He was witty, amusing, athletically fit, and I supposed also something of a celebrity as otherwise he wouldn’t have been in the show.  As I left to go home that evening across the room he called out “what would you say if I asked for your phone number?”.  I grinned and said my number extremely quickly (something like 9607431).  Not for a minute did I think he caught it.  Then I waved and was out the door. 

The next day there was a message on my answering machine.  And the next.  And the next.  Each time his message was humorous - teasing me into considering ringing him back.  The fourth time he called I was home so I picked up, and we laughed about the fact that he was as quick with numbers as he was pursuing something he wanted.  We set a dinner date. 

He picked me up in a fancy car (actually every time he picked me up he was in a fancy but different car).  We went to a restaurant on the waterfront which I had admired but never dined in, and the evening began well.  He was smart, funny, entertaining.  He was handsome and tastefully dressed, confident and ambitious, and sometimes refreshingly self-effacing when discussing various career and business topics.  The wine was good, the waiters attentive and I was thoroughly enjoying myself.  I knew I was out with a player, but as he was being perfectly charming that was all manageable.  Though I was amused when he seemed surprised on occasion that an actress (a ‘soap actress’ no less) might also be educated or intelligent.

What kind of women did this guy usually date? 

Somewhere between mains and dessert, he lent over the table to whisper something tender.  The tables were fashionably large and the restaurant buzzing so I could hardly hear him.  He repeated himself, adding a little louder a phrase of sweet flattery.

Before the thought “oh, he’s good” could fully form in my mind… a blonde lady on the next table (until then with her back toward us) turned sharply around and eye-balling him said “oh, I’ve heard that one before”.   He froze.  I giggled.  And the other man looked from one to the other like a Wimbledon Referee. 

If it had been a cartoon we’d all have had frozen thought bubbles above our heads, and the hilarity of the moment is forever impressed on my mind.  Even more ludicrous, however, was that when my date finally found his tongue he introduced me to none other than his ex-wife!    

His ex-wife!  Go figure, what were the odds of that?!  

Well, talk about laugh.  I had a spoonful of something in my mouth at the time and it’s a wonder I didn’t choke. 

It emerged they were on fairly friendly terms, and she assured me he’d be good company and she was sorry to interrupt.  However when her date (a wealthy real estate agent from Toorak) asked us to join them and began to put the tables together… I didn’t know whether to hug ‘my guy’ for looking so forlorn or laugh again.

For the next hour through dessert, cheese plate, indulgent digestive wines and spirits, the four of us bantered about all and sundry, until we found ourselves back in the Porsche following the other couple to a Toorak mansion for port.  It was the funniest of nights.  And then not only was the house a modern design masterpiece, it was packed floor to ceiling with incredible works of art – seriously as good as some public-funded galleries.  I was having a ball. 

God knows how Mr Smooth followed up on that date but somehow he managed it.  Once we drove around the Bay for the afternoon with the top down on his car.  Another time had lunch in a chic ‘celebrity spotting’ café in South Yarra (not far from where I lived).  And each time I would kiss him goodbye on the doorstep. 

He clearly liked a challenge, but was disappointed when some Melbourne friends subsequently informed me of his infamous Playboy status.  (This may surprise someone not Australian, but we don’t get all the same news state to state.)  “Oh damn” he said when I asked him was this or that media report true.  “I told my old school mate the other day how lovely it was to go out with someone who took me on face value and didn’t know anything about me.”  Quickly I replied “I’m not judging you.  I really enjoy spending time with you.  But I’m not sure I’m looking for the same things you are”.   “We’ll see” he said, and again we went out and again he got frustrated when I said goodbye at the front door.  I really was attracted to him, he was sexy and intelligent (far more than his public persona suggested), but I didn’t fancy being a notch on the bed-post. 

Then came the date to top all dates: when after a nice meal we ended up back at his place.  His home was beautifully designed, cosy, with a clever blend of old and new.  After admiring the Italian garden, complete with rich-orange terracotta tiles and sculptured pot plants, hedges and marble figures, we moved to the largest and most comfortable white sofa you have ever seen.  It swept around the circumference of the enormous fire place, and when you sat down on it the little dress cushions fell around you like a flock of soft puppies.  He sat down beside me and we started to kiss.  Every so often a cushion would go flying this way and that, and we’d sink deeper into the fabric.  Shoes were lost, jackets, belts, we were approaching a precipice and I was nicely snuggled, sanguine.  Snap, my bra was undone.  Snap, crackle, pop, the fire blazed. 

Then after a particularly delicious nibble on my ear he whispered: “would you like to see the stars?”.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move from the fire to go out to the terrace… but started to get up.  He pulled me back to him: “no, no, not out there, right here”.  And with that he swivelled up and forward to push a button on the side of the huge stone fireplace, before falling back down and pulling me into an embrace.  After a slight theatrical pause I heard clicking noises, sensed movement, and looked up to see the roof literally opening.  Shutters were moving, lifting and locking into place until a large semi-circle of sky was revealed directly above the sofa.  A reflection of the flames flickered in the glass sky-light and above that hundreds and hundreds of stars; a perfect starry, starry night. 

Reclining on sumptuous cushions, warmed by the fire, with Mr Smooth running his fingers through my hair, and my lips, neck and ears still tingling from his kisses, I couldn’t believe the situation I’d found myself in.  It was the most romantic and beautiful setting imaginable. 

But too much. 

I started to giggle.  Soon he looked crest-fallen so I started to kiss him.  I tried to calm myself, enjoy the moment, but before long I was giggling again. “Oh come on” he said “what’s so funny?”. 

“Well I’m sorry Mr Bond, it’s beautiful, really beautiful, but I feel like I’m in that final scene from the Spy Who Loved Me… you know, the one with the round bed when Bond uses a remote to shut all the blinds.” 

“No, I don’t know that movie” he lied.  And then I giggled again. 

I tried reassuring him with “you were actually doing rather well without that you know”… but the moment was gone.  The heat, ironically, had escaped out the sky-light.  And he didn’t ask me out again after that. 

I learnt something about myself though – I may be dramatic in many respects but I prefer less dramatic, more unique, tender, heartfelt seduction.

I understand the guy's got himself into all sorts of trouble since, and perhaps isn't the man he might have been, but it was fun while it lasted.