Years ago, while training to be a journalist, I secretly fell in love with my tutor.
I say secretly, but the entire class knew and would watch with pity as I salivated every time he turned around to write on the board.
I would deliberately not get changed after a day of work at the newspaper, even though I had plenty of time to do so before my evening journo lesson, because:
A) I thought I looked better in sexy work clothes and hoped he would too. Who doesn’t love an offensively tight pencil skirt?
B) I was only the student who had already been offered a job in journalism while still studying and thought it would earn me brownie points. If he didn’t love my pencil skirts, he could love me for my brain.
C) It meant I could legitimately wear heels to class. He was about 6ft 5in and I (not at all rationally) thought it would help him recognise our potential as a couple of we were mutually tall.
If you haven’t already worked this out, I was mental. I had all the qualities of a stalker, minus the Oyster card I needed to fully commit to following him around London.
One Saturday at college, after arriving the full hour early that I always did in the hope of some precious one-on-one time, I jumped on the computer after him to “check my emails.” Internet history was immediately checked, and my heart sunk when I saw he had been looking at flats….two bedroom ones. OBVIOUSLY this meant he had a girlfriend, obviously.
My heart was broken as I realised I would never complete my challenge of bagging my tutor.
Now, you probably assume this was a man who was gifted in the looks department. Why else would I be so willing to make a twat of myself? You would be wrong.
He was very tall, but awkwardly so. He would often hunch his back as though apologising for his freakish height. His hair was permanently greasy, and he always smelt hungover. His skin was shockingly bad, and clearly needed a good wash, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but he wore flared jeans…in 2008.
His favourite words were mug, and fuck. He possibly thought he was Danny Dyer.
My brutally honest course buddy broke it to me one day over coffee by saying, “You do realise he looks like he hasn’t eaten a vegetable in 10 years and injects crack through his toes?” She was right, but despite that and finding out about his girlfriend, I still obsessively “loved” him, just from an unarrestable distance.
After my course finished, I was resigned to the fact nothing would ever happen and realised I had gone through a period of mental illness and delusion.
And then he called.
He wanted me to speak to the latest batch of students about making it in journalism and bla bla bla. He offered to pay me, but I insisted I would do it for free.
Instead, we went to the pub afterwards with some of the students, and I watched him get more and more drunk. The female students were clearly enamoured with him, just as I had been, and I realised what a loser I must have seemed. He then suggested a few hours later that we return to college to pick up my portfolio, which they had been using as an example for students. Just me and him.
I once again obliged, only realising when we got entered the closed building that it was really inappropriate. It was like being at primary school, and seeing your teacher in Sainsburys in normal clothes with their husband. Horrific, and wrong.
Then I realised he hadn’t turned the lights on in the classroom. And then, and only then, did I panic as it twigged in my mind hat I had fallen into some sick trap. The moment I spent hours dreaming of had come, and I wanted to die. He probably knew about my crush, and thought he was doing me a favour and making my day. No mate!
Desperate to kill any romantic intentions, I clumsily thumbed the portfolio, chatting absolute shit about anything I could think of. Unperturbed, he got up, moved across the room, and locked the door.
I think I may have at that point produced actual vomit, and held it nervously in my mouth in case I needed to use it as a weapon. As he moved towards me with that look in his eyes, I felt cornered. Rather than reject his advances in a mature, adult-like manner, I jumped up off the table and said, “You shouldn’t lock doors inside. What would we do if there was a fire? It’s really dangerous. Are there even fire extinguishers in here?” I turned the lights on to look for fire extinguishers.
Successful passion killer. Needless to say I quickly saw myself out and sunk deeper and deeper into my seat on the train home as I relived the awkwardness in my mind.
Possibly kissed him a few years later though. Well, nobody is perfect!