Back in my high school days I was what you might call a Tarzan. Tarzan was the name given to guys who either could not or were just never seen talking to girls. The socially awkward brothers with no game. Despite being interested in girls I never invested my time or resources to interact with them. I was about that nerd life instead. I always had my nose in a book. Right up until the start of my A-Levels which are the last two years of high school I was your stereotypical Tarzan.
My high school was an all-boy Catholic boarding school located in one of the most remote areas in the country and was run by the Marist Brothers. We did not have a single female teacher. In fact the entire school only had three female employees. Yes, three. And they were all ‘Waxers’ who only worked part time shining the school corridors a few days of the week. The nearest girl’s school that we had social engagements with was at least a good 100km away. This meant whenever there was a function only a busload of girls would grace our school of about 600 boys and the reverse was true for when our visited. I only really started interacting with girls when I was doing my A-Levels. Now a senior I now had the opportunity to visit the girls school more frequently and the odds were stacked heavily in my favour.
Fast forward to my university days and I found myself riding on the wave of being the token black guy. I was the ‘exotic’guy with the accent and boy did I milk it. My Tarzan ways quickly became a thing of the past, for the most part.
Most of us have had crushes at some point in our lives. Most of us put our crushes on a pedestal even before we get to know them properly. We project our romantic idealism onto them. I was no exception.
In my second year I found myself enamored with this girl without ever having uttered as much as a word to her. At all. But that’s pretty much standard fare for most guys at some point who have determined they have something to lose in life. Many, many people have stories of a love interest they never knew. Today I am going to share my story of a girl I had a crush on for years but never acted on it. There was a failure to launch on my part. Thinking back on it my inaction was so mind blowingly asinine that I sometimes can’t believe that it actually went down the way that it did.
Anyway, for the purposes of this story I will call this girl Jane, because … Tarzan.
I remember the very first time I saw Jane. It was early first semester and I was sitting in the Student Union in between classes with one of my boys when I see Jane. She was gorgeous. Like absolutely stunning, without fail, easily a ten. The kind nobody questions. Well, I’m trying to tell my boy how fine she is and he keeps asking me which one she is. My attempts to describe apparently fell on deaf ears – odd considering he easily agreed how hot she was – so I did the only thing I could think of to illustrate to him who I was talking about.
I pointed at her.
And said, “Her, that one right there is the one I’m talking about. The hot one!”Loudly. Or at least loud enough amidst the relative quiet of the Student Union that a few people turned to see who was talking. Mind you, there are maybe 15 -20 of us in the SU so they all saw me pointing. And so did Jane. And she smiled at me. A huge smile. One of those, “awww” smiles. One of those, “I see you, I’m flattered and that’s cute.”
I was embarrassed, but all I could do was laugh. And smile back. We exchanged a smile. She knew I was alive. For those of you who have been cool your entire lives, a woman that you find attractive that knows your alive is pretty much where you can pack it up and go home. You’ve achieved it all. Funny thing is, in every other facet but this woman, I was actually considered one of the cool kids.
Later that same day on my way to my tutorial I saw her again. She looked directly at me, smiled again, and then kept it moving. My boy was like, “Yep, she definitely isn’t forgetting you. You’re in.”
True enough, she didn’t forget me. How do I know this? Because for the next three years, we danced without ever touching.
Because the purpose of this little anecdote was to talk about missed opportunities, I won’t dwell on the regular see her on campus sightings and mutual stare downs, though they happened frequently. So much so that even my boys were annoyed that I never tried to holler because it was clear that just from our visual interaction, she would at least give me the chance to fail.
Which, really, is all any man needs in life, at the very least the opportunity to blow it. Maybe you win and you ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Maybe you lose, but you went down swinging and you live to fight another day.
Anyway, during the course of what was my second year (her first year) we of course saw one another a million times throughout the La Trobe University Campus. I’d see her randomly at the library or whenever I had tutes in the Business building. And at the Cafeteria.We’d always lock eyes for at least a second. Always. Almost as if she was just waiting for me to take a chance. I never did. In fact, if I was her, I’d have thought I was a lame. Which given this story, is accurate. But it got taken to a new level Roberto Baggio in ’94 levels one fine summers day in Freemantle, Perth.
Well, that summer I went up to Perth, about a 4hr flight from Melbourne to spend Christmas with my cousin who lived up there. Perth might as well have been a different country, hell it was a different time zone altogether. One Saturday my cousin and I hit up the mall to do some last minute shopping. The whole of Perth must have been at the mall that day.
And yes, you know exactly where this is going.
So we’re walking through the mall and who (but who) do I see walking towards me looking like the goddess that she was? Yup, you guessed it.
She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw me. I pretty sure my jaw was on the floor at this point.
We look at each other and she kept walking towards me. I stop her (see I did speak finally) to say the only thing I could think of.
“Excuse me, you look familiar…do you go to La Trobe?” (Of course she goes to La Trobe you have been stalking her for the whole year, Why did you say that?
Her: “Yeah…I do. Do you go to La Trobe?” (Aww she played it coo, I might be in love)
Me: “I sure do! You’re in the business faculty right?” (Dude! you know she’s in the business faculty but at least she’s playing along…this is going well…)
Her: “I am…are you from here?????”
Me: “Nah. I’m up visiting my cousin who lives here….
And this is where, I, Tafadzwa Tichawangana, pulled the most ridiculous sh*t known to man in the history of evolution.
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
Me: “Well nice to see you, take care!”
As I walked off, she just stood there standing, dumbfounded. My cousin had the total sh*t face.
I didn’t even ask her what her name was. (I already knew it but that’s neither here nor there).
She was carrying the biggest shopping bags in history. I could have asked her if she needed help carrying them to her car and prolonged the conversation and parlayed that into exchanging information or at least a “See you on campus.” Something.
My cousin, after a few minutes, said, “Taf, you my man, and I love you, but I’ve never seen a person f*ck up a green light like you just f*cked it up. I mean that was super bad how hard you fumbled. She was talking. She was smiling. She’s fine as hell. And she was right there. And you f*cked that one all up. Cuz, you disappointed me today.”
He just shook his head and kept telling me how dumb I was.
And dumb I was. So dumb. And lame.
But wait it gets worse … There’s more.
Ah, but of the awkwardness of young lust.
Part II will be the ultimate icing on the cake. This Tarzan’s Immaculate Fumble with Jane has not reached its conclusion.
To be continued …