Its 6 weeks now since you left Seoul, 4 weeks since you landed over there in the thick of things. It feels like a lot longer. 6 weeks without you feels much more like 6 months to me right now. Time slows down some times when things aren’t so much fun. But when I think about it, time slows down sometimes when things are really really great. 6 weeks after we did that awesome Tinder match, 4 weeks after we met, it really felt like we’d spent a lot longer together. Admittedly, I think you stayed over just about every night after those Singapore Slings hiding out in a rainstorm, but I honestly can’t believe we had only known each other for about 3 weeks when you took me out for dinner to meet your friends. And then at only 4 weeks I was on an island in the Phillipines with you, [Captain America] and [Patthew McConaughey]. On the plane ride out, I remember worrying that I could have been making a big mistake joining a boy’s holiday only 4 weeks in.
I’m not gonna lie – I was pretty terrified.
Because that first night meeting the boys was a disaster. Don’t get me wrong – I was ecstatic that you wanted to take me out with all the guys. That’s a good sign. A very good sign that you were thinking things were going as well as I thought it was – the ‘meet the friends step’ was your suggestion and it came really early on . And I was convined it would be easy for me to charm and befriend a bunch of alpha male pilots – I’ve been doing that most of my adult life.
I just didn’t factor in the ‘American’ part to that bunch of pilots.
En masse, you lot were a shock to the system. An extra gallon of ‘alpha’ and a volume notch – or 3 – up on ‘stiff upper lip’ RAF pilots. A juddering earth quake of ego increase compared to laid back Kiwi aircrew. I was seriously wondering how we could keep seeing each other. There was no way that I could ever get on with these loud American dudes who couldn’t go two sentences down a subject line that wasn’t something to do with the US Army, flying helicopters or some obscure American pop culture reference. My best efforts to break through the boy talk – even to get a couple of attendant girlfriends to join on any other subject – was absolutely in vain. [Patthew McConaughey] and [Captain America] were smashing through every other conversation at that table – streaming obscenity-laced insults at you and each other that made me wonder what the hell I’d gotten myself into. And its not like I’m new to laddish banter and locker room language. I remember now that [Cambridge Grad LT] and [Nice Girlfriend] were sitting opposite me and not even trying to break through the diatribe (I just thought they were quiet – now I know they’re just used to letting you guys run out of steam). I know that [Danger 2] and [Korean Beauty] were there but I don’t even think I managed to introduce myself to them. I remember sitting in the car driving back in shocked silence. I laugh when I think about how you broke that silence – because you totally knew that that those guys were going to be in ‘shock and awe’ mode that night. “Yeah, sorry about that. That was awkward”. You could totally have warned me out. I’m wondering now if that was some sort of a test to see if I had it in me to battle back and break through into your circle…
Guess you didn’t know yet who you were dealing with.
Only a week and a half later, I was sitting on that plane bound for the Philippines, crashing the boys’ trip. Challenge accepted. I never told you this – but I was just telling myself that if it got really bad, I could always just go hide in the resort’s spa. (And I hate massages, so that tells you how much I liked you).
I think [Patthew McConaughey] and [Captain America] were impressed with my cahunas for coming along at all, at least enough to cut me a little slack. Or maybe the different setting made them less focussed on the boy talk and made them open to actual conversations I could join. Potentially I was helped by the group agreement that anyone talking about work was buying the next round of drinks (cunningly packaged as their idea, I might add). Then again, it could have been just the shear amount of alcohol. But from day one in the sunshine at that resort, I was included. I’m not sure when I moved from included to accepted. Maybe it was after the dive trip, with lunch on the James Bond-worthy tropical island restaurant. Or after I laughed and joined in on the beach volleyball, played along to the blaring Top Gun soundtrack (not just ironically – I know you were secretly loving the association, not to mention the attention 😉 ).
Or maybe it was when I happily tried to mount inflatable unicorns with you and [Captain America], surrounded by mountains of foam and with pumping house music blasting across the sundrenched rave pool party while [Patthew McConaughey] laughed and ordered another pitcher of margaritas.
By the time we dragged our hungover selves back to the airport, you and I were ridiculously sun tanned and more than a little bit ridiculously besotted with each other. [Patthew McConaughey] and [Captain America] may have both been seriously grumpy, and regretting leaving the resort for the local culinary delight of ‘goat pizza’ on the last night, but they were still relentlessly tearing us to shreds for our public displays of affection. That made me even happier. Because those insults were equally aimed at me.
Little did we all know that those alcohol-soaked four days in the Philippine sunshine would be the beginning of such a beautiful friendship – you, me, [Captain America] and [Patthew McConaughey]. Those boys may be loud, obnoxious and intentionally politically incorrect at every opportunity for greatest outrage – but they’re our loud, obnoxious, inappropriate American heathens. Our nine months together wouldn’t have been half as much fun without them.