I've been looking forward to this ever since I was 11, when I learned about what it was to be a man. As my teacher held up a leaflet about wet dreams and feelings, he told me and the other boys in my class that girls tend to mature faster than we do. "Codswallop!" I thought. "HAHA look at this plastic willy! Look how veiny it is!" said the student next to me, hitting me over the head with it... Maybe my teacher had a point.
But then, my teacher lied to us all. This charlatan, this phoney, this con artist, looked us all in the eye, his brothers in arms, men of the future and said "Don't worry, you'll catch up later on!" Oh yeah, Mr Norris? (his name has been changed because I don't want to be telephoned by somebody from Operation Yewtree or be accused of slander because I just associated him with it) WHEN are we going to catch up? I'm 21 now and I'm still no closer to being as sensible as my girlfriend as I was when I was 12!
The trousers in our relationship have been firmly whipped clean off my legs and placed onto hers. She placed one leg in firmly in an estate agents earlier this week, and then the second in the bank, just to stop me sneaking a sly toe in anywhere. I've been completely blocked out of trouserdom, and now I have to spend the remainder of this relationship, however long that may be, at Trouser Border Control standing to one side bashfully in my vest and pants while I am searched, in case I try to smuggle some stupidity into our relationship. Probably by storing it in my anus.
Off we march to the estate agents. She with a firm stride, I holding the umbrella which is keeping her whole body and half of mine dry as I try to keep up in the driving rain. My girlfriend is not happy. This excuse of an establishment has cocked up our contract for our new tenancy three times, as well as a host of other failings from this woman who, after we paid our deposit and fees, seemed to stopped giving a toss, which is pretty unacceptable. I'm expecting my Iron Lady to bang her fists on the table and demand our money back. All of it. With interest. And a grovelling assurance that it will NEVER happen again. And more interest. Between the two of us, our overwhelming fury can be vented in such a manner that we can recoup some money which we have wasted on this useless company.
But the problem is, it wasn't the two of us confronting the woman who had failed us. My gripping fear of confrontation meant I was unable to look at anything other than the floor and my phone, and suddenly took an unusually keen interest in a message from somebody I have never been particularly enjoyed speaking to. My girlfriend was left to take centre stage, and was simply repelled by a whole spiel of "very unorthodox and "human error" and "mistakes can be made"; the sort of jargon that only somebody who is constantly accused of mistakes can fall back on. Not that I could chip in- I spent too long creating a buffer zone around me in the doorway, ensuring that I was safe from having to administer a telling of, I couldn't break it now! I was just as livid, but I refused myself a chance to let that rage be known. I'm too hot-headed, anyway- I would have only used offensive language to describe this poor woman's family, turned her desk upside down, and made sure that her computer screen could be fed through a letterbox, I imagine.
We leave empty handed, the rain hammering down on our defeated heads outside. I am thanked for my total lack of help, which I can only assume meant I wasn't holding the umbrella well enough.
Then on to the bank to open a joint account. My girlfriend has every right to feel aggrieved with this as well; she, a full time worker, is substantially wealthier than I, a student. She's at a totally different stage in her adult life to me. The age gap between us is just 5 months, but, as has just been proved, in terms of maturity, it's more like somewhere between 10-20 years. But I digress; back to our unnamed bank.
We are invited into an office to discuss our situation. Instantly, our advisor, Alan, knows who he should be dealing with, and it certainly isn't me. My mouth is confined to making noises such as "mmm", "I see", and "Okay, yeah" for 10 minutes, while Alan and my girlfriend talk about what account we should look to open, as well as some possible decisions we should be thinking about in a couple of years, once we've built up some savings. She talks about 12 month, 2 year, 5 year strategies and plans we could reasonably stick to. She also discusses our jobs. She's cabin crew for British Airways, flying all around the world serving the rich and famous in First Class. I work in a bar. It's actually quite rewarding- plus I've met some of the cast of Hollyoaks. She's met Keith Richards, Jose Mourinho and Colin Firth... I've met some of the cast of Hollyoaks.
It's agreed that we should get a current account, and Alan dives in for the hard sell. "Now, do you know about our 1-2-3 Current Account?". Silly man! I've seen the advert with the terrible acting from Rory McIlroy, Jessica Ennis and Jenson Button- of course I know about your 1-2-3 Current Account! (If it isn't obvious by now- or you haven't seen the advert- we were in Santander. I've given up hiding it for security purposes. There's no point. Go on, take it! Take all my money which I have with Santander!). My girlfriend says she's not entirely sure what it is.
"I know!" I chirped up. My girlfriend is surprised I've taken time to learn about a possible financial move we both can make together. Alan is surprised that I have managed to master speech and conscious thought at the same time.
"Ah, very good! How did you find out about it?" How did I find out? I think sarcastically, as if he doesn't know! Ha! The genius his question! This has played right into my hilarious hands!
"Rory McIlroy came into my kitchen and told me all about it!" I chuckled.
Nobody laughs. For quite a while. It's a verbal void bigger than the one I experienced at the dentist's straight after I proclaimed, rather loudly, that the protective glasses I was wearing made my dentist's assistant look 3D. The only time I will be given a longer silence is upon my eventual demise and departure from this world. I wonder if they've seen the advert- but of course they have! Everyone has! Oh god, it's really quiet in here now. Nobody is talking in the entire building. Cashiers have stopped, computers have frozen, doors are jamming. But Alan, who is increasingly annoying me with his lack of laughter, proceeds to tell my girlfriend what this shitty account is, and eventually we decide it's best if we don't get it. I think it's humiliating enough for her being with me in front of a financial advisor. The thought of being seen with me in front of Rory McIlroy, Jessica Ennis or Jenson Button is truly mortifying.
I sign a piece of paper opening the account, confirming that what's mine is hers and what's hers is hers, and we leave.
We agree on the drive home that all matters which are important to our livelihood should be left to her, and everything else, such as picking a DVD to watch and what to put on my toast in the morning, she can simply offer advice on for me. Then it hits me- I know what to say to Mrs Useless from the estate agents! I check for a junction in the road so I can turn around and tell her how useless she's been, but then I realise it's nearly an hour and a half too late, which is a shame, because I would really have given out an ear-bashing.
I lie there in bed that night, simmering. God, that woman wouldn't have known what hit her! But then I realise something- that life's too short to be getting angry at people, telling rubbish jokes with wasteful silences and bullshitting about my job. I really should grow up a little bit.
With that thought, suddenly a strange feeling rushes through my body. Right from my gut, up to my head and back down to my toes. A feeling I haven't had since I joined University. Now, two weeks before I leave it, I have an epiphany Should I, James Brittain, miserable bastard extraordinaire, be enjoying adult life? Am I leaving it too late to embrace the little fortnight of youth I have left? Should I mature gracefully, and simply appreciate that I can be a blend of experience and youth together? Am I becoming (whisper it) an adult myself?
But then I realise it's just a massive fart I suppressed from dinner, so I aim it at my girlfriend and stuff her head under the duvet to enjoy it. Adulthood can wait- youthful misery and confusion is the way forward!
Waiter! More beans! And get rid of all those fucking wristbands up your arm- you're not at Glastonbury now, dickhead!