Chapter 7. Finding Love

  • My challenge: Making the most of balling in London
  • My choice: Keep on balling forever, or commit to one woman 
  • Vulnerability side of the story: True love is scary. How to know a feeling that happens once in life if lucky

Midnight. The club is packed. My friend and I are in luck. Tonight the manager of the club is at the door when we arrive. So it does not matter how much the bouncer dislikes my friend and me. We are getting in. Bonus, the manager is in a good mood. We do not even need to pay cover.

Inside, we activate the ” party protocol”: 1 long island ice tea each, 1 vodka shot. Repeat for good measure, and the alcohol level is just right, not too low because we started drinking at home while playing FIFA and NBA 2K on the PlayStation. But also not too high. Next on the protocol, full club reconnaissance. In the main room, it is the usual DJ and usual bartenders. The party is already going—a quick check by the VIP area; bad luck. It is the bouncer who looks like Nemo in the Matrix. No way he will let us in the VIP. Now let’s check out the second room. It is the hip hop room. It is tiny, barely big enough space for 40 people to dance. Although the dancing area is small, there are large sofas and large beds to chill. That space is my zone. Think of it as a segmentation tool. If you are dancing in that room, we already have something in common. Tonight Lorenzo is there. This is the name he goes by in the club, but surely he is called Arthur. He is a party promoter. He is French and at the club a lot. I know because every time I am there, he is too. And his routine is even tighter than mine. Always at the same table. Always with an entourage. He is a party promoter, but he is more here to party than to promote.

This is my life in London at the time. Work, play video games, workout, party, repeat! When I think about the cash I dropped in that club, it is ridiculous. When I think about the brain cells I lost on long island ice tea; I am even more embarrassed. What a waste. How many mistakes. How many bad dates. But all that was offset when I met Linzi. It was that same night. In the hip hop room, she enters with her crew. About 4 girlfriends and 1 guy. Right away, she got my attention. She is stylish, smiling, and enjoying herself. Very different from the uptight clientele visiting that London club. I spent a lot of time starring at her.

No feedback. Maybe she did not see me. Then I observe that the guy close to her is acting a bit flirty. But not like they are together, more like it may happen. The second vodka shot is in full effect and gives me a rush of bravado. I dance my way to her, pretend I happened to dance next to her. And I start talking. Or at least I want to. But blank, panic. I froze. Not even the usual “Hi, my name is Claude” while extending my hand (it does not matter what people say out there, this is – and always will be – the best approach). The only thing spilling out of my mouth is, wait for it, “is this your boyfriend”. Who says that!!!

What a moron. Lucky for me, they played one of my favorite songs soon after. And that takes me to my zone! Hands up, dancing, and forgetting my embarrassing intro. Also Linzi seems to forgive how clumsy I am with words and enjoy the song. Then we talk some more. I keep on saying dumb things like, “why are you asking my job, are you a gold digger?”. But it turns out that she likes how much I am interested in her career and her passions. And I indeed was interested. Most girls I would meet would be kind of boring, saying the usual “I work in [fancy industry], I am going to [next big thing]”. Everything was “I” but none of that with Linzi. She was all about others. Couch surfing with her friend in Rwanda, so that she could volunteer at a woman-owned coffee cooperative.

If I had not met my wife in that club. I would consider that part of my life a waste! But one encounter can change the meaning of everything done up to that time. Life is unpredictable. I love it and I love Linzi.

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