In a previous post I introduced my “Polish Girls Are The Best” t-shirt and the kind of shenanigans it got me into, but that wasn’t what it was originally destined for. I had it printed more specifically as an ice-breaker to a Polish beauty working in my local Sainsbury’s, whom I’d had my eye on for some time.
Ilona was probably the one who started my short-lived Polish girl obsession. Pretty but not conventionally beautiful maybe, she had quite a nose on her. It wasn’t until a conversation with a colleague that I realised the significance of this. “You like girls with big noses,” she said. “No I don’t, that would be ridiculous.” She then listed about 10 girls from work I’d told her at some point were hot, and sure enough they all had quite a big nose. Coincidence, I thought. Then I remembered I tend to quite like Jewish girls, and it dawned on me she must be right.
No matter how many times I’d purposefully joined the queue at Ilona’s checkout, I’d made no more progress than answering “no” countless times to the question “Have you got a Nectar card?”. I’d started to consider radically engineering my checkout experience to buy time, strike up conversation, or become memorable – deliberately entering the wrong PIN, buying items that required complex bagging solutions, and even actually getting a Nectar card.
In the months since I first saw her I had began to eat much more healthily, because I would go into the supermarket after work just to get a Pot Noodle and a bottle of wine, and I’d land at her checkout with a basket full of fruit, veg, seasonings and other raw ingredients piled on top of my junk food to give her the impression I was boyfriend material. I am actually that lame.
But then I had the idea for the t-shirt, and she was to be the first person to see me wearing it.
The t-shirt had arrived at work, and Sainsbury’s is right next door to the Tube station at the end of my journey home, but I wasn’t simply going to slip on the t-shirt and go checking out my checkout girl. I also had a pair of red and white converse shoes at home to match, and as everyone knows, girls love a guy to be dressed head to toe in matching patriotic colours. Right?
So I went home, got changed – might have even had a shower – emptied half a bottle of aftershave onto myself, and headed back out with a confident, Polish-wooing swagger. I probably looked like a right dick. I was also freezing because I chose not to wear a jacket as it would make the t-shirt less obvious.
I arrived at Sainsbury’s and started my usual shop of junk topped with healthy produce for effect. With a chick-friendly and affordable selection of items, I strolled up the line of checkouts looking for my sweetheart.
Couldn’t see her so I wandered back down the line. Still nothing. Fuck, she wasn’t working – I should have checked before I started shopping. But she always worked on Tuesdays; in a totally non-stalkery way I had kind-of noticed her shift patterns. Of all the days to suddenly change things around. I grumbled and sighed and joined the checkout of the man who looked like an Asian version of my ex-flatmate. As I was looking at the basket of pointless produce, I noticed some action a few checkouts along – there was a switchover! Ilona was just swapping into the checkout. I was saved, but had to act quickly.
I grabbed my shit and dashed off. I couldn’t let her see me at the other line, and I had to wait until she was properly settled in and opened her checkout. That meant only one thing. Walking round the store for 5 minutes buying more shit.
I’d spent more money on this girl than all my actual girlfriends combined.
I finally made it to Ilona’s checkout with an overflowing basket that was going to wipe out my food budget for the whole month. I’d been trawling the aisles, trying to kill time, but occasionally had to pick up items to avoid suspicion – random items; lucky Ilona was ready before I needed a second basket. There were a few people ahead of me, which was great – gave me some more screentime in front of Ilona, and more chance for her to notice my t-shirt, and hopefully me. Eventually it was my turn, she started bleeping through my items, and I thrust my chest, and its slogan out as far as I could. She hadn’t noticed so far.
I shuffled around to draw attention to myself, but Ilona was focussed on scanning my stupid shopping. It was then I noticed something strange about my purchases.
Practically everything I’d picked up was sexually suggestive. Literally almost everything. I don’t know what was going on in my subconscious as I dawdled around the store picking up pretend groceries, but I had two melons, a nice pear, cucumber, courgettes, some baps, and I kid you not, a massive roll of sausagemeat. I have never bought a roll of sausage meat in my life, yet Ilona was scanning through this monster of a phallus. No fucking wonder she hadn’t noticed my t-shirt; she probably thought I was planning a food-lovers’ Ann Summers’ party.
Aware that my face was now about as red as my new top there was even more incentive for me to get her to notice the front of the t-shirt. I had one last chance, but maybe my best chance! Rather than pay by card, I got cash out; I handed over the cash in such a way as to create a direct line of sight to the front of the t-shirt. It couldn’t fail.
It failed. I looked at my four bags of shopping; I’d have cursed in Polish if I knew any.
But as she handed me my change, she smiled and said “Do you know what your t-shirt says?” I’d have shouted with glee in Polish, if I knew any, and I prepared to answer her question in the way I’d prepared.
Except I hadn’t fucking prepared anything to say. At all. I’d planned everything meticulously, except what I would actually say to her if she noticed the t-shirt! I made a start to buy time. “…..Yeah.” That was all I had; I couldn’t very well tell her I had it made just to strike up conversation with her. Or that I’d been buying groceries as if I was a fucking wonderchef just in the hope I’d make a good impression as she scanned them through the checkout every week for the past year. And I could hardly tell her my shopping bags tonight filled with sausagemeat, melons, baps and jumbo hot dogs were because some dark part of my mind had been subconsciously imagining entering into a sexual union with her as soon as she saw my t-shirt.
Instead I said the only thing that came to my mind. “My friend bought it for me.” She smiled and said “Aw, that’s made my day.” I figured I better leave it on a high so I grabbed my shit and ran off. At least I’d made some kind of impression, and maybe the sexually-suggestive purchases that my subconscious had made had wound up getting through to her subconscious too.
I would return, next time without the t-shirt, confident she might remember me, and take it from there. I had a good feeling about this now.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how things would end.
TO BE CONTINUED…
(because I’ve decided to trial out adding an element of suspense to these posts – and because it’s late. And because if you leave a Pot Noodle for longer than the 2 minutes it says on the pot it doesn’t taste quite right…)