Tim falls in love

Words by Tim McGuire

Pictures by Lucy O’Doherty

Published on August 10, 2012

The night before I was due to submit this piece, the guy that I have been dating told me he couldn’t see me anymore. I was watching Grey’s Anatomy at the time and a car had just driven through the hospital walls, and one of the surgeons dove in front of the car to save his wife, even though he was still angry with her for aborting their baby. I paused Grey’s Anatomy because I didn’t like the idea of my breakup competing with what was clearly going to be a dramatic episode.

This is not the first time I have been disappointed in love. My mother reminded me of this later that night. ‘I know you’ve been through the ringer with John and Ryan and Dickhead and now Jared,’ she told me as she stroked my hair. ‘But you’re going to meet somebody, someday, that will make you forget all that.’

I believed her. I have complete faith that there are decent men in the world, having just dated one myself. If I have a problem with romance, it’s probably because there was a recent chapter of my life where I was unable to actually locate these decent men, and so I accidentally fell in love with a celebrity I’ve obviously never met. Because I still maintain hope that we could end up together, I’m not going to tell you his name. I’m going to call him Barry.

As with anyone I end up falling for, Barry did not particularly appeal to me at first. He’s a television actor on one of my favourite shows, though, so I was exposed to him on a weekly basis whether I wanted to be or not. I can’t remember exactly when it was that I started watching the show just to see him, but I know that it happened suddenly and totally irrationally.

I’m generally attracted to men with curly, brunette hair and lean physiques. If he has a mumbling problem, or self-confidence issues, this is a bonus. Slightly older is better, and intelligence and humility should both be present. There should be something to notice about his lips, whether it’s their fullness, or the stubble around them, or the way they can’t quite smile without seeming crooked. And his eyebrows should be thick, because girth is important. I definitely had this criteria firmly set in my mind long before I ever saw Barry, so I suppose it’s odd that I didn’t recognise our compatibility earlier.

Once, when something funny happened, I laughed and thought how Barry would find it funny too. I instinctively pulled out my phone to text him about it. I scrolled through my contacts, looking for his name. I couldn’t find it. I tried searching for the last text that he’d sent me instead. There wasn’t any. When I realised my mistake, I felt foolish, and instantly I wanted to text Barry about it so he could comfort me.

A friend of mine recently confessed to me that she has also experienced the same delusions. ‘I’ve been watching Skins non-stop and then the other day I typed EFFIE into facebook because I wanted to stalk her page. But she doesn’t have a page, Tim. Because she is a character on a show.’ This same friend is also guilty of trying to drunk-text her golden retriever, but I am nonetheless comforted to know that I am not the only one to suffer from celebrity delusions.

I signed up to twitter last year so I could follow Barry more comprehensively. His tweets were always intelligent, or goofy, and I loved never knowing which mood would come next. Eventually I decided that I understood enough of his online personality to tweet him directly. I sat down in front of the computer in my favourite position, with my legs folded underneath me, pointedly ignoring the Post It from my mother that warned me about ‘Posture!’ I poured myself a glass of wine, for courage, and waited for the courage to kick in before composing my tweet.

It was some sort of vague and casual compliment I paid him on twitter that night, as though he was an acquaintance of mine and I was just noticing a new haircut of his. I gave him a nickname that he has never gone by. We’ll say it was “Baz”. It hung in cyberspace for a long time after I’d sent it, and I finished the bottle of wine waiting for him to respond, never minding the 17 hour time difference between us.

He did not respond, not 17 hours later, not at all. He has close-on a million twitter followers, and I guess he probably gets a million compliments per day, so it’s unreasonable of me to think that he would notice my tweet amongst all of that. When I said as much to one of my friends, she asked, ‘If you could meet Barry tomorrow, but it meant throwing yourself down a flight of stairs and breaking both legs, would you do it?’I am the first to admit that there is nothing healthy about the silence that followed.

Now that I am single again, I anticipate that Barry will start to play on my mind. I will YouTube him and once more be disappointed by the fact that I’ve already watched all of his interviews, converted them to an audio file, and put them on my iPod. But I won’t give up on love, not until having a guy tell me he can’t see me anymore hurts less than not getting a tweet from Barry.

Tim McGuire is a Brisbane writer of features, essays, reviews, and fiction. His writing has been published in The Big Issue and The Lifted Brow, and performed at Men of Letters.