Early last week I cancelled the only job interview offer I’ve received since my sudden and unexpected re-entry into the unemployment sector. To understand, you’re going to need some background. Once you’ve got the background, it still might not make sense. But if reading things that make sense is a high priority for you, my friend you are on the wrong website.

First things first: I’m terrified of jewellery shops.

I’m not actually sure what it is about them that freaks me out so completely, but it has something to do with how shiny everything is, how expensive it is, and how the staff tend to look at you when you walk in there. Jewellery shop ladies are among the scariest shop keepers in modern commercialism. I honestly don’t mean to be sexist about this (But I probably am. Oh well); In my life I’ve only known one male jewellery shop attendant. As for the women who make up the rest of my jewellery shop experience, I think some of them must be distant cousins of the infamous Biscuit Lady, who thankfully came to an unfortunate end around about the time I started dating Kim (I still can’t remember why).

I think there’s something about jewellery shops that triggers the chronic imposter syndrome that constantly lurks at the back of my brain, just waiting for a chance to step on my self-confidence and scream “You don’t belong here!” Everything’s so shiny and expensive and posh and you’re wearing a T-shirt from Lowes and sandals (and probably pants, but they’re entirely forgettable). And then a jewellery shop lady with perfect and utterly immobile hair wanders over and sceptically asks “Is there something I can help you with?”

The correct response should be something like either:

“No thanks, I’m just browsing today,” or

“I was wondering if you have any S-sized 18 carat white-gold settings for princess-cut, P level clarity half carat white diamonds available?”

But definitely not: “Aaaargh, No, sorry. I’m leaving . Sorry,” and then running away.

I can still vividly recall the abject terror that came over me when it came time to buy my first girlfriend jewellery for the first time. I should point out that my first girlfriend came along (You won’t be surprised to learn) when I was definitely old enough to be able to handle this stuff a bit better. But no: I spent a good hour and a half wandering around Casuarina Shopping Square, trying to work up the self-confidence to even walk in to one of those sparkly, elegant judgement outlets and failing consistently.

In the end I had to ring up my friend Chris, casually ask what he was doing, and then get him to help me. Help me choose? No. Just help me get in the door and not pass out under the relentless stare of the jewellery shop ladies.

Jewellery Shop Lady: Is there something I can help you with?

Gw2Rs: I… aaaaah… well… beep… um…. No.

Chris: He’s looking for jewellery for his girlfriend

JSL: Oh how wonderful! Do you know what sort of thing you’re looking for?

Gw2Rs: Auhgg… eeh… (head explodes)

JSL: Does she like silver or gold?

Gw2Rs: (concentrating really hard) I think she likes g…”

Girlfriend’s Besty: (appearing miraculously from the other side of the shop) You should get her a silver necklace with a blue stone in it.

To this day I don’t know how she happened to be there, but I suspect Chris might have had something to do with it. Alternatively, Girlfriend might have had me under surveillance in the weeks leading up to our anniversary to make sure I didn’t stuff it up completely. A little creepy perhaps, but probably good boyfriend management practice all things considered. Especially if Boyfriend happens to be the eighteen year old version of the man who would turn out to be… well… me.

If she had known then what I know now... that would be weird. But that was only the beginning of my problems.

Part 2

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