I bet you are wondering why I am asking this question. Do not worry, I have not gone all introspective and am worrying. I am just wondering as the conversation came up on Sunday after my weekend to Birmingham.
Basically Saturday night I went out with a group of great women, all different and from various areas of the country but mainly either the South or Wales. When out in a nightclub (and boy was it a meat market, good fun for dancing but a real pick up joint) a group of 3 guys came over and started chatting to some of my group. Not me, I was busy dancing on the sidelines with another friend. At least 2 of the southern girls were freaked out by these guys and really did not want them with us. The Welsh girls were being very friendly and having a chat, nothing untoward you understand we are all married or promised but just friendly and having a laugh.
They all disappeared off, not sure if to the loo or to get a drink or something and just one guy was left, a really drunk one. He came over and practically sat on one of my friends, probably the quietest and shyest one of the Southern girls and you could see her physically flinch. I lent over to him and this is how the conversation went -
Mich - 'Sorry, but none of us are really interested in chatting to you, we are having a girls night out and enjoying each others company'.
Mr Drunk - 'Why, we just want to be friendly'
Mich - 'Do you realise we are all married and are not on the pick up'
Mr Drunk - 'Oh sorry love, we had no idea' and off he walked
In my mind, this confirmed to me that what they were after were some girls to have a 'fun' night with and who can blame them. It was a meat market and probably what 80% of the people in there were after. I had no problem with them trying but after a brush off and a very obvious one I do expect them to back off.
Once my Welsh friends are back the three guys come over again and sit down and start chatting again. Oh well I think, that did not work. Leave them to it. I carry on dancing and am having a fine time, singing along to loads of cheesy 70's tunes. In the blink of an eyelid there is a big burly 6footer about 1 inch from my face -
6footer - 'What's your problem love?'
Mich - 'I do not have a problem, I just told your friend we do not want to talk'
6footer - 'Why did you tell him to f*** off then?'
Mich - 'No I did not. I never used those words. Can you please leave me alone'
6footer - 'Your friends are nice, they want to chat, we are just being friendly'
Mich - 'Fine, go back and talk to them, I don't want to'
This carried on for a few moments with him very much in my face. I had to remind him he was a big guy and I was a woman and felt threatened and to please back off.
I have to say, I truly believe these guys wanted to pick up and for me if anyone thinks they are just being friendly then it is naive. I am not saying my Welsh friends were being naive as I do not actually know what their opinion of the guys was or why they were chatting to them. I think they are just 3 of the most genuinely friendly people I have ever met and they would chat with anyone.
So, is this me being stuck up and unfriendly? Should I chat to strangers in a bar when they barge in on a conversation I am happily having with friends? I don't think so, but then I suppose I would not. Scroll forward a few hours and I happily chatted to 'Knowlesy' the legless 23 year old from Bournemouth Uni who had lost his mates and was in the hotel bar. So it is not that I am unfriendly, I just want to be able to choose who I chat to and when. Surely that is OK?
The next day I was chatting to some friends and we were talking about the North/ South divide in regards to friendliness of people. It seems to be commonly accepted that Northeners are a friendlier bunch. Is this true of the Welsh as well? In my younger years I worked in hotels as a manager and I got posted in both Manchester and Cardiff and lived in each area for a short time and my experience was not that people were more friendly but maybe that was just me.
What is your experience? I would love to hear.
Go on be honest with me, I can take it.