Very Realistic Mannequin

Sometime last week was the One Year Anniversary. I spent so much time trying to figure out the actual date that the moment has now passed. These were the options:

1 NOVEMBER:  Out for my birthday drinks, sitting beside each other in a bar, too nervous and crap to make any eye contact. Rory and Jane sat across from us no doubt wondering, Will these two bumbling morons ever get it together?

2 NOVEMBER:  After sulking all night that He Doesn’t Even Know I’m Alive, he called! I went to his house and we talked talked talked. By dawn I almost dared to think this could be something special. Just to be sure, I poked through his record collection. Didn’t find anything too disturbing.

3 NOVEMBER:  Standing on the platform in the chilly night air, my breath shot out in anxious, near-hysterical puffs. I’d called in sick that day coz I couldn’t bear for the conversation to end. And now five long months since we’d met at a pub quiz, the time was ripe to make my move! With the train rattling towards us there was potential for a dramatic and memorable moment, like Anna Karenina or something. But an ill-timed lunge, my kiss landing somewhere up his left nostril, was hardly something to tell the grandkiddies. Neither was me blurting, “You rock!” before fleeing onto the train. All executed without any eye contact whatsoever.

6 NOVEMBER:  After days of agonising over the You Rock Incident, we sat in a beautifully dingy old man’s pub. I was nervous and euphoric, fumbling with Walker’s crisps and a gin and tonic. The MTV Awards were on the telly, live from Leith. I had no Zany Stories left to charm him with after discovering he’d stalked his way through the entire WNP archive.

We walked home in the drizzle, stopping outside a lighting shop. My heart was clattering against my ribcage as we made inane conversation about lampshades. I was considering attempting another Move when I felt his hand curl round my fingers, so warm and inviting. Simple, effective. Why hadn’t I thought of that?

Twelve months on I’ve mastered the art of looking him in the eye, but the giddy excitement remains. I’ve know only made vague references to Gareth on here, and there’s a few reasons for that. Part of me still feels so shy, lucky and nervous that I fear it will all disappear if I dare say it out loud. Yet at the same time I’ve never felt so calm and confident about anything in my whole little life, so sure that something was good and right.

I’m wary of getting too personal on here and the dear readers becoming nauseous and thinking I’m an indulgent wanker, but for a whole bloody year I’ve been bursting to blurt it out in besotted detail. I have a terrible habit of looking at life as a series of Exciting Episodes waiting to be rolled up into blog entries, so I may as well acknowledge we have a new character on the set who is just as top shelf as The Mothership. It’s like how Heather Locklear was always billed as Special Guest Star on Melrose Place when everyone knew she was just as much a main player as Andrew Shue or Josie Bisset.

So, how about a character description? On paper he sounds a bit of a badass. I told The Mothership I was seeing a tattooed motorbike-riding shaven-headed rock-band-playing lout, so she had to come to Scotland to investigate. She discovered he was just a quiet and harmless lovely lad with an accent she couldn’t understand a word of.

What else? He is kind. He is a complete dag and makes me laugh. He listens to people when they talk. He’s a committed vegetarian who occasionally gives in to cravings for lamb. His family are nice, especially his dad who sends baffling text messages such as, “WHO ARE BLUE?”. He works hard on his Crocodile Hunter impression. He has an infuriating inability to cut cheese in proper slices, instead hacks the block to shreds. He not only tolerates my compulsion to document everything but encourages it, “That’d be good for your blog, with a bit of exaggeration”. He’s up for all sorts of adventure, whether it’s driving to the top of Scotland on a whim or lazing on the couch to snigger at personal ads on the Teletext.

It’s also reassuring to have finally met my match in ineptitude. While I busied myself with destroying photocopiers, he was accidentally locking himself inside my house, setting oven gloves on fire, or riding around France with a crash helmet full of maggots because he hadn’t noticed he’d spilled food on it.

It feels incredible to love someone this much, to worry about them, to feel inspired by them, to want their happiness more than you want chocolate or for The Darkness to break up. It takes me by surprise every day. When we first met I was so wrapped up in the excitement of moving to a strange country, it took me months to realise I had fallen for the guy. Okay, my sister had to stage a sort of intervention in a restaurant to make me see it.

I admit I am useless. But it was an incredible surprise, and I continue to be surprised every day, especially the days when I wake up and there is this precious person snoozing away on the half of the bed that I used to use for storage. I feel so stupidly lucky that I give him a tiny poke in the arm to make sure he’s not just some sort of Very Realistic Mannequin That Says ‘Aye’ A Lot.

Even in my dark old days of yore, I was always an optimist deep down, excited by life and the scary/delicious uncertainty of the future. But these days I’m looking forward to it just that little bit more, knowing he’s around.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for February 2023.

51 thoughts on “Very Realistic Mannequin

  1. Aw heck. Sniff.

    That was so sincere and honest that it managed to nicely avoid being sickly sweet. Ay-DOR-able.

  2. Happy anniversary, you guys. It couldn’t have happened for a nicer person, or a sweeter one. Loves you to death, Miss S.

  3. Congratulations. Good to hear you’ve found that special someone who makes you happy. Best of luck to both of you.

  4. miss shauny,

    i hereby announce for all time my undying devotion to you and your pussycat. you are, without doubt, one of the finest writers of our generation (well at least YOUR generation, everyone knows i’m decrepit and therefore uninteresting). Your thinly disguised love letter sent a bolt of lightning to my cockles, and rendered them smouldering ashen remnants of their former selves.

    i am heartened and joyous that you have found True Lerv in that most unforgiving of climates. Snow and sleet are rendered infinitely more bearable when one has a warm botbot to snuggle up to. i am sure i am not alone in demanding to see photographs of said gorgeous skinheaded lout, and also requesting that you bring him home so that we can poke him in the arm ourselves and make sure he’s not some figment of your fertile imagination, or Mr Shakey III.

    I am sad that we never got a chance to meet for real (of course, YOU are the one who stood me up), because I like to think that I could have stolen your heart as this wonderful man has so obviously done (at least until Feistynoodle of the Gloriously Beautiful Distended Pregnant Lady Belly punched me)


    PS in a memo to Gareth’s dad, Blue are a boyband, one of whom’s members looks disturbingly like Feisty’s younger brother, JohnBoy.

    Love to you both

    billyjoe of the rockem stompem noodle-bobs

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary. That was a lovely post, so many blogs (other peoples, not yours) are full of negativity and slagging of other people, it is a bright ray of sunshine to see one about one of the finest things on earth, the love of your life.


  6. What a lovely post. So refreshing to read about people’s love & happiness in the world!! You sound like you are on cloud 9!!

  7. Now you’ve made me go all misty eyed at work.

    Congrats – two years is no small achievement.

    And you continue to write like an Angel – even about yourself which I reckon is the hardest trick of all

  8. Awww, Gareth. What a pretty name! :p

    (Don’t mind me, I live in Singapore – pretty names are hard to come by.)

    Congrats, you two. Here’s wishing you much love and happiness for a loooong time to come. 🙂

  9. Awww. Congratulations to you both and lots more of them.

    Again, you’ve hit the nail on the head. At least two nails, indeed (not being able to believe it’s real struck a particular chord for me – even after 6 years it sometimes seems unlikely that my own lovely chap isn’t a product of my overheated imagination).

    What snow and sleet, billyjoebob? It’s a bit cloudy today, but perfectly temperate. I keep trying to convince people, mostly English, that Edinburgh doesn’t get all that cold and that we won’t see snow until late December/January, if then (and then it’ll be a measly sprinkling). We’re by the sea, y’know.

  10. Ohhh barf. Pass the bucket.

    And I’ll wait to see his billing level I think.. can he REALLY oust The Mothership?

    Seriously though… Enough with the sickening lovey-dovey posts.

    Nah I’m kidding. Glad for you both.

    Now about the maggot helmet…

  11. Dear Shauna, Happy Anniversary to both of you! You rawk!

    Btw, when will I be able to buy your published work? You are such damn good writer (I’m both jealous and in awe) that I can’t imagine a better profession for you. Freelance, take the world of publishing by storm–I promise I’ll be a devoted buyer (I am already a devoted reader).

  12. Woo! I’ve been outed, hello everybody! By the way, the maggoty crash helmet was as traumatic as it sounds (it was on the outside under a seal , not the bit where you put your head).

    Love you too Miss Shauny!

  13. *sigh*

    Keep up the good work, guys, happy anniversary, whenever it was. Also, could we have some more besotted detail? It was such a long wait (but worth every minute of it ;-))

  14. Gorgeous Shauny! Thanks so much for sharing.

    I felt like I was reading about my own little life there – we just celebrated five YEARS together, and like you we never know whether to mark the occasion on Nov 1 (the first snog) or Nov 6 (the first “official” date).

    Anyway, congratulations! Keep smiling!

  15. Read your London post, and then it was “What’s this?! Two new posts! Yea!’. Now having read it, I add “WOW!!” Good for you two, and thanks to Gareth for not minding being shared with your readers. Awesome!

  16. Congrats to you both – so lovely to read a true love letter. Ahhh LOVE there is nothing quite like it to make your heart smile and your toes curl!

    Your blog is soooo fantastic, I was addicted after the first hit!

    Such a clever dick – I second the vote for published works by you. Hurry up!! get it happening – can ya!!?!?

  17. That was LOVELY

    Wish I could write like that about all the times (yes, all the times) I was transported and delighted and slightly hysterical because it HAD to fall to pieces soon…

    It MUST be love

    I hope you stay very happy for a very long time to come

    Blessings from Mother Superior

  18. You’ve come a long way since snake guy at the chip shop *g* I’m extrememly happy for you babe. You deserve all the happiness in the world.

  19. thanks, legends!

    sarfraz, you know too much! i’d forgotten about snake guy! must be the electric shock therapy i had to erase the memory of a year in a chip shop instead of finding a Real Job. in case anyone’s wondering Snake Guy was a regular customer who’d come in with no shirt on and had snake tattoos. mrrowr. if he kept up his chip habit he’s probably dead now…

  20. i just came on here to tell you i ate a mango [here in aus] today and it was AWESOME- and thought of you and your love for them and thought i’d share-

    but love for boys is better than any fruit. suspected something was up, so happy for you, yay. enjoy every moment

  21. Thats all very lovely Shauny, but there are personal ads on Teletext??? I never have to resort to watching Changing Rooms again!!

    Happy first year anniversary, I am very jealous!

  22. Personal things felt deeply are always the hardest to share with strangers, but thank you for sharing the happiness you now feel..I wish you well now and in the future.

  23. oooh so happy for you miss shauny! and so totally jealous!

    Does he have a brother that you could pop in a post pack and send to me? 😛

    Congrats to the both of you!

  24. *swoon*
    I think that’s the best non-nauseating explanation of L-U-R-V-E that I’ve read for quite a while. And that’s great! You got a lovely bloke with the ultimate added accessory. The ACCENT!

  25. the ACCENT is the best part. we could get by on novelty factor alone for years. YEARS, i tell you!

  26. btw if anyone is still paying attention to this thread, we decided the official anniversary date will be the YOU RAWK Day, November 3.

  27. Congrats youse. Nov 3 should be decalared a national holiday. In both countries.

    As for the hordes clamouring for publication -perhaps you can do it for Shauny.

    If her Shauniness diegns it, the WNP writings/photos could be licensed under Creative Commons. Like Copyright, only more flexible.

    So, for example, a reader could “roll their own” best of WNP CD to give as Chrissy gifts. And the esteemed author could be compensated via paypal or some other micropayment system. So we could show our appreciation with cold hard cash.

    The benifits of this would be many:
    1) You wouldn’t have to do anything really – outsource all the grunt work to the readers
    2) Exposure baby! I know you dallied with journalism, but with the way you write, there’s surely a niche out there you own. The right person just has to read.
    3) We get to share. And do a little to spread the gospel.

    I imagine most people wanting published stuff are thinking book. A blog hardly translates to a book well – a cd with all the inherent linkage is much better. And much easier to distribute. You already have an army of netizens sitting around twindling their thumbs waiting to be your publishing company. Just think of brightening a random persons day by leaving a WNP compilation on the train.

    Not much of a market for CD’s of writing and stuff, but a scheme where people pay AFTER they consume can rake it in. One guy writing on OhmyGosh news got much more than a years(?) salary from ONE article. Maybe one day you could write for us full time. Here’s wishing, erh?

    Of course this is all predicated on you being bothered handling more traffic. That could be a sticky issue. Not qualified, sorry!

    Anyway, hurry up – it’s nearly Chrissie time. And I have some money burning a hole in my mattress.

    ps. the debate generated by a best of WNP could be nasty. Tether your trolls.

    Oh yes – your lurve post really deserves to top the comment count of the Manuel naming post. gave me the warm fuzzies it did.

  28. So this means you’re already spoken for – and I’m too late – oh no – I’m heartbroken – and I should have made my feelings known earlier !

  29. tony – which tony are you?

    notemmett – now that is an all-time classic comment. and your idea sounds just crazy enough to work, hehe 🙂

  30. On second thoughts, don’t really need to talk to anyone.

    I’m thinking:

    Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give you **acknowlegdement of your authorship**.


    Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.

    Personally I’d go for the least restrictive option – attribution. Cory Doctrow released his latest book like this, and fans have translated it into a bunch of languages. haven’t heard of any piratical shenanigans either.

    Brief CC blurb:

    Convinced? Go here:

    Ooo, perhaps you’d like to release the blog template, so the finished products could retain that WNP feel? Or the sources for the posts?

    Getting a bit ahead of myself aren’t I?

    **ps your spam filtering setup doesn’t like the word *****. Makes me want to just slap the irony silly.**

  31. Shauny my lovely, I have been neglecting your blog lately, what fabulous and astounding news.

    I was a bit worried by the “gareth” bit picturing a tall skinny Older Man with a ginger beard and a lingering thing for Cheryl Kernot, but your description has set my mind at rest.

    Rose petals and blessings are showering upon you two from the Balcony.

  32. thank you lovely helen!

    notemmett – is this some sort of really elaborate comment spam from creativecommons? 😛

    ALSO: a correction from gareth. he did not spill food on his helmet. i dunno how i stuffed this up. what actually happened was he squashed a bug that flew into the helmet and the squashed bug somehow went bad and then the maggots appeared… have i got this right now? if not you can bloody post the story yourself in the name of accurate reporting 😛

  33. Yes. I am a spam-bot experiment from the Austin Powers lab. Please don a gas mask or be overpowered by the pink mojo gas spewing from my nipples.

    A Creative Commons spam-bot is such a lovely idea. Perhaps I should patent it. Mine now!

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