I think he was stoned when he first mentioned it. To be honest, I can’t really recall the precise moment, or what he said exactly, but I’m sure it would’ve gone something like, “Dude, we should totally get engaged. How crazy would that be?” And I was probably like, “Yo” and forgot all about it, until the next thing I knew he was planning to meet my dad in Singapore. Wait… so… this is for real then, I guess?
I never pictured myself as the wifey type at all. I had enough trouble deciding whether to have cocoa pops or cornflakes for breakfast, let alone deciding who to spend the rest of my life with. I especially didn’t see myself spending the rest of my life with someone like him. At this point I was still unsure if I was even into boys.
He was quite tall with tattoos and a ten pack. He was well groomed and spoke with a soft television voice, and every time he smiled it was like a Colgate commercial. We met at a porn shoot, which would’ve been an awkward one to explain to our future kids. I was asked to straddle him, topless on the floor.
Fast forward half a year or so and we were performing striptease acts on stage together all over the North Island, raking in some serious cash. When I worked in the club he’d come in and book me for an hour at 5am when my feet were getting sore. It was like a really fucked up, x- rated fairytale.
It took me a while to get used to having a boyfriend who wore makeup, got waxed and whose spraytan was darker than my own. But it was all part of his pretty- boy act, I guess. It lead me to wonder how much of it was an act, and if I really knew the man who planned on marrying me. Looking back on it now, I should’ve taken things more seriously. I should’ve grabbed him by the shoulders when he knelt down that day, shook him, and told him to think properly about his life. I should’ve noticed the tightening of my stomach when he popped the question and the what if‘s in my mind. I should have taken God’s sign when that wasp stung my ring finger and run for the hills. But no. Instead I said “yup.” And that’s when things got crazy.
Our rockstar lifestyle led us to end up in Melbourne City. I can now say from this experience that I have definitely slept in too many hotel rooms, drunk too much tequila and had too many threesomes to want to go back to being a showgirl. From the outside it must’ve looked like we were living the life. But drugs, strangers and money had to all get in the way of it eventually.
One time, though he probably wouldn’t remember it now, he was performing in a hotel where we had booked a room for afterwards. Halfway through the show I came backstage to let him know I wasn’t feeling well and that I was going to go back to the room for some rest. He was already trashed and still had a few hours to go. My pounding headache put me straight to sleep when my head hit the pillow. I woke up in a state of panic and terror. I was being pinned down and someone was on top of me. We were having sex. I kicked and punched and screamed. He got off me, so drunk I barely recognized him. “You ruin everything!” He screamed at me. Turns out he’d invited a bunch of girls back to the room and the plan was for them to walk in and join the action. Too far.
We weren’t in Australia long before he was noticed by an agent who offered him a huge modeling contract involving a large sum of money. He was to be one half of the face of a swimwear brand, and Natalia*, in all her sexy, exotic glory that would make even Jessica Alba envious, was the other. She was Barbie, he was Ken. Of course I was jealous. That’s only natural when you’re looking at your fiancé being swept away by an Italian supermodel to travel the world. But it was something a little deeper than that. “I dunno…” I said after he’d gotten off the phone to his agent just hours before boarding a flight for his meeting in the Gold Coast. “I just don’t trust it. Seems a lil fishy to me…” But my warning fell upon deaf ears.
The money he was promised never came through. On one occasion he waited in a hotel lobby for two hours for a meeting which never eventuated. There were always excuses for phonecalls being unanswered and when bank details started being mentioned I decided to step in and do some investigating. Thank God I did.
Natalia didn’t seem to exist. In fact, she seemed to be a made- up persona by the so- called agent. It was as though he was being stalked. All she seemed to want was his photos and the attention he had been giving Natalia, who he had grown quite fond of, and messaged regularly on a very unprofessional basis.
One day he was driving me home from a show and I brought up the subject, providing the evidence I’d found. The conversation quickly escalated into an argument and I was accused of my jealousy getting the better of me. I tried to grab the wheel to pull over and was struck across the face. For a moment I froze in shock, then tasted the coppery warmth of blood fill my mouth. I spat it into his lap and he instantly spat back in my face. I exited the vehicle and went and sat in a carpark behind a supermarket, shakily lighting a cigarette between swollen lips in the dark. That’s when I decided that enough was enough. I left that life behind and returned home to New Zealand. I barely heard from him after that. He couldn’t handle the fact that I’d left for the first few months and I’d receive phonecalls and messages from him all the time. He even called one time to let me know he’d carved the tattoo I’d inked on his wrist out with a knife. It was definitely over.
Personally, I have nothing against marriage. Unfortunately, my experience with engagement has eternally scarred me. So if I were ever to plan on marrying in future, I’d probably just do it, no waiting around. I wasn’t ready. I made stupid choices. But I’m glad I’ve grown and learnt from them, so I don’t regret what happened. I respect myself so much because of that boy. And it was an experience, that’s for sure!
*name change for privacy.