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Crazy love

The things we do for love! You have to wonder if there's a woman alive who didn't feel a twinge of identification with Dr Jacquelyn Kotarac, whose pursuit of the man she loved had tragic consequences. Intent upon gaining access to her beloved's home, the Bakersfield, California physician climbed onto the roof and attempted to shimmy down the chimney, where she got stuck, and died.

It's a terrible thing, and certainly made some of us at Herald Femme take a closer look at our own desperate romantic pasts. My own low point occurred when, under extremely tenuous "work-related" pretenses, I left message after message . . . after message on the machine of a fellow I fancied. I didn't stop until he and his roommate cobbled together an outgoing message from bits of my incoming ones. Well, it's good to laugh. Below, several Irish gals share their own mishaps, which, happily, are funny, and not fatal.

Hermione Hennessy, singer and classical pianist

When I was 12 I decided that a boy of 15, who lived virtually opposite our house, should become the object of my affection.

His glass-fronted door faced my bedroom window, so when everyone was out of both my house and his, I would sneak over and push anonymous love notes through his letter box before sitting and waiting for him to get home and pick them up from the mat. Sometimes he would read them by the door and other times he would take them upstairs to his room.

At 13, after I decided that he should know who I was and declared my "undyings" for him in a note, he literally ran away any time I went near him. He would cross the street, disappear up someone else's garden path or bend down to tie up his shoelace. Maybe this was the reason it took me till I was 21 to find a boyfriend. Young love, eh?"

Hermione plays the Olympia on September 24

GRACE DYAS , writer

So, I started going out with this lovely boy, and I was delighted with myself. Annoyingly, he didn't have a phone, so I constantly had to wait for him to call me from his mam's phone, and I couldn't call him.

At the time I was working in a phone shop and a new boy had started. He lived in my boy's area, and I asked him if he knew him. "Know him? He's been going out with my best friend for ages," he replied. My jaw hit the floor. I ran outside and made a flurry of phone calls to my friends asking for their advice. I stalked the girl on Bebo and learned from her information that her "other half" was my boy!

Grace Dyas' company Theatreclub has three shows in this year's Absolut Fringe Festival

LOUISE LOWE, playwright

I was going out with this guy for a while and he moved into a new city centre apartment. He gave me a key. I decided to surprise him by cooking him a meal and went to the local Tesco to buy groceries in order to impress him.

On my return to his apartment block, I got in the lift and pressed the third floor. As I got out of the lift, I saw a man leaving my boyfriend's apartment. I was initially shocked, then thought how thrilled my new man would be if I apprehended the burglar and saved his home from a break-in. So I dropped my shopping bags and flew at the man, demanding to know what the hell he was doing leaving that apartment. I was raving and screaming when for about a minute when I noticed the number on the door and realised that I was on the second floor, not the third, and this poor man was simply leaving his own apartment.

Eventually, I moved in with my boyfriend and for the five years that we lived there, not once did the man ever say hello to me. He works in a well-known shop in town. Even now, I feel embarrassed when I see him and he never makes eye contact.

Louise Lowe is one of the creator's of World's End Lane at the Lab, Foley Street until September 25

SARAH WEBB, author

As a young single mum in my 20s, meeting guys wasn't easy. I never kept my child a secret; it was definitely love me, love my son. And to be honest, in their youthful innocence many of my boyfriends saw him as an added bonus, someone to kick a ball around with. But not all.

Usually I met boys at weddings, friends' parties, sailing events. But as I reached my late 20s, and still hadn't met someone special, I decided I needed to cast my man-net a bit wider. So I started to look at the kind of men I'd previously overlooked. There was a lovely guy working in the local video shop, blond and sporty looking, and we always had great chats about films, so I thought I'd pluck up the courage and ask him out.

One day I went into the shop and pressed a piece of paper into his hand with my phone number on it. He studied the paper, looking a bit confused.

"You could ring me if you like," I said brightly, starting to blush deeply. "We could go out for a drink or something."

He started laughing. I ran out of the shop, utterly mortified.

That evening the phone rang. I picked it up and there he was.

"I'm really sorry," he said, 'but I've never been asked out before. I have a boyfriend you see . . ."

I never asked a boy out again. And I avoided that video shop like the plague.

Sarah Webb's new book The Loving Kind (Pan Macmillan, E17.15) is available now

EMMA O'KANE, dancer

I was a student-dancer studying at the Perm Academy in Russia. I had a massive crush on one of the male dancers in the Opera and Ballet Company for months. His name was Yuri. He was an amazing dancer (which made me fancy him all the more). After rehearsals I'd race to the theatre to see him perform. Eventually, I decided to leave a handwritten note for him at the stage door of the theatre. I was delighted when I received a reply. We'd arranged a date -- all was well in the world!

Instead of meeting the beautiful, handsome Yuri (who would've given Adonis a run for his money in his tights!) I was met by a rather portly, ruddy-faced Yuri, who was a fifty-something-year-old and sang in the opera chorus.

I had misspelt the surname and the note had gone to the wrong Yuri. I bumped into Opera Yuri in the park and he began to serenade me.

I don't know which experience was more mortifying!

Emma O'Kane performs with Muirne Bloomer in the Ballet Ruse in Project Cube until September 18


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