After quite a lot of waffle about woe. I thought I’d lighten the mood a bit with three of my most cringe-worthy dating moments. These might be in order of badness, I haven’t decided yet.
A Holiday camp in France, sometime in the 90s
My first holiday with friends. I was about 13, I went with two friends and their parents. It was really exciting.
We stayed in huge tents and spent all day swimming, buying bangers or pumping coins in to dated arcade machines. It was the first time I’d ever heard Stairway to Heaven. It blew my mind.
My two friends quickly got rather pretty ‘holiday girlfriends’ and spent a lot of time snogging them in the café.
I did not. So to cure this they took me on a tour of the holiday camp, presenting me like a socially awkward horse to all the ladies in vaguely the right age-range to see if any of them would go out with me.
They didn’t. I spent a whole afternoon being peered at from caravans followed by a slow shaking of heads. Just thinking about it still makes me shiver.
Secondary school, first week
We had a sort of trial week where we went to the big school. It was very exciting because it was a BIG SCHOOL with thousands of pupils. I was 11. My previous school had 4 people in my year.
It was a culture shock. I spent the entire time worried that someone would trick me into taking LSD and/or flush my head down the loo.
There was a girl there, she wasn’t actually going to the school but had gone along for a week to be with her friends. I fancied her and wrote her name all over my pencil case.
I wrote her a letter too, after the week. The letter was quite cool but for reasons I don’t quite understand still. I used a stamp on the envelope to make it look like it had lip marks all over it. Huge red lip marks.
This turned it from a private message of affection into something her HUGE brothers found. There was quite a lot of mocking. I was at the same sailing club as her brothers, they were instructors. I got wet.
House party somewhere remote, after being at an awful club
I went to a terrible club near where I grew up. It was the only club in a small town. They showed RUDE VIDEOS in the bar. My DJ partner and I arrived late and sober because we’d been at a gig. This sounds cooler than it is, as far as I remember we’d been DJing in the function room at a golf club.
Some friends of my DJ chum were there, which is why we’d gone to this dive. We chatted for a bit and had a couple of drinks. There was a girl there.
She took a shine to me, I knew this because when we were stuffed into a tiny car going back to her place she kept licking my ear and biting my leather jacket (vintage 70s obviously).
Back at the house she invited me to stay in her bed. I did. Then my DJ chum appeared and jumped in too. Things got awkward, because she didn’t seem to want him to go.
I’ll never know if she was trying to arrange a threesome or not because I spent the rest of the evening and most of the morning shivering in in the kitchen in just my underpants (I’d left my clothes in the room when I stormed off) until her parents reappeared…
The day started rather late. Biscuit had appeared at about 9-ish looking and interesting combination of sheepish and pleased with himself. There was no sign of MyLoveLifeInYourHands.
Biscuit and I wanted to go shopping. Our chum still hadn’t appeared by midday and he wasn’t answering his phone so gave up waiting and set off out to see New York. We only had one key which made things more complicated but we figured that MyLoveLifeInYourHands was a big boy and could look after himself.
He called us back when we were just about to get on the subway and then appeared so we gave him the keys and set off out. It was a lovely warm day and Biscuit and I spent far too much money on things we didn’t need and saw some more things we’d always wanted to see.
The plan for this evening was to meet up with a girl who MyLoveLifeInYourHands had met on our first night in New York city. There was a brewery tour and then a bar afterwards. This seemed like a good plan.
We wanted to drop our shopping off before we went out so we had to co-ordinate a meeting with MyLoveLifeInYourHands near the flat. This didn’t go exactly to plan. He was lost somewhere in South Brooklyn and had the only keys to the flat. Biscuit and I waited on the steps for a bit until it was too cold and then went for the worst coffee I’ve ever had in Applebee’s.
MyLoveLifeInYourHands appeared and we went back to the flat to drop off bags and freshen up. Refreshed, we hopped on the subway up to the brewery and then waited in a queue for ages. We were about two hours late and were stuck in a queue that had formed. Yes we struggled to organise a piss-up in a brewery.
Eventually we got inside, poured amazingly cheap beer into our faces and then tried to find the girls MyLoveLifeInYourHands knew. We found them and started to get very drunk. They were pretty, and also tiny, so we towered over them.
Biscuit instantly took a shine to one of them and started making balloon hats for her. I have now learned that this is foreplay for Biscuit.
We stayed in the brewery drinking and larking around for well, ages. I think, until it had closed actually.
I can remember it getting really empty suddenly and someone with a broom asking us to leave.
MyLoveLifeInYourHands had been talking to one of the girls who had really curly hair and Biscuit had almost kissed the one he liked. We found out later that MyLoveLifeInYourHands snogged his curly-haired friend near the loos.
I had been happily chatting away to the third girl, who was the one MyLoveLifeInYourHands met on our first night. She was small with brown eyes and had her hair tightly tied back into a bun. She had a surprisingly deep voice.
We went to another bar nearby that had a pool table. MyLoveLifeInYourHands and Biscuit were supposed to be meeting Blossom and Kim respectively later in the evening. Both of them had now kissed at least one of the Brewery girls at this point.
Then we got introduced to triple kissing. It’s when three people kiss at once, not with tongues or anything. We were drunk, there were various demonstrations of how it works. Let me just state two things.
1) One of the girls said she had never triple kissed with two boys before, it seemed impolite to refuse that request.
2) I understand now why some girls don’t like kissing men with stubble.
Lets move on.
MyLoveLifeInYourHands and I played pool with two of the girls. Mixed teams, it was a surprisingly close match. He was probably the best player but his team-mate was triumphantly bad so it balanced out. She may have been playing extra bad so that MyLoveLifeInYourHands would lean over her and show her how to hold a pool stick.
I ended up kissing one of the brewery girls as part of the celebrations from potting four balls in a row. Yeah, you heard me, four balls, in a row. She said I smelled nice but kept doing an awful faux-English accent that made my ears sad.
A man tried to start a fight with me when I politely asked him to move so a brewery girl could take a shot. He got all offended and started doing the ‘strong gaze’ and mumbling threats.
I just looked back at him nonchalantly because I was mashed and not entirely sure what was going on. His friends dragged him out of the pub and we didn’t see him again. This probably looked cooler than it was.
In the mean time Biscuit had been snogging his new friend at a table. It was a very kissy evening. At some point MyLoveLifeInYourHands disappeared off to meet up with Blossom. Biscuit jumped in a cab back to the flat with his new friend. Poor Kim.
I stayed with the remaining two girls and we went on a pub crawl. I got a lot of secondary abuse from the girls because MyLoveLifeInYourHands had disappeared into the night. Apparently he should have stayed because he would have got some.
There was a bit more kissing, when appropriate, but eventually we left the bar and got cheese sandwiches from a deli.
I jumped in a cab and headed back to the flat. The cab driver had no idea where he was going and a 5 minute journey ended up taking 20 minutes which was probably for the best so I didn’t catch Biscuit doing something rude with his new friend on the sofa.
Eventually I crashed into bed absolutely ruinously drunk.
It wasn’t really a date but I’ll give a marriage percentage for the Brewery girl: 5% She was cute and quite good fun but the near constant faux-English accent made me wish I was deaf.
The cheese sandwich was amazing though. I’d like to see it again.
It was Friday so we decided to see some more sights in Manhattan and then meet up with a few people in the evening.
MyLoveLifeInYourHands wanted to see as many people as possible so the evening was mapped out very carefully.
We ‘grabbed a slice’ before wandering around looking faintly lost while we tried to find the bar. After only a couple of wrong turns we found the right place
Blossom was there with one of her male chums we had met before. It was a classy place and everyone was drinking wine which felt strangely sophisticated compared to the events of the last week.
One bottle turned into a few. More fun people turned up and soon we were bring pressed pretty hard to stay with them and go to a BBQ place for supper.
Biscuit had made a new friend, they went out for a smoke (him was just keeping her company) and when they came back they announced they were getting married.
In light of this big announcement we gave in and ambled over to the BBQ place. I got some booze and MyLoveLifeInYourHands waited in the queue for food with Blossom chatting away.
Once we had some drinks we (the other chums) had to hang around waiting for a free table for us to take. It was like musical chairs but while carrying a gallon of cider. Musical chairs should always be played with a gallon of cider.
Eventually we grabbed a big enough table just before MyLoveLifeInYourHands ordered. It was perfect timing really.
There was a mass scrum to sit down and I ended up sat in the corner, next to Biscuit and his new wife.
They were secretly holding hands under the table, which made me suspect that their ‘marriage’ had a bit more too it than just a throw-away joke.
I’ve known Biscuit for a while but I’ve never seen him move so fast, they had known each other for hours. I think we can all guess which way this story is going.
Opposite me were MyLoveLifeInYourHands and Blossom who had been glued at the hip all evening. I was right on the end so I ended up having a conversation with a man with a massive beard, and then sitting in silence. It was an evening of awkward moments.
Biscuit and his new friend had started snogging at the table. Marcy turned up with some other people and apologised for texting while drunk last time we were out.
Everyone had finished stuffing amazing meat in their mouths so we stumbled on to another bar for more drinks.
The crowd thinned out a bit and so I was left making awkward conversation with a man who lived in a car while MyLoveLifeInYourHands and Blossom chatted away furiously. Biscuit and his ‘wife’ left for ‘a walk’ and we didn’t see them again for the rest of the evening.
We went onto another bar because it had old arcade machines. The crowd thinned some more.
Blossom and MyLoveLifeInYourHands were playing games with each other on the machines. I was struggling to keep the conversation going with the ‘living in the car guy’. There is only so much you can talk about the freedom of the open road and getting good miles to the gallon on your house.
This went on for a while before I thought I’d just bow out and get a cab home. I said goodbye to MyLoveLifeInYourHands and Blossom and jumped in a cab. I didn’t see MyLoveLifeInYourHands until the next day either.
The cab dropped me off at the end of our block and I got to witness a rolling street fight between a group of youths. It was quite exciting. I was a bit worried at first, I was drunk, wearing a waistcoat and a pink tie but they acted as if I was a ghost and just ignored me.
It had been another exciting evening, although one where I had felt a bit like a third wheel. I think I should have gone into Soho, but regrets are for other people.
The chaps had fun and I did get to swig from a gallon jug of cider so in balance I’d call that a win.
Things were a bit weird on Monday with Mia after our first kiss on Thursday. Sort of stilted and awkward. It was not fun at all.
It was all the sorts of weird that we both wanted to avoid.
Today (Tuesday) things were better, perhaps we had got over the weird bump or perhaps snow just has that sort of effect on people. Snow is great.
Anyway, since we were back to joking with each other and the fact she was looking absolutely amazing I was driven to action. Seriously, if you had seen the slinky wool dress she was wearing today you would completely understand.
So I decided to email her to see if she was still up for going to a restaurant. I chose email because I didn’t want to have to try to lure her into a side room to ask her in private and all that.
Anyway here is the email conversation in full, edited lightly to take names out.
Toast: I’ve had a dig around and I think I’ve found the perfect restaurant that serves ‘lots of meat’, so would you care to join me for supper?
Mia: Ah I’d love to but I’m having dinner at my friend’s tonight, house-warming festive drinks etc. Lot’s of meat does sound ridiculously good though…
Toast: Well shall we co-ordinate diaries and find a free day?
Mia: Yes. Are you around for work drinks on Friday?
Toast: Yes, yes I am.
Mia: Cool, lets chat then x
So not a complete blow out, but not a raging success either. I think the following characters express it best
Angel is clearly a popular tube stop for first dates. When I arrived there were at least three other chaps and about the same number of girls sightly nervously checking out everyone who arrived.
Every now and then there would be an awkward hello and they would stride off into the rain together.
I’d described what I was wearing to the Virginian to aid identification. She was carrying a maroon brolly and mentioned it as an easy way to spot her.
The only flaw in this plan was that every woman there with a brolly had a maroon one. There were dozens of them.
There must have been a memo I missed, or a sale somewhere nearby. A brief bout of furious texting managed to identify which one she was, so we had our awkward hello and walked of into the rain together.
The Virginian was about 5’8″ with shoulder length dark brown hair and pale skin. Her eyes were very dark, and twinkly like a birds. She was wearing a black haulter-neck top and dark jeans.
We went to a nearby Japanese restaurant and ordered plum wine. I had a beef and rice dish, she had something with noodles that was brown. It seems that what ever you order in this restaurant you get something faintly brown.
We talked about her arrival, what she thought of London so far and she was adjusting to UK life. It was fun, there was laughter with dashes of light teasing.
For some reason I kept swearing – for attempted comic effect I should add - but after every outburst I got all shy and blushed. Who knows what was going on there?
We even stayed for some frozen yoghurt (or Yo-Gurt if you will). The chocolate flavour was good but the lychee tasted like kitchen cleaner. We still ate it all.
After the restaurant we wondered over to a pub near Exmouth market, my first choice of bar had closed down.
We talked a bit more about things. Her dad used to work for the CIA (cool), so she grew up in some weird places. There weren’t many awkward pauses but we’d covered most of the first date stuff already vast amount of emails we had sent each other.
I had to leave at about eleven because I had a big work thing the next day, we parted with plans to meet up on Saturday.
However I got a text message from her the next day saying she felt it was a bit awkward and asking if really wanted to meet on Saturday. I said yes, but that perhaps we should talk first.
Marriage percentage – 20%
Not an epic first date but a nice evening spent with good company. The Virginian and I will almost definitely stay in touch, although I suspect it will be more of a friends thing.
- If you talk a lot via email before you meet it is possible to run out of things to say when you actually meet
- My London knowledge is out of date, I need to revise
- Booking a date before a big day at work means you can’t get mashed
- No matter what you order in that restaurant, you will get something vaguely brown