After being comprehensively chatted up by a pretty Irish girl last week (and cunningly persuaded to take her home) we met up again on an official date.
Because we had become rather familiar last time, we opted for a cozy pub visit so we could talk without shouting over thumping. thumping music. I arranged to meet her in the only cozy pub in central that I can reliably find, which is where I was introduced to The Virginian and where I last met Noir.
I arrived almost on time, which is a definite improvement for me. Walking in I scanned the pub looking for a my date and to see if there was somewhere to perch. For a moment I thought I had spied a cozy corner by the bar until, annoyingly, I spotted a rather pretty woman standing there so kept scanning past.
Then she waved and I realised it was my date. Blimes! She’d had a haircut with a great fringe and looked particularly fantastic. Good fringes win me over. Now I think of it, brightly coloured hair, great fringes and bunches are all hair centric features that make me swoon a little.
After a peck on the cheek and snuggling into a couple of chairs, we started chatting very comfortably. She’d made the traditional Irish claim that the Guinness in England isn’t nearly as good as back home, only it emerged that she’s never actually drunk Guinness! Since this was the very pub where Toast had downed a pint of the black stuff in about 5 seconds, amazing both me and The Virginian, it seemed only fitting that I should celebrate this most heralded of stout with her. Even though she’d never had it, or even drunk pints, she particularly enjoyed it and one followed another and another. In the spirit of a proper cultural exchange, I also fed her pork scratchings, England’s finest bar snack. FACT!
There was some knee touching. There was quite a lot of knee touching really. It was very exciting.
I finally found out how old she is as I previously had NO idea. For about 5 minutes I misinterpreted the timeline and thought she was 21, but thankfully discovered she was actually 29.
The amusing epilogue to the story of the last time I saw here is that she went off to meet her aunt who is a nun, and one of her nun friends to go to the memorial service of another nun. I had been blithely unaware of the obvious fact that she was off to a memorial, surrouded by nuns, in the same clothes that she had been wearing the previous night.
I think nuns must have some kind of special ‘sin-dar’ because they figured out what she had been up to! Although we hadn’t done anything expressly naughty, we had kissed a LOT but essential clothes had remained on, I still took a certain wicked pleasure in being complicit in leading her astray (even though she had pulled me!). One nun, who knew her dad said:
“Now you have your fun and enjoy yourself but don’t you be taking an English boy home to your father”
She fessed up that she had forgotten my name the night we first met and had to check it. I fessed up that I had got Toast to ask her name when I went to the toilet as I wasn’t sure I had it right either (that is a killer move by the way and REALLY useful to stop you looking unattentative).
We even covered some of the ‘god’ stuff. It’s difficult to ask ‘so then… “GOD”… where’d you stand on that then?’, but I probing conversation revealed that she didn’t really do church except for the usual weddings, funerals, bar-mitzvahs. Well, maybe not the last one. This was a MASSIVE relief and, although still not resolved, put me rather more at ease.
The date was going very well, knee touching, cheeky grins, light ribbing. It was going well right up until the socially challenged man decided to insert himself into the date. In a move identical to the one pulled by the strange man when I was on my date with Indy, only minus the tiny dog, he struck up banal conversation and then sat down.
It’s my fault, I should have asked him to leave at that point. Lesson learned, my stifling English politeness stopped me from telling him to bugger off. This squat, nasally voiced man with receding hair and black goatee then proceeded with banal conversation.
“Are you together?”
“You look very much in love”
“Oh.. are you Irish?”
“so are you on a date then?”
It was painful. He told us about how he was gonna make his fortune because he had invested all his money in some up and coming white rapper. My date left to go to the toilet and I resolved that I was going to get rid of him. Then his phone rang…
“Yep… yeah… yeah I know… yeah I’ve sorted it. No… yeah… I’m on top of it… Look, I told you… MUM… I SAID I’ve SORTED it”
At that point his entertainment value soared! Finishing his phone call he nodded to where my date had escaped to (I just hoped she wasn’t climbing out of the toilet window at this point).
“Cor, she’s lovely isn’t she! I’ve got three women on the go”
I seriously hoped he didn’t count his mum in that list.
“yeah, I’m off to see one now. She’s a dancer… really fit.”~
“…………I think she’s a prostitute.”
Stifling my stomach shuddering laughter, I saw my date returning and so announced, “right, we’ve got to go and meet Tim”, necked my drink, thrust out my hand to shake his and we made our exit, stage left.
Finding another pub we grabbed our last Guinness of the night. We had been talking about dating and she said that I was the first boy she’d kissed or been on a date with since she had arrived in the country a few months ago. She asked me when the last time I had been on a date was.
I’m not naturally duplicitous by nature but I suddenly panicked. The last date had been only 4 days earlier and I sensed this might be a bad thing to admit so I fibbed: “about two weeks ago”. I’m not proud of fibbing, I pride myself on being straight with people but it was out there. Not a big fib but I don’t like to even start that slippery slope.
The pub called time and we walked back to the tube, stopping outside for a kiss. It was quite a long kiss. I had forgotten quite how good a kisser she is and we may have been there, on the pavement, for a few minutes. We even got heckled. This is the third time I have been heckled kissing. Once with Fuckwittery, and once with the IT Girl a few days earlier before.
Having cleared up some of the god stuff and being able to actually talk for a while, her marriage percentage has definitely improved.
Marriage percentage: 35%
I left with a promise to see her after I got back from New York. Damn… Once again I’ve got myself into a situation with two girls I like at the same time. Well, I can’t imagine that going to New York will complicate things any further, what with the dates, parties and fiesty American women with bangs and delicious accents.
Early last week I met up for a second date with Noir. Our first had consisted of mojitos, pizza and a little kissing.
Since I had travelled to her last time, we met somewhere centrally this time. Actually, since it was so homely, I arranged to meet her in the same pub in which Toast first introduced me to the Virginian and we made multinational friends with the power of balloons.
By serendipity, we both arrived precisely 11 minutes late, so were both on time to walk in the door only 5 seconds apart.
The pub is ‘authentic London boozer’ upstairs and ‘homely restaurant’ downstairs so we were able to relocate to the basement when we fancied a little grub.
As I usually forget details from dates I have taken to jotting down reminders:
- There was a lot of talk of music, recommendations and counter recommendations. We’ve got quite a base of overlapping music taste and that’s always been quite important to me.
- We discussed my Borderlands addiction with a slightly sensitive tone that one might discuss booze with an alcoholic. I assured I had it under control… pretty much.
- Emoticons are favoured, although sparingly and to effect, much like swearing.
- Noir has some great anecdotes and after her accidental introduction into the London gangster scene a decade ago, this time I learned of a Frasier-esque farce where by both her and her dad ended up at a Jamie Cullum concert that neither of them wanted to be at. Although not wanting to be a a Jamie Cullum concert is not exactly surprising in itself, her dad had bought the tickets as a father daughter bonding activity thinking that she liked him, she went along for the bonding thinking that her dad was really keen. Let hilarity ensue!
- Apparently I was not the only person to raise the subject of Jewish bum sex with her in the previous week. Being the THIRD to independently raise the subject she was beginning to get a bit of a complex. She was unaware of the stereotype of Jewish girls doing a bum sex because it’s not ‘real’ sex and so doesn’t count. In retrospect, I think this may be a primarily American thing as I was listening to a lot of Keith and the Girl podcast for a while and it was discussed a number of times on there. Anyway, the subject was eventually vetoed due to exasperation!
A lot of my recent dates seem to have followed the same pattern: Meet drink, (optionally eat), kiss, say goodbye. This must be making some repetitive writing but I am not quite sure how to break out of that cycle.
Thing is, I’m not looking for a quick lay. It would be easy to arrange something at her or my house and let the natural progression of booze and coziness lead to hijinks. If I was just trying to do the sex, that would be a lot easier. Trying to find out whether you are compatible with a lady for a serious relationship, love and marriage is something else though.
On that basis, I don’t want to rush into winkle touching just for the sake of it.
We left the pub so I could walk her to the bus stop, with plan to have some time to do some kissing before she had to leave. Unfortunately her bus turned up in about 30 seconds… so she missed that. And the next. And the next! Blimes.
I’m being very cautious with my approach and trying to take it slow to see how things develop. M35%. That might seem low but it’s just me being measured.
Interestingly, Toast got an email from their mutual friend with the counter-intelligence on my date. It’s rare that you get this kind of info so you never really know how it went in the mind of the other person. However, here is her date report for me:
1. Biscuit bought the first round (gentleman points)
2. Biscuit had a very nice stripy top on (Noir fashion points)
3. Biscuit made her do lots of massive belly laughs (she said he would find
this either revolting or endearing; I suspect endearing)
4. Biscuit walked her to the bus stop and they let FOUR buses go by cos they
were too busy doing kissings on each other
All in all, that’s a pretty good report! Certainly a lot better than I suspect some others might have given me based on precious behaviour.
I’ve had the call with the Virginian, so she knows that we aren’t going to be doing sexy time anymore and that what ever it was, it was over.
The whole conversation was harrowing. Lots of long pauses, endless pauses punctuated with the occasional ‘I don’t want this’ or ‘why?’.
There wasn’t a massive why, and I didn’t feel it would have been wise to say ‘I just don’t want to marry you and I’ve got a wager to win’. Instead I went with the usual platitudes.
When ever I have to make this call (Which is thankfully not too often) I always try to temper my explanation a little so I don’t hurt their feelings.
This is why I’ve never told a women she is so boring she makes me want to eat my own ears off just so I don’t have to hear her talk about ponies anymore.
In hindsight I think I should have made this call weeks ago, ideally sometime before we had actually met.
We were never actually going out it and yet it ranks in my top three all time worst break-ups.
I needed a stiff drink afterwards.
I like silly bets. This blog rather proves that. Just under a month ago FleetStreetFox wagered me that I still wouldn’t be seeing The Virginian a month later.
I laughed at her suggestion and the stakes got pretty high, to the point that a whole mars bar was involved. Yes, we don’t mess about when it comes to wagers.
Anyway, give that it was a bet, I didn’t want to lose. A lot.
Not wanting to lose has extended the thing with the Virginian probably beyond the point when I would have normally given up. Even with the lure of a mars bar I’ve rather reached my limit.
The Virginian had wanted to meet up on Saturday night but I said it was unlikely because I was moving house. The move took far less time than I expected, and so I was lured out to a pub by Biscuit.
The following text exchange is from that evening and is completely unedited.
Toast: My word has got cold
Virginian: Yeah I had to get a hat on
Toast: What sort of hat? I am drinking with Biscuit in King’s Cross as part of a ‘hurrah London’ celebration.
Virginian: Knit. I have plans for tonight.
Toast: Good stuff.
Virginian: You insisted that you’d be busy so I made other plans. Have a good one!
Toast: I know. I am a spaz.
<five hours pass the next message is at 2am>
Virginian: You are. What’s shakin?
Virginian: Come over
<At about 5am I had to make an urgent call on the porcelain telephone so I was up and groaning about how I was never drinking again, ever.>
Toast: Crashed out by the time I got this. Nasty hangover brewing.
Virginian: I just woke up. Bad hangover as well. Pub hopped then met up with a group and went to a club? I’m going back to sleep.
Toast: I wish I could sleep
Virginian: Yeah I’m up now. Cuppa tea, toast, and a lovely sky.
Virginian: Hahaha my bedside clock was reset, I thought it was 1:30pm. Shit it’s only 8.
Toast: Yup. A whole day of being hungover ahead of you.
Virginian: I actually feel pretty good. Just had some oj and headache medicine. Just lost my voice again, but I think from yelling.
Toast: Can I come and visit?
Virginian: I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’ll see you at your party.
Toast: *sad face*
Virginian: You’ve taken me for granted. Congrats on the move and all that jazzzz.
Toast: Can I take you out for brunch?
< days pass >
And that ladies and gentlemen is how you piss off Toast. I offered her brunch and she never even replied. Brunch, who doesn’t like brunch?
FleetStreetFox gave this review of the Virginian
You should listen to me to start with. It will save on confectionary in the long run. A woman who is a mature student is mad. A woman who is not on her own continent is running from madness. And someone who chucks a bloke out immediately post-bonk has passive-aggressive commitment issues.
And she probably like cats too.
Needless anti-cat sentiment aside I think FleetStreetFox is on to something, and it looks like I’ll be buying her a Mars Bar.
She is wise, but also very smug.
I’ve kinda got some big news. no, I’m not pregnant, it’s bigger than that. I’m moving back to London.
I’ll be moving in with Biscuit. A you can imagine this is bound to cause a whole range of hilarious consequences.
The fun doesn’t stop there, on no. I’ve got a new job (hence the move to London) and in my new job I’ll be working about three metres away from Mia.
This wasn’t the main reason for me getting this job, but it was a definite perk. The new job will also allow me to meet loads of other exciting new people. Ding Dong. I’ll be back on the party circuit in a big way.
I’d had this all confirmed on Friday so I went down to London to celebrate. There had been a bit of celebrating on Wednesday too when I had the first hint of this happening. This was the sort of thing that requires a very thorough celebration.
On Saturday Biscuit and I drank a lot of booze made cakes and were visited by an old chum RB and The Virginian. There was a lot of giggling.
It was a great evening of laughter and accordions. The only minor blip was when Biscuit said ‘This isn’t working out for me‘ as a joke to The Virginian and she got a bit miffed and accused me of telling Biscuit everything I do.
I did say that whole episode had been exactly the sort of thing that chaps share, I had been kicked out of a bedroom at 1am. I neglected to mention the blog.
Anyway the rest of the evening was very jolly and ended up with four very mashed people crashing out. It was like a prototype house-warming.
Marriage percentage (for the Virginian) – 38% – Although was it a date if it was a sort of mini-party?
The other thing of note was that a friend in America, Lady Gatsby (I’ll explain that name in another post) emailed me to say she had bumped into a fan off the blog in a bar in Washington DC.
It’s weird to think that one of our readers just happened to in a bar and sat down next to a chum. The world is tiny sometimes. So hello May! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip with your fiancé.
I need to lie down now, and swap my head for a less hurty one.
The Virginian wanted to meet up this weekend. She was quite adamant about it, for some reason she felt a bit guilty after our last encounter and thought she should make it up to me by visiting with booze.
I was down in London for vague work reasons, well actually I could have done the same work from the wilderness but decided that it would be more fun to do it in London at Biscuit’s house.
The Virginian made her way over late in the evening. She was slightly concerned that the directions I’d given her were all part of some sort an elaborate prank to get revenge for being kicked out. I hadn’t even thought of being that cunning. I’ll save that for next time.
Eventually she appeared armed with booze and wearing an excellent pair of wellies (she had other clothes on too) and looking slightly sheepish.
I made the ‘This isn’t working out for me’ joke a few times, and I suspect I’ll make it a few times more in the future. She apologised for that again and said she had been deeply drunk.
I had to finish off a bit more work before we could drink or anything like that so the Virginian waited patiently until I was done and then pounced on me.
It was like a proper jump and everything, I was terribly impressed. Never underestimate the lure of athletic abilities
We were kissing like teenagers when Biscuit returned with his dad. This caused a briefly awkward moment that was covered up with more booze and laughter.
The Virginian then stayed the night and I didn’t kick her out of bed at any point.
In the morning I made her breakfast (fresh croissants, a selection of pastries and coffee) and we sat about reading the papers.
Biscuit and I forced her to watch British comedy DVDs as part of a cultural exchange, that also included crumpets and British chocolates. This was a mixed success but eventually we found some things that the Virginian liked.
At around lunch time I walked her to the tube station and said goodbye with vague plans to meet up again this weekend.
I suspect we might be drifting towards some sort of relationship.
Marriage percentage: 34%
The Virginian sent me an email after kicking me out of her dorm. Which makes the plot so thick it’s positively gravy.
‘So I don’t know if this is going to come off as very weird or what (most likely), but I’m typically pretty direct when it comes to addressing these kinds of things. Romantic or friendship whatever the case, I would bring something up. If this is too odd, please tell me and I’ll keep my nonsense to myself. Or it’ll just scare you away by coming off as crazy. But I’m a direct person so here goes-
It seems to me like we had a more open friendship prior to meeting; more casual, and more communicative. But after the dinner and after last night; it seems like it changed territories into being awkward; kind of reverting to the wait-two-days-to-contact sort of space. It’s not that I’m inferring this is more than it is, or complaining about not talking enough (etc) — Just that I would have expected us to be more open after meeting than revert.
Just wanted to know if I did something to offend you, or if it’s something else entirely. I just sense some kind of weirdness and wanted to address it. The thing I really liked about you prior to meeting is how I feel like I could message you whenever with whatever stupid thought and not think twice about bothering you, but now I have reservations and would like to clear the air.
I really hope this doesn’t read as crazy because it’s only been a few days; but I feel that I know you well enough, as a friend, to be able to say something serious and be plainly honest.’
I replied with the following
Honest is good. Sorry if it’s suddenly Seemed a bit weird – the events of Saturday caught me entirely off-guard, but I’ve not been attempting to be more distant or any of that ‘game’ nonsense.
I would very much like it if we could resume the normal service of lightly mocking each other over a series of slightly too many emails.
To which she replied.
I was worried that I messed things up by being so forward. We haven’t really talked about this kind of stuff – but I usually don’t do a second date with someone if I don’t feel a connection; and since we were having such a good time and I felt attracted to you – and went for it. Sleeping with someone to me is not a big deal, I enjoy it, but in the same reign I haven’t been with tons of guys either. I had been dating a guy for 4 1/2 years; and single the past 2 (well minor little things, nothing serious) — so I guess my attitude is go with the flow and see what happens; since I haven’t dated much and am rubbish at it.
And now she is going to cook me supper by way of an apology next time I’m in London. I think we can chalk that down as a win. Or at least only a light fail
The previous date with The Virginian hadn’t gone brilliantly. There had been good moments but the whole affair had been slightly awkward. Not chew-your-own-tongue-bad just not as easy as it could have been.
However, she was new in town so she didn’t know many people, and since she had made me laugh I had invited her out on Saturday with Biscuit and I.
This is how I expected the evening to go
We would have met up in a pub, had a slightly awkward hello and one drink. With that out-of-the-way we would have hopped onto the tube down to South London to a rock club. Biscuit had organised the trip to the venue to see some band he liked.
Since Biscuit loved the band he would have hit the mosh-pit and gone a bit mad, only appearing occasionally to drink booze and enthuse about how great the band were. The Virginian and I would prop up the bar and get steadily drunk while making cutting remarks about other people there.
At some point we would have had enough of the music (the club closed at 6am) and either leave without Biscuit or drag him away. There would the offer of some late night food and then we would part company. I would see the Virginian perhaps a couple of times, maybe as a plus one at a gallery launch but that was it.
Oh how wrong I was
What actually happened
Biscuit and I arrived at the pub a bit late. the Virginian was waiting with a drink. She was wearing a brilliant ensemble of a light leather jacket with coordinated handbag and lady-brogues. This was combined with a purple top and slightly faded jeans. Very rock chic.
She was pleased to see us and introductions were made. Biscuit and the Virginian hit it off, and almost immediately started mocking each other. There was a lot of mockery, and laughter. The whole thing was far more relaxed than the first date and so time flew by.
The first event of the evening involved pork scratchings. the Virginian had never tried them so Biscuit got a bowl and we forced her to eat one. I filmed it on my iPhone. Even it HD it’s hard to get across the full look of horror on the Virginian’s face.
This caused a wave of laughter, Biscuit and I were howling with mirth. So much so that a nearby table of visiting Slovakians asked what we were eating.
We shared the pork scratchings with them which caused a mixture of disgust and delight and they became our new friends.
To make up for the pork scratchings I bought a round of Guinness and then demonstrated how to down one.
The Virginian had previously said that she could handle her drink and that she would easily drink me under the table. I downed the pint in about seven seconds, this was also caught on video.
I think this was the point at which the evening turned silly.
Biscuit started making balloon animals and giving them to nearby tables. Or to put it more accurately nearby tables, full of people from a wide range of European countries, were demanding he made them animals. Or rude hats. The hats were VERY rude.
The Virginian grabbed my thigh under the table. I said ‘blimey’ and nearly choked on my pint.
We looked at each other, I raised my eyebrow in query.
Biscuit handed out another balloon animal to a waiting person.
The Virginian squeezed my leg again and smiled.
I did the only acceptable thing and squeezed her leg back.
Biscuit put an X-rated balloon hat on the head of nearby man.
Some more time passed. We had made life-long friends with the French couple on the next table and were even speaking bad school-boy French at them while Biscuit showed the man how to make a giraffe.
The Virginian leaned over and whispered in my ear ‘You should come home with me’
‘Okay’ I replied.
More time passed, there were more drinks and giggling and friends made with a couple of chaps from Finland.
It was last orders, in a daze I stumbled out of the bar with the Virginian and said goodbye to Biscuit. We took the tube back to her house. On the escalators she kissed me a few times and then complimented me on my lips.
We arrived at her room in the student halls. There wasn’t a lot of talking and we ended up in bed. I’m sure you can imagine what happened next.
It’s the bit after that shocked me.
At first she asked me if I would rather stay or leave. I said stay. It was late, I was drunk and she was good company.
Then after a little bit she said ‘This isn’t working out for me. Would you mind if you left?’
I said ‘No of course not’. I did mind a bit, but I am British and so raised to be polite.
I pulled on my clothes. She got out of bed to say goodbye and fell over. We were both quite drunk. We said goodbye. I stumbled out into the night and found a mini-cab company. The tubes were all closed.
As I waited for the mini-cab I realised not a lot of time had passed. As in, I hadn’t been at the Virginians place very long. It had been a flying visit.
In the cab on the way back I couldn’t decide if I felt used in a good way or a bad way.
Biscuit was still awake when I got back to his place and we ate hash browns and tried to work out if I’d be used. The jury is still out now
Marriage percentage: 30%
The Virginian gained a load of points by being far more amusing and eating things we gave her. However the whole late-night mini-cab ride cost her a lot of points too.
- Sometimes people can be way more fun on a second date
- The pub on the corner of Oxford Street is great for meeting people randomly
- Everyone in Europe loves a good balloon animal
- If a girls squeezes your leg she probably wants something.
- The ‘Cab ride of pride’ can often be very confusing.
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