There are dates, and then there are EPICDATES. The distinction was created while the Theatre Producer was in America. Dates are dates, Epicdates are above and beyond the call of duty. I said when she returned I would like to take her on EPICDATE#1, she agreed.
(Normal dates can happen between EPICDATES).
There was a lot of planning, focus groups (no really, I asked a mutual friends), diagrams and brainstorming sessions.
The eventual plan was simple, I’d meet her at the airport when she got off the plane and then I’d take her to a restaurant. That doesn’t sound very epic right? Well the latter bit of it.
I had a plan.
Some friends had just opened a new restaurant in London. I’d been going to their other places for years and I was owed a favour.
So I went in and chatted to them and they said they could give me super-dooper treatment. A reserved table, champagne on arrival and a tasting menu of food paired with the perfect wine to go with each dish.
That sounded quite epic so we went with that.
I hadn’t told the Theatre Producer what we were doing, but I had let her know of the required dress code and given a couple of clues to add to the fun. I said that smelling was involved and that it was something that couldn’t happen until recently. I also gave a vague location.
Annoyingly she worked out where we were going. Now I do find intelligence very attractive but this sort of fiendish detective work had caught me slightly off-guard. Future EPICDATES wouldn’t involve any clues.
I pretended she hadn’t worked it out (It’s amazing how much deception is required in romance) and met her at a nearby location. We said hellos and went into the restaurant.
The moment we appeared through the door we were ushered over to our table and given a glass of champagne and sat down. The Theatre Producer was showing the right mix of surprise and excitement.
The owner came over. I introduced him to the Theatre Producer and he suggested a tasting menu of dishes which he would select wines for. We went with that.
Dishes started arriving. Each one would have a perfectly chosen wine to go with it. As in perfectly chosen. The wine would be explained with tasting notes so we had impressive things to say while trying it
‘Oh yes this one is very structured’
‘You can really taste the wine-yness of this one. By the red tone colour you can tell this is a red wine.”
‘The lack of tannins compliments the duck perfectly’
Guess which one was my phrase.
The evening rushed by, we ate potted duck, perfectly cooked steaks, salty greens, beautiful cheeses and everything was matched with the perfect drink and attentive service.
We talked about all sorts of things, exchanged stories and caught up, by the end of the meal we were holding hands across the table.
Some time later, and rather sozzled we finished off the meal with a glass of Tawny Port and stumbled off into the night.
We ended back at my house, on the flimsiest of pretexts. This was unexpected so I had to make the Theatre Producer wait in the kitchen while I furiously cleared up some mess.
I didn’t do a terribly good job, but I don’t think she was really noticing. There was quite a lot of kissing going on. She kept falling over in her ridiculous heels, so I picked her up and carried her upstairs.
* fade to black *
The next day we woke up and I made us coffee. Even though it was decaf it was poncy decaf and the Theatre Producer approved. I fed her chocolate buttons for breakfast in bed and then made us both scrambled eggs.
With great regret we went to work. It had been an epic first date*
Marriage Percentage: 55% – This feels a bit low actually but I’m trying to remain level-headed over this.
*if it was the first date or not is a source of debate and mild ribbing.
Even when pining, life goes on. June is a smashing month, and it just wouldn’t do to spend the whole time inside listening to The Cure. I’m still doing a bit of that, I just not spending the entire time doing it.
I was given a couple of VIP passes for the Polo. I’m not really into watching sport, but I’d found out some chums were going and they assured me that it was mostly about drinking. I am quite into drinking.
I thought quite carefully about the sort of chum that would be fun at the Polo who would be fun but wouldn’t read too much into my invite.
After a bit of hunting around I invited Rebecca. We had stayed in touch since our slightly disorganised date (in a chummy way, not in a flirty way) I asked if she wanted to join me at the Polo and she said yes.
My first Polo match
It was an extremely hot day, ideal for shorts but I had been invited to a pre-polo lunch which required the wearing of trousers. This was a bit annoying but I thought I’d brave a linen suit.
It was very hot. Thanks to work on the tube line I ended up having to get a bus most of the way there. The bus was very slow, so slow that I missed my free lunch in a posh club. I know, some times life on the streets can be brutal, but it doesn’t help anyone to shy away from the tough stuff.
My chums were already there and drinking away. I joined them and we steadily worked our way through a lot of Pimms and some pink cocktail thing with gin in it. It was amazingly hot so putting cold drinks in our mouths seemed like an excellent idea.
No-one thought to order any water.
We ordered some more drinks, it seemed like the only way we could possibly stay cool under the intense heat of the sun. We got quite drunk.
My date arrives
Some time later Rebecca appeared. I joined her at the gate and handed over her pass. She was wearing a gold dress with massive gold heels. She looked very much the part.
We went straight to the VIP area because it would have free drinks and possibly even some food. The Polo was rammed at this point with a plethora of boozy rahs, but when we walked past the overweight security guard we entered a world of calm.
People using soft polite voices ushered us to our area. It was a giant tent with sofas, a selection of sandwiches, a lot of booze and lots of helpful people wearing aprons. Outside there was an outdoor area that was right on the polo arena (ring? pitch?) with lovely wooden chairs and sunshades.
We had a glass of champagne (not free) and then ate lots of tiny sandwiches (free) and cakes (free) before getting stuck into some white wine (free). It was lovely. The horses had lots of fights over the ball right next to us which was exciting and the bit where you have to invade the pitch to stamp all the holes in with your feet was excellent fun. I’ve never invaded a pitch before but I’d definitely recommend it to friends.
We became chums with lots of people in our section, learning all about the game and which side were supposed to be cheering on. Sadly the Polo ended and we were ushered out onto the streets.
Later on that Evening
Rebecca went off to meet up with some friends and I crossed London to meet up with set of my chums who were celebrating a birthday. I arrived, had to eat a steak, drank some wine and then moved to a pub for some cider.
Biscuit and Jen appeared and we all drank lots of booze while talking nonsense. I was exhausted by this point so we shared a cab home. It had been a good day.
Rebecca Marriage percentage: 20% She is lovely, but my mind is somewhere else.
Rebecca is fun, and interesting but she is in the friend zone now, part of this might be due to the fact that I spent the whole day exchanging text messages with the Theatre Producer. I’m such a bloody sap it’s sickening.
I was a little bit hungover on Friday after going out with Rebecca. Not ruined or anything just not at 100%.
I wanted to battle through work and then spend some quality time with my sofa.
I’d forgotten that I had a lunch date. It was with a girl from the Internet, well from America but we’d met through the Internet. Well not met. This was to be our first meeting.
The lunch date had been arranged for a while and so we hadn’t spoken for a few days, well ten. I’d messaged her a few days ago just to sort of confirm that the date was still on. She hadn’t replied.
I sent her another message with my phone number asking her to give me a call to say if it was still happening.
This might seem a bit needy but the restaurant was on the other side of London, it was going to be a bit of a quest to get there.
There was no reply.
I hate being stood up so I decided to go to the restaurant to see if she was there. If I hadn’t gone I would have spent the rest of the day wondering what could have been.
It was quite far away and I had transport issues. I couldn’t find the right bus, and then the tube stopped in the tunnel for ages. I was a little bit late.
I couldn’t see her, or at least anyone who looked like the couple of pictures on the dating website.
I asked a member of staff if they had her booking because I didn’t know her surname this was a bit more tricky. They were jolly helpful though and didn’t seem to bat an eyelid when I said I was meeting a friend but I didn’t have her phone number or surname.
I waited at the bar, scanning the restaurant and anyone who arrived while checking my phone to see if she had messaged me.
Eventually I gave in and headed back to work. Lunch was an unpleasant sandwich on a bus. When I got back to the office I got a minor telling off for having a too long lunch break.
It wasn’t a very successful date.
Penelope invited me over for a drink in a pub near her on Monday evening.
She lives in a satellite town to London and said we could go to a country pub which sounded like a lovely way to end the weekend.
She met me at the train station in a car. Which I was surprised by. This would mean no drinking, but country pubs don’t often have very good transport links so I suppose it made sense.
She started the car as we caught up and after about three turns we stopped. We weren’t in the countryside. We were on an street with houses. I couldn’t even see any green.
We were at a pub near to the station, like really near. We probably could have walked it in ten minutes.
It wasn’t really a country pub, more of a suburban pub. It was an old, slightly rough looking place with about dozen people in to who welcomed Penelope and eyed me up a bit strangely.
We got our drinks and sat down at a table. A man was performing loud Dire Straights covers with a guitar in the corner of the pub. It was so noisy it was hard to have a conversation.
We chatted about work stuff. She mentioned someone who is in her PhD group who is being a bit weird and we giggled about a few things. Most of these conversations happened in the pauses between songs because the singing man was offensively loud.
A few hours later it was time to get the last train home so we hopped into the car. The subject of previous relationships came up. I told her about the angry letter and how that went down.
She explained that she had broken up with her previous chap a month or so ago because it hadn’t been going anywhere, and that they had been going out for four years.
He had even worked in the pub we had just visited which explained why the locals were giving me weird looks. I suddenly felt a bit weird about the whole thing. Why did she decide to take me to that pub?
Even stranger she mentioned that she was meeting up with the ex the next day to make sure he understood it was over. Why wouldn’t he get that? I was suddenly a bit perplexed by the whole thing.
It had been a very strange weekend.
Marriage percentage: 20% – Couldn’t we have gone to a different pub?
I had a lunch date, well a pre-lunch date.
There was a girl off OkCupid who wanted to meet up and so we did.
I did think about cocktails but I didn’t want to drink because 11am on a school day is a little bit too early for me. Or at least it is at the moment.
She doesn’t drink coffee or tea and it’s a bit too warm for hot chocolate so I suggested we meet for juice.
You know, one of those slightly pretentious juice places with wheat-grass on the menu. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
She was late (-5 points) and lost (-5 points) so I had to leave our meeting point to hunt her down. She walked past me on the street, so I had to jump after her waving (-5 points) and then call her on the phone.
She was tall, with mousey blond shoulder length hair. Brown eyes and a hint of freckles. She was wearing a rather short denim dress (+5 points) with tan heels. There were legs (+10 points).
Anyone for juice?
We went to the juice bar and ordered our drinks. She had a banana based one and I had one with lots of bits in and some wheat-grass. My juice was pretty crunchy for a juice but nice.
It definitely tasted healthy, even if none of the health claims could actually be backed up with any sort of actual scientific evidence.
We talked about jobs, London and hobbies. All the usual stuff. She has recently taken up Burlesque but has no plans to present a show. It’s just for fun. I learned that when you start doing Burlesque you take on a Burlesque name. I still don’t know why but I like the idea.
She is mid-job hunt but has also decided to ‘make a project’ of sorting out her private life. I liked her focused attitude on this. I was briefly tempted to mention the blog but decided against it.
The date lasted about an hour, which pretty good for a single juice and we parted ways. There is a vague plan to meet up again. We shall see. With Biscuit storming ahead in the lead I have to get my act together.
Marriage percentage: 20% We got on, she was nice but juice dates are weird. How are you supposed to get drunk and reveal too much about yourself?
There are a few things you should do when you find yourself single again. I did the usual trio. I bought some new clothes, I went for a run and I re-activated my account on OkCupid.
It must be dating season because I started to get messages a few minutes later from girls. Hurrah.
One of whom had no picture. She was amusing though so I sent a reply and we got chatting a little bit. Eventually she shared some pictures. This was a good thing.
I think it’s unfair if someone doesn’t put pictures on their profile. If you have put pictures up they should take an equal amount of risk, no? She shared some blurry photos and didn’t appear to be a man at least so we continued to talk.
I can’t remember how it started exactly but we started messaging in the third person. I think something to do with a man pestering her and she was asking a hypothetical question. Anyway, we started talking in the third person, and then didn’t stop.
The lady wonders if the man would like to go for a drink some time?
The man would quite like that, where does the lady live in London?
And so on. She wanted to meet up and so we did, last night.
It was in Green Park because that was where our tube lines crossed. Green Park isn’t a great great location but since she was running ten minutes late I had time to scout out a suitable place for us to have a drink.
She arrived and we said hello. She was medium height, long dark hair, dark brown eyes and sparkly lips. I suspect she had lip-gloss on rather than being half unicorn or something like that.
She was wearing blue jeans and a strappy top. Not that dressy but it was a Monday night so who knows what one should wear?
We ambled over the pub and ordered our non alcoholic drinks. She isn’t a big drinker and I decided to have a night off because I feel a bit weird if I’m drinking and the other person isn’t.
We talked about all sorts of things. She is from Portugal, is doing a PhD and plays squash. She attracts 24 year old men a lot and isn’t very girly girl but likes make-up. She was nice. Conversation was easy and the time passed fairly quickly.
A bit later it was time to get the last tube home so we walked back to the tube station and said goodbyes with vague plans to meet up again. She was pleasant and lovely but I was so excited about meeting up with Dawn on Saturday that she didn’t really have a fair chance. She was nice though and had an amusing accent.
Marriage percentage 15%
During the day New York continued to amaze and impress us.
We played on the giant piano from Big ($250,000 if you want your own), ate knishes (I’m going to miss them) and had conversations with complete strangers (about all sorts of things).
In the evening I’d arranged to do a ‘trivia night’ (pub quiz) with another girl off OkCupid, one that I’d been speaking to for a month or so.
Biscuit and I arrived at the pub early. It was called Common Ground and was pleasingly New Yorky. It had a long wide bar with polished rails and some tellys showing sports. When we arrived it was empty so we took up a place by the bar and ordered some beers.
I emailed the girl to say that we were early and to just say hello when she got in. Twenty minutes later I got a message back saying she was there. We turned around and they were sat behind us. She had brought a chum along.
The girl looked like a far more glamorous version of Blossom from the hit 90s TV show Blossom. Except she was wearing the regulation New York uniform of all black. Her chum looked exactly, I mean exactly, like a younger version of Marcy from Californication. She was also wearing black.
We had a few drinks, talked about places to visit. They were impressed by the bar that Biscuit and I had been to for second lunch and suggested a couple more places for us to go.
Some of ‘Blossom’s’ chums turned up for the pub quiz who were all excellent fellows apart from one of them, who was acting a bit weirdly and kept having whispery conversations with ‘Marcy’ at the bar.
Biscuit made balloon shapes for everyone to wear, which went down really well. Soon our entire team were sporting a range of balloon hats, glasses and swords.
Just before the quiz started, MyLoveLifeInYourHands turned up. There was a huge cheer and he told us all about his trip to DC. We got more drinks in and settled into the quiz. Blossom moved so she was stood next to MyLoveLifeInYourHands and they chatted away.
We did pretty well at the quiz until there was a round on Baseball and we walked out in protest over that.
Also we wanted to get some food. The slightly grumpy friend had left at this point, but was having a long text conversations with Marcy, who was ruinously drunk.
The next bar was a painfully cool jazz place. We sat on a low table. I was next to Marcy, who was constantly lit up by the screen of her phone and MyLoveLifeInYourHands was sat next to Blossom.
Biscuit was sat in front of us all and fading fast. I’ve never seen someone go from normal to broken so fast.
We ordered drinks and then were told that the kitchen was closed. We drank the drinks. MyLoveLifeInYourHands quizzed Marcy about the constantly texting.
Apparently the grumpy friend was sort of seeing her but had felt really threatened by three bumbling British types, yes the mind boggles, and so had stormed off into the night.
After the drinks we grabbed a cab home. Cabs are way cheaper in New York.
Marriage percentage: 10%, she was fun, but I suspect she has designs on MyLoveLifeInYourHands…