Having been on four dates with Jen I had promised to go and visit her the following Saturday. This involved a surprisingly pricey trip out the opposite side of London.
People who’ve lived in London for a while complain about having to go south of the river or out of zone 2. This, by comparison, was a journey worthy of Scott. Except, because I used to think nothing of trekking an hour and a half for a night out in London before I moved her it was actually rather a nice trip.
We started off in the pub. What’s been really refreshing about seeing her is that we’ve had a number of sober (or at least initially sober) dates. In many ways the feeling reminds me of when I first got together with Marshall. She too commented how refreshing it was not to make a beeline for the pub. I also remember being quite nervous, as I’ve similarly been with Jen, for the first few dates. I take this as a good comparison because Marshall was my longest and most harmonious of relationships.
After drinking lots of raspberry beer, sharing music, giggling and lamenting Toast’s demanding ex who had just dumped him, we took a sunny walk back to her place for grub. Jen’s house is amazing. It was originally built as an engagement present by some posh chap for his fiancée but, in typical girl style, the fiancée didn’t like it
Jen had been feeling a little harrowed as her housemate had her boyfriend over and they had been doing the sex LOT and VERY LOUDLY, leaving her running past the door to try and avoid it .I gave them both balloon goggles (after they had finished the sexings) and they were suddenly the happiest grown ups is the WORLD. There was some spaceman style psychedelic dancing before they retreated to do more of the sex.
Jen prepared some excellent fajitas and was impressed with my tortilla folding technique. the plan WAS to get some grub and then head out again but I was feeling so wiped out that the little sit down turned into an extended lie down… which then turned into a roll around with frolics and hijinks!
Fajitas are awesome food for dates because you have to discard the cutlery and just get stuck in, which is wonderfully liberating. Also someone will probably throw some down their top at some point. This second point doesn’t help a date, it is just observation.
All pub plans were abandoned in favour of snoozing, so when we woke in the morning we were actually rather refreshed. Since we both had plans for the day, we had a nice cup of tea before she walked me to the station to get the train home.
Dates are certainly getting much more comfortable and I have it on good authority that I passed the housemate’s scrutiny with the smooth balloon moves.
Marriage percentage: 53%. Slow and steady so far and I seem to be in the beginnings of possibly the most sensibly approached relationship for a decade. Being able to have fun times both sober and drunk is really important too.
Having seen Jen and had a lovely time with the dinosaurs, I still had a date arranged with the Irish Girl (who I will call Shannon). Technically this was a first date as the first time had been a chance meeting that turned into her deciding that I was her responsibility. It was a smooth move.
She had suggested an event that was part art installation, part performance, part interactive experience and all booze.
We were numbered and given fake money on entry. Apparently there was a ‘bingo wedding’ later. There was some obscure underlying game going on that we couldn’t figure out but soon discovered that we could illicitly collect more cash by sweet talking the ‘ruling elite’. Soon we were deeply embroiled in the game… or rather I was deeply embroiled. I’ve been known to be a little competitive at times. Hell, I think that’s a fair description of anyone who has a wager over who will get married first.
The second ‘Queen’ that we spoke to had a game of truth or dare going on. We didn’t dare refuse as we had no idea what sanctions might be employed. I had already seen her confiscate someone’s flag of nationality. I took a dare, which she was surprised at but there were too many awkward questions she could have asked. I was dared to sidle up to an unsuspecting woman and softly sing the first line of Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ into her ear… which I dutifully did.
Shannon was then dared to perform Irish dancing in front of a couple sat at the bar… however she copped out by explaining at length before not really doing any dancing. During this time I was schmoozing with the Queen for extra cash. Actually she was flirting back and was incredibly cute in her cape and faux military hat.
I then dared her to do her best dancing in the middle of the warehouse space, which she performed with flamboyance and abandon. I was impressed… and rather fancied her.
Before long I soon had more money than anyone else could possibly have had, 5 different coloured flags and a cardboard and balloon construction that was drawing envious glances and attempted thievery. I had also drunk a lot of cider. During some of this time Shannon had been happily chatting to a couple of SCUBA instructors about doing her PADI. I did hunter gather drinks too but at times she was content to let me run round on missions, slightly bemused by my behaviour.
I also found myself using any excuse to go and talk to the Queen. She knew we were on a date but was undoubtedly flirting with me as we kept having those lingering eye contact moments long after we should have been looking elsewher.
This is where I crossed a line in my mind. Between the cider, the party atmosphere, her cheeky but authoritative persona and my apparent total disregard for any good form at all, I started to try and work out how I could get her number WHILST ON A DATE WITH SOMEONE ELSE.
I’m not proud of this at all and I make no excuses. The truth of it is that the only reason I didn’t overtly try was because I wasn’t sure I could get away with it.
The stupid thing is that I actually had a great date with Shannon. She stole a royal standard and happily tolerated my exuberant excesses. She also clearly spotted that there was something going on as she put herself between me and the Queen on the dancefloor later.
To make my behaviour worse, Shannon then came and stayed at mine and there were hijinks. I walked her to the station in the morning and promised to sort out the next date, but in my heart I knew she deserved better than that kind of treatment. If I was hitting on someone else on a date with her it clearly means that:
- I need to SERIOUSLY re-evaluate my priorities.
- I’m clearly not that into her.
- I should save her from any of this behaviour.
I’m not quite sure how I got to this state. This is less ‘with great power comes great responsibility‘ and more ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’.
Marriage percentage: 5%. This is entirely my fault and not hers. I had a long chat with myself after all this… but that’s another post in itself.
Having accidentally (but happily) gained myself a promised American wife AND having been on a great couple of dates with Kim, I felt that this qualified the New York trip as an unmitigated success beyond my expectations. I specifically wasn’t looking to kiss any more girls.
As Saturday was (supposed to be) our last night in the the city, I had arranged to see Kim after work for drinking on the town and had invited Toast and MyLoveLifeInYourHands to join me after we’d had our fill at the brewery. I knew that Kim was planning for a messy night as she had some naughty pills that she was planning to share with a friend but thought it would still be fun.
You probably already know what happened, since Toast has spilled the greatest spoiler since revealing the end of Titanic: I kissed a girl.
I have several points in my defence but nothing that really excuses the behaviour:
- She looked like a young Claudia Winkleman.
- She had an initial air of ‘bemused quizzical indifference’ that piques my interest (in a Ramona Flowers style).
- The moment I heard her accent I fancied her.
- She had an adorable laugh and beautifully coy but sincere smile
- She saved my beer from being stolen TWICE.
- She looks hot in a balloon hat.
As I had arranged to meet Kim I held back from kissing her several times when the moment was conducive to it. The tension was becoming almost intoxicating, but I also knew that there was an outside chance that Kim might be joining us if her plans didn’t work out.
I got some increasingly mashed messages from Kim saying that her plans were all on and we should join her. By this point I was rather mashed myself and having way too much fun with present company to want to negotiate the subway network for the best part of an hour.
Eventually I got a slightly garbled message saying that she was staying out and I should join her. It was shortly afterwards that I kissed Claudia. Toast was making us pose for a photo looking wantonly into each other’s eyes. I can’t remember the scenario but the basic premise on Toast’s part was get me to kiss her.
We spent a lot of time talking whilst the others played pool in the next bar. I had already decided to stay. I felt really torn but I knew I wasn’t leaving Kim by herself and I was a little reticent to go given that she had obviously taken the naughty pills (yes, I clearly am attempting to justify my actions).
In a moment that almost made me melt because it felt like something straight out of a trashy American teen film, I had paused mid conversation and was just looking at her when she raised her eyebrow and said “I know that look, you want to make out don’t you?”.
‘Make out’! I’ve never heard that term used in its native context before!
We did make out and it was very good making out indeed. However it was making out in a bar and I think we had already breached the etiquette of the situation. As the others were all happilly engaged in pool and fledgling bar brawls I said “soooo… would you like to go and make out somewhere else?”
That’s how we ended up with a house guest the following morning.
After we had all had morning tea and I had walked Claudia to the subway station, I sat back in the appartment and said to the others “Oh god, I’m such a bad person”. Toast replied “You’re not a bad person, you’re just acting exactly like one”.
At no point have I ever gone out with the express intention of kissing girls and I’ve never kissed any girls or done naughty things just for the sake of it. With all of them I’ve seen potential for something more than hijinks. This however, does not stop me feeling like something of a womaniser.
Perhaps I’m just not ready for the power that an English accent bestows whilst in the States.
Marriage percentage: 35%. I can’t believe I’ve met three people who I would happily pursue a relationship with in the space of a week. I’m still not entirely sure how it’s all happened.
Lesson learned: Applebee’s really does have the WORST coffee I have ever tasted.
7 nights: 1 city, 1 spouse to find. Despite resembling extras from The Walking Dead when we arrived in the country, we dragged ourselves out through a combination of caffeine and peer pressure. Time is short after all and we are on a mission.
Toast has briefly chronicled the kooky bar that we found ourselves in, still jet lagged and bewildered. Within a few minutes of being there I had seen pretty much everyone there and was furtively throwing glances at a pretty Asian girl who had caught my eye and I clearly fancied more than anyone else there.
I eventually got a chance to talk to ‘Kim’ and was bewitched by her delicious accent, asymmetric hipster styled haircut and cheeky smile. By the time we’d left I had her contact details scribbled on a scrap of paper (because I had managed to leave my phone in England) and had set up a date for Tuesday.
Monday night was uneventful as Toast and I crashed out for 12 hours sleep so Tuesday seemed to come quite quickly.
Edit, I forgot about this little gem of info: I warmed up for the date in the excellent bar that Toast’s OK Cupid contact recommended. The toilets in it were even so nice that I would have happily rented it as a tiny apartment. Fearing that we had been wandering the streets a little while and I was just off to meet a girl, I thought I’d take the opportunity for a quick ‘freshen up’ before the date. I’ve mentioned this kind of pre-date freshen up before. Thankfully I can now immediately tell the difference between squirty soap and squirty alchohol gel by texture.
I can’t, however, tell the difference between normal squirty hand soap and super cooling minty eucalyptus squirty soap. I minced back to Toast somewhat gingerly and sat there with a pained expression on my face for about 5 minutes. I felt complelled to explain my mistake.
Since ‘MyLoveLifeInYourHands’ was in Washington I left Toast to wander the streets whilst I went to meet my date.
Kim came straight from work and was wearing an endearing huge fluffy hat and working the smile overtime as she bounded towards me. We set of for a restaurant to grab some food.
At her behest we stopped by a comic shop and I found out she used skate. I tried my best not to go all doe eyed as she was racking up massive kudos.
We had the choice of a HUGE Mexican meal or a HUGE burger so had a quick snowball fight in the park across the road to decide and settled on Mexican with the proviso that we drank margaritas, which seemed like a reasonable deal to me.
Something started to feel very familiar.
The margaritas were huge, I mean seriously HUGE. They were so big that I took a picture of one next to Kim’s face to show how huge it was. It was then I had my realisation; I had been on this date before.
I was sat in a Mexican restaurant with a Filipino girl armed with enough margarita to give even Rasputin a bit of a gyppy tummy. This was exactly the setup of one of my first dates on the wager.
The date became pleasantly silly and we were practicing left-handed writing to see who would be the best at sending ransom notes or something.
Somehow we eventually beat the Sisyphean task (the man who had to push the boulder up the hill forever) of finishing the margaritas and Kim lead me to a bar to carry on drinking. Well, she tried, but I spun her round in the street and planted a cheeky kiss on her lips. Smiling coyly, we walked hand in hand to the next bar.
Although there was a pool table and cool hipster types hanging out, I didn’t really pay much attention as we spent most of the time chatting, giggling and kissing.
Kim had work in the morning so eventually we called it a night and I jumped on the subway with her as I needed to go and meet Toast who was on a date and had the only key to the apartment.
Finding him was promising to be a bit of a trek so Kim casually sugguested that it might be easier to stay at hers since she lived en route. This seemed like a much better idea so we walked hand in hand through the FREEZING wind to her apartment.
There was lots of kissing and other hijinks which was all very lovely, I really like her a lot.
In the morning I walked to the subway with her and kissed her goodbye at my stop with the promise of seeing her on Thursday night. Unfortunately my plan of heading back to the apartment was thwarted as Toast, the keymaster, was staying at girl’s place and MyLoveLifeInYourHands was in DC.
I camped in a Bagel shop for an hour and a half until Toast surfaced. There are certainly worse places in the world to be stuck than a New York bagel shop.
Marriage percentage: 35%
I am really looking forward to Thursday and seriously thinking twice about meeting up with any of the internet dates I had made vague plans with. Gosh, American women are lovely!
Saturday I had a first meet with an internet date. I had actually contacted her just after new year but we hadn’t been able to find a convenient time to meet until now so we had occasionally swapped witticisms via the dating website, text and then Facebook.
Moving to Facebook contact early is a double edged sword. It may be generally better that a potential date does not see my stream of consciousness about accidentally squashing kiwi fruit in my work bag, or see the picture of me in just speedos with bad wetsuit sunburn. Sometimes I think it’s better to fool a girl into not thinking that you are a massive spaz until she is hopelessly infatuated with and betrothed to you. However I reasoned that since I am unlikely to keep it hidden for long enough to get that far then it’s probably better to get it all out in the open from the outset.
The dates I’ve had of late have been mostly with people who I have met first in actual real life so first impressions had already been formed (apart from Little Miss Naughty, but we had already formed certain impressions of each other based on ‘other’ characteristics). This time I felt I had an opportunity to make a decent first impression so drew lessons from some of my earliest failings and resolved to arrive well dressed and on time.
I put on my smartest black shiny shoes, a short sleeved shirt and, my nicest jeans. Unfortunately, because I was posting my last update, I put them on about an hour after I SHOULD have done to arrive in good time for the date.
This necessitated an unnecessarily stressful emergency taxi ride from West London to Soho. 25 minutes and £25 later I arrived, miraculously only 5 minutes late.
Oh well, one lesson out of two is better than none.
I’d opted to meet mid afternoon, which allowed plenty of time for adventures but also meant we could cut our losses and not wipe out an entire evening if the date was terrible.
I had arranged to meet in a tiny shop which boasted the most decadent cakes I have ever seen assembled in one location. I walked in to see my date smiling back at me. We had joked about her wearing a wedding dress on the date. Instead she was wearing a tight vest top with a rather risqué neckline, tight slinky jeans, cream heels and a rather cheeky grin.
I don’t normally notice shoes… maybe I am catching the gays from Toast?
Armed with red velvet cake and coffee, which I bought in penance for being late, we pulled up a couple of stools to the breakfast bar and started chatting. This is the first time I can remember meeting for a first date and not immediately furnishing ourselves with alcohol. There’s something very reassuring about a refreshing gin or full-bodied ale and maybe I haven’t realised quite how much I have come to rely on it to calm the nerves on a date.
I’ll admit it, I was nervous. I’v been on so many dates over the last year that I’m almost NEVER nervous anymore, and certainly not an hour into the date. She seemed a little nervous too and we were both a little hyper, although in retrospect perhaps that was the massive sugar rush from the ENORMOUS slice of cake.
She works in IT (which is the LAST thing I would have guessed) but was quite dismissive of it, however I’ll still call the the IT Girl because it sounds quite pleasing. We actually barely talked about grown up things at all and quickly settled into a slightly silly and irreverent banter.
Leaving the cake shop for Chinatown we stopped to enjoy some of the partying and watch the Lion dances for Chinese New Year. the IT Girl is a little, well, ‘little’ so I found her a good step so she could see what was happening. Managing to avoid buying a ridiculously tacky ‘Alladdin’s’ style lamp we finally got to a pub and started putting booze in our faces.
The conversation got even sillier very quickly and Vegas weddings, sex with horses and doing bad things to children were all mentioned. I fancied her before we started drinking and only fancied her more as we carried on. I sent Toast a text saying “Marriage percentage 60%”. I mention this because he then posted it all over Twitter and I was mocked for my recent run of enthusiastically high M% that go into exponential decay with each date.
Despite living in London, I don’t really know my way around the streets and drinking holes yet. Thankfully the IT girl did. We moved from cozy pub to painfully classy cocktail bar (where I was glad I had put my nice shoes on) to a cheap and cheerful dive of a pub.
Mid chat about her family I dropped a clanger that made me go bright red. I meant to say something throwaway about ‘if I met her parents’ but what actually came out was “when I meet your parents”. With sudden horror I realised my mistake and I was suddenly rather flustered and backtracking rapidly. Thankfully she didn’t make a girl-shaped hole in the wall and laughed it off instead. *phew!*
I rather wanted to kiss her from about halfway through the date but wasn’t confident it would be reciprocated. I got my chance on the walk to Trafalgar Square. She stepped into a sheltered spot out of the wind and backed up against the wall to spark a sneaky fag. Something about the conversation made a perfect excuse to step in close. I don’t remember what that thing was because we we then rather distracted by the kissing. It wasn’t quite as cheeky a moment as obeying the little purple love imp when he tells you to kiss but it was pretty perfect apart from that.
…or it would have been if we hadn’t stepped apart and noticed the puddle of piss that had been next to us the whole time.
We were sat in Trafalgar square about 10pm waiting for the firework show that had clearly already been and gone when she got a text from the friend she was due to be staying with. She lives outside the opposite edge of London so it would have been a nightmare to get home. Her friend said that he was going to bed. IT Girl weighed up the options between going there or attempting to trek all the way back home.
I had told Toast that there was NO WAY I would be bringing anyone home as my room was in an utterly shameful state. This is a bit like the boy equivalent of not shaving your legs. Feeling slightly prompted I tentatively offered that she could stay at mine if she preferred. Pants on though, as I’m not that kind of boy. I did offer the spare room but she gave me the raised eyebrow implying ‘yeah, like THAT’s going to happen’.
I had forgotten to let Toast know that I was bringing a guest back until a few minutes before I arrived so really hoped that I didn’t find him and the consultant ‘holding hands’ in the living room. The plan of ‘no hijinks’ plan didn’t quite work out, even with the messy room.
Despite everyone’s jibes I am going to stick to my original M%. Yes, it is enthusiastic but there’s no harm in a high M%, as long as I take it slowly and calmly.
…and for those of you now scoffing at me, it’s not very becoming. :p
- Good shoes are a must for first dates.
- Being late because you are writing up last night’s adventures is costly and stressful. Don’t do it.
- Don’t send Toast marriage percentages, he will use it against you.
- Dropping clangers that makes it look like you had already planned the honeymoon is embarrassing and should be avoided at all costs.
- French Martinis are not as delicious as raspberry Martinis.
- The tidiness of my room seems to be inversely proportional to the likelihood of me bringing home a guest.
- Look for puddles of wee before you kiss.
I had a second date with Little Miss Naughty. Because I was STILL ill and had lost my voice the first time, and because we were both in need of a quiet night in, she offered to shout me Thai takeaway and a film at hers. This was also a good opportunity to take advantage of the fact that her recently ex boyfriend who still lives with her was due to be away for the weekend.
In typical Biscuit form, I got distracted by playing Borderlands with Toast and turned up an hour later that I meant to, but armed with ice cream, quality wine and posh crisps.
Little Miss Naughty promptly administered me a pharmaceutical dose of lemon and manuka honey. The food arrived and we settled down to scoff and watch a cozy romantic film.
Sometime around the point that Hannibal carjacked B.A. in the iconic A-Team van to go and rescue Face we got distracted from the film by engaging in filth. After a couple of hours we thought we should have another crack at the film and made it to about 20 minutes before the end before we got distracted again and gave up and carried on the filth from earlier.
She really is very naughty in a way that I would want in a girl I would want to marry but I realised that I don’t fancy her as much as I thought I would. Yes, this is another lesson about getting too excited in advance.
Rather appropriately I stumbled across a programme last night following women and their internet dating experiences, including one who was blogging about it, called ‘Love Virtually‘ (apologies to those of you outside the UK as I don’t think the link will work for you).
The blogger was saying that if there is one thing she has learned, it is to not get overexcited before you’ve met and had a couple of dates with someone, however she can’t still help herself! It was fascinating watching the rollercoaster of anticipation and disappointment and heartened me that at least I am not alone in this. Pretty much all the ladies said they did it. They were also VERY stalky, which is useful to know as I might start using a different email address that is not linked to my facebook account.
I am seeing Little Miss Naughty again tonight, sort of because she pretty much told me I was but also because the hijinks are so good! I think we need to have a chat sometime before she comes back here so we’re at least expecting the same thing from this.
Besides, I can’t get up to naughtyness with anyone else until the bruises subside. I don’t want a repeat of the Indy situation which shamed me so!
Marriage percentage 20%, even though she is a lot of what I am looking for, it’s not quite right. I’m Toast will just take this as further evidence of my magpie behaviour.
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.