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.
Not to be left behind Toast as he streaks ahead… last Friday I went on a new date.
After the usual train ride to The London I eventually found my way to the rendezvous… late. Fortunately it turns out that my date was just as rubbish at turning up on time so that was a rather promising start. I prefer girls who turn up late every now and then as it masks my own appalling timekeeping.
Following my improvement points from my last date I put on some nicer shoes… AND a shirt.
The pub was a lovely place and had a little theatre in the back so was decked with stalls style seating around the edge and a variety of Thespian and theatrical decor.
The girl (who shall henceforth be referred to as ‘Maple’) was lovely. I have referred to lots of girls as lovely but this was the kind of lovely that also comes with a healthy dose of mischief, a dirty laugh and the ability to swear and make it endearing.
Conversations ranged over an encouraging range of topics such as:
- The man in the toilet who was earnestly attempting to spell his name (or something) in the urinal next to me,
- sewage treatment processes,
- being naughty for fun,
- a mutual appreciation of bitter,
- dancing bums.
We talked a lot about music, which is a big deal to me. Any woman who went to an AC/DC gig aged 14 deserves SERIOUS respect. To top that, she enthusiastically recommended I listen to a slightly obscure and totally awesome band (Gogol Bordello) who I already have tickets for next week.
This sort of thing is a bit like a kitemark of ‘girl quality’. If this kind of information were stamped on the boxes that girls came in then I would not even open it to check the contents before taking her home as I would know that I am assured that all the parts would be present, with an instruction manual, in English, no references to ‘flange A’ or ‘slot B’ in the construction guidelines, and she would probably come with a laser for lighting fires, or toppling megalomaniacal dictatorships.
After lots of Corona I reluctantly had to leave for the last train back to the countryside. Actually, I was worryingly late for the last train back to the countryside. We did a cheek-kiss at the station and I dashed off.
Marriage Percentage: 50%. Very promising indeed.
The tale would end there… however there was still one more surprise for the night. Hurtling up the escalators from the tube to my train, I screeched round the corner and hurdled on to my absolute last means of getting home that night. The chap I hurdled past was holding the door open for his wife as she ran for it it.
If I can just anthropomorphically personify ‘Fate’ for a moment, she was most certainly having a little giggle at my expense. I suddenly recognised the couple I had just dramatically vaulted onto the train with as… Cupcake’s parents!!! Not being able to ignore them, and seats being at a premium, we sat together.
Cue 1 hour 15 minutes of thoroughly awkward conversation.
*ahem* He who gloats too early gets… some sort of… ‘gloaty disease’… or something.
I contacted the ‘Radio 4 Presenter’* yesterday to see if she wanted to sort out a date for another… err… date.
I got the following text back today:
“Hey there, sorry for the slow reply. I had a great weekend thanks – I also drank way too much! I had a really great time last week but I’ve been thinking about it & I just don’t think the spark is there. It was lovely to meet you, I hope you understand x“.
I remember sending my first ‘no spark’ let-down message. The girl did not take it particularly well. I thought it was a good, honest and original line but like so many other ‘original’ thoughts it soon turned out that I was using the same material as everyone else. Nevertheless, at least it’s generally true so I think it’s a pretty good approach. Certainly better than “It’s not you it’s me” or (as happened to R4 Presenter’s housemate) meeting your date who then clutches his head and cries “I’m sorry, I can’t do this” and runs off.
In conclusion – Points for improvement:
- Get new shoes.
*not actual Radio 4 Presenter
So, Wednesday’s date. In case anyone was wondering, the delay in writing up is not because I had to walk back from London after getting horribly drunk and behaving badly. No, this time I paid heed to my previous errors and closely followed all of my improvement points.
1. Turn up on time: Check (with 7 minutes to spare too). My date was late as she completely underestimated how long it would take her to walk in heels.
As it happens, we were not the only ones with the idea to rendezvous at this particular tube station. Waiting in the same location was a chap who was also glancing round, as if looking for someone of whom he has only seen pictures. To add to the comic potential he bore a passing resemblance to me too.
2. KNOW YOUR ROUTES! & 3. Make sure I am actually going to the right venue: Check. Actually, this was a pretty easy one since we were meeting outside a tube station which was three stops away from my London landing station. To save confusion, the great planners of the tube network decided to give every station a different name, which makes life rather easier when meeting dates.
4. Do not drink margaritas: Check. Ths was the easiest as I NEVER WANT TO DRINK ANOTHER MARGARITA AS LONG AS I LIVE!
5. More specifically, do not drink much at ALL!
Check….ish. We certainly weren’t downing yards of ale or anything so it was pretty much within the scope of reasonable date drinkies.
So, after not too long of casting glances down two streets and into the tube station she turned up. In truth I am glad she was a little late as my time keeping is generally poor so it gives me one in the wood and when I am inevitably roll in fashionably late at some point in the future.
I had no trouble spotting her as she approached because she is very tall. Since I resolved to break away from my usual ‘type’ (although that’s a VERY loose description) I went straight for a 5′ 11″ lady. 6′ 1″ in heels as it turned out! This did not unsettle me as I expected. My previously heightist attitude was due to a combination of being rather drawn to short girls (one in particular who I was totally struck with was only 4’11”) and an experience kissing a girl my height when I suddenly got rather freaked out by her face being at the same level as mine.
She was rather striking with a long brunette mane and a gorgeous smile. We happily chatted away as we took a stroll over the river. She was lovely, one of those girls whose photos really do not do her justice. Very well spoken (home counties RP accent). In fact it sometimes made me feel like I was on a date with a Radio 4 presenter… but in a sexy way.
We arrived at a rather trendy bar that was part of a theatre, or cinema, or something that I never quite worked out. It was at this point that the limitations of my wardrobe began to become apparent. I REALLY need to go shopping for some better date clothes. Blue suede Adidas just really did not cut it here.
With a drink in hand we settled and started to open up. Probably the biggest relief was the rather gleeful discussion of the large elephant in the room. Some girls skirt around the whole subject of internet dating which makes it difficult to dance around the obvious implications of other dates you may or may not be having.
It turned out that I was her first and she was rather worried beforehand as two friends had just had TERRIBLE first internet dates.
After a couple of drinks we moved on to another venue for food (which would be the obvious point to run away if it was not going well). Pie, drink, delicious dessert and much enjoyable chats later we took a walk back to the tube and parted ways with promises to see each other again.
All in all, a very promising and enjoyable date. The kind that make it worth getting the last train back from London and being stuck on the replacement bus service which got me back at 2am. Ugh!
Marriage percentage – 45%: Watch your heels Toast!
(oh and – 6. Avoid strange-looking men with cute dogs: Check. Thankfully.)
I’ve lived with a few women, but only one girlfriend. Every one has been an educational experience so I thought I’d share some of those special moments with you.
I was living with a girl in London in a beautiful flat. I just rented a room and she ruled the place with a passive aggressive iron fist. We weren’t going out or anything like that but she did keep showering with the bathroom door open. I never knew what that was about.
Here is an actual conversation we had – I wrote it down afterwards because it amused me so much.
Her: ‘You left the front door unlocked’
Me: ‘Did I? Sorry. I thought it automatically locked when you closed it?’
Her: ‘Well yes it does, but you didn’t do the extra lock.’
Me: ‘Sorry, but well that is actually locked though isn’t it?’
Her ‘Don’t wear shoes inside.’
It’s also worth remembering that you can only lock and unlock the extra lock from the outside. I was locked in a few times and had to wave at neighbours and get them to release me from the flat.