Friday, 26 February 2010

In which this first is a real first

It was with some slight trepidation that I made my way to a great little Fitzrovia bar for my first date with Sports Nut – partly because the all-day drizzle had done horrible things to my hair, and partly because I haven’t been on a good date in far longer than I care to admit to. But once I arrived to find a gratifyingly attractive man sitting at the bar, my misgivings faded away and I settled into enjoying my evening.

A glass of wine later, and the conversation was flowing. We ordered tapas, and tried to swat away an over-attentive waitress as we talked about almost as much as it’s possible to cover on a first date – family, friends, jobs, education, life passions, travelling, even exes which, as all single types know, is a topic that’s inadvisable to discuss whilst in the early stages of dating, but somehow it seemed okay; even his double-take having thought he'd seen his most recent one didn't cause too much panic.

And, just as I had relaxed into my comfort zone (otherwise known as the bottom of a second glass of red), Sports Nut hit me with the information I’d been dreading: he’d read the blog.

“Well, er, I do have an advantage here, I suppose. I’ve read your '99 things',” he said, smiling as I apparently pulled a face. “Don’t worry – it was interesting. And there’s nothing too incriminating in there...” He topped up my wine. My heart fell slightly, but if he’d read any of the rest then he was well-mannered enough not to let on.

I haven't had a good first date in a vastly long time, so it is possible that my frame of reference is skewed. But I don’t think so. The date was good. Not in a long time have I met someone new whom I click with so effortlessly. I checked explicitly that Sports Nut’s single and not interested in boys - with my track record, one never can be too careful. The fact that he is witty, charming, and rather easy on the eye was just the icing on the date.

We nibbled, drank and chat for as long as we could get away with before we were chucked out in the charming table-turning way that London has.

“I, er... Do you have time for another?” Sports Nut said as we drained the last of our wine. “I don’t quite feel like wrapping up just yet.”

Leaning over to look at his watch (a bonus of not wearing one’s own), I nodded. “Absolutely.”

A short while later, we found ourselves in another location, where I was on the caiprinhas, and Sports Nut was busy teaching the staff how to mix his perfect drink.

I’ve been drinking long enough to know that I should have quit whilst I was ahead. As it was, the amount of booze I’d consumed, combined with Sport Nut’s charisma, was enough to make me lose any sense of social propriety: by the end of the night, he and I were snogging like teenagers. In public.

Embarrassing? Yes. Uncool? Yes. Hot? Absolutely.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

In which there's disaster potential

“The trouble is,” I said to PolitiGal over post-work drinks, “is that because of how we’ve met, he has access to it...”

Over the previous couple of weeks, banter with a guy I know from the online dealings in my life had become far more frequent, and faintly more flirty. After a couple of days of vague suggestion on either part, Sports Nut and I decided to meet for a glass of wine.

PolitiGal and I had already covered the obvious peculiarities of the situation – that neither of us had any idea what the other looked like, nor - in his case - an idea of my name.

But whilst might be the case, Sports Nut does have access to a relatively detailed account of the ways in which I’ve spent the past five years: the ups, the downs, and the generally inappropriate.

“Well, I suppose you don’t know for sure whether he’s read it or not,” said PolitiGal optimistically. “He might not have done.”

“True – but I can hardly ask him, can I?! “Excuse me, have you read any of the posts on the blog that you may or may not have seen? If you’ve not already, could you refrain from doing so?!” If he hasn’t, and I say that, I’m only going to pique his curiosity.”

“Hmm, well there is that,” she said, perusing the drinks menu ahead of another round of cocktails. “But, when you think about it, is it actually so bad?”

I raised an eyebrow, thinking about various incidents chronicled that show me in a less-than-ideal light.

“No, think about it for a second...” I slipped the menu from PolitiGal’s fingers and perused it whilst she made her case. “Well, if he hasn’t, then it’s all well and good. He won’t know about all the... bits and pieces, and you can enjoy admitting them to him as and when. And, if he does, then he clearly doesn’t think there’s anything in there heinous enough to keep him from wanting to have a drink with you.”

“I suppose so,” I said. “That’s a very glass-half-full way of looking at things.”

“Speaking of which, we are both glass very empty.” She stood up from the table. “What are we having next?”

Potentially, a deeply embarrassing situation.

Monday, 1 February 2010

In which I don't see what could possibly go wrong

As per the adoption of a slightly more structured approach to dating, I’m accepting a large majority of invitations that come my way. I’ve gone through periods of doing this before, with the result that I seemed to spend a lot of time tired, drunk and broke. Initially, it had the advantage of getting me out of the house whilst California Girl was in it. And, whilst I think of it, it was a ‘saying yes’ episode that ended in the confession of love from Innocent Flirt, and the start of the slippery sexual slope with Speckled Lad. Maybe there is something to the theory...

However, what my new approach also seems to have done is to encourage my friends to take me on as a dating charity case.

I was in a King’s Cross cocktail bar one night, giving Old Friend some out-of-hours media advice for his latest harebrained scheme when we got to discussing the ups and downs (him) and statics (me) of our love lives.

“Oh, I have plenty of eligible men, Blonde. I’ll set you up.”

“Really? I don’t think so. The last time you did that, Rugged Scotsman happened.”

“Oh,” he said, apparently having forgotten the fact that the last chap he set me up with turned out to be gay. “Oh yeah. Well, this time I’ll make sure they’re straight.”

“That doesn’t fill me with confidence, OF – I had rather hoped that would always have been the case...”

“Look,” OF said, draining his glass. “How does this sound? I’ll set you up with a variety of eligible types: if, by Midsummer, you’ve not met someone you’ve truly clicked with, I’ll take you out for a Michelin-starred supper.”

Which is what’s known in my book as a win-win situation.

And I was in a Soho cocktail bar with PolitiGal a few days later – yes, I realise there’s a theme – when she made a suggestion along the same lines (though without the added incentive).

“Well, there is a really lovely guy in the office – he’s just moved into our department, and I was in two minds about telling you, but if you’re being all open-minded about things, well, I think I’m just going to go ahead, and set you up. I’ll email you both tomorrow and arrange it.”

I inhaled the rest of my Elderflower Collins, and told myself that everything will be fine. After all, with friends like these, who needs to arrange their own dates?

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