It goes without saying that I haven’t heard back from the previous guy, and I’m not particularly devastated about this.
Gotta tell you, I’m not feeling too confident about this one, either. I can’t discern from his photos whether he’s attractive or not. There’s a lot of sympathetic (i.e. non-existent) lighting and “Oh, look, here I am in the distance!” posing in his pictures.
Within his profile blurb, he seems at pains to point out that he’s quite wealthy so maybe he’s trying to compensate. I don’t even know why I’m going on the date. I am secretly hoping that his photos will just be poor quality, and that in actual real life he will be devastatingly handsome.
He chooses the venue. When I walk in, bang on time, it is empty save for two males sitting at the bar. They are not together.
I think one of them may be the guy but I can’t tell, given that his photos were about as revealing as a child’s drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch.
I stand at the bar and order a drink, taking out my phone to text the date and tell him I am here. The men at the end of the bar don’t look up as I text so I assume he’s not one of them.
Incoming reply: ‘Me too!”
Yes, great. But where? I text again to say I’m standing at the bar. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the man at the very end of the bar move. I do not look in his direction.
He’s coming over.
He pulls up a stool next to me – the screech of it against the floor cutting right through me – and says my name.
I turn. Oh. Oh. I see.
He looks 31 in the same way that Caprice looks 31. Not at all.
His face is ruddy and puffed and his eyes seem lost within it, like little raisins poking out from a large, sugary bun. His hair, a dull, dirty blond colour, seems straggly and unwashed and he’s wearing one of those pink and white striped shirts that I’ve seen posh people wear, and which remind me of gout.
He has the beginnings of a paunch, but many men do. The pièce de resistance is the teeth. Yep, two dates in a row and we have another dental failure. They’re yellow — which happens, I know — and one of them seems to protrude from the gum, lying horizontally rather than, well, doing that thing teeth normally do.
It’s a shallow world we live in, and my waters run less deep than most, but online dating has to have the foundation of mutual attraction if it is to work.
From here on in, I’m out physically, but I’m willing to give his personality a shot. Sadly, we seem to be lacking here too. He has slightly delayed reactions and it takes him a while to get his words out. Is he about to collapse from an aneurysm? Should I put him in the recovery position? Is he shy or unused to meeting new people? What’s the deal here?
We drain our drinks over the most mediocre chat topics we can muster (my own efforts being equally dreary; he is not totally to blame) before deciding to move on to another pub. The place is ridiculously empty and I need to have people to look at so I don’t have to focus my attention on my date.
We leave and choose a place near Brick Lane and stand outside. What an odd ‘couple’ we make: me in my jeans and T-shirt and Converse and him in his posho shirt, crumpled chinos, work shoes and clutching a hardback A4 diary in his hand.
He tells me he’s just come from a meeting with a client, but I’d say meeting was something of a white lie, as I soon become to realise that he’s not shy: he’s pissed.
Clearly he has been enjoying an extended liquid lunch with this ‘client’ as after a couple more pints he’s rocking backward and forward on his feet and seems to be struggling to focus on me.
The conversation, when he can actually speak, is dull to such a level that even a Jane Austen character would put aside her embroidery and say ‘Oh for fuck’s sake, move it up a notch, sweetheart!’ – I have to go.
I down what’s left of my drink and tell him it has been lovely to meet him (lie no. 1) and that I must rush as I have a deadline (lie no. 2). I say I’ll be in touch (a hat-trick of untruths!) and walk off toward the bus stop seething with the knowledge that I have just wasted three hours of my life on someone who can’t even turn up to a date sober. I resolve to phone a friend and get outrageously drunk.
Amazingly, I discover a missed call from him the next day. He’s left a voicemail, too. I never bother listening to it. He’ll have to find himself another drinking partner. Stats: 31, 5’10″, blond/blue, London When: June 2010 Where: Spitalfields, London Pre-date rating: 5/10 Post-date rating: 2/10 Date in one sentence: A man who really needed all his faculties in the uphill struggle to impress me decided instead to do what we tend to do when all else fails: get pissed and hope for the best.