Stats: 5’10″, 32, black/brown, Mexico When: Saturday 31 July, 1pm and 10.30pm Where: South-east London Pre-date rating: 7/10
The dates are becoming more and more disillusioning as time goes on, to be honest. This one is a little different from the others, though. I meet him on a different site, one where you know less information about your potential date, but you talk through instant messenger, rather than emails. (Edit: Grindr – why am I so afraid to say Grindr?!) We seem to get on well, at first missing each other and not being online at the same time, but showing mutual appreciation. When we finally do talk ‘live’, he’s away on business in Germany. We arrange to meet in a pub, round the corner from my house, as he also lives locally, the following Saturday at 1pm. He says he likes an afternoon pint. Nice.
I walk into the pub precisely three minutes late and there is no sign. I order a pint — even though the last thing I want to do is drink — and sit outside in the sun. From where I’m sitting, I have all entrances to the pub covered. I half look out for him and half mess about with my phone. It gets to 1.10pm, and alarm bells are ringing. I realise I don’t have his mobile number. How stupid of me. I message him via the website and say I’m here. Time ticks on. No response. I sit and finish my pint, reading in the sun and wondering what on Earth is going on. By now, it’s 1.45pm and he’s clearly not coming. Furious but not wanting to show my anger, I send him a message telling him that I’m leaving now and that it was a shame that he couldn’t make it.
Hours later, I am out with friends when I check the website to see if there have been any messages. There are indeed, saying I must have mistaken him for somebody else and that we never arranged to meet (????). I tell him I put the date in my diary as soon as we arranged it, so unless I’m suffering from some kind of hallucinatory disorder, we had a date. He says he is really sorry and there must have been a misunderstanding and he’d like to make it up to me by taking me for a drink that night. I arrange to meet him near where I live so I can have an early exit if he turns out to be a dick. We arrange to meet at half ten. I begrudgingly leave my friends who I was having a really good time with and go the pub. This had better be worth it.
I arrive bang on time and there is no sign of this elusive truth-dodger. Not again. Surely,. not again. Time ticks by and when it gets to 10.40, I message him — by now, I do have his phone number — and ask if he’s on his way. No response. I send another message ten minutes later asking if he has stood me up again. He says he’s 2 minutes away. I check my watch and wonder if this was such a good idea.
Ten minutes later, two South American-looking guys walk in and go straight to the bar. One of them then comes over and asks — well, slurs — if I’m waiting for someone. I say yes, and it’s probably him. It is indeed him. At long last. Anticipation and disappointment seldom go without the other, do they? He is cute but, I have just realised, one of the drunkest people I’ve ever met. He slumps down on the chair. I ask him if the other guy he came in with is with him. He says yes, it’s his friend. I am incredulous. Why on Earth has he brought a chaperone? “Is it because I could be a serial killer?” I squeak, barely concealing my annoyance. He doesn’t seem capable of answering. I motion for him to bring his friend over and thank goodness I do; the friend is absolutely beautiful, tall and toned with a ridiculously handsome face. They have accents, so I ask where they’re from. They reply Mexico City. I tell them I briefly dated a Mexican. They want to know who. I demur, realising that like all ex-pats they’ll probably know someone who knows someone who knows him, and that guy is best consigned to history.
My date is pretty much incapable of coherent conversation. Luckily his friend is sober and so we chat about this and that. My date occasionally stops staring into the middle distance and interjects with inanities like “Wearing a T-shirt under a shirt is very American”. I am wearing a preppy long-sleeved shirt, open over plain T with slim chinos and Gola boots as I do for most of my dates – my “approachable but not quite sexy enough to be threatening, but open to suggestion” look. He then asks if I have a hairy chest, plunging his hand down the front of my T-shirt (I don’t). His friend seems mortified. I really wish I was on a date with the friend; his face is like a work of art and he seems a really nice guy. Sigh. The date asks if I want to go out with them to a club in Clapham. I’d rather be fucked in the face by an angry dinosaur than spend 10 more seconds in this dickhead’s company but the chance of proximity to his friend for a few more minutes seems very appealing. I go with them. The date is a complete idiot on the bus on the way there; I start being rude to him on purpose but he’s too dumb or inebriated to notice, although he does call me a bastard in Spanish. I don’t let him in on the fact I can understand him.
We arrive at the bar and it is chock-full of guys who’ve just moved to London and the hawks that like to feast on them, all dancing badly and mouthing along with the words of Katy Perry or Lady Gaga or whatever. It is packed to the rafters in the smaller, front bar, whereas the back room is cavernous and empty save for three lesbians. At this point, after a clumsy attempt to get off with me that is quickly rebuffed, my date stomps off for some trifling reason and is not seen for the remainder of the evening. I take it my date is unofficially over. His friend and I take a seat and watch a set of drag acts murder songs of which I had previously been rather fond. It’s woeful and all the guys around me are devouring the friend with their eyes, their faces contorted like a cartoon bulldog dreaming of sausages. The friend and I talk and we eventually arrive at the deflating revelation that he has a boyfriend, who lives in Germany. He shows me a photo. He looks like Adrian Mole. There is no justice in the world.
I’m wasting my time here, clearly. I suggest we leave, which we do. A bus arrives and even though it’s not going where I want to go, I get on it. I want the night to be over. I smile and shake hands with the best sex I’ll never have and get on the bus, frantically wiping the ink stamp from the club off my hands in an effort to bleach out the memory.
The next day, I get a message from the date, apologising for being rude and drunk and saying he is just getting over a break-up and that it appears he’s not ready for dating. I accept his apology and my finger hovers over the ‘block’ button. He then messages to say he hopes we can be friends. Friends. The friend. Call me foolish, but I can’t resist the idea of somehow grabbing a drink with the foxy friend. And to do that, I’d need to stay in touch with my date.
‘Sure,’ I find myself typing. ‘Let’s be friends.’
Post-date rating: -5/10 If the date were a song: What’s Going On?