Some people really love talking about their job. And I should know – I have spent many a sunny evening sitting under a cloud of boredom at a smeared pub table across from a guy going through his company’s sales figures in mind-numbing detail. Curriculum Borae.
I don’t really like talking about mine; I never have, really. People always think it should be more impressive than it actually is, that I should be sipping champagne at celebrity events and photobombing Taylor Swift’s selfies.
The sad fact is, however that most of the time I am in my living room, slamming my fingers on my laptop’s much-maligned keyboard, limbering up for a lifetime of back and shoulder pain thanks to my terrible posture. Either that or I’m doing the same but in a local café, while demonic children on microscooters encircle me.
But when a date asks, you have to tell – and Luke, my handsome, but slightly vanilla, date for the evening, is about to do just that.
“So you’re a writer?” he says.
“Yes.” I’m hoping my blank face will stop him from enquiring any further. It never works.
“What do you write about?”
I resist the temptation to roll my eyes and instead begin to tell him about my job, leaving out the key detail that sometimes I write about men I go on dates with, too. Describing what you do for a living to a date is one of the least fun parts of the whole process. Like I say, they’re almost always disappointed that I don’t get to meet any celebrities or break any big political stories.
My date listens intently, or at least pretends to, and then takes a swig of his drink. “I’ve been on a date with a writer before,” he says.
“Oh, really?” I reply. “And how was that?” Although from his tone, I can guess it went badly.
“Fine,” he shrugs, “except that he told me he was in the middle of writing a book about going on loads of dates with different men. Can you imagine that?”
Well, I kind of can. I gulp. After a silence lasting infinite millennia, I lean forward in my chair. “And what did you say to that?”
“I was really annoyed,” he retorts with a furrowed brow. “He didn’t want to be on a date with me because he was interested in me; he just wanted to put me in a book.”
While I sympathise, I can’t help but think it would be highly unlikely for my date to have been interesting enough to make it into the final draft of any book about dating. We have been sitting here for about an hour and this is the first time he has asked me a question, yet I know everything about his firm’s redundancy procedure, which in the main seemed devoted to getting rid of him and him only. What a shame someone so beautiful has turned out be such a dullard.
“So what happened?” I ask.
“Well, nothing. Once he told me that, the date was over.”
I consider revealing all, just so I can get the exit I’ve been waiting for. Instead:
“Would it really have annoyed you to see yourself in print?”
He looks at me quizzically. “Well, of course it would. What a stupid thing to ask. Jesus.”
I drain my drink and stare at the glass, my throat tight with awkwardness. I resolve not to ask him anything else, stupid or otherwise.
Luckily, my date seems to have tired of me considerably, as he gives a very stagey yawn and stretches his hands above his head. “I’m pretty beat,” he whimpers. “Shall we call it a night?”
‘Beat’, yuk. I check my watch. 8.30 pm. Hardly “a night”, but fair enough.
“Sure,” I smile. “It was nice to meet you.”
“Yeah,” replies my date with not even a hint of sincerity. “You too.”
“Ooh, by the way,” I say as we part. “Do you read Gay Times magazine?”
He scratches his head. “No, I can’t say I do. Why?”
“Oh, no reason. Goodnight.”
Stats: 31, 5’9″, black/blue, Hertfordshire Pre-date rating: 8/10 Post-date rating: 5.5/10 Date in one sentence: Write about me, like one of your French girls.
This post originally featured in truncated form in Gay Times (funnily enough – sorry Luke) in a monthly dating column. I still write for them, answering readers’ dilemmas and looking at some of the types of men it might be best to avoid. You can get the latest issue now at gtdigi.co.uk