Stats: 37, 6′, brown/blue, Wales
When: Tuesday 20 July 2010
Where: Shoreditch, E1
Pre-date rating: 9/10
I’m mixing things up a bit and logging the dates out of date order. This is because I might skip the boring ones and also, I wanted the horror of this one to be fresh in my mind.
On paper, This Guy sounds great. He works in the City, so while he may not have the most interesting job in the world, at least he’ll be solvent. Money’s not important, but it’s good to have some, right? He is new to the dating site and has just two photos. But they are good photos. He is very handsome and looks exceptionally well-preserved for a 37-year-old. Despite his job, he says he has a big interest in all things cultural.
He emails me on Sunday and I respond. He then responds with his phone number. I never make the initial call — just yet another of those stupid rules I set myself — but I dutifully return the email with my number. About ten minutes later, he calls. Keen, then.
We chat about this and that for about 5–10 minutes. He asks when I can meet for a date. I say he should think of when and where and let me know. He says he will.
The next day I get an email from him saying he’s free that evening. I am, but don’t feel like going on a date; I’m hungover and will be fresh from a lengthy meeting outside London. I reply that any other day is fine. He replies quite quickly saying that the next night is good. Boy, he really is keen. I accept, and we arrange to meet at a railway station.
He phones 20 minutes before the meeting time to check we’re still on. Bloody hell. I say yes. He arrives on time, wearing a suit that looks quite expensive. He is very tanned, a bit too tanned for me. I can’t decide whether he is recently back from a holiday or sleeps under a sunbed. He is very handsome, but not in the same way as his photos, which I’m guessing are a few years old. He is much thinner and looks rather tired. I am disappointed, frankly, despite his big blue eyes and flawless skin. I know he’s not for me.
We walk to Bar A, somewhere he has chosen. It is a relatively exclusive bar in east London. On the way, he keeps trying to reassure me we should be OK to get onto the rooftop bar. I’ve never been before so have no idea what he’s talking about. It is a very sunny evening. He then, really weirdly, says that he can always use his connections. I’m like, what? The conversation isn’t so much stilted but very one-sided. I ask a lot of questions; they are not returned. I don’t like talking about myself that much, but it would be nice to have the option.
We get to Bar A. He says he hopes he doesn’t have to pull strings to get in. Losing patience I say: ‘What do you mean? Are you a Royal or something?’ He says he knows the owner. He doesn’t say who it is, but I know he knows that I’ll know who it is. Still with me? It’s a very famous family who are big in the dining, design and entertainment game.
We are told at door of Bar A that the rooftop is full and we are welcome to wait. He takes the REALLY snooty Maitre D’ woman aside and starts talking in hushed tones. I assume this is him using his ‘connections’. She keeps shaking her head. Clearly those connections aren’t too promising. I want the ground to swallow me up. This goes on for about 5 minutes before he gives up and decides we should leave.
The Guy then stands right outside the doorway of Bar A and phones someone from his mobile. Whoever it is goes straight to voicemail and The Guy begins saying that he wants to get in somewhere for a drink and can this person say they’re meeting him or something. I’m only half-listening as I am very easily embarrassed and people are starting to stare. By this point, I’ve had enough of him and I know we’re done here, but am intrigued at what he’s going to do next in a vain attempt to impress me. Parachute into Buckingham Palace? Hire out the entire London Eye?
He then says he can get us into Bar B, a well-known private members’ club. He obviously thinks I’m some kind of durrr who will be really excited about going to such a place. I’ve in fact already been. He says he has a friend who’s a member who has told him that he can use his name to get in any time he wants. This is who he phoned, clearly.
We get to Bar B and walk in. He gives the name of the friend and says he’s meeting him here. I don’t hear the name of the friend. It’s probably Elton John or Alan Sugar or WHATEVER. The lady says we’re not on the list but we’re welcome to wait in the lobby until he arrives. We sit down and I start to flick through a magazine as The Guy texts his friend asking to be put on his list. Friend then phones back and agrees to do this. Friend phones reception at Bar B. Receptionist comes over and says that the friend has phoned and will be a few minutes late so we’re welcome to wait. The Guy asks ‘Can’t we just go up and wait?’ and the lady says they can’t let non-members up unaccompanied. I could have told him that. We wait for 5 minutes and then date suggests we go somewhere else. I want to punch him; I am so embarrassed.
We go to Bar C round the corner. We have a couple of drinks, start chatting. He seems OK, so it’s actually a shame that he completely wasted the first half-hour of the date by being a showy, gold-plated dickhead. Things start to hit a bumpy patch when he starts going on about his exes and how he has loads of people interested in him on the website. He says he can’t even read all the emails, there are so many. I’d hazard a guess that if he videoed himself acting the way he just has been doing for five minutes or so and put it online, those emails would tail off quite sharply. I ask lots of questions about holidays, where he lives etc; anything to get him off the subject of internet dating. He doesn’t ask me about either of those things, or indeed anything much. Why am I still here?
He decides he wants to eat. The barman had asked if he’d wanted to eat about 30 minutes ago and he said no. Because we haven’t reserved, the only place left to sit is a long counter which overlooks the kitchen. The Guy starts pulling rank again and is really embarrassing, continually trying to get a better table but is told no.
The table we’re seated at is awful: the chef is a wannabe Gordon Ramsey and swears at the top of the voice at his crew, despite the fact that they’re cooking nothing more complicated than pizza. We’re sitting about two feet from all the action. I say that this isn’t for me and that I don’t want to eat here. The Guy agrees. We leave. I actually don’t want to eat anywhere with The Guy; for some reason I am unable to communicate this verbally. I think he put a silence or tolerance serum in my drink. Inside, I am screaming.
We go back to Bar A, where it all began, and he decides to eat in the restaurant in the ground floor. It looks a little expensive. Yet AGAIN he makes a show of himself whingeing to get a nicer table. I can’t believe I am going through with this. We sit down and order. He asks for chilled red wine and tuts loudly when told they don’t have any. He remarks how hot the waiting staff are (they’re not). The more he drinks, the more dramatic he becomes. Lots of face-pulling and gesticulating. That’s fine on stage, but not for me in quite a small restaurant. He rolls his eyes loads and tells me how good his sense of humour is. He’s hiding it very well; he’s not remotely funny. He tells me my first name doesn’t suit me. Why is this fucking A-1 charmer still single, eh? Baffling.
We eat. I have the kedgeree, which is lovely. He starts banging on about knowing the patriarch of this famous family. Whether this is true or not, I neither know nor care. He’s dull, and trying to blind me into not seeing it by being showy. It’s creepy. And finally, I have reached my limit.
The meal over, we’re both increasingly impatient to leave. He has finally spotted my discomfort. The conversation starts to dry up. He asks me if that’s a cold sore on my face. I say no. He starts babbling about drugs, saying he’s very recently got into coke. I can imagine. He whispers the word ‘drugs’ as if it’s the biggest secret in the world. I now realise where his hugely inflated ego comes from: a wrap of plastic in his suit pocket. Sick of trying to attract the waiter’s attention, he gets up and walks over to one and demands the bill, rolling his eyes for the hundredth time. The bill comes and I throw over my notes. I’m not paying half; he had 2 main courses and an extrortionate glass of wine. We then leave and walk down the street.
When it is time to part, an event I am looking forward to more than my own birthday, Christmas and New Year all rolled into one, he tells me it was nice to meet me. His last words are ‘Well, I’m here!’, given with a hopeful look. Yes, you’re here, and that’s where you’re staying. I mumble that I’ll keep in touch and walk off without a backward glance.
Post-date rating: 1/10
Date in one sentence: The words ‘boast’ and ‘brag’ leap from the dictionary to form a person and take me out on a date which is an ‘excruciafest’ from start to finish