Stats: 31, 5″11″, blond/ blue, Wales When: June 2010 Where: Bermondsey, SE1 Pre-date rating: 7/10
This Guy is my first blond date. It’s not that I consciously choose dark-haired men, but they seem be the ones I’ve been attracted to so far. There is great excitement among a couple of my friends who have seen his picture. The messages we exchange differ from previous dates: his replies are formal and structured and without seeing his profession my lawyer friend guesses he’s also a legal eagle. ‘That’s just how a lawyer would write’ she says. She’s right.
We arrange to meet at a pub of his choosing, a former local of mine that I have never liked and that I used to visit a lot with friends and, more distressingly, my ex. We joke over email about wearing a red carnation to recognise each other, and for the first time I allow a bit of flirtation to enter into our communiqués. I say ‘No need for a carnation; I’ll just look for the most handsome man in the bar and there you’ll be.’ It works. His reply email is practically blushing. ‘My, you are a charmer’ is his opening sentence. Aren’t I just?
I arrive first and stand at the bar. I am vaguely aware of him coming in and standing next to me. I pretend not to notice (a really, really BAD habit of mine) until I hear him say my name. I look up and see a very handsome face: a full mouth, piercing blue eyes and clear, perfect skin. He’s wearing a black suit, white shirt but no tie. His hair is short and (naturally) blond. He smiles and has perfect, whitish teeth. Well, well, well.
We get a pint each and head out to the garden. England have been playing a World Cup match so it’s packed with beery, shouty people. I’m horrified to recognise a friend’s flatmate among them. He doesn’t appear to see me. The Guy spots a spare seat at a table and we make our way through the crowds. I’m disappointed that I can’t see his bottom due to his suit jacket being a tad overlong.
I’m usually the last person in the room to realise when someone fancies me, but this guy is giving off enough signals to confuse an air traffic control system. This is good because I feel I’ve got the upper hand, and also because I can turn on the charm and it will be met by a receptive audience. We talk very easily. He’s a lawyer with a large financial company and lives in a fashionable part of London. He’s from Wales and seems to be very close to his family; he shows me their pictures on his phone. I warm to him really quickly. He stares very intently into my eyes and compliments me, which I’m not used to at all. He also tells me I have very nice teeth. I share the story of G3’s teeth with him and we laugh. My goodness, I think I like this one.
It’s at that point that the friend’s flatmate decides now is the time to come over and say hello. He says he saw us as we came in. He recognises me but can’t actually remember my name. Quite why you would approach someone if you don’t know their name — the very most basic of courtesies when coming over and saying hi — is a mystery. He talks at me for about five minutes while I pretend to listen, a rictus grin pasted onto my face. Thankfully, I am spared the embarrassment of being asked if he can join us, as one of his fellow drunkards beckons him over to throw another flagon of ale down his throat.
We move on to another bar and order a pint of raspberry lager. We’re sitting in a secluded part of the bar and once again he’s staring at me. He’s gone a bit quiet. I ask if he’s OK. He says I am very easy to talk to. He suggests we go for dinner. We walk to the restaurant round the corner. I am a little bit shell-shocked by how well we’re getting on; not since the BOOM reaction to G2 have I felt so confident that this is going well. As we eat dinner and sink a bottle of prosecco, we chat more about the kind of things we like and don’t like. The fact that the small talk is yet to dry up has to be a good sign. A mutual disregard for Cheryl Cole brings us even closer together. OK. I’m in. I fancy him. But what next?
He tells me how he is surprised at how formal the dating thing is. ‘You know, the shaking hands at the beginning,’ he explains.
‘I hope the date won’t be ending with just a handshake,’ I say, nudging the conversation gently into flirtatious territory.
”It certainly won’t,’ he replies. I beam inwardly.
We pay the bill and walk along the Thames a little. In a slightly darkened corner, he comes in for a kiss and we do so for a few moments. Then I start to walk away and he follows.
‘I’ll walk you to the bus stop,’ he says.
Feeling mildly (very) drunk and a little bolder than usual, I say that’s very kind and thank him, but that ‘I want to drag you down a side street first.’ And I do.
We pause in the street and kiss again, longer this time. I run my hands up and down his shirt trying to get a feel for what’s underneath but tests prove inconclusive. His kiss is far too wet, which is a pet hate of mine. But he could be retrained, kissing can be learned. His suit also has that smell a suit gets when it is due for a dry clean: a stale odour, like a bottled headache or a dish that’s been dried with a dirty tea towel. We finally break apart and he smiles widely. He then walks me to the bus stop.
‘So when are we doing this again?’ he asks. I tell him to drop me a text. We say goodbye and I stand at the bus stop feeling hopeful, as well as mindful that I have another date in two days. Will I love them both and have to ask them to duel for the chance to win my heart for ever? I break from my reverie to realise the bus is over half an hour late and thus make the slow trudge to another bus stop 20 minutes away, smiling all the same.
Post-date rating: 8/10 If the date were a song: What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?