The Keen Bean

The fag-end of summer approaches over the horizon and I have fair torn through the dates in the last 4 or 5 weeks. To say I’m weary by this point is an understatement, and when this guy gets in touch and starts whispering virtual sweet nothings, I’m fairly indifferent.

He doesn’t have a lot to say for himself, and when he does his grasp of grammar isn’t a huge selling point, but he seems a  decent guy and in the absence of any other stimulating suitors, I think I might as well. When I accept his invitation to meet him for a drink, he seems genuinely pleased – excited even – rather than playing it cool and being non-committal, which is kind of a plus after being on the receiving end of so many dreary attempts at ‘mind games’. How refreshing to meet somebody who isn’t going to a date with a gun at his head – myself included. So we agree to meet after work for a couple of pints on a late summer’s eve.

The day arrives and by the time I am heading to the date, it is pissing it down. Summer is having its last laugh. It’s warm, yes, but the rain is torrential and east London looks very sorry for itself as its entire population’s denim cut-offs and flip-flops are drenched in the bucketing rain. If there’s one thing guaranteed to put me in a shitty mood it’s arriving somewhere wet, if you know what I mean, but I try to push these natural urges of fury to one side and paint myself all sunny and smiley in my mind so I don’t give the date the wrong impression – or should that be the right one?

And there he is, waiting for me. He’s fairly attractive, his profile pictures being a true representation of what he looks like, so another point in his favour. (It’s really rare.) He’s dressed in a contemporary style that doesn’t scream fashionable and looks like he knows his way around a bar of soap.

Continue reading The Keen Bean


Dating 101: The big bad brush-off

As regular readers will know, not all of my dates have gone very well. In fact my hit rate for me actually enjoying my dates is hovering at or below around 40 per cent. When you consider the amount of dates I have out myself through, that can make for some depressing times.

So given that most of these first dates have ended in disaster, how do you make it clear that the first date shall be the last, and that the only thing unique about your fateful meeting is that it will never happen again? It rather depends on your suitor’s attitude, but here goes: Continue reading Dating 101: The big bad brush-off

The Invisible Man

Sometimes you have those periods where you don’t have a date for what seems like decades. Then, before you know it, you’re swamped. A mere 24 hours after my bizarre, yet fun, adventure with the drama teacher, I am once more heading to a date. I might as well get my kicks while I’m young enough to get them, right?

This next guy is someone I wouldn’t say I’m particularly interested in, looks-wise. His pictures seem OK, if a little blurred, but his profile is funny and the emails and texts we have been exchanging have been good-natured and definitely on my wavelength. He also seems very interested — I’m still at the stage in my dating ‘career’ where someone being keen is an attractive trait to me — and so, after less than a week of chatting, we agree to meet for a drink and, if we’re not horrified at the sight of each other, go on to dinner. Continue reading The Invisible Man

Dating 101: Playing favourites

There are a variety of ways to show someone that you’re interested in them on an online dating site. Some sites allow you to ‘wink’ at the object of your affection, while others allow you to ‘star’ them or ‘add them as a favourite’, which has given rise to a new, dreadful verb: to favourite.

Winking, for me, is a cop-out. It doesn’t say that you’re flirtatious, it says — nay, SCREAMS — ‘I’m not a paid subscriber and this is the only way I can register my interest in you without shelling out some of my cash’. How epic. How romantic. Continue reading Dating 101: Playing favourites

Location location location: How to pick a place for the perfect first date

Where you meet on a date can be quite a tricky decision. You don’t know this person very well — you may not even have spoken on the phone — so you won’t be quite sure of their taste. There’s no duller a question than ‘where do you like to go out?’ on email or on the actual date, but sometimes it’s good to get an idea of where these people socialise, as you can usually get a pretty good handle on what kind of person they are. Unless they’re a stupid show-off who relies on dreadful style magazines to choose their outlets of entertainment.

Inner turmoil comes in an instant when the choice of first date venue is left to me. It’s so easy to get wrong. What if it’s too busy? What if the weather turns bad? Perhaps they’re a former alcoholic so suggesting meeting where there’s a 2-4-1 on Absinthe may turn out to be quite a different evening from your expectations. So where should you go? What should you do? Continue reading Location location location: How to pick a place for the perfect first date

The Youngling

Young people. I tend to have very little contact with them, except for the ones who play dubstep through their mobile phones on buses or ‘tsk’ me loudly if I take too long a while packing my shopping bags in the supermarket.

So it is with a sense of dread that I discover on the dating site I have been ‘favourited’ by a mere 25-year-old. He first adds me as a favourite way back when I first join the dating site, and although he doesn’t have any publicly-available pictures –  a no-no from me usually – something about the way he describes himself makes me warm to him. I’m a sucker for a well-constructed sentence, after all. I consider the fact that no 25-year-old in their right mind would ever look twice at me in the street and my vanity gets the better of me, I’m afraid; I send him a brief message saying hello. I’m not entirely surprised that I don’t hear anything back and so shrug it off and forget about it, and indeed him.

Months later, I see he’s been looking at my profile again. There are no secrets on this dating website: practically every move you make is monitored and reported back to those it may or may not concern, like a particularly keen office gossip. If he’s looking again, it must mean he’s interested, right?

I send him another message, inviting him to show me his photos and opening myself up to an acre of disappointment and embarrassment if he doesn’t respond. Eventually, he does. I’m expecting Frankenstein’s monster, but I take a look.

He’s cute. He doesn’t look quite as young as his 26 years (he’s had a birthday since we first ‘met’), yet still has a fresh, cheeky face. I’m intrigued. Why the secrecy? He won’t say. We arrange to meet.

The day of the date, I wake up with tonsillitis, and have to cancel. Is this a sign? He’s fairly unperturbed and seems happy to rearrange, which we do – a couple of weeks later once my tonsils have retracted back to a more manageable size, ripe for tickling. We are to meet at a railway station, straight after work. A fairly insalubrious venue, yes, but I’m conscious of retreading the same old ground and/or bumping into someone I’ve already been on a date with. So here I am at the station. Continue reading The Youngling

The Lawyer

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? Continue reading The Lawyer

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