Tag Archives: first dates

The Last First Date

It isn’t a date. Definitely not.

We are not meeting with a view to anything other than having a few drinks and, at my request, ten-pin bowling. It’s all perfectly innocent. Two pals going to score some strikes, but not each other. Yep.

So if it isn’t a date, why am I wearing those trousers that hug my backside the snuggest, and that polo shirt that makes me look the buffest (no mean feat, I can tell you)? Why am I spending too long making my hair ‘just so’ and leaving my flat super early to make sure I get there on time?

It’s not a date; there’s no romance. I don’t need him to be impressed; I don’t care whether he fancies me, right? I have no answer for myself so I glare into the mirror one last time and head out of the door.

This is actually our third meeting. I’ve always told myself it is better not to meet people from Twitter or Facebook – despite lots of very kind, and some really quite salacious, offers – yet there’s no point having a rule if you’re not going to break it. We have actually been aware of each other for the best part of a decade: contributing to the same messageboards (God, remember those?), being friends on MySpace, connecting on LinkedIn and basically using every single outdated social media vessel – and watching them all go under – to be in each other’s lives without ever actually meeting. There has never been even a hint of romantic interest – and we were both with other people for the most part, anyway – but I do, for whatever reason, find him interesting. Fascinating, even.

A few years back when, on the eighth day, God creates his biggest blunder @theguyliner, he follows me. Anonymous is as anonymous does, so I don’t let him know we have a real-life connection, as gossamer-thin as it is, and we @ occasionally and there are maybe a couple of DMs but it’s never anything other than talking about telly or awful old gay venues that have long since bitten the dust.

And then I make a mistake. Continue reading The Last First Date


The Ones Who Stopped Texting

The older I get, the more nostalgic I become.  I don’t particularly yearn to be back there, but I am still fascinated how things felt, and how I reacted, playing scenarios over and over again in my head.

A Tumblr called Last Message Received has set me off wandering  through the dimly lit rooms of my own story once again. It’s a sometimes heartbreaking look at the last time people receive contact from a special someone.

Text messaging was a huge part of my dating life. It was the next step after initial interest on a dating site, and it was where you’d really get to know who you might be meeting. Reading through them – and having to do some serious guesswork as to who they were as I’d deleted many from my contacts – I was surprised by how many fizzled out before we’d even met. Voices sound different once they’re released from the confines of a pink and fluffy dating site – that people pay for – and into the realm of the phone screen. Boys give themselves away when they’re chatting for free.

I’ve been wading through my own messages recently – my iPhone is groaning under the weight of them because I refuse to delete any. I’m reluctant to get rid; they tell a story I can barely remember.

apple imessage dots

Sometimes the texting would go on for weeks before we met, building up impossible pictures in each other’s minds about who might be doing the typing. I’m a boring old virgin at heart so there was very little sexting, and I have never ever sent a dick pic.

All that time spent – or wasted – on flirtation, carefully constructed jokes and an optimistic ‘xx’ at the end of a text, only for all that beautiful groundwork to be undone as soon as we laid eyes on each other.

It was fascinating to see how conversations would suddenly end, usually with a text sent moments before we ruined everything by actually showing up: Continue reading The Ones Who Stopped Texting

The first-date shirt

I’ve never believed in “lucky” pants or socks. Underwear is underwear and I have almost never had someone peel off my jeans, running their tongue across their teeth in anticipation, and compliment me on my trunks – or what was inside them, now I come to think of it.

But there are few items of clothing that have ever made me feel as invincible or irresistible as my “first date shirt”, the long-sleeved legend I wore on the majority, well at least half, of my first dates.

I’d admired it in the shop for a while. I’m one of those people who either impulse-buys wildly and is forced to do the “return of shame” within a day or two, or I take hundreds of trips to the clothes rail to convince myself I should buy the object of my affection. The first date shirt took a lot of self-persuasion.

I don’t really know why; it wasn’t remotely expensive or particularly outré. Just a bog-standard Uniqlo cotton number, in burgundy and green (I think; for a gay I’m not very good with colours) in a check or plaid or tartan or whatever you want to call it.

But I had a million shirts just like it – or thought I did – and so would place it back on the hanger every single time, after a good quarter of an hour turning that way and this, looking in the mirror  with it held against my chest.

Then, one day, while I was waiting for a friend to squeeze into some jeans in the fitting room, I tried it on properly for the first time.

We fell in love. Continue reading The first-date shirt