Tag Archives: Mr Nice Guy

The Wow Moment

Everybody should have their Wow Moment – that one moment in time where you look and feel fantastic and are at your absolute pinnacle of excellence, confidence and desirability. Most people aren’t aware of theirs when it’s happening – which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it – but if I’m ever going to have mine, it’s now, as I walk into the bar precisely 33 seconds late for my date with a man ten years my junior.

The wow is all over my date’s face as I approach him. I don’t see that look too often, sadly. I am nothing if not realistic; I know the only way I’m ever likely to grace the cover of a magazine is if I become a famous serial killer. But whether his expectations were low, or my pictures were bad, or he’s just really desperate, I have no idea – all I know is that his eyes widened when he saw me. And not in horror. It’s delight. I’ve seen it just about enough times to know the difference.

He’s wearing a blue button-down shirt which looks like it was ironed by a depressed cat and chinos the shade of every unlovely hotel room you’ve ever stayed in.

He is 25, “a musician” and has a name that sounds like a countryside railway station – Clark Deeping or Brent Malling or something like that – and he is tall and sturdy and looks just the right side of sexy-boring. He definitely collects things, I can tell; I just hope it’s not scalps of hapless middle-aged midgets he goes on dates with. He tells me he’s glad I gave up my Saturday night to meet him. Yes, a first date on a Saturday! Very unlike me, but there was something in his jolly-masquerading-as-confident texts that told me it wouldn’t be a miserable evening. He’s wearing a blue button-down shirt which looks like it was ironed by a depressed cat and chinos the shade of every unlovely hotel room you’ve ever stayed in. I have always had a soft spot for sartorial awkwardness, so I am not remotely deterred. Clothes come off, after all.

We have been together for precisely two hours. He has touched my hand eight times. We have had four drinks. Not that I’m counting.

For someone so youthful, he seems a serious soul. There is much knitting of brows and thinking before he speaks. I, of course, am in this ridiculous Wow Moment mode, so am doing lots of what I’m assuming are enigmatic smiles peppered with sparkling conversation. To the outsider I probably look like someone having a stroke while they read out a shopping list. Whatever it is, it is working. We have been together for precisely two hours. He has touched my hand eight times. We have had four drinks. Not that I’m counting.

He asks me how many dates I’ve been on, and I pretend to mull this over in my head, staring into middle distance, as one would expect a person thinking about something to do. After a few seconds, my acting master class moves on to a lying one, and I throw out a number that shows I have experience, but doesn’t make me look like a miserable slut who uses dating as an excuse to go the pub and stare at men’s nipples through their shirt. He tells me he is fairly new to dating – I have no idea whether this is true but he trembles a bit as he picks up his pint so it may well be – and then says he often ends up going home with his dates.
“What an odd thing to tell someone you’re actually on a date with,” I say.
“I am a bit odd,” he replies.
“How odd?”
“Odd enough.”

An excellent reply. Barman, drink number five, please.

He suggests moving on somewhere else. Given that he has done everything but write “You are going to see me naked later” on a Post-it note and pass it to me, I pretty much know it’s a sure thing, but am intrigued by how much effort he’s going to put in. I play as dumb as I dare, letting him decide where we go. Which direction will he take?

He suggests a place that I happen to know isn’t too far from where he lives. I’d congratulate him for being so smooth if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve played this game so many times before. And with more subtlety. But for a near-novice, he’s doing pretty well. I reward him by pretending I haven’t caught on to his ruse.

Getting off in the middle of the club like the teenager I’m glad I never was.

We arrive at a club that sounds very loud from the outside. I wince, but we queue behind lots of fashionable people who are talking about haircuts and DJing and chlamydia. To my surprise, the girl on the door smiles widely at us and we are waved into the club. I have no idea why: he’s dressed like a member of the Oxford rowing team having Sunday lunch with his parents and I’m sporting what I call my ‘date-boring’ look – a simple polo and slim fitting cords.

My threads are dull to make my personality – and my eyes – stand out more. It’s a boring old tactic, but a well-tried one. And what do you know, within minutes of our arrival, it becomes apparent it’s doing the trick.

Without so much as a warning, his face is on mine and I stand awkwardly – although enjoying myself immensely – spilling my beer all over the floor while we go to town on each other. Getting off in the middle of the club like the teenager I’m glad I never was. The Wow continues.

We break apart and sit down at a table occupied only by one very drunk girl who is trying to do cocaine off her hand, but spilling it everywhere every time she exaggeratedly hiccups. Ignoring her, my date leans in and whispers: “I just want to rip your clothes off right here.”

I can’t help but laugh. First of all, what he’s just said is totally fucking preposterous; we’re in the middle of a club, music is banging and drinks sloshing left, right and centre. Also, I am not the kind of guy that men want to tear the trousers off. In a way, I’m flattered, but it rings hollow. See? My Wow Moment is happening in front of my very eyes and I don’t want to believe it’s true. Perhaps his confession that he takes a lot of his dates home make me feel less special.

However, if this young buck thinks that clumsy line will work on me, who am I to knock his confidence? I’m going to leave life’s harsh lessons for another time – tonight I’m going to have some fun.

“Probably best not to do it right here,” I smile, idly playing with the open neck of his shirt. “How long will it take to get back to yours?”
“About 15 minutes.”
I break into my last enigmatic smile of the evening. And then: “Let’s try to make it 10.”

Stats: 6’3″, 25, brown/brown, Gloucestershire
Pre-date rating: 6.5/10
Post-date rating: 9/10
If the date were a song: Betcha by golly wow

A truncated version of this post originally appeared in the monthly dating column I used to do in Gay Times magazine. I now answer GT readers’ dilemmas and dole out relationship advice. Take a look at the Gay Times website to see when the next issue is out.

Image: johnwennerberg on Flickr

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Five men you think you want to date (but actually really, really don’t)

Mr Neat And Tidy
Who is he? He’s never got a hair out of place and his flat is a monument to order and hygiene.

Why you think you want him: A man who cleans up after himself is the rarest of beasts; to find one is surely the holy grail of dating. Imagine all those gleaming surfaces you can have sex on!

Why you really don’t want him: If he’s that fastidious about himself and his environs, think how much control he’ll exert over you and yours. He’ll sneer at your ‘floordrobe’ and nag you about washing the dishes. While Mr Neat might look like the full package, in actual fact he’s a Cillit Bang-wielding housekeeping fascist who thinks it really is about time you did your laundry and oh my goodness is that a pizza box in your bed – what the hell is wrong with you?

Mr Puts You First
Who is he? Whatever you say goes. This eager to please puppy dog caters to your every whim, just to make you happy. If you don’t want to do it, neither does he.

Why you think you want him: Well, you get to do exactly as you please 24/7, and have your very own cheerleader at your side, making you feel special. This is all about you. All. For. You.

Why you really don’t want him: Doormattery is never sexy. It just isn’t. A guy who makes everything about you is heading for a fall in a big way. First of all, acquiescing to you day in, day out is bound to be a breeding ground for resentment when he realises he hasn’t done anything for himself in the last year. Also, when you start to tire of all this adoring emotional serfdom, your eyes are going to start dancing their way across the bar to rest upon the nearest hot nonchalant person who barely knows you’re alive.

Mr Best Dressed
Who is he? Clothes maketh the man, and this stylish trendgasm has it all going on, from his perfectly buffed boots to his expertly coiffed head.

Why you think you want him: He looks so good. People stare. He’s with you! Phwoar.

Why you really don’t want him: The problem with carrying a huge man-sized shiny bauble around with you is that it attracts attention. The wrong kind, from other men in search of decoration. Also, anyone who places such a huge importance on clothes is probably going to make you spend many an agonising hour shopping in some dreadful mall, stopping off for a glass of flat champagne at a soulless bar of cheap laminate and gold spray paint. He’ll also want to go out to show these clothes off. He’s not going to want to sit in front of reality TV on a Wednesday night when he’s got all these ‘threads’ to show off, is he?

Mr Mummy Likes Him
Who is he? You know as soon as you meet him that you can take him home to your mum. And when you do, he gets it right first time, with flowers, charm, and an ability to make one tepid cup of tea last an hour or two.

Why you think you want him: You’ve never been able to introduce a date to your mother before, given you spent the entire relationship drunk, covering for their kleptomania, or ashamed because they had a chest tattoo of an Amy Winehouse lyric.

Why you really don’t want him: The last thing you need for your fragile ego is a new ally for your family. As they pore conspiratorially over baby photos, your mother delighting in regaling your date with tales of you shitting yourself at nursery and the time she stumbled upon your internet history and it was full of amateur porn, they’re forming a dynamic duo whose only purpose is to make fun of you. Affectionately, of course. Right. And so it goes on, until your mother prefers him to you and then – when you inevitably break up with the toadying, Oedipal creep – she’ll mention him every time you turn up to a family event with your next, inappropriate squeeze.

Mr Popular
Who is he? He’s got oodles of friends and everybody knows his name. Going out with him is like being with a lesser celebrity, but without cameras following you round.

Why you think you want him: Congratulations, you’re a localised Kardashian! You’re suddenly part of a social whirl previously unavailable to you, with more connections than a train timetable and party invites than a publicist.

Why you really don’t want him: Popular guys are like cheap margarine: they don’t work so well when they’re spread too thinly. He’s got lots of friends, yes, but on the peripheries are hangers-on, and with a guy getting so much attention from his inner circle, is he going to have time for everybody? To make sure you get facetime with Mr Popular is going to take a lot of effort. Do you have it in you to be at his side come hell or high-water, at every shindig he attends, pretending you’re gripped by the small talk being foisted upon you by his simpering acolytes? Will he be having such a good time in the middle of it all that you slide out of view? Your taxi, as ever, is outside. He’ll catch you later, babes, yeah?

The Christmas Fling

Winter. Brrrr. Mulled wine and Christmas shopping, festive drinks, tinsel and coupledom.

I’m trying not to think about what the festive period is going to be like without a significant other – it’s best not to – but I’m wary of starting something at this time of year. Being alone in winter can be quite scary, but I don’t want to over-compensate, or see romance where there is none, just so I won’t be flying solo during party season. Draping tinsel over a ‘maybe’ shouldn’t make it a ‘yes’.

Nevertheless, here I am on the dating site being very cautiously wooed by our latest contestant. He’s neither brash nor particularly confident but he can’t seem to say a thing wrong. He’s sweet, intelligent, funny and, from his limited number of public pictures, handsome.

He’s a journalist and we talk about pretty much anything, settling into a jocular tone very early on. I don’t ask him out for a drink because I sometimes worry something so perfect electronically can turn out to be only a disappointment when flesh comes into play. If he asks me, however, I won’t say no. The games you play with yourself and others. How beautifully time-consuming and utterly pointless it all is.

He does ask, and my hand is forced.  The date is a long time in the making: conflicting diaries and last-minute work commitments mean that the first meeting is delayed twice. By the time we do meet, December is on the horizon. I am to meet him on a Tuesday night in a pub in a beautiful part of London that’s brimming over with Christmas cheer and ambience. Continue reading The Christmas Fling

The Guyliner, as told by The Male Nanny

I went out on a ‘date’ with another anonymous blogger, the very charming Male Nanny. We each wrote a post about it, and both appear here. You can also read my account of the night; it matters not which one you read first.

“Most blogs are shit. But, when I discovered theguyliner’s, I couldn’t stop reading. It is a brilliant blog because it depicts an interesting sub-culture and is written with skill and cynicism. But it struck me that he is operating in a comfort zone; aloof and perplexed, the straight man on a raft, in a sea of drowning oddballs. Writing the blog elevates him, detaches him. He is on the front line, yes, but he is watching the sun-set from a deck chair, while the other soldiers howl at it, from a pit. I wanted to get him out of his bubble. I wanted him to meet me.

Because I have no designs to fuck him, and because I am not mental, and because we are both anonymous bloggers, a parity exists that would remove potential for the haughty judgement that facilitates the dark humour in his blogs. It would be a challenge for him.

Clearly, gays like a challenge, because he agreed to meet. I suggested we both write about the experience, and that he post it as a blog; a two pronged perspective piece with some high-powered perception pointed at him, for a change. He bravely, and perhaps slightly reluctantly, said “okay”. Continue reading The Guyliner, as told by The Male Nanny

The Male Nanny

I went out on a ‘date’ with another anonymous blogger, the very charming Male Nanny. We each wrote a post about it, and both appear here. You can also read his account of the night; it matters not which one you read first

Stats: That’s classified, I’m afraid
Where: London, W1
When: November 2011
Pre-date rating: 8/10

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after going on first dates with a large number of men, it’s to expect the unexpected. I’m currently taking a break from the dating scene, the hapless loners and plump-chested braggers holding less appeal as the year wears on. And then, I am asked, via Twitter, if I would like to meet by The Male Nanny, my very favourite blogger (sorry to that blogging lady who posts pictures of her sodding cat all day – you’re a very close second, honestly).

The twists here come thick and fast: he is straight, for one – not even remotely curious; and he has no idea what I look like. Our flirtation has been purely intellectual and refreshingly free of any carnal desire. Despite our difference in age, we seem a good match in personalities, yet I’m hesitant. My general rule is never to meet anyone from Twitter, but, like me, he’s an anonymous blogger, albeit with considerably more to lose should his identity be revealed. And so, after mulling it over, I agree. We set a time and date over email, his communiqués making me laugh out loud (an occurrence all too rare) and then it is done. It is happening. My next date, then, may be the oddest proposition of them all. Continue reading The Male Nanny

The Vision of Beauty

There is no ego boost greater than being contacted by someone very good-looking. I know that beauty is both only skin deep and in the eye of the beholder, and you can call me a shallow old sucker, but you can’t beat a winning smile and a pair of bright, sparkling eyes.

He first contacts me after he sees I’ve looked at his profile. I had only looked in awe, not daring to click ‘Like’, but he gets in touch and tells me the usual openers about liking my profile, and we chat for a few days.

He’s astoundingly hot and intelligent, the kind of guy that would have overbearing mothers salivating and speeding off to M&S to choose their two-piece for your wedding, which would take place in summer in a country house.

Before we can ever get that far, however, we have to arrange a date and I am not keen to ask him out, so fearful am I of the inevitable rejection. Congratulations, I think, you’re a 15-year-old burbling schoolgirl.

This can only end badly. Continue reading The Vision of Beauty

The Banker

Stats: 5’8″, 38, greying/blue, Essex
When: July 2011
Where: Pimlico, SW1
Pre-date rating: 6/10

So we’re on another summer of “yes”, it would seem. My iPhone calendar heaves with dates and I’m looking as ravaged as only one can when one has been necking beers in a variety of pubs with a slew of strangers.

As a result of my packed schedule, which I pore over with all the enthusiasm of a dead cat, it is a few weeks between arranging a date with The Guy and actually going on it. He first contacts me during a busy period at work. He says the usual intro stuff: he likes my profile, I seem interesting, would like to know more – truly the “Do you come here often?” of the internet dating world. I peruse his profile and he seems nice, intelligent, friendly. He doesn’t look anything special on his pictures but my recent experience has shown that pictures are so ridiculously unrepresentative of the men who post them that he may well be an adonis in the flesh. Yeah, I know. I live in hope, at least

Anyway, we exchange a few pleasantries over email and then he goes in with the whammy of asking me out on a date. I think about this. If I’m honest with myself, which is always important but devastatingly rare, I don’t really want to go. He’s a little older than I am looking for, and beyond the niceties we’ve exchanged, I’m struggling to see what we’ll have in common. I do, however, feel that I have led him on slightly by keeping up the dialogue. By now we have taken it to email, as his subscription on the dating site was about to expire. He mails me again and suggests meeting for dinner in Pimlico. Shit. For some reason it is beyond my capability to refuse him outright. So, turning gradually more yellow by the second, I avoid the email for a couple of days. He sends the exact same email again. Continue reading The Banker