After years of rejecting / being rejected, I’ve become somewhat of an expert at the First Date.
As you can imagine, there’s only so many times you can exhaust your local pub as a first date meeting point before you become a local novelty; like the endearing alcoholic you can always rely on for in-pub entertainment.
I always thought the saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ was coined by a middle-aged man in a stagnant marriage, but it turns out that saying is just as true of dating.
There is a chance, however, that I took it a little too literally with the below dates-I-probably-shouldn’t-have-turned-up-to.
A BARBER SHOP:
When meeting someone from Tinder with a neck tattoo, it’s quite natural to be dubious about your safety. I mean, it’s not that I have anything against neck tattoos, but if he were to commit a crime, I imagine his “HEAVILY TATTOOED NECK” would be the most prominent feature of the prospective Daily Mail article. But for a wannabe East Londoner like myself, his Instagrammable-appearance was more pressing than my security.
Just a few drinks and a tequila shot later, I was lured into the barbers he worked at on the premise of free and unlimited gin. It wasn’t until he’d locked me inside the closed shop that I thought to myself, “jeez, there sure are a lot of cut throat blades in here… Is that a basement?”.
Fortunately for me though, this was a risk that paid off; there really was a lot of free gin.
Before we go on, I should explain that according to Wikipedia, Boiler Room “is a global online music broadcasting platform commissioning and streaming live music sessions with an invite-only audience in mostly private locations around the world”. This wasn’t a date in a ship compartment.
It sounds cool and elusive, doesn’t it? Two words that just happen to be the antithesis of me.
Internally screaming for an S Club 7 remix, there I was – Sauvignon Blanc in hand – wedged into a 50-person capacity room as my date woefully attempted to explain how one deciphers Deep House from Electro by the BPM (beats per minute, d’uh).
The best part? My acrimonious misery and uncoolness was all caught on camera.
A SECLUDED LAKE:
My favourite date story of all time, about six years ago I was taken on a first date to a lake. I know, I know, it sounds suspect; but I can assure you his intentions were entirely innocent.
Unfortunately for this old romantic, what followed was the worst possible series of events anyone could have anticipated.
Light turned to dark, and we became lost navigating the fields back to his car. Naturally, this was also when my notoriously ineffective BlackBerry decided to stop working.
Two hours later and I was home, greeted by the world’s most aggressive post-it note stuck to the front door; “PHILIPPA, CALL ME NOW.”
It turned out that my parents had driven to my best-friend’s house, fearing that Lake-Date Boy was in fact the predictable perpetrator of a Midsomer Murders’ plot.
You know that scene in Snow White when the Huntsman catches the Princess and begs her to run away and never come back? Well I was the Huntsman, he was Snow White and my mother was the Evil Queen (no offence, Mum).
I have never seen so much fear in a man’s eyes.
A PIZZA PLACE:
I hear you, what could possibly be bad about a pizza date? In normal circumstances, I’d be backing it too – but these weren’t normal circumstances.
To give you some context, I have a slight overbite, which means my front teeth don’t touch when I bite down. To avoid the horrifying embarrassment that ensues when I eat sandwiches, I’ve learnt to only eat pizza with a knife and fork.
I should also mention that at that point in time I had a broken collar bone.
I can now confidently confirm that there’s nothing less sexy than taking a girl out for dinner, only to have to cut her food into mouth-sized pieces, like some weird daddy-daughter role play.
HIS SISTER’S ENGAGEMENT PARTY:
Yep, for some unbeknownst reason (sheer desperation?), I agreed to attend my date’s sister’s engagement party.
Assuming there would be copious amounts of alcohol, you could forgive me for thinking that his family would be so inebriated they wouldn’t be able to distinguish me from a plant in the corner of the room. But it turned out this party was as dry as the Sahara Desert.
What ensued was three hours of introductions between myself, the “lady friend”, and distant relatives as I stared wide-eyed and helplessly into my plastic cup of lemonade.
COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET ON VALENTINE’S DAY:
One of London’s most prolific flower markets, I imagine most girls would have gone weak at the knees at this date venue. But not me. No, because I’m the world’s most socially awkward human being in romantic situations.
After asking me what flowers I wanted, I replied to my first and only Valentine, “I don’t want any flowers. They’re just going to die soon, like a symbol of this relationship.”
Think I’m exaggerating? I wish I was too.
Images via Giphy.