Skip to main content

I can't stand (other people) up for falling down

I had a first date arranged this evening. Quite low key; a quiet early evening drink on the edge of Soho with Olive, a Tinder match. Olive seemed bright, funny, interesting and attractive. A similar age, with children older than mine and a sense of humour all her own. We've been chatting for a week or two, not intensively, but a few times most days.  I know, deep inside, that I’m not entirely over “The One”, who I’ve loved and lost months ago but still ache for at inopportune moments, like most of the time that I'm awake. But she’s never coming back, so if only to prove to myself that I’m not going to become a complete recluse and spend every evening sitting on the sofa in my pants, spooning lard into my mouth from a giant tub while tears course silently down my cheeks, I’ve arranged this and a couple of other dates. You never know. I might meet someone nice. 

It won’t be Olive though. Two hours before the appointed time, I received a text:




Now this isn’t the end of the world. Pulling out is her prerogative. No sniggering at the back, please. I’ve had plenty of cold feet myself, but normally manage to conquer my fears because once you’ve gone through the swiping, matching, chatting and arranging, the date itself is the reward. Unless, obviously, their profile pictures are only headshots. When will I learn?

But it’s a disappointment nevertheless. I’d prepared myself as best I could.  Popped by the venue earlier, to check it was open and still appropriate.  Chosen that rare outfit that's perfect for both work and a date, despite the humidity this week.  Even, just in case but without expectation, underwear from the presentable side of the drawer rather than the "Please god don't let me be hit by a bus in the pelvis today" side.  Happily anticipating a glass or two of wine at the end of the day with somebody who'd made me laugh, at least in text form.   And all for nowt.  She hasn't even read my reply, which I hope was sympathetic and kind.  She's probably out tonight with someone younger and more hench.  Meh.  Shame, though.  A date's a big deal for me, even though it may not sound like it.


I've been cancelled before, of course.  This may not come as a surprise.  A couple of years back; when I was dating in a spirit of earnest and relentless hope; Mary from Tinder and I exchanged a few messages over the weekend and arranged a date for Wednesday evening.  Time, location, even what we'd be drinking.  This was Sunday.  I'd then gone out.  Came back to a surprising message... 



Mary told me it was "odd that I'd been online all night...:



Despite her predilection for txtspk and complete inability to distinguish between a possessive adjective and a contraction of you are, let alone identify the past participle of send, I didn't want to let this go.  I'd been out, and had barely looked at my phone.  

I know this, because I'd spent the evening in Upper Street sinking a couple of bottles of wine with a delightful Irish Yoga 'n' Sailing First Date.  We weren't each other's type at all but had got on famously, enjoyed a lively evening drinking and jabbering, and had kissed goodbye outside the bar, in friendly fashion & mutual understanding of *like but no spark*.  Or marriage, as some call it, except miles away from consummation.  The following morning she texted me about her dream that I'd pushed her into a shop doorway and done something both immensely unspeakable and outrageously pleasurable to her; but that's a whole other story.  Except it's not.  Because dreams don't count, even if they belong to somebody else.

So I lied, and told Mary I'd been having dinner with friends.  That there may have been wifi and I might have been automatically connected to it, but that conversation and consumption had been the order of the day.  That my phone had been in my pocket all evening.  All completely true, except for the dinner bit, and the misuse of the plural of friend.  New friend that I never saw again. Yes it was a date, but nothing happened, either real or implied.  I was single.  Should I have felt guilty?  Perhaps I should.  I wasn't ready to give up all other friendships just yet, Safety wink.

The reply was long.  Published in parts, like a Charles Dickens novel.  But with less frenzied jostling at the quayside for the next instalment.  Do I like Dickens?  Yes, but not on a first date.  Dad joke. 

It was aggressive and accusative in parts.  It may well have been entirely justified in its allusions towards men.  The collective pain of Mary and her friends, associates, and people she'd seen on daytime television was mentioned.  It was full of dark portent.  It rambled, not unlike this paragraph, but with a sharper edge.  That friends were all very well but Tinder matches were here and now.  The fourth part ended with the words:




I'd already started a reply.  To parts one & two.  A careful, dignified reply, I hoped.  Cognisant that we have all been burned, can be wary, may still hurt.  That I was in a good place, and needed to start relationships in the spirit of happiness rather than suspicion.  Choosing words carefully, trying to find a balanced response, all in the space of a whole seven minutes.  When suddenly the next message pinged in, mid-sentence...



Later, much later, I had to reassure myself that the only person who can see if you're typing on WhatsApp is the person you're typing a message to.  It's true, nonbelievers.  Rest assured.  I'd only been replying to Mary, but it did raise the question of what other people see on Whatsapp.  So now you know, or probably already did.

At the time, it freaked me the fuck out.

If you're me, and a bit verbose, finding the correct words is quite important.  Even if those words are suggesting that perhaps we should just leave it there.  Because alarm bells are sounding. Big, needy, bright, red alarm bells.  Maybe it's anxiety, mine or hers.  That's likely.  Maybe I don't type quickly enough. That's probable.  Maybe it's because she has a collection of scary knives and duct tape.  I don't even want to consider the odds.  Because somebody scrutinising my actual movements in real time before I've even met them doesn't leave me in my happy place.  Perhaps not rocket science.

Mary and I never met.  I'll probably never meet Olive either, though I'll send her a Losers' Club™ message tomorrow, because we can all get the jitters, and I'd like to know she's OK.  Unless no blue ticks. In which case, she's definitely gone younger and more hench.  Or dropped her phone in a river.

But I'm glad she was polite enough to tell me beforehand.  Thanks Olive, for your interaction and your manners.  I'd never have got around to writing this otherwise.  Because I'm out tomorrow too.  I don't feel like going out, if I'm honest, but I'm not standing anybody up.  No way.



Comments

  1. you've just sent out warning bells to lots of people on the other end of your texts - you might well just be lying.
    Don't do that dammit - don't lie to spare someones feelings - it's so disingenuous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post. For what it's worth, you did absolutely nothing wrong with either of those two dates. It's sort of accepted that, when online dating, it's unlikely that any person is only speaking with only one other. I've seen profiles boasting of maintaining seven, eight or even more conversations at one time (which would be exhausting!).

    It sounds like with Mary you got a pretty lucky escape from someone who was pretty needy and would forever have been suspicious of your actions and motivations. Don't change things!!!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Words...Don't come easy to me. But numbers do. Or do I mean number two?

Sunday evening.

Blog posts written:  None.  Inspiration stuck fast, like Augustus Gloop in the chocolate pipe,* with barely 400 words written about what happened after that first night in London.  Can't even tell if it's a good story or not.  
*This is not a euphemism

Cigarettes smoked: 1.  And I gave up last year.  I hate myself just a little bit more, which I've been working hard at not doing.Beers drunk:  2.  Not even enjoyed those.  They're colder than the still memorable message from The One; telling me she'd met somebody else; and every bit as welcome.Steps taken today: 19,004.  Good, but ruined by the beer.  And the cigarette.Pairs of trainer socks discarded after retreating to the arch of my foot within 50 paces: 2Pairs of trainer socks discarded in similar circumstances over the last couple of weeks: 5Pairs of trainer socks remaining in sock drawer: 0Pairs of normal socks rolled down to the ankle in the hope that I wouldn't look like a total Nigel in sho…

Honesty, kindness, and unexpected boobies

I really, really want to be kind.  And honest.

I've not always been great at it, and in my twenties ended more than one relationship horribly, in a classic remake of "If I Behave Badly Enough They'll Chuck Me" - a movie that nobody's yet bothered to make first time around.  Except me, in live non-filmed documentary form.  Because I was a bit shit at saying, "Sorry, but I don't like you as much as I used to."  Actually, worse than a bit shit. I'm genuinely sorry about that.  Especially to the lovely girl that ended up marrying one of my other good friends.  I went to their wedding.  It's OK.  Honestly.  We're all mates.  Still.  Even after my flailing arms launched a full glass of red wine over her white dress last summer.

Phew.

Honesty and kindness hadn't entirely worked with Angie, who'd been my first serious newly-single rebound relationship. I adored her.  She'd been the champion grenade-thrower at her Senior School.  Alth…

The chef that grated

There's a pub I like, just on the edge of Primrose Hill park.  And on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend like this one, I'm not the only one that likes it.  Now, given the adjacent park; I can't guarantee that every woman in the queue for the Ladies is a bona fide customer. Presumably nor can the landlord, hence his reluctance to provide anything other than the smallest of toilet facilities; which leads to insanely long queues of increasingly desperate females every time there's a hint of warmth in the air.

It's impossible to linger at a table in the same corner of the pub as the entrance to the bogs for too long, though.  As the line of uncomfortable looking women snakes ever longer around the customers and the curved corner of the bar, the build up of uric crystallisation becomes almost solid in its pungency, to the point that the wise have to make tracks in search of fresher air before ingress to the lungs is completely prevented by the formation of that scourge of Th…

My Love Life. Part One. A Tragedy in Many Parts. A Part in Many Tragedies.

I've been a bit blocked recently in terms of updating my own dating blog.  Mainly because:
I'm not currently datingI've written all the tales that follow my typical story arc*I can't write about having my heart shattered, because it isn't funny***If you haven't read my midlife dating blog before, it's fundamentally full of the various histories of dates I've been on that turned out to be massive disasters, one way or another.  But I try to make them mildly amusing, once I'm over the trauma **Which is basically point one.  But the rule of three applies.  Plus, I've spent ages writing & deleting all my heartache, bitterness & angst. Time has passed, I'm doing my best to let things go. Anyway, there's no angst room here. This was meant to be a guest post.
Then Alice kindly asked if I'd like to write a guest post on her blog.  And I accepted, because, unbeknownst to her, she'd inadvertently caught me at the sweet spot in the on…

Dating blogs are like chocolate - messy when things warm up

I joined Twitter just over a year ago, not long after I'd managed to fuck up the most important relationship of my shiny, new, post fucked-up-relationship, life.  While I wasn't going to write that disaster story any time soon, because it was all still too raw, there were tales I'd shared with a couple of friends of my previous dating exploits, and the urge was strong to actually write some of them down and tell them anonymously, while I surfed the wake of my broken-hearted malaise and took some time off from Tinder & Bumble.

What also inspired me to write a bit, after I finally came out of my miserable funk for long enough to start to read what was going on in the outside world, was that there were a few other people out there on Twitter linking to their dating blogs.  And they were (mostly) good.  And they were (mostly) anonymous, and other people commented on what they'd written and followed them on Twitter.  And although it sounded slightly like a massively nar…

The Hookup. And the neighbours.

Tinder.  The allegation I'd read was that it was nothing but a shag-fest.  I hadn't even been familiar with the term hook up as anything other than a term for meeting, but I was reading repeatedly that this relatively new app was the place where millenials were compressing what I had known as "dating" into a one-night time-frame.

For liddle ol' Gen X me, that wasn't proving to be the case.  Apart from my First Ever Tinder Date, but that itself had been an anomaly that had simultaneously boosted my bruised ego and battered my busted heart.  I'd become unexpectedly but inevitably single after a decade of joy and another decade of unspoken "staying together for the sake of the kids."  The kids were all right, which would have pleased Jimmy Pursey.*  But that winter I was swiping, matching, messaging and experiencing the crushing disappointment of a series of chemistry-free first dates.
*Oblique nod to both remaining Sham 69 fans

By the time winter …

Is it too early to talk about cunnilingus?

It probably is, because look, we barely know each other.  I've only been blogging for a few days.

But, if we do somehow end up naked together, there's a chance it could happen, sooner rather than later.

Because, er, I like you.  And you like me.  That's how we got here.  And I'm turned on by you, and I want you to be turned on by me.  And the state of awkwardness peculiar only to those who have removed their undergarments in the horn-infested presence of another for the first time is mutual, so why don't I* take a lead here?

*Unless you've really got a frisk on and have already set the pace, so to speak.  I'm easy like that.  If we're already en le frottage, then let's be comfortable with each other.  I'll roll with it.  What goes around comes around, etc.

Michael Douglas probably wouldn't approve.  But then I worry if I wear a cotton v-neck, in case people think I'm copying his style.  Which of course I may be, subliminally.  Is this my …

My Love Life. Part Two. Virgin on the Ridiculous.

If you haven't read Part One, and you're not being deliberately contrary, you should probably click here.  We'll wait for you to catch up.

While the other boys were playing tennis ball football in the playground during both break and lunchtime, I could be found in the library.  I probably still have my "Librarian" enamel badge somewhere.  And there's still nothing you could teach me about the Dewey Decimal System.  My pants are off right now, girls.  Come at me, in orderly fashion.  Ideally alphabetically, well-thumbed, and with unbroken spines.

Strangely, the library wasn't where I encountered any kind of vaginal enlightenment.  Even from the books in the locked cupboard, for which you had to sign for the key.  I wasn't that unknowing.  And the decade during which I went from 9 to 19 was the peak of that horticultural phenomenon known as "hedgerow porn."  I was already awarethat naked ladies sported an immense tangle between their legs, as …

This wasn't what I intended to write, but it came out unexpectedly

I was driving down from my villa this morning in search of breakfast at the nearest beach village when I realised I'd have to turn back for another poo.

This, in itself, won't come as momentous news to anybody who experiences morning bowel movements.  Which, all being well, is most people, but I'd already had three between getting up, showering and leaving the property.

For the record, I have diverticular disease.  This delightful piece of oversharing is brought to you by the formation of small bulges in the wall of the colon, which has nothing to do with punctuation and everything to do with the passage of food and its by-products through the body.  It's also hereditary, which explains why both my brother and my mother have it too; although not the fact that I was diagnosed years before either of them, despite being the youngest of us.  Here comes the science bit: Who knew I'd be younger than my mother?

What it means, in real life, is that I have to be careful when a…