I had my first date in a while last night (when I say a while, I actually mean a year). I found myself sitting across from an unassuming gentleman in an insalubrious Be at One in Covent Garden.
The venue wasn’t the best. The low hanging lights had been fitted with red bulbs and created a bordello like ambiance that was unnecessary for a Monday night. Our chat battled against what I’m pretty sure was Now 3; tinny and turned up slightly too loud for an empty establishment meaning questions and comments needed to be repeated more then once.
The talk covered the usual neutral topics that you can expect when the only contact you’ve previously had with someone has been through a dating app. It ebbed and flowed, interrupted only once when he pointed out a mouse that was hanging around the bar. Jobs, family, travel, I love horses, he doesn’t, we’d both spent some of our childhood in Hong Kong, him longer then I. We did at one point hit on food phobias, me – bananas, him – tinned tuna (I dread to think what conclusions Freud would have drawn). The lowest point was being asked what my passions were. I had believed this question was the prerogative of distant, elderly relatives but apparently not. All I could think of at that moment was Enrique Iglesias and The Millionaire Matchmaker (TV at its best). I squirmed awkwardly, opened and shut my mouth a few times but managed not to blurt out the aforementioned enjoyments. I made a mental note to have some passions up my sleeve for the next time that question is lobbed at me. We moved on. For some reason, I think he thought I was quite sporty (it was very clear he was) though I’m not sure how he’d come to labour under that misapprehension. After three hours, we called it a night and emerged from the Be at One cellar, said our goodbyes and headed in separate directions.
I was in bed by the time the Quixotic PR returned home from her own Monday night date. ‘How’d it go? How’d it go?!’ she demanded excitedly, jumping on my bed.
‘It started off fine, he was nice but have I ever told you about the time I got 7 majors and a dangerous in my first driving test? Towards the end, the examiner screamed ‘what are you doing?’ grabbed the steering wheel and drove us off the roundabout. I realised at that moment, if I hadn’t already failed, I’d definitely failed then. Well, I had the dating equivalent of that tonight when he asked what music I liked and I announced I was going through a One Direction phase. It’s a definite automatic fail.’
She laughed. ‘Don’t worry. Mine was married to a woman who left him for a woman. It can only get better.’