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Twelve Angry Men

Six months in, it’s time to reflect on the non-starters. And there have been a few!

The first ever blind date of my new adventures was pretty luke-warm. He was Dutch, tall, fit, experienced and confident. Sounding good so far, but a little too full of himself. And way too full-on for my first experience. The turning point for me was the fact that he launched into how fit and sexy his ex-wife was within the first 5 minutes of meeting. This is a particularly ineffective tactic if you’re trying to get a relatively inexperienced middle aged chubster into bed.

Rollerboy started so promisingly. We shared an interest in rollerderby, amongst many other things, including travel, food and music tastes. In fact, the similarities were a little too close for comfort when we inevitably found out we had shared acquaintances. The meeting marked an important learning step in the whole process, making me think through how we would handle my different worlds colliding.

He’s tall, single, bearded, wears spectacles, and has a penchant for domination. It sounds like just my thing, but he turns out to be more geeky and arrogant than cool and sexy.

Our first date is lunch at a busy hipster café. He turns up claiming he’d come straight from the gym but looked more like a fat sweaty bloke who hadn’t bothered to shower. Despite the lack of chemistry, I agree to meet him for a drink the following week. This time, as soon as I walk into the pub he launches into a big rant about what a shitty day at work he’d had. And he smells of stale laundry.

Rather than flirting, he appears to be trying to catch me out on my film and music knowledge – unsuccessfully of course. He also tells me about a recent trip to a fetish club and the 2 subs that he has on the go. He thinks he’s impressing me, but it all sounds a bit contrived, lightweight and amateur. When he suggests that I could be lucky enough to join his crew of simpering admirers, I just smile politely. Needless to say, we don’t meet again, but 6 months later he sends me a photo of himself outside an international music landmark that we’d talked about. Surprisingly, I found it more touching than creepy.

There are also the online fellas who don’t even make it to the date stage. A top tip when trying to make a connection with another person: try not to show anger and aggression from the outset. Heaps of men seem to have developed the habit of putting a shitty passive-aggressive note on their profile to tell women that they need to have the ‘common decency’ and manners to reply to their wink, even if they’re not interested. I absolutely agree that the internet dating etiquette needs to be polite and respectful. But calling people rude from the outset seems to defeat the object. And really, does it matter that they don’t reply? Surely silence is enough of an indicator. I know I prefer no answer, than being slapped in the face with “I’m not into fat married chicks, thanks”.

And there are the ones who just can’t take no for an answer. A brief exchange of messages with one guy ended quite awkwardly after I changed my mind. It was quite early on in the process when I hadn’t learned enough about what I was interested in and how to communicate it effectively. So even though he really wasn’t my type, the chatting was pleasant enough and I was open to possibilities. This changed for me when he started sending my photos of his pasty, white, flabby old bottom covered in whip marks. I’d already told him I wasn’t into BDSM and the pictures made it clearer to me that I really didn’t fancy him and wasn’t going to get down and dirty with him, ever. When I politely told him that it wasn’t working for me, he behaved as if we had actually met, were in a committed relationship and that I was breaking his heart. He hassled me for feedback and reasons, convinced that we really had something and refusing to believe I wasn’t into him. It was intense. After multiple pathetic ‘gorgeous girl’ and ‘I miss you’ messages, I had to get brutal and tell him outright to stop contacting me. It was unpleasant, but effective.

The most hilarious and baffling brief encounter came through a regular dating site. And I never even saw a photo of him. His opening gambit was asking me to describe my final meal on the planet. While it sounded suspiciously like the words of a serial killer, I like food and decided to join in. My answer was something suitably lighthearted involving Italy, beaches, seafood, Singapore and chilli crab. Months on and his answer still makes me chuckle, so much that it deserves to be repeated in its full glory:

“Mine would be a little more selfish… perhaps ostentatious… I have chosen Italy… I have considered this for the location: a balcony overlooking the grand canal with views to the sea after a day spent wondering the Academia gallery with a sensual interesting lover. A tall glass of Chambord mixed with Malvern sparkling spring water over Antarctic shaved ice, just the one as I don’t drink but as it’s my last meal I would indulge. I stole the Malvern water idea from a Clive James poem… A starter of char grilled octopus, scallops, halloumi and some Maine soft shell crab. A mango sorbet to cleanse the palate. Then I would probably have a rack of New Zealand lamb with garlic and rosemary crust, a small caramelized pear, kale, rocket salad with red wine balsamic/Tahitian lime dressing, roasted veg cut into small cubes and seasoned with pepper and rock salt… lemon sorbet. Then a selection of cheese, artichokes with olives warmed in a hint of chili and tequila marinate, with wood oven ciabatta bread warm straight from the oven. Finally caramelized fig, honeycomb and almond homemade ice-cream with a sheet of crisp wafer, followed with a large milk coffee, fresh ground from Arabica beans most likely from highlands of PNG”.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin with how much is wrong with this brief exchange. Beyond the fact that he clearly doesn’t know as much about food as he’d like to think, there was no engagement with my answer, no conversation, just absolute self-important pretentiousness. I was honestly so flabbergasted that I literally had no words with which to reply.

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