SWIPED – Date no. 6 The dream boat and the sinking ship… by Dating Confessions of a PR Girl
2015/06/02  |  By:   |  Features  |  

SwipedThere is an urban legend that once upon a time – a time after we stopped eating soot and killing wild animals with our bare hands, when people used to ride around on penny farthings and watch black and white TV and poke people on Facebook (sure, the social history timeline is fairly fluid here…) – that men would approach women they were attracted to in social environments and talk to them. Apparently they’d even occasionally ask for the object of their affection’s number and then call them (on this thing called a land line).  Unfathomable, I know.

And so imagine my surprise as I was propping up the bar in London’s trendy Shoreditch (yup, that’s the place where the men have beards and no sense of irony) enjoying a spritzer and a wang on with my girlfriends that an (unbearded) man should approach and try to engage me in conversation. *Oh hang on while I dig out my dance card* His name was James, he didn’t own a start-up or ride a fixie (aka a clapped out old bike with no gears) and he really didn’t seem to take himself too seriously. Reader, I was as surprised as you are. We talked, we LOL’d, he bought me a spritzer, we LOL’d some more…and it slowly dawned on me that I was being chatted up. In a bar. As they do in films. Oh let’s just add a dollop more cliché here…he only went and asked for my number.


And even in the cold, sober light of the following day he texted (because whatsapp is surely too forward at such an early stage of the game?!) and continued to intimate that he’d like to take me for a drink. And so I found myself in the unlikely scenario of going on a date with a man who was not a complete stranger and who I already knew I quite liked. Ridic.

Meanwhile, back online, I’d been exchanging a few messaged with Gav – an ex RAF pilot who now does some sort of logistical stuff that made no sense to my goldfish brain. He was 35, generically good looking. Sure, on perusing his photos he seemed to be rather liberal with the hair-gel for a man of his age, and grammatically he wasn’t the strongest, but are we prepared to let a to and a too stand in the way of finding an able hand with an Ikea flat pack instruction manual? Obvs not. Gav (I know, I wasn’t comfortable with the abbrev either) mooted the idea of a drink, and it seemed like the right thing to do to accept him given he’d put about ten days of messaging ground work in.

So I found myself in the unchartered waters of having two dates within three days…Were my social skills up to it? My liver certainly wasn’t after a weekend of reckless binge drinking at a wedding, but being the stoic PRgirl that I am, I pulled myself together, applied a generous amount of concealer and put on my optimistic face. First up was James who had curiously seen the mildly slurry white-wine-drunky side of me the week before and still been keen for a date. He gave me the option of ‘the best pizza in London’ (his words, not mine) or a Thai – sure, because that’s how we roll in the cosmopolitan capital – and so we met in Angel with the promise of the best dough balls of my life (that made me LOL, so I’m leaving it in, apolz)

James was suited and booted following a day being busy and important doing some sort of banking stuff in the city (note to self: pay more attention when men describe their jobs) and arguably looked more comfortable than he did in Shoreditch surrounded by men in jeans tighter than my own. We drank, we talked, we LOL’d, we ate Pizza – and given he was such a dreamboat I forgave him the fact that it technically was not the best pizza in London. We carried on to a bar, I arguably went a spritzer too  far and told a story about parking fines which was beyond tedious, but James managed to laugh at me and tell me so (rather than saving it as an anecdote for his anonymous blog, presumably?!) The end of the night came all too soon and we stumbled out onto Upper Street and I was filled with the smug satisfaction of having spent a successful non-socially awkward evening with a stranger. James said he’d had a great time in spite of the parking fine anecdote, and I could only concur as he leant in for the kill (yup, still just like in a film…bar the presence of a lady who had evidently missed the memo that the spritzer is a girl’s best friend and was both weeping and vomiting simultaneously on the pavement beside us).  We texted when we got home and enthusiastically reiterated that we’d had a nice time…and there was nothing further to report beyond #dreamboat.

Being mindful, however, of the single girl’s ‘It’s a numbers game’ mantra, I knew better than to be complacent/buy any hats following a single successful date. Gav chose the never-before-visited-in-Swiped city central hub of Green Park for date two of the week, and so it was with my best (albeit slightly jaded) #letsgettoknowyou smile that I headed out onto the battle field. We met outside Henry’s Bar with the promise that this was not the chosen destination, and true to his word Gav arrived with military punctuality at 6.30. His hair was – as we feared – gelled and almost fanned into a gravity defying quiff, his suit was iridescent and arguably a tad bodacious for a day in the office…or anywhere outside of a cabaret show in Las Vegas, now I come to think of it. We wove our way through the throngs of people (with no imagination) outside Henry’s Bar and made our way to the well-kept secret that is Shepherd’s Market. Gav had a Peroni, natch I had a spritzer, and so we commenced with the tedium of the stories of our lives…. The already non-existent spark between us was further extinguished as we talked about our commute and the time Gav got stuck in Cyprus for ten days following the Icelandic ash cloud of 2010. After two laborious drinks and seemingly every topic of conversation known to man exhausted (I mean, talking about the ash cloud of 2010 is perhaps the deepest scrape of the barrel that we have witnessed to date) Gav said that he was going to have to call bah humbug right about the same time I remembered a rather urgent breakfast meeting I needed to prepare for the following day. Two drinks and 6.30 start left time to head down to London’s trendy Soho and ask my girlfriends to share their favourite #ashcloud stories with me. (Oh, and to text James and see if he had any barbecue plans next weekend…)