I woke up around quarter to four in the morning gasping for air. Instinctively my hands reached towards my throat. I’d been poisoned! This was the ending I’d always feared. I staggered to the bathroom and tried to gag, a whooping sound was omitted from my lungs. My eyes rolled back into my head and I fell to my knees.
What concerned me most at that time was that I was alone. There was nobody to save me.
The more pressing concern and something that perhaps exacerbated my hysterical condition was that it was the night before my second consecutive date of the week. See, I was at least making an effort to rid myself of the bachelor tag that I had up until my asthma attack worn with great pride.
We’d arranged the date on the popular online dating site OK Cupid. Despite my reservations, I had joined up in order to meet women outside my social groups, and given my self-enforced rule about not dating women from work my options was at this point in time were quite limited. Chatting up randoms in the city had become less exciting as I got older, and now reaching the tail end of my twenties, the thought of ‘settling down’ seems appealing.
Settling… does that mean taking the first cab off the rank, so to speak? That’s grossly unfair to the next woman that shows feelings towards me. Then again such an approach has also been the basis for many long lasting relationships.
I don’t know. Dating is confusing in that way, especially when you have to evaluate whether or not that person is the one for you over one emotionally exhausting evening. What happens if they or you are having a bad day? That’s pretty much it, because once you actually get to the meeting up part with an online date, everything rests on that one night. First impressions matter.
We’d arranged to meet at a Pub stroke Restaurant called The Belgian Monk situated in the heart of the city, a week prior we’d agreed that six o’clock would be a suitable time for chips and beer, something nice and casual. It was freezing on that Friday night, and only the committed would be out and about. I arrived at the door of the Monk, removed a glove and texted to say I’d arrived. I went inside and my glasses steamed up. I looked around blindly and stood awkwardly in the doorway. Couldn’t see the woman I was waiting for. Then I put on my glasses, and still couldn’t see the woman I was waiting for.
Fifteen minutes passed and my phone vibrated. Bad news? This could only be bad news. It was. She wasn’t going to make it. Apparently this misunderstanding came because I did not text her twenty four hours earlier to double check we were still cool for meeting up; therefore she didn’t think it was still on.
Bugger, I was cold, a little irritated, and hungry. I went down to the nearest KFC and ordered a boneless box of chicken. Whilst my fingers were still greasy another text came in, could I reschedule? Ok, yeah, I was still in the city. I suggested a substitute pub and called it for eight thirty. My friend was celebrating his twenty ninth birthday at another pub en route, so to further escape the cold I could get a few drinks in to relax me for the rescheduled date.
I met my buddies at the Rumsey Wells, and knocked back three double spiced rum and cokes in forty five minutes. They were a wee bit annoyed that I had made only a fleeting visit and urged me to stay, but I promised to check back with them in later in the evening. In their eyes I looked for approval. Here I was, the dating man, out there on the prowl.
The date venue was the Ten Bells pub, it was jam packed. I walked in; my glasses again steamed up and I ordered another spiced rum and coke. I texted my date and told her that I was by the bar. She arrived five minutes later, apologizing for her tardiness. Since I was jolly, I wasn’t too fussed and brought her a glass of wine. She was a petite brunette with emerald green eyes; she wore a green suede jacket and green tights under a figure hugging black skirt.
We moved away from the bar and looked for a table, there was no room in the inn, and we found a space in the opposite corner of the pub by the coat racks. The conversation flowed nicely, and we got a second round of drinks in, same again. By that point I noticed I was a wee bit tipsy. Still, we had fun, and connected on that level when you can be a little bit daft and let go. There was a spark, although maybe it was the drink.
Two hours flew by, and after a couple more drinks it was time to go. She had work early in the morning, and I was keen to go back to my buddies, and boast how well the night had gone. As a smoker she tried to light up as soon as we went back into the chill. She couldn’t catch a light, and I offered my hands up as a windbreak, it worked, smoke billowed from her fag. She smiled angelically. That was a smooth, but uncharacteristic move.
We walked on, she lived on the other side of the city, and I told her about going to meet up with my friends. She seemed to accept that. When we reached the outside of the Rumsey, we both stopped, I anticipated a hug and kiss on the cheek, it was the standard usual first date politeness. As I leaned towards her cheek she lunged in with the tongue and we got in a bit of a kissy muddle. That really killed the vibe. She looked stunned, and I felt sheepish.
“Ok then, farewell, and I’ll text you about meeting again”. I said.
I then saluted her like I was Al Borland from Home Improvement and walked back into the Rumsey for more drinks.
It goes without saying that I never heard back from her. Where did I go wrong?