I’m on the train into work and French Dave messages me. It’s been a couple of weeks now, and I hadn’t even received those awkward “let’s meet again” texts.
“Are you horny?”
Was this guy serious? I’ll admit at least he had nerve. I’d been here before. So many times. Dates I hadn’t felt so amazing about, or they hadn’t, or we both hadn’t, suddenly re-appeared a couple of weeks later asking for sex. It’s like they’d run their long list of men, found nobody available, and thought “Well his conversation wasn’t great but I guess he’s still a man, so I’m sure he’ll want some sex”.
Which reminded me, it was time to give my little black phone a good clearing out. I don’t tend to give my number to everyone, but after an hour or so of constant messaging online, something like Whatsapp is a much easier place to bounce around messages. Ninety percent of the time the conversation runs dry and they disappear. Not to mention the few dull first dates I’d already had. It was time to spring clean.
Who the hell was Luke anyway? I really needed to stick to the nicknames.
As if by divine signal, a few hours into the day my Whatsapp vibrates at me. Someone’s asking if I’m okay and I have no idea who. There’s only one excuse to use this in this instance, the always reliable “Who is this? I am so sorry, my phone crashed and I lost a lot of numbers”.
“It’s Luke. How are you?”
Seriously, who is Luke?!
We get talking and I remember Luke. You know the type, the “Hey how are you!!! Oh my god you’re so hot!!! Please let me take you out!”. I was on my probverbial dating Bambi legs at the time, freaked out, and stopped replying. In the interests of science, we chatted a little. None of what he said was amazing (yes, he asked if I was a top or a bottom) but the man was buying dinner. Sometimes I think I’m a little too hard on people, I never know when to be flexible with my rules and when to stick to them. Maybe this was a moment to find out.
In the meantime, I have a Monday night date with LV Boy. A tall Australian who in real life has more than a passing resemblance to Brandon Flowers. How can I say no? Well, when I tell him I’m inside the coffee shop we agree to meet at, he messages me back. “I’m the one with the LV bag”.
I’m all for fashion and style, but when you have a Louis Vuitton bag, the bag speaks for itself. You really don’t have to point it out. Except he introduces himself, and his bag, with a ten minute talk on the bag, how much it cost, how he got his initials monogrammed on the bag in Paris, and the fact he calls his bag Dammy.
“You know, after Damier, because…”
“Because it’s a Damier Graphite bag, yes I know”. My patience has worn thin.
“Oh”. He pouts at the fact I am not estatic with wonder and learning at his expensive bag. He still keeps it in the cover at home and he needs the metal specially cleaned.
Two hours in, after he hasn’t thanked me for the coffee I bought and spent his entire time telling me about his designer clothes and his travels without asking me a single question about myself, he can tell I am less than fawning.
He looks at his watch. Oh, here it comes! “Will you look at the time! I have to dash”.
Sometimes it’s just easier to let them make the excuses. Before leaving, he highlights the Calvin Klein watch on his wrist, his first designer item.
“Maybe you should get it framed”, I retort, sarcastic and tired.
His eyes light up for the first time since we met. “Oh my god!” he exclaims. “What a great idea!”
Tuesday comes, and Luke falls off the radar. It gets to date night and Luke, or Lukr as I now christen him (my finger missed the E button and I genuinely had nothing interesting to nickname him with) is nowhere to be seen. I don’t think I should be the one chasing him, he never really concretely told me where we were going. Goodbye Lukr.
I spend the rest of my Tuesday evening fending off a very keen man, who once again falls very far off the standard. His profile announces the term “Bromance”. If Grindr says something, it’s the vast amount of self-hating gay men who have decided if they can look like something out of Geordie Shore and use terms like “bro”, “mate” and “lads”, while asking guys out for “beers” and “footie”, maybe they won’t be as hated as the rest of us. I had one guy beg me for “fun” once, while constantly repeating “I’m not gay though, I’m straight. You know I’m straight right?”. Of course you are. But could you remove the dick from your mouth? I can’t quite understand you.
Mr. Bromance pesters me continually. He apologises after sending me his photos, apparently I am much hotter than him. It also disturbs me when men compare themselves to the person they’re attracted to. I’ve seen gay relationships turn into rivalries over who has the better face and the more chiselled body. Something about that isn’t quite right.
What’s also not at all right is low self-esteem. I mean, we all live with those little parts of ourselves we’d rather looked different, but throwing yourself under the bus is not attractive. I almost agree to a date, just a coffee, to get it out of the way, but I start to think I’ll wake up in some well and he’ll be telling me to rub lotion on myself. Pass.
I’ve been talking to a sexy doctor who sounds like he might be a handful, but he has a ton of personality and I’m intrigued. He even asks the dreaded question (“top or bottom?”) but recovers in such a witty way, skillfully weaving away from every biting remark I playfully throw at him, that I decide not to block him. So fine, the pretty face doesn’t hurt. At very worst he’ll be Lukr 2.0.
So Dr. Feelgood sounds much more promising than Dav, who is my date for Wednesday evening (keep up), and just before we’re due to meet I almost cancel on Dav in favour of the good doctor. Except Dr. Feelgood can’t make it, and I find it a little mean to cancel on someone half an hour before meeting.
Dav is cute, and funny, and we’ve been chatting for a few days. There’s just something I can’t quite put my finger on. Sometimes I can’t tell if he’s joking or not, and he comes across a little off. I chalk it down to tone not coming across well via text, and decide to give him a chance.
I meet him in Ealing Broadway station, apologising after jumping onto a packed train much later than I expected. I am half an hour late, but he seems relaxed and we walk. I always find it weird when I go on a date to someone’s proposed place, and they don’t have anywhere in mind to go. I once went on a date where we ended up walking aimlessly for about two hours before I said I had to head on home. It’s a sign of an indecisive and unconfident mind, not sexy.
We end up in a Starbucks, in an awkward little corner and he keeps checking his phone. Red flag, I just find that so rude. My phone rings once during our conversation and I take a look to see who it is, apologise, and put the phone on silent.
He’s a nice guy but we don’t have too much in common. I ask him questions about his house, his family, his work and his future. He’s lived in Ealing his whole life (he’s 30) and just bought a house. I’ve lived a gypsy life, bouncing from home to home and just about making rent, suitcase in hand. Even now I’m more financially stable, I just don’t like being too overun by material things. He doesn’t ask me a thing, I’m getting flashbacks to LV Boy.
His eyes light up and I turn to find a surfer dude settling into a chair in the corner. “Is that your type?” I ask with an arched eyebrow.
“He’s pretty hot, I love curly hair”. Is this man serious? Really? “I once dated a model for River Island”, he says with pride. I sip my coffee. In my thoughts Dav is hanging upside down from a bridge.
“Oh really?” I say, “I can see that went really well for you”.
“He cheated on me” he sniffs, “and then dumped me”. I try my absolute hardest not to laugh, I really do.
We’ve spent a good hour walking with nowhere to go, and he makes with the dispatches. “Where do you catch your train back home from?” I know when I’m not wanted.
Once again my mind rationalises that I’m being too hard on him. Maybe he really did have to dash, and he wasn’t being entirely serious about the surfer guy. I find him hard to read, we did end up talking for a couple of hours. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
I message him to say I enjoyed myself, and maybe we can do dinner some other time. He agrees. Then half an hour later I get a message. “Is it just me, or were there not a few too many awkward silences?”
I really didn’t think, out of anything that went wrong with that date, that awkward silences were one of them. Perception is an interesting thing, and I tell him I was fine.
“I don’t know”, he says “I feel like I was running out of things to say. I don’t feel like you asked me enough”. I message him back. He’s made my mind up for me, the man is a complete waste of time.
“I guess it’s always a bad sign when your date’s eyes light up at the curly-haired boy behind you. I think we both want different things here. Have a nice life”.
I don’t get a reply.
While I was having my supposedly awkward coffee with Dav, the person ringing my phone was Dr. Feelgood. I have four missed calls, a voicemail and a Whatsapp message. A warm, easy South African voice tells me he hopes I had a good evening, that he’s sorry we couldn’t meet and that I’ll see him soon.
Maybe I can bend my rules just one more time.