Dates are like London buses. Never there when you want them and they usually have huge rear ends. Oh, and not only are they late, but they often come along one after another.
So it was with my second date. I actually don’t recall whether or not this one was an accidental like or not, but I fear it was, and not a happy accident either. She had just come back from two years of travelling and was looking to meet someone to chat and have fun with. Great, I thought; she’ll have loads of stories of adventures and be excitedly planning her next trip already. That enthusiasm might make up for a distinct lack of good looks or attractive figure.
The advice from others seems to be to look outside your normal ‘type’ and you might just be surprised, so when it got to the point where a face to face meet up seemed on the cards I decided to take the plunge.
Entirely coincidentally, she happened to live about a ten minute drive from my office. Brilliant! I’d be able to drive there quickly after work and if there was a spark we could spend a nice evening together. If there was a real spark it would make arranging to see her again pretty easy too, and if not then I’d have an excuse for leaving to go home.
We arranged to meet in a pub at 6.30pm, so at 6.20pm I wandered in and got a drink. Arriving early was my first mistake. She finally responded to my message at 6.25pm apologising for not responding sooner and checking that I’d not already turned up. I’d already turned up.
“Don’t worry!” she says, “I’ll be there soon!” So I wait. 25 minutes later a woman walks up to the table and sits down. The picture of the woman I was due to be meeting was a 6 at best. This woman was not a 6. I’ve been catfished for the first time.
Still, I think, let’s at least make the most of the evening. I buy her a drink and then sit down to find out more about her. That was my second mistake.
I’ve met negative people in my life. Hell, I was married to one and with her for 18 years. Still, I’ve ever in my life met someone who had not a single – a single – positive thing to say. The entire evening consisted of me listening to her telling me just how bad her life was, how bad her job was and how she didn’t know what she was going to do with her life.
I didn’t leave. I couldn’t. I needed to see how this would pan out, how I’d react to such an incredible situation.
Turns out I’d make a fairly decent support worker. An hour and a half later I’d listened to and helped her work out a new business plan and route for life, as well as reframing her current role. It was hard work, but I felt obliged.
There was no spark at all. None. I finally understood why some people feel like getting up and walking out on their dates entirely. I didn’t, of course; that would be rude; but I certainly now understand the feeling!
In the end we finished our drinks (I’ve never wanted to buy a second round less in my life) and went to our cars, which annoyingly were parked in the same car park down the road.
Lesson learnt: just because someone comes across as interesting on their profile does not mean they will be interesting in real life. And lesson two – I now know just how much I appreciate a happy, positive personality!