From Russia with ambivalence

I’ve a list of elements my perfect woman would have. It’s massively overambitious I know, and this woman would be way out of my league, but it’s important to have dreams. My perfect woman would be gorgeous, would prove her smarts by being a scientist of some kind and would be looking for the right man to sweep her off her feet, even if he happened to have children of his own.

Imagine my delight, then, when Tinder matched me with a gorgeous Russian scientist. And neither of those two things are exaggerations, either; she was a definite 8 bordering on 9, was a biologist and was a real sci-fi geek, even mentioning Interstellar and the Fermi Paradox on her profile.

I was in heaven! She existed! And for whatever reason, she liked the look of me! We chatted a little on Tinder and I worked up the courage to ask her whether she had lunch plans one day that weekend. I didn’t know whether I was shocked or surprised when she told me she didn’t and that she’d love to meet up, but there was nothing else for it but to make arrangements and man up.

When the day rolled around I dutifully dropped off my kids to see their mum (she couldn’t pick them up herself for some unknown reason) and headed off to London to meet my Russian scientist. I had to read up on the Fermi Paradox too to make sure I had it right.

We met at Victoria Station, and from the very first hug I knew this would be an only date. I honestly don’t know what leads my gut to make those decisions, but it did. It might have been that she was in her late 20s rather than early 30s; unlike my ex-wife and her dalliance with a 20 year old, I think there is something a little strange about those sized age gaps. It might also have been the fact that it was a hug with no form of kiss, singular or otherwise, to go with it. Regardless, I was left with the impression after mere seconds that this would be a pleasant lunch and nothing more.

This impression was compounded when she suggested that we go for a coffee and a healthy lunch rather than a drink. Now, I’m not saying alcohol is intrinsic to a date, but on a sunny day in central London and with nowhere either of us had to be, there were worse ways to spend some time getting to know each other. We headed off to a little cafe place near Victoria that I know and ordered coffee and eggs.

Annoyingly, she was really interesting. She was a research scientist and told me all about her family moving from Siberia to Princeton in the US. She had ambitions to travel, and had moved from accountancy to science for no reason other than she discovered an interest and a passion. We talked about our favourite science fiction movies, alien life, other hobbies and more.

Well, I say we talked, it was actually more like she talked and I listened. She just didn’t appear very interested at all in me or what I had to share, and was instead content to talk herself and listen only on those occasional moments when I forced my way in. There were a few times when it came dangerously close to stalling in terms of conversation as I was practicing listening a lot more than talking, but overall it flowed okay.

And then came the c-word. After I’d firmly decided this was an only date rather than a first date the pressure of talking about kids totally fell away. I didn’t really need to, but when she asked what else I’d been up to recently I decided to bring them up. She was surprised to say the least, but not in a terrible, shocked way. I told her a little about them, though she didn’t really ask much, and it was no surprise at all that when I asked whether she wanted to continue the conversation over another drink that she remembered she was meeting friends for dinner.

We had just finished eating lunch. At least come up with a plausible get-out strategy.

In the end, it was a nice diversion on a Sunday when I needed one, and I’ve now been on a date with a hot Russian scientist. An unsuccessful date if romance was the desired outcome, but a date nonetheless. I’ll take that over sitting at home in my pyjamas eating ice cream any day of the week.

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