Having never been on a first date until I was 21, I quickly realised first dates can be awkward, expensive, full of bum notes, exhausting and at best, make a very good anecdote for when you see the girls later on.
They’re not always a great indication of what’s to come either. One excruciating first date I went on began with my date forgetting his ID and going into a humungous mood about it, which actually translated as him not being in to the whole thing, at least that’s what it came across as to me. This inevitably caused me to spiral into a whirl pool of self pity and self loathing etc. That was a bad first date but a few dates later, I’d be laughing at his jokes, staying for another and enjoying a meal at Nandos together like he’d taken me to some Michelin star establishment with a three month waiting list.
Flashing the cash isn’t always the way to impress a date either, as you might remember from my date with Mr Concierge, who will be the perfect Aleksandr Petrovsky to someone, but that someone ain’t me. He’s probably got a plane on stand by to whisk dates to Paris, but if there’s no initial chemistry, the overly romantic gestures can be so uncomfortable to be around, but also thank the lord that I didn’t have to go dutch for his wooing attempts cos that would literally have bankrupted me.
Then there was the set up. My friend had a very, very good looking friend and had billed me as a laugh (thanks). He had killer teeth and a transatlantic accent and muscles you can see through his blazer, but not in a gross Mr Universe way either, you know? We went to a very dimly lit bar in the belly of Soho and chatted relentlessly, flirted outrageously, and then went home. A great first date that only resulted in liking each other’s photos on instagram with all the chemistry of that first date exploded and spent like a firework.
Long ago, there was the almost first date, with a Hamburg hunk I met at a Creole restaurant in Pondicherry whilst he was also feeling sorry for himself over food following a beach festival the night before. We clicked and ignored our friends, promising to meet each other in Europe somewhere in the future. Maybe a second date via Ryanair is in order.
Oh god, there was the Tinder disaster, who was not tall dark and handsome, despite his profile’s promises. His wingman ruined any chance he had by irately asking my wingwoman when I’d finally stop acting coy and go home with his mate! Answer: NEVER. That dating disaster probably led to my most memorable dating debacle where I tried to escape one bad date and landed another in the same bar. This one was Almost Perfect Anwar. Almost perfect in every sense aside from he was married with two kids that is…
But my actual best first date I went on was with Dr Love (he was a trainee Dr FYI). Like all things that end up being great, I was wholly dreading the night. It was a Friday, which meant an early finish at work (yay) but also many hours to kill before the date… I half heartedly worked out at the gym, half heartedly showered in the communal showers, half heartedly applied makeup and put on my civvies to begin making my way to our agreed meeting spot. When I arrived, it was to an impeccably dressed, tall dark handsome soon to be not stranger. Things from there looked up. Two hours passed in quick succession at Artisan in upmarket Spinningfields, we traipsed to the Northern Quarter for a few skits of sophisticated jazz at Matt & Phreds, a pit stop boogie at Terrace and then Trof. There, the chemistry bubbled and we riffed to strangers on our fictional three year relationship and our shared do-er upper in Didsbury seamlessly… The date didn’t end until Hula chucked us out well past dawn.
It was my actual best first date. Then I found out how much coke he did.
Shame, but that’s what second dates are for, I guess.