When we began When Two Go Dating, I had a rule; I didn’t write about the nice guys. I refused to divulge details regardless of how weird the date. I’ve since decided that enough time has passed and they’re now fair game – sort of like time limits imposed by the Freedom of Information Act. Also, I’m no longer on Match.com so they have no way of tracking me down.
I’ll fill you in a bit on the difficulties of leaving a dating website in due course, but first let me regale you with the tale of the One Who Was a Wee Bit Camp…
The gentleman in question was one of the first guys I got chatting to when I joined Match. I had some initial reservations, but on the whole he seemed quite normal…
The reservations I had do not paint me in a good light – one might even accuse me of being a little shallow – but hey, I’m all about the honesty, and these things put me off:
- He was wearing an Xmas pudding jumper in one profile picture (this was in August).
- He was wearing pink lycra in another (some sponsored cycle thing, but still…)
- He weighed less than me.
How do I know he weighed less than me? Well, I can cite this fact with absolute certainty, because he stated his weight on his profile.
One word: why?
It’s not like weight is a compulsory field – you have to state your age, and whether you’re male or female, and other important stuff, but sharing your weight with the Match.com world is entirely optional. The only folks I can think of who may be a bit partial to this sort of information are Fatties and Feeders (and if you don’t know what I’m referring to, you’re clearly not up-to-date with your Channel 4 documentaries…)
In the grand scheme of things, Xmas jumpers, pink lycra, and a tendency to be blown away by a sharp gust of wind are not things to discourage me entirely from arranging a date. This is how it came about that I met up with the One Who Was a Wee Bit Camp.
I rocked up to the date wearing my running gear. In retrospect, I’m not quite sure what was going through my head. I think I suspected he may be resplendent in his pink lycra (nothing like trying to make someone feel comfortable in your matchingly-lycraed presence…), I may have been attempting to prove a point, and I definitely can’t have fancied him all that much from his profile… Disappointingly, he arrived wearing chinos and a very chunky jumper (so chunky, in fact, I was unable to gauge the accuracy of his declared weight). I was already at the bar when he got to the pub (the same pub where I met the Rude Teacher from Date 1, incidentally), so we had to do that exceedingly awkward introductory thing in full earshot of the bar staff.
Is that him? It looks a bit like him…He doesn’t look too weird…Nah, it can’t be him…But what if it is him?… I need to stop looking…If it’s not him, he’ll think I’m a perv… He looks a little on the heavy side… But then that is a very chunky knit…It could be him…He’s looking up…it must be him…What if it’s not him…He’s staring back… I’m going in… “Hi, you must be…? “
Give me a smear test over those excruciating first few moments of a first date any day.
It was him. But take it from me, it would have made the barkeeps’ night had it been a case of mistaken identity.
I asked him what he wanted to drink, he asked me what I was drinking (pint of ale) and requested a pint of lager.
So far, so good.
Before I go on, please allow me to pause here and tell you about the absolute best (read: worst) first date I ever witnessed from behind the bar kind of involved myself in… (listening in on bad first dates is most definitely a perk of the job)…
It was a weekday evening, and an attractive blonde woman in her (at a guess) late 40’s came into the pub with a much younger man (her son, I presumed). She went to the loo and he approached the bar and ordered drinks. He was conventionally good-looking (gelled hair and arrogant air) and cocky with it. You know the type – all wide-legged swagger and leering glances accompanied by ‘Darlin’ this and ‘Babe’ that. I asked him for ID. (I frequently demand ID from guys who call me ‘Babe’ regardless of how old they look – another perk of the job). This one was only 18.
Attractive Blonde returned from the toilet, sat beside him at the bar, took a gulp of her wine and screwed up her face (I didn’t blame her; he’d ordered her a glass of Chardonnay). I carried on serving but couldn’t help noticing their body language – by this point it had become VERY apparent that this was no mother/son relationship (if it was, Freud would have been having a field day). He was pawing at her as she looked increasingly uncomfortable and began knocking back the nasty wine like her life depended on it. I heard snippets of conversation – he kept loudly mentioning the army (accompanied by a hand being placed on her thigh) and she referred to her son a few times (punctuated by her re-crossing her legs in an attempt to dislodge it). I witnessed him repeatedly invade her personal space whilst she rolled her eyes and tried to edge away.
After a while, he went in search of the loos and she beckoned me over. “I’m feeling really awkward; can you tell there’s a big age gap? We met online and he never said he was so young, I mean he’s only 24, that’s younger than my son… Do we look ridiculous?” she asked me.
Oh the dilemma.
Now, if there’s one thing I cannot abide, it’s liars (that and being called ‘Babe’ by cocky wee scrotes) and I liked her and felt she deserved the truth. So I informed her of his actual age and then stood back and watched. She brought the date to an abrupt end as soon as he sauntered back from the toilet and took up his position at the bar. I wish there had been more drama, but it was obvious it wasn’t her style – she merely finished her drink and said her goodbyes (rather disappointing). He opened and closed his mouth a few times as she expertly stepped away from him to avoid any goodbye embraces (a slobbery 18 year old tongue aimed at the back of her throat would have been my guess), and instead gave him a small wave and strode out the door.
Kudos to you, lady.
Anyway, back to my slightly less disastrous date with the diminutive man with the penchant for stretchy pink clothing….
We got on okay, but had very little in common. I quickly established that he was mortified by the fact he had ‘resorted’ to online dating. I would have put good money on the fact he would encourage any potential partner to pretend that they met somewhere more ‘acceptable’ (maybe bonding over their matching Xmas jumpers in the local ‘Spoons… Or perhaps they could say one of them stopped to fix the other’s puncture during a sponsored cycle and their eyes had locked over the special puncture-fixing tool or something). I, on the other hand, am not remotely ashamed of my foray into online dating and found the fact he was clearly embarrassed a little extremely off-putting.
By now it was his round (I’d been nursing an empty glass for an embarrassingly long time; he was only a third of the way down his lager). I could already sense that this may not be a match made in heaven…
He asked me what I wanted and I requested a pint of ale but not the one I’d been drinking (it was a bit mingin’ but I’d STILL managed to drink it three times faster than him…)
He didn’t know what ale was. He did not know what a pint of ale was. I assured him the bar staff would…
He arrived back with my pint (“The barmaid did know what I was talking about!” he exclaimed) and a girly cider for himself. I’m sorry if I sound sexist, but don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean! It was pastel in colour and resided in the type of glass receptacle more fitting to an arrangement of flowers. He placed the bottle on the table (it wouldn’t all fit in as there was so much ice in the glass – don’t get me started on why it suddenly became trendy to water down cider with ice) and I read the label. It was Rosehip and Pomegranate with a Twist of Lychee flavour. Or maybe Mixed Pink Berries with a Hint of Elderflower Sparkle. Or something. He pushed his barely touched lager to the side and announced that he didn’t like lager but had panicked because I was drinking a pint and accidentally ordered it…
Accidentally ordered it.
I want to say that I don’t judge people based on what they drink, but that would be a blatant lie. Anyway, I work in a pub; it’s my job! I totally judge folks who drink jagerbombs on a Monday, clearly I judge those who choose Chardonnay when there are other options available, I judge people who ask for Guinness shandies (true story) and yes, I judge anyone who orders anything containing more sugar than a pint of Ribena. Turned out my date only liked drinks I associate with being a teenager (and girly cider obviously, which wasn’t invented back then) and make me feel slightly nauseous every time I have to serve one… So, to reiterate, all the drinks that you drank before you acquired a taste for lovely, delicious proper alcoholic beverages like wine and beer:
Peach Schnapps – tick
Malibu and lemonade – tick
Bacardi Breezers – tick (but very difficult to find these days, apparently)
Amaretto – tick
My teeth are hurting just thinking about it.
Alas, it soon became apparent that his taste in alcoholic beverages was not his only penchant that made me feel a little sicky and set my teeth on edge. It was right about this point that we got onto the topic of music…
His favourite artists were… Wait for it….
It gets worse…
Much, much worse…
Mariah. Fu*%ing Carey.
Now there’s a certain amount of mismatch in musical taste that I can just about get past… But this, well this was a whole other kettle of fish. A veritable ABOMINATION. Mariah-all-I-want-for-fuc*ing-Xmas-Carey.
As soon as I pulled myself together and managed to stop opening and closing my mouth, I swiftly changed the subject.
Films. He was a self-proclaimed “film buff”. Okay. This I could get on board with. Everything may not yet be lost… I did a film studies module at Uni. I know my Hitchcocks. I can argue about how Citizen Kane is the most overrated film of all time with the best of them… This had to be better than the music chat…
“Name one of your favourite films ever” said I (please please don’t say Citizen Kane)
Titanic” said he.
I laughed. Of course I did! Oh, how I laughed.
“No really, name one of your favourite films!”
“I just did.”
Him: (defensively) “You think I’m gay, don’t you?”
Me: (equally defensively) “Did I say that?”
Him: “No. But you do think I’m camp.”
It was a statement as opposed to a question.
We actually had a really enjoyable rest-of-date. By this point we had established beyond a shadow of a doubt that we had nothing in common and did not fancy each other in the slightest, but we were also getting a bit tipsy and he was really good company. I had such a good time (a proper face-hurting-from-laughing good time) that I actually messaged the girls the next day saying I thought I might go out with him again. It was at this point that Amy gave me some sage advice:
“If you can see yourself going for a pedicure with him more than you can see yourself going to bed with him, don’t go on another date.”
I followed her advice and haven’t seen him since, although I did text him a few times for my own amusement and to ask him really pertinent questions like “What’s your favourite Celine Dion song?” (Obviously the girls had money on My Heart Will Go On and he obliged with a Top 5, including which albums they were taken from) and “Have you seen the latest Jennifer Aniston film? Is it worth paying cinema prices?” (Of course he had; it wasn’t).
All in all, I’ve been on far worse dates but it is no coincidence that it was around this time I came up with my 3 dating rules:
- Must not be vegan (self-explanatory, surely?!)
- Must have good taste in music
- Must be 35+ (this was following a date with a hot 27 year old who didn’t know how to operate my corkscrew… Not a euphemism; he actually failed to open a bottle of wine using my very normal, run-of-the-mill basic corkscrew).
I followed these rules to the letter until I took leave of Match.com several months later – yes, I possibly missed out on meeting some really great guys, but I could sleep easy knowing I’d never have to endure Mariah Fuc@$%£ Carey’s Greatest Fuc£&@!? hits album.
And that reminds me, I was going to tell you about when I left the dating websites… Match wasn’t the worst experience. Not by far. Oh no, that accolade goes to E-Harmony…
I joined E-Harmony because I was lured by their advertised ‘algorithms’. I un-joined when I realised they’d taken £150 out of my account for the privilege (I’d put the value of an algorithms at no more than fifty quid, personally…)
Anyway, I called up to cancel (they advertised a cooling-down period alongside their algorithms) and a French girl answered. French: the language of love. I really want to believe they have a French call centre for this very reason. She was clearly very well-rehearsed in her spiel and came out with gems such as:
I give you a month for free, zees could be your destiny…
E-harmony has zee best results for zee not ending up alone…
I stood my ground. She asked for my email address.
Me: (Shite!) Mumble mumble mumble (surely she just needed to check I was who I said I was)
French Girl: Sorry, I did not catch zat.
Me: Big big mumble mumble
FG: Zee beeg beeg?
Me: Bigbigbigbanana at…
FG: Ahhhh! Zee beeg beeg BEEG BANANA! Now I unnerstand!
No, I did NOT create that email address especially for my foray into online dating, it is merely my slightly-dodgy address like the ones that you all created before you had to apply for jobs and then succumbed to boring ones. It is the one I use for things I don’t want to get spammed from. So there.
I don’t think French Girl believed me either when I tried to explain…
Ach well, onwards and upwards….