The cesspool

Happy Sunday Friends!

I begin this blog with an apology to Colin Thomas who is my friend’s Dad. Colin, I learned this weekend, is a regular reader of this blog, but has complained that I don’t update it regularly enough.

Colin, you are right. I’m sorry. I’m back from travelling now, there’s no excuse. Except that I’m really behind with my second novel and I am moving my stuff into The Man’s house and I am an outpatient at ten million clinics and I’m working on hundreds of projects and trying to catch up with everyone and changing my address and filling out insurance claim forms and working out what to do about my state of financial doom and fire-fighting a tax office blunder and organising weddings (not my own) and getting broadband and a phone plan and a dental implant and (not related) eating cheese. And a million other things.  Argghh! I hadn’t missed this!

SO. Today, dear friends, I’m going to blog about dates. The faithful among you have heard many of my dating tales from the dark days: you know I’ve served my time. Those who arrived more recently: 1) WELCOME! And 2) you can catch up starting here, more than two years ago, which is when I first set out to find a man. (If you can’t be arsed, I will condense my experience for you: I internet dated for eight months, it was foul, I gave up on ever meeting anyone and took off abroad. And guess what happened . . . Enter, stage right, The Man. His arrival in my life was very inconvenient but ultimately excellent and I turned into one of those minging loved-up twonks they call girlfriends. Yuk! I think some of my original readers never forgave me.)

Anyway. Due to having been abroad for eighteen months, and attached for thirteen, I haven’t given internet dating much thought recently. However, I was back there last week.  Oh I was back in the cesspool all right.

On Tuesday night I had dinner in Islington with some  friends. We were in a fairly common-or-garden restaurant; not the sort of place you expect to see internet dates. But my holy lord, there was a STINKER in progress a few tables up from us. A howler! A fizzlewhizpopper and other BFG-inspired expressions of badness.

She was about twice his height for starters. She was quite stylish with short hair and skinny jeans. He was a lot shorter than her (I presume that, like most short men, he had lied about his height in the hope that he would have grown a few inches by the time the date came round) and he was badly-dressed. However I don’t want to lay blame for the rottenness of this date at the man’s door. He struck me as being fairly ok in an uninspiring sort of way whereas she struck me as being downright awful. Every time I walked past their table (which, I confess, was quite a few times: I was spellbound) she was arguing loudly about something in a very annoying look-at-me-and-how-clever-and-opinionated-I-am kind of way. He was being jovial and doing his best to keep up but obviously couldn’t help lashing out in counter-attack every now and then. Sadly for him, he didn’t have her I’m a trendy lefty and I have views on everything confidence and so he didn’t fare so well. Their bickering was morbidly fascinating.

I informed my friends. “Terrible internet date alert!” I whispered. My friends also developed a keen interest in the toilet so that they could check up on things. Each time they came back wincing. “Why the f*ck are they both still there??” they exclaimed. “It’s going horribly!”

And, just like that, I am back in that awful dark place where I am sitting in front of a stranger who looks nothing like their picture, expresses feelings of sexual longing for George Osborne and admits to having bred genetically-modified salsa dancing testicles at university. He  is the precise opposite of what I had hoped for; he is rude, difficult, gobby (or silent) and he clearly hates me too. Because I, no doubt, am either gabbling away like a total prick or I’m being sullen and superior. If nothing else, internet dating is guaranteed to bring out the worst in you. So it’s going terribly. AND YET WE ARE BOTH STILL SITTING THERE. IT IS TEN THIRTY AND WE ARE BOTH STILL PERSISTING WITH THIS WRETCHED DATE! THE WAITER ASKS IF WE WANT COFFEE AND WE BOTH SAY YES THROUGH GRITTED TEETH! WTF?!

What was wrong with me? What was wrong with the men? Why did we sit there, hating each other?

The plot thickened. On Saturday, The Man and I took a stroll along the South Bank so that I could scoff lots of ‘Free-From’ foods at a fair that was going on in the South Bank centre. Obviously we also did loads of cultural things too, such as using the toilet at the Tate Modern.

Anyway, as I emerge from the Tate Modern, having, er,  spent hours trawling the galleries in a trance-like state of wonder, who do I see but the tall skinny short-haired girl again – ON ANOTHER DATE! She is busy, this one. This time, her date is at least taller than her but he does look rather older. She’s being coquettish today. She’s smiling coyly and doing all the eye signals and stuff. The man, I think, is asking her if she wants to go for a drink and she is deciding what to say. She does this weird ‘look at me I’m a lovely little girl really!’ thing with her hands and agrees. And off they go. If anyone knows her, please let me know what happened. It certainly looked better than the Tuesday night shocker.

“Internet dating is truly terrible,” I mused to The Man. “Thank God you rocked up.”

He said something suitably romantic and on we walked (or, rather, ran. I was closing in on gluten-free crusty rolls at this point).

But it made me realise that, having written about a million dates, all of them awful, I never really wrote about my first date with The Man. You may recall that I was very coy and reserved about the whole thing; largely because I liked him and didn’t want to sully what was going on between us by blogging about it. I wanted to show some respect, you know. And, in fairness, soon he cleared off to the Antarctic a few days after we met and I never expected to see him again.  But I figure that we’ve been together long enough now for him not to mind too much. He knows I’m indiscreet and unprincipled; I have nothing to hide now.

I called him earlier today. “Can I blog about our first date?” I asked.

“Why?”

“Because I didn’t write about it at the time. I was  trying to respect you, innit.”

He thought about it for a minute.

“Will you mention that I involuntarily broke wind?” he asked nervously.

“Oh come on, The Man, my readers already know that!”

The Man sighed. “Go ahead,” he said tiredly. “They already think I’m a pig. What further harm can it do?”

And so, dear readers, I invite you to draw near so I can tell the story of Lucy Robinson’s first ever good date. (‘Good?’ you ask. ‘But he farted!’ I hear you. But bear with me. It was good.)

Actually, this blog is long enough already. I’ll tell the tale in the next one. And in the interests of appeasing Mr Thomas I will make sure that it comes very, very soon. Eeek.

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