I think it’s time to tell you about my first date. Now seems a good time as recently we celebrated the anniversary of it. I want to make a patchwork quilt of experiences that I can look back on when times aren’t as rose-tinted and to keep them fresh. You never know, I could by some freak chance (and I seem to have rather too many of them), end up like the girl in the film “50 first dates” and need reminding.
So, let me tell you about that night…
We had been messaging each other for two weeks and had found out the basics. He had two sisters, he was the oldest, he was a Scout leader, he was an engineer. I’d seen his photographs and his description: “tall, dark and handsome, well tall and dark, you can make your mind up about the rest” and I’d told him he was tall and handsome, but not particularly dark-haired. We’d worked out that we shared some friends, having gone to neighbouring schools, that we lived in the same area and even went to the same weekend running event.
I carefully selected a knee-length light blue sleeved thin wool dress which brought out my eyes, and wore it with tights. I straightened my hair and applied subtle make-up. I cinched in my waist with a thin leather belt. I decided on flats – I can feel self-conscious in heels and I wanted to feel comfortable. I wore my small purple leather bag. I felt classy and I liked that.
I arrived at the city bar with my heart in my mouth. We had arranged to meet at 8.15 on a Friday night. I scanned the room for him. I felt dazzled by the lights and couldn’t see him. I went straight to the bar. There was a bit of a wait, so I checked my phone. He had text to say he would be about 15 minutes late – he had been visiting a friend. So I asked what drink he would like, keen to reverse the stereotype that the man buys the woman a drink on the first date. He said “bottle of beer? surprise me”. What a wide choice, I had been hoping for something more specific, more foolproof for a girl whose only dabbling with alcohol involved Malibu and the occasional cocktail.
“Excuse-me”, I asked the bartender, “what’s your finest ale”? I’d heard ale was classier than beer and if I got the right one I thought I would definitely be a hit.
He looked at me sideways, frowning slightly. “Sorry?” he replied. I raised my voice a little and stood on my tip-toes so he could hear me better, “what is your finest ale??”.
He still looked a bit puzzled so I explained in more hushed tones, “I’m on a first date you see and I asked him if he wanted a drink, and he said he wanted beer or something”. He finally understood and saved me the embarrassment of repeating myself.
“Ohh” he said, brightening up. Well…I wouldn’t recommend ale to be honest because there’s too much choice, you could quite easily pick the wrong one.” “Oh.” I replied. “But in terms of beer…Peroni’s probably the best one we sell here.”
“Ok, I smiled, “I’ll have that please”.
I found half of a table in the corner that was free. There was a happy couple on the other side and they didn’t have a problem with me sitting there. I was still feeling rather anxious, and struggled to steady my breathing. So I looked around to distract myself. Damn. I’d chosen the wrong place. This was a middle-aged wine bar. Would he judge me on my choice?
It took me a while to get comfortable. Should I sit cross-legged? No, not good for the circulation and would make me look too unavailable. Or was that a good thing? Should I sit with my back to the room to look more mysterious? No that was a silly idea. I shifted about a bit, fiddling with my silver bead necklace or checking my hair was still ok. By the time he arrived some 20 minutes after we had arranged to meet, I was feeling completely relaxed. I had drunk about half of my Malibu and coke, and had decided to sit facing the room with one arm on the table, laid back but not slouchy and hopefully with an air of sophistication.
Suddenly I saw him. Time seemed to stand still as I zoomed in. All sound seemed muffled. In the room of those approaching pension-age he stood out like a sore thumb. I decided to observe him and let him notice me. Then I’d have a little more time to check him out, seeing as this was the first time we had met in person. The first thing I noticed, rather oddly perhaps, was that he had lovely skin. He looked healthy and as if he looked after himself, with a forehead that looked moisturised. Perhaps it was just that he’d been rushing and was therefore slightly sweaty. He had a nice neat haircut (he later admitted he’d had it cut that day). He had a good figure. Then I noticed his eyes – bright, intelligent eyes darting about looking for me. But what a pity about his attire – he’d opted for a hoodie and jeans. So he hadn’t put much thought into that then. Not as much as me, but then that would have been difficult. He looked just like he had in the photographs.
He walked right past me and was about to look outside, so I announced my presence. He visibly relaxed a little, gave me a dazzling smile and settled down next to me, gratefully accepting the Peroni. We were both a little nervous, so we got a bit more background on each other. I asked him about his work and he clearly enjoyed what he did and talking about it and I was intrigued. We talked…and talked. From there we went over the road into a square with more up-market bars and into one with a French name, with red, dimmed lighting. He bought himself a Peroni. I felt secretly thrilled, the choice was a good one then. We chatted about running and he showed me the impressive jogs he’d done on his phone.
Finally we went to a Cuban-themed bar, with salsa music and lovely cocktails.
All too soon the night had come to an end. Neither of us wanted to stay out late and I didn’t want to miss the last bus home, so we took that together, seeing as he lived nearby. As he left, he bent down and we nearly bumped heads as he clumsily kissed me on the cheek.
I was in a good place with single life and so I thought “if I don’t see him again I’ve had a great night and I’m pleased we met.” But a bigger part of me was drunk with excitement (the only drunk you should get on a date) and couldn’t wait to see when and where date two would be. Hopefully soon. But did he like me? Did I score enough points to make it through the first hurdle?
He answered this with a text at midnight saying he’d had a good night and throwing kisses in. Two. Things looked promising…