Well – I’ve been wandering around the real world for a few weeks now and I have to say it’s just as tough out there to meet an available man as it is online. But as the saying goes, nothing in life is easy.
So when the Love Coach got in touch and said she had a “quality” available gentleman who was keen to meet me, I figured – why not – I’ve got nothing to lose.
So she passed on my number to Billy Blind Date. Billy* (not his real name) got in touch a few days later and wanted to book in a phone call. Not wanting to beat around the bush, and remembering the hour lost talking to the lad about his dieting requirements on the phone, I suggested we just meet in person. My rationale – it’s one drink, you get a better sense of someone in real life, let’s just meet and see where this thing goes. Besides booking in a phone call sounded like a business meeting and not a date! (insert alarm bells here)
So the next night we met at a private member’s club. I have no idea if he’d seen a picture of me but I went armed with his phone number and his name. Nothing else. It was a blind date in every sense of the word.
We met in the foyer. He was very tall and academic looking. I hadn’t pictured anybody specifically so I just processed this as information about someone who could be an altogether charming individual. The blind date element was actually a really refreshing element. I had no expectations other than getting to know a stranger and seeing what happened. On first impressions – if I’d seen his photo on Tinder I probably would’ve swiped him away. But this was the real world and this was about removing the judgemental culture of making assumptions on a photo. I was going to get to know this guy to see if we had a connection.
I could tell he was a bit nervous so we ordered a drink and I began to break the ice with some banter. We chatted about wine, about travelling, about work and soon ordered another drink. He relaxed a little more and we continue to chat. By this stage I wasn’t really feeling any chemistry, but he was a nice guy and we were having good conversation. I don’t know if it was in part the member’s club (I think I’ve decided I find them a bit stuffy and a weird place to meet for a date) or the fact that he had sat opposite me for a good part of the date and I felt like I was being interviewed – but there was no sexual chemistry flowing.
When he suggested we go for dinner I thought, “why not?” If it means we can move to a new location perhaps the vibe of the date might change.
Alas, his idea of dinner was to go to the rooftop of the member’s club that we were in where there was a boisterous “hag” party going on. It was totally random for a Wednesday night. We struggled to hear each other, the service was rubbish and I wished I spoken up and suggested we leave the club. We eventually left and walked to the tube station. We hugged and that was that.
Later that night I received a text
It was a nice text. He was clearly shy but being brave. The problem was that I wasn’t feeling the spark. But after being put in the “no spark zone” by the Michael McIntyre look-a-like and this being an opportunity to shake the ghostly second-date curse, which has hung over me for nearly a year, I decided to push through.
So I agreed to a second date.
He was really thoughtful and suggested a walk through Hampstead Heath followed by lunch in a pub the following Sunday. This sounded nice and romantic, but I wasn’t entirely sure I was ready for romance with Billy. I’m not sure if the heavens were on my side or not but it rained consistently that week and I suggested we instead head indoors and check out the new Switch gallery extension at the Tate and then go for some drinks.
I soon discovered that he wasn’t a massive gallery fan, but we wandered around and chatted and made comical comments about some of the questionable installations and then headed up to the viewing platform. We continued to chat but there was just no chemistry. I thought if I really fancied him I would’ve been trying some of the Love Coach’s trademark arm touch manoeuvres at the very least. Instead I felt like I was taking a visiting Instagramer friend on a tour of London.
We headed for a drink and the conversation flowed at first, but then began drying up. He seemed to only come alive when he was talking about his business ventures and I got the sense that he was trying to mentor me through mine. I bought him a drink back and thought that would be the end of it and then he said he was hungry and fancied going for a bite. I probably should’ve bitten the bullet there and then, but there was a part of me that was trying to ensure I wasn’t being hasty, that I was giving Billy every opportunity to find that connection. But over dinner, for me, it all began to unravel.
He reverted back to interviewing me and started asking pressing questions about what I wanted in a relationship, what I was doing with my health (this question came after he’d admitted on the first date that he had a penchant for chubby ladies) and the questions went on. It was like an interrogation and I felt like each answer I came up with wasn’t hitting the mark. It was tiring and boring and I wanted another glass of wine. I came to the conclusion that we wanted different things.
So with the mentoring session, sorry, I meant date, over we walked back to the the station and again I hugged him goodbye. In the awkwardness of leaving he asked if we would catch up again and I responded “for sure” before I could stop myself.
Hours later I bit the bullet and messaged him. I thanked him for the date but explained I didn’t feel relationship chemistry between us and that I didn’t want to lead him on.
He took three days to respond and he provided insight into his thoughts about chemistry being an “elusive” thing and not something that he could create “instantly”. He wasn’t asking for a rerun or a rethink but was just sounding off his thoughts.
But I thought about the process I underwent on our dates and how I was pushing myself to explore different approaches and giving it more time and not being hasty. But I couldn’t be dishonest to myself or lead him on. At the end of the day, for me, it didn’t feel right and I unfortunately have a great gut instinct that rarely steers me wrong.
So instead of feeling deflated about my second date experience, I’m going to “stay puft” and bust out into more dating in the real world.
Who knows – in 12 months time I might conquer three dates with one chap. Well, this blog is called Love in the SLOW Lane after all!