Here's the deal. I've been single since time immemorial. So, in an attempt to remedy my eternal singledom, and to get over my nauseatingly pathological fear of dates, I've decided to challenge myself. The challenge? To go on one first date a week for a year! So in 52 weeks time, I will have either found my Mr Right, or I'll stay forever Miss Write. This is what happens...

The Rules

Here are the rules to the 52 First Dates challenge...

1. A first date must be had once a week, EVERY week, for a year, that's 52 dates in 52 weeks.

2. Taking someone home after a drunken night on the cider does NOT count.

3. Second and third dates are allowed, I must continue first dates unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances. For example, God forbid, the start of a relationship.

4. Each date must be blogged.

28 December 2011

Mr #29 - The Man is the Moon

The preamble:
Mr #29 and I had been bantering to and fro by email and text for a few weeks, and despite slightly poor texting etiquette, on the whole we seemed to have a fair amount in common, he seemed like a good enough sort so we arranged to meet. Slap bang in the middle of Christmas. Pretty brave move, for both of us...!

The man:
Profession: Freelance web designer for a TV production company
Random factoid: He had the roundest face I have ever seen on a real life human being. It was literally a perfect circle; the moon, with hair. Amazing.

The date:
We met outside the station and although we'd both clocked each other standing in the cold trying not to look conspicuous, we had to send the cursory identification text just to avoid that eternally embarrassing situation of 'Hi, are you Mr #29? 'No, I'm not'; stranger clearly knows you're on an interweb date; you die inside. 

Apart from his perfectly circular visage that I have previously mentioned, he also had an awesome head of curly hair and one very pretty set of  baby blue peepers on him. He was definitely a lot cuter than I had been expecting, even though he wasn't a lot taller than me, he was cute enough for that not to matter. 

We ambled off to one of my favourite pubs, although once in we did a prompt 360 when we realised a. there were no seats, b. it was playing Slade so loud our chances of conversation were drastically low and c. 90% of the revellers looked and smelt but a cider away from sick. Not to matter, the next pub along was both with-seat and without-cider-sick. Bonus. 

I have to say right now, this will be a relatively short write up. Not because he had nothing to say. Oh no. He had plenty to say. We covered everything from John Terry to Twitter, Mexico to Masterchef, and football to Facebook. But I have to say, I can't fault the guy. He was cute, polite, bright and really good company. We chattered non stop for a few drinks, time at the bar was called, and we went our separate ways, snog-free but smiling.

Memorable Quotes:
He was so nice and normal, I literally don't have anything to add here. Genuinely.

Events of note:
Again...he didn't fall over drunk, didn't spend the night talking to my chest, didn't offend me, had no errant bodily functions and didn't appear to have a criminal past. I think this is probably also notable in itself.

The Verdict:
Well 52 First Dates readers, I feel in some ways I've let you down here; by going on a date with someone rather nice, and not having some ridiculous anecdotes to take away from the evening. But for me, this just goes to show quite how many 'unusual' dates I have to go on to meet someone pleasant, and out of the 29 dates so far, he's one of only about 3. Those aren't great odds. So I suppose the question now is would I see him again? Yes. Did I fancy him? Yes, I think I probably did. Was he good company? Yes he was. Did we have any ROFL moments? No, sadly not. Was there chemistry? I don't know, I really don't know. But I'd certainly be up for meeting him again just in case. But the kicker is he's off to Mexico for 3 months next week, so whatever happens, I'll have to hang on a little bit and keep on dating and see what happens when he's back in Blighty. But I think this is where time really tells.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not going to be chasing anyone for a second date over the course of 52 First Dates, as I've done on many an ocasion in my undignified past. I'd like the guys I meet again to want to meet up enough to actually ask the question, which funnily enough seems to be rarer than you might think. I've had a few pretty successful dates before where they've just not been arsed to get in touch again which questions both their motive and I suppose also my view of how well the date went. So I guess for now, this is a 'watch this space' scenario. But if this is as far as it goes, I'd just like to thank Mr #29 for being nice, normal, and nothing like Mr #28. Faith in men once again restored. God bless 52 First Dates.

19 December 2011

Mr #28 - Mardy Bum

The preamble:
Mr #28 was relatively quick off the mark to suggest a meet. But from his profile and the few emails and texts we'd exchanged, I thought he'd be worth sharing a couple of cheeky beverages with. He'd even texted me a picture of himself holding THE Olympic torch, which impressed me no end, so I was rather looking forward to the evening. Oh but how wrong I was...

The man:
Profession: Works on the 2012 Olympics in something to do with IT, radio, I don't know actually, by this time I was busy working out what I could use in the pub to kill myself with. There was a noose above the bar. And I was very tempted...
Random factoid: Looked down my cleavage an average of 20 times per minute, which has got to be some sort of a record. A bad, bad record.

The date:
I met Mr #28 outside the tube, and what struck me was he was better looking than I'd anticipated. This, however, was soon to be entirely irrelevant, after what I can only describe as one of the most torturous hours of my life. 

We headed off to a pub of my choosing, he grabbed a couple of beers, and then sat and did the date. I'd detected en route to the pub that he was not only Northern but very dry. But on reflection, this guy's dryness had absolutely bugger all to do with geography, he was just a dreadful human being. I have to say, and I don't say this lightly, but this guy could well take the biscuit for being the worst date ever. 

I've already mentioned his predilection for my breasticular area. I'm the first to admit I'm not the most generously blessed in that department, but the way Mr #28 stared at them re-fucking-lentlessessly made me think he was trying some sort of Matilda-esque telekinesis to get them to grow. But, if there had by chance been any movement in my bra tonight, it would have been because he bored my poor bloody tits off.

He genuinely made me furious, and I've yet to experience such fury on a date. And it's not even as if he gave good chat to make up for the mammary fixation. He was the grumpiest bastard I have ever met in my life! First off, talking at me about his incredibly boring job and how shit it'll be when they're all unemployed after the Games are over. Then, he chose to bore the life out of me about his travel into work every morning, including listing every train between the times of 6.50am and 8am. Sweet Jesus. Really??? But it didn't end there. Oh no. 

Then came the infernal belly-aching turned to his landlady, the distribution of bills in his shared house, council tax traumas and the fact that the flat isn't double-glazed. Every one of these mind-numbingly boring anecdotes lasted about 15 minutes each, and it got to the point where I had to run and hide in the toilet for 10 minutes just so I could Tweet a cry for help to the rest of the human race so I didn't feel so alone. 

When I finally managed to steel myself to leave the solace of the facilities, I was elated to discover he'd finished his beer, and I was able to feign a phone call (the first time I've ever had to do that on any of my dates - an oldie but a goodie) and I was finally able to escape.

We headed back off to the station, and to add insult to bitter injury, whilst giving me a farewell peck on the cheek, he also tried to cop a feel of my boob. Even an hour after saying goodbye to the guy, I'm still fucking fuming about giving up an hour of my life to someone with the social skills of the contents of the pub's drip tray.

Memorable Quotes:
'I mean - am I heating the flat, or am I heating the entire street?'

Events of note:
Seeing the back of this awful bastard.

The Verdict:
There is no way on God's earth I would ever entertain the idea of seeing this guy ever again. If I ever hear a peep from this sorry sonofabitch, I'm going to tell him on no uncertain terms why he was possibly the rudest date I have ever had. He spent the whole night quite possibly trying to grow my breasts with the power of his mind, bored me borderline suicidal with his ridiculous whingy whiny rants and at no point during the entire night did he ask me a single question. Not one. Not even 'how was your day at work'. Literally astonishing. Instead he chose the night to bless me with the most self-indulgent and fucking boring lectures of my life. Why on earth would you want to go on a date when you have absolutely no interest in trying to be a decent human being? I'm genuinely baffled by what the whole point of it all was! If anything, to give me a whole new benchmark for all time dating lows. But that, I'm afraid to say, is nothing he need be proud of.

14 December 2011

Mr #27 - Ee's A Geezer

The preamble:
There had been virtually no preamble between Mr #27 and I whatsoever. It was literally a case of 'you look nice, fancy a drink?' And given the fact that I am still engaged in very lengthy text and email courtships with a few gentlemen with not even a sniff of a date, I thought I should probably snap this one up quick smart.

The man:


Profession: Office removals

Random factoid: One of his all time favourite songs is Que Sera. Oh the shame.

The date:
Bless him, my date was late. So late in fact that he rang me on five occasions in the forty minutes leading up to us meeting. And his reason for being late? The train left early! Since when has that EVER happened in the entire history of British public transport? Worst excuse ever dot com! And before that, he'd texted me throughout the day checking whether it would be okay if he wore jeans and trainers, whether I'd be casual, and where I wanted to go. So before I'd even met him, I'd already formed a certain opinion of him. And he was, and there's no other way to phrase this, a proppa geeza! 

This was a man who uses the word 'them' as both demonstrative and adjective pronouns, only used text speak both verbally and in writing eg 'wiv', and he was very VERY concerned about the first impression he's made. Yup, that is a first impression alright! Bless. Anyway he finally turned up, and he was cuter than I'd expected: he had icy blue eyes, a cheeky wee smile, but a questionably one-size-fits-all haircut. We met, in true romantic style, outside the Cornish pasty stall at London Bridge. Straight away, he insisted on stopping to purchase fags, and then we moseyed off to the ever-illustrious All Bar One.  

It took quite literally an hour to get served during which time we'd exhausted all of the pre-date small talk of how our respective days were, the journey to London Bridge, and the weather. 

Once we'd finally sorted ourselves out with beverages, we found a relatively quiet corner away from the roaring drunks on their office Christmas dos. He was a bright and garrulous lad with the 'fickest of Saaarf Landin' accents, and he gave good chat. We covered taxidermy, depression, capital punishment, old ladies with beards, the London riots (one of my favourite moral compass indicators on dates), t-shirts, cucumber, Class A drugs, first time drinking experiences, favourite festive songs and washing. Turns out he doesn't do any. Because he still lives with his mum and dad. Uh oh... 

One conversational highlight was talking about what would happen on the day that the direction of the Earth's magnetism changed. The conclusion we came to was we had absolutely no idea, but it'd certainly be on weird ass fucking day. Shame neither of us had Dr Brian Cox on speed dial! We chattered away effortlessly for ages, and three red wines down my conscience came knocking as I was starting a new job the following morning, so we made our respective excuses and went our separate ways. 

Shortly after getting home he messaged to say he'd like to do it again on a weekend next time, so we could stay out later. What, and then go back to your mum's? Let me get back to you on that one...

Memorable Quotes:

'My dad used to take me to Glastonbury when I was 3 and 4 and sold booze and drugs out of the back of his van'
'Nothing wrong with a little bit of piracy'
'my dog doens't like black people'
'I'm naturally immune to TB'

Events of note:
We had a 'white off', to see who was the pastier person. And in an occasion of exceptionally rare proportions, it transpired there was someone in the world paler than I am. And that was him! And rest assured he gave Caspar the Friendly Ghost a run for his money...!

The Verdict:
Considering Mr #27 had been a total wild card and someone I genuinely didn't think I'd have anything in common with (and don't get me wrong, I still can't empathise with dope-dealing dads and racist canines), I still had an entertaining evening. But he spoke a little too frequently of illegal activities for my liking, and I just wondered what would come out of a second date, a rave and a spot of burglary? Not convinced I'm afraid...

05 December 2011

Mr #26 - Halfway Mark (if only his name actually WAS Mark. But it wasn't...)

The preamble:
I've been messaging Mr #26 for bloody months it seems! We're talking well over 80 messages, and would the bugger suggest a date? Would he hell! So I did, and we swapped numbers and that was that. My only reservations about him had been that he was rather vocal about telling me about other dates he'd been on, and could occasionally be a little too cheeky in his messages, but he still piqued my interest, so I met him.

The man:
Profession: IT bod working in a massive bank
Random factoid: He is half-Irish half-Jamaican,

The date:
The date was another 52 First Dates first - the venue? Docklands. Hmm. I have to say I wasn't entirely convinced, but since I'd never been out there, perhaps it would be worth a whirl. 

I met Mr #26 at the Tube. My first thoughts? He was a little miniature, and probably weighed less than I do. My second thought? What a cracking smile and a delightful set of gnashers. Well done him and his orthodontist. 

Without a final destination in mind, we wandered off in search of some bar action, and finally we came across an establishment that I thought was the name of a popular strip club about town, and it was as Mr #26 pointed out (and that he'd been there a few times before), but that this particular venue was fortunately tit-free, couple on date notwithstanding. 

My first impression of the venue was that it wasn't actually in London at all, it felt rather like we were somewhere like Colchester, and the bar was very much in office party mode. We grabbed some booze and pews and started chatting. Before I continue, so you get a real sense of the mis-en-scene, that my date was sat right in front of a light, so actually I couldn't really see his face, but his perfectly circular cranium cast a spectacular silhouette. My eye was also periodically drawn to the couple sat diagonally behind him, not because they were interesting, but because they had chosen to take a big sack of cat litter with them. 

The soundtrack to the evening was also nothing short of shocking, with Five, A-Ha, Peter Andre and the Spice Girls being cracked out in rapid succession early on. Amid the aural assault, I was aware of another 52 First Dates first. My date had decided to wear a zip up fleece. A zip up fleece he chose not to remove all night. Hmm again. 

Fleeces aside, the conversation was some of the best I've had on 52 First Dates yet, it turns out we have loads in common, in music and film terms at least. We covered musical guilty pleasures, top 10 bests and worsts of 2011, the merits of Florence and the Machine, the demise of Hard-Fi,  a track by track analysis of Pendulum's Immersion, horror films, the publishing industry, book recommendations, Christmas presents, his obsession with Harry Potter, and how diabolical the guy singing karaoke was (oh yeah, it turned out to be karaoke night - we didn't partake). 

It also emerged that he's quite a garrulous chap, and could out talk me by about 120 words per minute. He also spent at least 10 minutes telling me the plot (and ruining it) to a book he'd been trying to sell me, and another 20 minutes showing me every picture he had on his phone of his dog. Yes, it's cute, I get that. Stop with the pup shots now. Stop it now...

Anyway once he'd finally stopped showing me pet pictures and we'd sunk a good few cheeky vodkas, my 5am wake up came back with a vengeance, and I proposed a conclusion to the evening on account of the fact my eyelids were getting rapidly more intimate. We moseyed off to the station said our goodbyes with an attempted half-grapple from Mr #26 and a cheeky snog-dodge from me, and went our separate ways.

Memorable Quotes:
'The mens' loos here are awesome - there's some great big wooden trough that you sit on'
'Shakira has been banned on Radio 1'
'Ooh the YMCA, I love this song'
'Jo Whiley is quite frisky, apparently'

Events of note:
A quite spectacular murdering of Alanis Morrisette's 'Ironic'. And not a moment too soon...

The verdict:
Tonight has genuinely been one of the nicest dates I've been on, as we had an inordinate amount of things in common. Yes he's small, yes, he wore a fleece, yes he's a little too obsessed with Harry Potter for a grown man, but you know what, I actually didn't care. Did I fancy him? I'm not sure, but I would definitely meet him again to see, if anything to carry on our systematic review of every horror film ever made. So what a way to mark the halfway point of 52 First Dates...with something positive. Yay, go me!

It has been a week since our date, and I've not heard a word from Mr #26. When I started this challenge, I vowed not to do any chasing, as I have done in my undignified former life, and if someone wanted to see me again, I would leave it up to them to ask. I say I've not heard a word, but this was until an hour ago. On different dating site. The message read 'have we been on a date?'. Er, yes we have. My my, what a fantastic impression I must've made! When I replied saying yes we had gone and done a date, he asked when it was. Jeez, that's some frighteningly short memory you have there sir! Needless to say I told him, and he's since blamed it on the booze. That's a pretty poor excuse when you meet someone stone cold sober sunshine. No second date for you!

29 November 2011

Mr #25 - King of the Swingers

The preamble:
I'd not been messaging Mr #25 that long actually, but the emails were lenghty and grammatically correct enough to pass my strict muster. Plus he happened to live and work just down the road, and it seemed only logical to arrange to meet. 

We were originally due to meet on a Saturday, which is rather controversial for me in first date terms, sacrificing a weekend night, but since I was planning on a relatively quiet one anyway and it was closer than a tube ride away, I agreed to the date. However, all came rather unstuck when I awoke that morning to a head like the inside of a burns victim's bandage with the cold from hell. I normally tell myself not to cancel first dates unless I have a damn good reason, and the idea of waging potentially lethal germ warfare on someone who could turn out to be the man of my dreams struck me as good enough reason to reschedule. So reschedule we did.

The man:
Age: 37
Profession: Bar owner
Random factoid: The band Hot Chip are regulars in his establishment.

The date:
What I really liked about Mr #25 was his choice of venue, a delightful little pub just off Brick Lane where the locals were friendly, the music was not imposing, and the array of Japanese whiskey behind the bar was impressive to say the least, if that's your sort of thing.

Mr #25 was pretty much as I expected him to be visually, although what I didn't expect was for him to bear an unnerving resemblance to the Evil Antipodean, a gentleman of my past whose memories are not exactly fond ones. But he was very smart even if his choice of Mulberry-coloured shirt was slightly questionable, and ever-the-gentleman, he scurried off to the bar to commandeer me a wine. 

He was exceptionally eloquent and unfeasibly relaxed, although his uber-laid-backness could have been construed as cockiness. His hair was a rough attempt at a fifties quiff, and he had a peculiar crease across the bridge of his nose that gave him a somewhat angry brow. He also seemed to prefer speaking out of one side of his mouth, which I didn't attribute to anything medical, but only added to his slight arrogance. 

Conversation was healthily varied: work, play, star-spotting around Bethnal Green (the little Italian cafe on Bethnal Green Road is the current celeb haunt, FYI), the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the etiquette of wearing football shirts on Christmas Day. 

He had also done a brief spell working in film, and he did try and sound like he knew what he was talking about when it came to the industry in which I work but it was a little cringe-worthy to be fair, so I politely steered him onto conversational pastures new. 

One thing that had really appealed to me about Mr #25 before meeting him was the fact he had a passion. And that passion? Swing dancing. Now that to me sounded awesome, I've always wanted to have a go. And to begin with, getting him onto his topic of choice proved an excellent and interesting plan. However after managing to crowbar the conversation back to swing dancing on no less than four occasions after the subject had reached the end of its natural life, the tedium began to set in a little. I mean, how do you get from the life and works of Andy Serkis to the Charleston? Oh you can, believe me. And he did. 

Two drinks down and last orders was approaching. Ordinarily I would have stayed for a third drink, but I was feeling a little on the knackered side, and faced with a ballacher of a day at work, I suggested an early night going our separate ways, just as rather awkwardly he was trying for a third. I donned my cape and furry muff, and bid him farewell, but not before he tried for the third time to recruit me to his local swing dancing club. I see...on commission are we? I should have guessed.

Memorable Quotes:
'Tom Cruise is definitely on a contract marriage'
'John Travolta is definitely gay'
'Brad Pitt. Lovely guy. I definitely would'
Legal note: All of the above quotes came from Mr #25 and are his own personal opinion. They are in no way reflections of the views of the author. Does that cover it? Good.

Events of note:
The hot barman giving me the wrong change. And me being honest enough to bring it to his attention. Sadly he wasn't generous enough to give me his phone number as compensation. The bar steward.

The verdict:
Mr #25 was on the whole a nice guy. Perhaps it was his age or his line of work, but he seemed a little too over-confident for my liking. I did feel a little bit that I had to match up to his exacting standards a little more than usual, and to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure that I did. But it was a pleasant enough evening, but I don't think I shall be hunting him down for a second date. I could, however, be tempted if he proposed a second date where there was lots of fun dancing, as long as I didn't have to listen to him talk about it.

23 November 2011

Mr #24 - Nigel Blandsell

The preamble:
I'd been messaging Mr #24 on an off for a month or so. His emails were good, we shared common ground in our love of Garth Marenghi's Dark Place and Nathan Barley, he owned a cat, and he had excellent command of grammar. He was also a former racing driver, and his multitudinous photos in his blue racing onesie did catch my eye a little. He wasn't exactly a model, but he looked nice and smiley, and he was so polite in asking for a date I thought why the devil not!

The man:
Age: 36
Profession: Media wrangler slash part time racing instructor
Random factoid: Recently won a poker competition. Albeit a crap little local one where the prize was a little plastic trophy.

The date:
I felt a little sorry for Mr #24 before I met him, as I had been in full on shambolic mode all day. Since being up since 5am, I'd had a bonkers day at work, a tactical 4 hour mid-afternoon snooze, the unwise idea of cooking sausages in my dating ensemble, an embarrassing episode at the doctors whereby I got stuck in my dress then tearing it trying to present my arm to a hot doctor for the taking of blood pressure. Plus I was 15 minutes late and honking of chipolatas. But he was very sweet about it, so I thought I'd managed to get away with it. Just. 

We met at Oxford Circus, a cunning venue I thought as everyone has some idea of their favourite pub in the locale. But not Mr #24. Once again I was in charge of choosing the venue, so we pottered off to a quiet little pub that I knew served Sailor Jerry's, we found a little pew and set to with the date

He wasn't an unattractive man, but he'd certainly been cleverly selective with his choice of photos. He was paler, more petite, and his hair was somewhat greyer than I'd expected. But he had a nice friendly face, that is, when he wasn't eyeballing my cleavage or pulling odd faces like a 1920s schoolboy. 

Conversation was on the whole very safe: school life, university, public transport (literally the dullest but most universal of safe topics), Made In Chelsea, various injuries sustained over our lives (mine was a soup-related scalded leg, his was a broken cheekbone thanks to a run in with a fist in Portsmouth) and cats. 

He showed slightly uncomfortable over-interest in my tattoo, a little too much sympathy for my anecdotes, and literally agreed with everything I said all night. He was on the whole a very sweet guy, but I just found him blander than an average vanilla cheesecake on a white porcelain plate in a dining room recently painted floor to ceiling in magnolia. 

I wasn't entirely sure of his grasp of acceptable first date conversation either, especially as mid-evening he inquired as to the nature of my doctor's appointment. The temptation to tell him it was to sort out some fictional intimate infliction was almost too much, but I resisted. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't, because I reckon he'd have had to dug deep into his personality reserves for some sort of reaction had I mentioned the words 'syphilis', 'thrush' or 'haemarroids'. 

After two drinks, I was really flagging, and his persistent agreement was sapping the life out of me, so I had to turn down the offer of a third beverage and leg it to the bus. But, being the gentleman he was, he insisted on waiting for the bus with me which, as it turned out, took twenty awkward minutes to arrive. Thanks 25, thanks a bleeding lot. He didn't strike me as the face-burgling sort, so I thought I'd be able to escape snog-free, but I'd used up all my good small talk, so the best I could do was suggest how many routes he could take to get the train so he didn't have to wait for me. But wait he did. Two rather insipid air kisses and the arrival of a double-decker later, and I was away and dreaming of my beddy byes.

Memorable Quotes:
'I've watched all of the Lord of the Rings in one day before. On a number of occasions'

'I have eleven different types of tea at home.' And then, he listed them. All. He lives alone, just in case you were wondering...

'I got you a straw for your drink so we could tell which one was yours and which one was mine. And you're drinking with it. That's good'

'Did you know the right way for a ying and yang is for the white bit to be on the top. But Bruce Lee put the black on the top, and that's wrong.'

Events of note:
The couple sat in the corner of the pub virtually having sex. It was off-putting to say the least, and I hoped my date wouldn't notice and take it as an idea.

The verdict:
All in all it was a disappointing evening. I'm sure there are lot of ladies out there who'd love an agreeable chap to kowtow to their every word, but I like someone with a bit more balls to them. Come on love, have an opinion! Disagree with me about something for god's sake, challenge me! And don't spend the entire time agreeing with my chest, it's not going to be any more forgiving than my face you know...

14 November 2011

Mr #23 - Spittle Italy

The preamble:
The dialogue between Mr #23 and I had been relatively short-lived, but he'd mentioned enough to pique my interest and I agreed to meet him within about 4 days of initial contact. All I new about his was he was Italian, he worked in digital marketing and he lived south of the river. Seemed fair enough, bring it on.

The man:
Age: 32
Profession: Digital marketing manager for the music and graphic industry
Random factoid: He said he was once chatted up by the boss-eyed lead Singer of Sigur Ros. Or so he thought. It was hard to tell, what with both eyes facing in opposite directions and all...

The date:
To be honest, I really didn't fancy a date tonight. It was a Monday, it was my first day back at an old job, and the only thing I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and watch pap on television. But no, not tonight. When I started out on 52 First Dates I told myself I would never cancel a date unless there was bloody good reason, and being a lazy ass bastard wasn't one, so I begrudgingly met Mr #23 just outside Oxford Circus. 

My date wasn't the tallest nor the most attractive of chaps, but he was suitably jolly, and instantly I realised it would be an entertaining evening. 

We pottered off to a pub of my choosing, commandeered some cheeky vinos and took up pews. Sadly since all of the seats inside were occupied, we had to perch outside under a heater. As he was a smoker with hot Mediterranean blood, he was adamant this was not a problem. But this was a chill to properly test his Italian mettle. And for the next couple of hours he shivered uncontrollably and insisted this was just his passion for the conversation making him shudder like some sort of malfunctioning Flymo. Bullshit sunshine, you're freezing. But you're also polite, so we stuck it out a little more. 

His Italian accent was pretty thick, so I had to strap on my finest focus ears work out the key points of the conversation, but on the whole it was very entertaining and he had an impressive grasp of the common vernacular: we covered the state of kids in London today, what 5 albums you'd take to the moon (we did argue over some and work out that given we were both on the moon at the same time that it would make sense to share some...), his Sardinian heritage (sans Mafia connections), Mike Skinner, the art of making balsamic vinegar, Macs vs PCs, the merits of Pret A Manger and their artisan breads, online piracy, shoes as art and that time his grandma made him over-sized ravioli. 

Two glasses of wine down I was pretty sure I should head off home, but we were having a pleasant enough evening so I persuaded to had a third. We were both getting a bit squiffy, and after the third had been demolished, I was determined to head off to the bus. But not without an Italian escort skipping along beside me. Once waiting for the bus, he took the moment to slip me a rather grotesque Sambucca-flavoured chewing gum before then slipping me the tongue. What can I say, I was tipsy, and it wasn't horrific. At first. And then the bus came, and I tried to free my mouth enough to say my swift goodbyes. But he was rather more limpet-like than I expected and I missed the bloody bus. So then I was resigned to huddling up against John Lewis out of the bitterly cold with a man with an over-enthused tongue until the next bus came along. And ten minutes later, after having my mouth suitable routed,the bus arrived and I was blissfully able cut short his oral excavations and escape.

Memorable Quotes:
'I have grown to rather like the English Piccalilli. It is Kryptonite-like in colour'

'Last year I was jogging in Stockwell and ten youths stopped me. I knew I was going to be mugged. They asked what I was listening to on my iPod. I said NWA. They just nodded and let me go.'

Him to me: 'I think you may have hands bigger than mine. Yes, you have!' Reader, I did.

Events of note:
The admission that this fully grown man collected Playmobile. But not jut any Playmobile. Oh no. That would be silly. Only cops and robbers Playmobile. He is so empassioned by this particular genre of Playmobile that he even travelled to Malta, the country of its origin, to pick some up.

The verdict:
Considering how much I was dreading this evening for selfish reasons, I had a surprisingly enjoyable time. He was bright, he was funny, he had loads of interests. But despite all thee things, I just didn't really fancy him. And I'm not really sure why not. 

He wasn't unattractive, he had plenty to say for himself, but there just wasn't that funny little something there that would make me want to stare at my phone willing it to vibrate. And perhaps that he still collected little plastic figurines with interchangeable hairdos from my youth had something to do with it. Or the fact that yet again he had hands smaller than mine (what is it with me and my giant man hands? Who'd have thought this would be such a frequent deal-breaker?). 

Whatever it is, but I'm left massively unsure about the whole thing. He has asked to meet again, and I think under most other circumstances I would have said yes. But I think the fact that I would almost definitely be held tongue-hostage for most of the evening has made me less confident in agreeing. Oh balls.

10 November 2011

Mr #22 - Show Me The Funny

The preamble:
Mr #22 and I were originally due to meet a few weeks back. But the bugger stood me up. Normally this would irritate the hell out of me, but as he was a stand up comedian, I appreciated the irony and didn't let it deter me. The main off-putting factor about this lad, however, was the fact that he texted in the style a 14 year old scrote, but I'm learning more and more during the course of this challenge that I need to put my silly pretensions behind me once in a while, so I've done my best to ignore the wots, urs and flagrant disregard for basic grammar. Challenging my pretensions in this way so far, however, has done absolutely nothing to convince me other than I have my silly pretensions cemented for relatively valid reasons...

The man:
Profession: By day, an IT monkey at the MOD. By night, a stand up comedian.
Random factoid: Lives with ten other people. Ten. And apparently it's not a commune. Whatever...

The date:
I'd finally managed to pin Mr #22 down to a date, and we'd arranged to meet at Liverpool Street station. An easy plan I thought...

*ring ring*
Mr #22: Hi, where are you?
Me: I'm outside Boots.
Mr #22: I'll be there in 5 minutes.
7 minute later...
*ring ring*
Mr #22: I'm outside Boots, where are you?
Me: I'm outside Boots. In the station...
Mr #22: Ah, I'm outside the Boots outside the station
Me: Okay, I'll be there in 5 minutes
5 minutes later
*ring ring*
Me: I'm at Boots outside the station, where are you?
Mr #22: I'm outside Boots.
Me: What can you see?
Mr #22: I can see buses
Me: That's not very helpful.
Mr #22: Oh, there' a pub called Dirty Dicks...
So it turns out there re not one, not two, but 3 branches of Boots at Liverpool Street station. Good start...but that was a funny as it got.

So, I met Mr #22 at the delightfully named Dirty Dicks. He was stood in a flat cap and navy quilted jacket, and I was wondering whether he'd left his tractor or the rest of the cast of TOWIE at home.

I dragged him off to one of my favourite local haunts (one that didn't sell tampons and laxatives), we sourced some beverages and got to the chat.

My first thought was, and probably a bit unfairly of me, that for a stand up comedian, he wasn't very funny. Part of me was tempted to be an absolute nightmare date, so at least he could have got some sort of decent material out of the night but I bottled it. Under the cold lights of the bar I guessed that he had definitely lied about his age, perhaps by as much as 10 years, and that he may have borrowed his nose from the late, great Pete Postlethwaite. 

He was a nice enough guy, quite quiet, a little shy to start with, and a little on the flat side. That said, the conversation was right up my street: a healthy in depth analysis of kids theme tunes from the eighties, what films you'd take to the moon, my parrots, classical music, lactose intolerance, comedians and shit Christmas presents. 

I have to say I was a little astonished at how long he seemed to nurture his pint for, and was a little more unnerved when he tried pushing his luck by asking for the most expensive drink behind the bar once I'd offered to buy a round. 

Two drinks down, it was chucking out time, so we wandered off back to the station together. En route back, he decided to unleash some of his self-proclaimed comedy gold one liners on me. I won't lie, he could've nicked them all from Penguin wrappers and I wouldn't have sussed the difference. They were pants. And I think despite me wanting to be as polite as I could, I was a tough crowd.

Memorable Quotes:
'My mum once threw a wine glass and called me a c***  after I refused to tidy my room. The bitch'. I would jut like to clarify, he said that, not me. 

Events of note:
Singing a charming little duet of the theme tune to the Littlest Hobo together, before having to consult Google when our lyrics went in different directions...

The verdict:
We had a very chilled out evening, but it couldn't have felt less like a date had my parents been there with me. I didn't fancy him physically, and although I didn't expect a performing monkey for a date, even our idle banter raised little chuckles from my side of things. It's not because I was on a date with someone who said they were funny for a living that I expected an entire evening of pant-wetting hilarity (wetting oneself is never a good idea on a first date) but I do like to have a laugh with someone, and tonight was drier than your average sandy bum crack. He was a nice guy, there was just absolutely nothing there. Nothing whatsoever. Oh, and even if he had been a hottie and I'd have wanted to cart him off home, the idea of shouting the name of one of my parrots in the the throes of passion is more than a deal-breaker. Yup, he's named after one of my pets... 

06 November 2011

Mr 21 - ***Warning! No Freak Zone!***

The preamble:
I've been messaging Mr #21 for a good 6 weeks or so. He works offshore, and for the first month whilst he was on 12 hour night shifts, I knew every day with delightful predictability I would have a message from him. My first thoughts were 'what's wrong with him - he's really hot, and he's messaging me'. And it's true, on both counts. Hot men don't message me. 

Okay, he can't really spell, and for a self-proclaimed grammatical fascist like me that's a bigger deal than maybe it should be. But he was consistant and pretty, and I can be pretty shallow. 

As he works away a lot, I wasn't really sure if and when we'd be able to arrange a meet, but to my surprise, he was able to nip away for a sneaky Sunday, so we arranged a date. There's only one minor catch...he lives all the way in Portsmouth, and the poor bugger had to brave the Sunday trains to come all the way into London. So no pressure then...he's fit, he's coming 2 hours to meet me, and to add triple jeopardy to the situation, he wanted to eat. Real food. Eek! But since he was going to such lengths to come and see me, breaking my lifelong ban against eating on first dates was the least I could do really. But that said, I did have to google the menu of my chosen venue first to ensure there was a. definitely something I would eat without picking bits out and b. something I stood a good chance of eating without wearing. All things considered, I managed to revert back to my pre-52 First Dates pre-date nervousness, but as it turned out, it was to be entirely unfounded.

The man:
Age: 35
Profession: Works with remote operated vehicles on an offshore wind farm
Random factoid: I have been wracking my brainbox for the last 10 minutes now and I can't think of one...maybe herein lies a problem...

The date:
As Mr #21 was a tourist, I met him at the tube and escorted him to the venue of choice, a cute but not-too-Londony venue. My first thoughts on clapping eyeballs on him were 'my my, he really IS handsome! And tall', which in 52 First Dates terms is really rather unusual. He was also very casual and relaxed, and the pre-date nerves rapidly evaporated. 

I dragged him off to the pub, he seemed suitably impressed, we got in a bottle of red and set to with the dating. I have to say he's a proper Hampshire country lad...very chilled out, very impressed by the big smoke, and really nice company. But I soon started to feel I was maybe a bit too much of a city kook, and I realised very early I couldn't quite unleash my usual hell-for-leather surrealism. 

Conversation was unfeasibly normal. We covered jobs, food, travel, transport and television. We got stuck in to a super tasty roast dinner, and as a small personal victory, I managed to eat a full meal in front of an attractive man without making some sort of embarrassing scene. 

After dinner, he was determined to be an absolute gentleman and pay for everything, so by means of a minor recourse I carted him off to my favourite pub with taxidermy in Fitzrovia for a couple more drinks. We sat talking about more food on a big squishy sofa for a further couple of hours, and maybe it was the red wine talking, but I was super tempted just to curl up under his great big manly armpit and have a cheeky snooze, I was getting that comfy. 

Soon enough, consciences prevailed: I was wary he had a train to catch and he was wary I had work in the morning, so we scampered off towards the tube to go our separate ways. At the station as we said our goodbyes, there was that awkward moment where neither of us was sure what was going to happen, so I plunged straight for the cheek kiss and skipped off to the bus.

Memorable Quotes:
Again, I can't remember anything. This is most unusual. And it's nothing to do with the booze, I've sobered right up. I think maybe it was because I wasn't nipping to the loo to make frequent notes on my BlackBerry. And he wasn't leaving the table either so it was a note-making stalemate.

Events of note:
The barman in the pub managing to convince both of us to have a completely different drink to that which we wanted. And both of them were pretty minging. Bison grass vodka and apple juice? Er, no thanks!

The verdict:
This has been a most bizarre date in 52 First Dates terms, not because of who I was with, but because it was just so goddamn normal on every level. The guy himself was gorgeous, a total gentleman, and really lovely company. And he was totally impressed with pretty much everything. But perhaps maybe this is the problem. I felt like London was just a little bit too exciting for him, and as a result I felt like I could only fire on half kook-cylinders with him. And being brutally honest, I just don't know why this could be considered a problem, because I had a lovely day and I stayed with him all afternoon. 

Before meeting him, I have to confess to having a little private wobble - what if he was amazing, what if I wanted to be with him, and what if I had to give up 52 First Dates? And there was a very strange dawning on me that maybe falling in love with 52 First Dates, rather than anyone in it. I think it'll be pretty easy for me to keep dating the freaks, and although it may not seem this way now, that's not actually what I want to do. But then faced with your textbook Mr Normal I've found myself hankering for someone to give me a bit more of a run for my money. And no, I don't want the BFG, the Snaggletooth or Good Will Munting back by any means, but I suppose perhaps I'm looking for someone in between? Who knows. I sure don't. I'm baffled. 

So if the worst I can say about this guy is that he's just really goddamn nice but not quite eccentric enough, then that can't be too bad can it? But yet it's not quite enough. But what I do know is when at the station he asked if I'd like to meet up again, I did say yes. He works away for months on end and he won't be back on shore leave for a wee while, so I know there won't be any pressure there to make any big decisions anytime soon. I just wouldn't want to bugger him around, that wouldn't be fair. So I guess I just need to keep up the quest in the interim to find Mr Mildly-Mutant-But-Nicely-Normal. He must be out there somewhere. The benchmark for my ideal man moves once again...and it seems it's my own silly fault for moving it so much!

31 October 2011

Mr #20 - The BFG

The preamble:
I initially replied to a message from Mr #20 because, and I'll be brutally honest here, he was a giant. Regular readers of 52 First Dates will know my feelings towards gentlemen of the diminutive stature, so I thought fair's fair, let's give a giant a go! And by giant, I mean 6'6", which is a good 16 inches taller than me. Let's face it, the wedding photos would look bloody hilarious! However, after replying to the first couple of messages, I appear to have unleashed something scary. 

Every day, without fail and without reply from me, he would send me a very long message rambling on about all sorts of random stuff and usually trying to force more methods of communication upon me, email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook links. After a very hectic work schedule rendering me pretty useless at responding, and the fifth unanswered message in a row, he sent me a very pitiful email bemoaning my lack of contact and that he wished me all the best for the future. Dammit, you're needy! I eventually responded, because you can't get away with messaging people like that in online dating, no wonder you're single! Normally I would have not bothered, but I won't lie, I felt I needed a giant on my dating CV so I swallowed my instinct and replied apologising for being unavailable, but that I'd been busy. He was rather shocked by my honesty, and rapidly started back-peddling, apologising for his innate clinginess. Although this was then totally negated by enquiring as to what I was doing for a certain date in late December. Easy sunshine! 

Eventually I caved in and arranged a date, but after that sort of preamble, I wasn't really looking forward to it...

The man:
Age: 35
Profession: Social worker
Random factoid: I think the fact that he is 6'6" tall definitely has to go in this box.

The day of the date:
Today has been a weird day. Anyone familiar with previous posts will be aware that there has been a third party wafting around my romantic periphery for some time now. To explain, he was a boy I met online last December. He was a musician slash actor slash owner of indescribable hair, we went on a date, rescheduled for after Christmas, and then he vanished into the ether. But back in June, out of the blue, he appeared again through the same dating site, and we'd been messaging constantly ever since. This is a boy with major commitment issues, who's been buggering me around by being as intense as you can get, then falling off the radar. This has gone on for 4 months, and despite numerous attempts on my behalf to arrange a meeting, today I finally decided to pull the plug.  And not a day too soon, since a fortnight ago he confessed to meeting another girl, randomly booking a holiday to Vegas with her as a 'joke', insisting he didn't like her, but that he was going away with her anyway. Seriously, what planet are you on??? I'm just not cut out for that sort of game-playing. But truth be told it has made me really rather sad, mainly because it would've been so easy for us to meet up and see if we really got on as I thought we did, but his eternal embuggerations made it totally impossible. But I'm fed up of being dropped, picked up, dropped, picked up, dropped picked up, and so with great sadness, I told him no more. So that's that, 52 First Dates is no longer at risk of being thwarted. And when you read the rest of this entry, you'll see that's still the case.

The date:
So, it's a Monday, it's Hallowe'en, I'm feeling miserable, so what better way to spend such an evening than with a giant. A great big needy giant. And he wasn't lying about his height either, as many men do online, he really was the tallest man I've even met in my entire life (even taller than my friend Katy's dad - he's a giant too). 

He was also a bit of a man mountain too, clad in double denim no less. Hmm. He also had a substantial amount of facial piercings which were not evident in his profile pictures, including a blue sparkly rhinestone in his nose. 

He was jolly enough in person, although not green enough to be in a sweetcorn ad, but I thought he'd be pleasant enough company for the evening. Conversation kicked off, he spoke at great length about his 5 year old son who he clearly adores, his curiosity about my working schedule that had made me so unavailable, the fact he'd not had a girlfriend until he was 21 (although not intimately apparently, thanks for that Mr TMI dot com!), his MOT, an affair he had with an older married woman, the London riots, insurance claims and modern manners. 

What I liked about his was after our second drink, he called it a night as he was aware how hard I was working. But not before spending the last ten minutes asking me over to his for dinner this Friday, offering to drive me round London, seeing if I could take a day off next week or if he could come over to see me for an hour one evening. Christ, give a girl a break! 

After the bitter sting of rejection recently, don't get me wrong, it's all very flattering and it's lovely to know I'm not totally repulsive to the male race, but this is just too much. Seriously too much. I've only just met you, I'm not coming over to your house or getting in your car. No way. Especially when you see the event of note...!

Memorable Quotes:
'I'm fixing up a remote controlled car I bought from a kid in care...'

'I went for a beer with my mate Neville. He's 71, but he was good to me when I was homeless...'

'I used to really want to show Old English Sheep Dogs at Crufts. But all the men who show dogs at Crufts are gay. And I'm not gay. But I don't like how they poof up the dogs tails. It looks stupid.'

Events of note:
The subtle production of this from his jacket in front of the entire pub...oh wait, have I woken up in the fifties?
Yup, it's a single red rose. I've been promised a lot more in the future. Dear Jesus...

The verdict:
Considering my dread before the event, it was a surprisingly nice evening. But the long and short of it is, I didn't remotely fancy a man with a face like a sieve, bigger boobs than I have, who could probably hospitalised me if I accidentally got in between him and the sofa. 

He also called me 'babe' like it was going out of fashion. Plus anyone who uses LOL in a non-ironic sense is more than enough to grate on me, but someone who uses LOLOLOL as if it actually means something (laugh out loud out loud out loud? Seriously???) is someone automatically red-carded from my romantic playing field. 

On a more serious note, he was also the first parent I'd met out dating, and although I absolutely adore children, I'm not sure how I'd feel about getting involved with a parent at this stage. Maybe if the right man came along. But sadly, the Double Denim Big Friendly Giant isn't him...