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