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!