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.

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!