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.

29 February 2012

Mr #39 - Leap of Faith

The preamble:
There had been relatively little preamble between Mr #39 and I, but he had a great profile, liked lots of the same things I did plus many more I could be tempted by, and looked nice from the couple of profile pictures he had up on the dating site. So, since Mr #38 had pretty much fallen off the radar since last week which is a bit of a shame since there had been a certain amount of promise, I didn't think twice about accepting Mr #39's offer for a drink. There was a limited amount of text banter, but what I instantly loved about him was not once did he call me babe, he used full and proper English in his messages and he had a cracking sense of humour. All the signs pointed to a pleasant evening, regardless of chemistry.

The man:
Age: 34
Profession: Works in recruitment
Random factoid: Manages his own football team.

The date:
Sadly the day after the date I had to get up at stupid o'clock in the morning for a shoot, so I forewarned Mr #39 I wouldn't be able to stay out and play very late. I was also  unfortunately only able to meet him at 7.30pm, so he'd had to amuse himself in the pub for a couple of hours before I arrived, which is never a bad thing, I'm a big believe in beer goggles counting in my favour. 

I met Mr #39 outside a pub near Soho, and I was instantly struck by how handsome he was...not in the same way as his picture as he was dressed very differently and was wearing glasses, but he had a lovely manner about him and I liked his style, so immediately I was impressed. We headed off to a lovely little establishment behind Carnaby Street, he rustled up some drinks, and although there was nowhere to sit, we found a cosy corner to hide in and get acquainted.  

It soon transpired that Mr #39 and I have an awful lot in common, taste in music, film, comedy, cake and root vegetables, all the important things of course. In a short space of time we covered a lot of the essential big bases, work, home, singledom, religion, festivals and sport as well as some of the more not-so-essential topics such as murder, peanut butter, my Catfish experience, how he copes with his dog's menstrual cycle, my parrot's masturbatory habits, why no eating establishment should have a name ending in 'Zone' and  things you could legitimately combine with Marmite. 

Mr #39 was utterly charming and a real gentleman throughout the evening despite being a little tipsier than I was on account of his extended time in the pub, but it didn't matter a jot. What I really liked about Mr #39 was how up front he was about pretty much everything. As the evening wore on, I grew increasingly resentful of my impending early start as I was having one of the nicest evenings if not THE nicest evening of 52 First Dates, but by the same respect I also wanted to quit while I was ahead as it was going so well. 

A couple of drinks in, Mr #39 asked me how my date was going, to which I replied 'rather well', and since he thought the same he asked there and then if he could see me again. Without hesitation, I said yes, and he then asked when was a day when I didn't have the Sword of Damocles of an early start hanging over my head, and it turns out a week on Saturday suits just fine. And that was that, second date already sorted! 

With date #1 in the bag and date #2 in the diary, we called it a night and headed off to the tube. As we headed down the escalators I was riddled with potential-snog anticipation, and when we said goodbye I won't lie, I was a little disappointed when it was just a peck on the cheek. But there's always the second date, right? Fuck me, a second date! Steady on CTS...!

Memorable Quotes:
'My dog is currently running around the house wearing a customised pair of mens' pants to stop her making a mess everywhere.'
Re my friend Louise's dessert making habits: 'Your friend mixed butterscotch and chocolate Angel Delight? She's single handedly responsible for the downfall of the economy...' Thinking back on timing, he may have been right!
'Blancmange - what the fuck's up with that?'
Mr #39: 'You don't like asparagus because it looks like a willy?'
Me: 'No...I said woody.'

Events of note:
Since this date occurred on the 29th of February, a leap year, the girls in the office were teasing me that I should propose to my date. So, after one drink, thinking he might find it funny, I brought it up. His answer? 'Well if it keeps going well, yes I'll marry you.' Well that was easy! Nice knowing you, readers...

The Verdict:
I don't think you really need to ask this question, since you already know I've agreed to a second date. Throughout the course of 52 First Dates, I've been pretty cagey about second dates if I've not felt something there, in fact I've only ever been on the one, which was with Mr #5. But a third date with him never happened, because he simply fell off the radar. I don't want someone who's happy to fall off my radar, I want someone who wants to be to be in full beam and making it beep loudly. And although 52 First Dates hadn't turned up the man of my dreams thus far, it has reinforced the fact that I know what I'm looking for and when I did finally meet someone right, I'd know about it. 

With Mr #39, something clicked for me, and very easily too. And without wanting to jinx things, it felt like something may have clicked for him too. I loved the fact that I didn't have to play guessing games, because I'm beyond shit at picking up subtle signals and the eternal overanalysis combined with my innate inability to flirt in return drives me potty. And the fact that he took my utterly foolish suggestion of a marriage proposal in such good humour counts for a lot. I say good humour, he said yes, so perhaps more fool-hardy than good-humoured. But there were no games here, he paid me very sweet compliments, was genuinely interested in me, and then asked me out again. And I have to say, not only am I really looking forward to seeing him again, but the butterflies in my tummy are too. At the moment nine days feels like an awfully long time to wait. Watch this space...

21 February 2012

Mr #38 Comedy Threesome

The preamble:
Mr #38 is a very unusual case in 52 First Dates because he is the only date I've been on where I'd seen his profile online and sent the first message. I've not been proactive in messaging people online so far, because in the past, I've not had a very high success rate, very rarely they'd reply and I'd be left feeling pretty shit about myself. So for the most part my dates would be reactionary, depending on who'd emailed me, some might say leaving it up to fate, others laziness, and that would be fair. But I think you'll probably agree, that hasn't really worked for me so far, so from now on I'll have to be more proactive and will just have to get a thicker skin about the ones that don't see me fit enough to reply to.

I had messaged Mr #38 way back in November, because his profile was just awesome. He had a brilliant sense of humour, wrote really well, had the same sense of nonsense surrealism as I did, loved all things creative, and to top it off had a wicked mass of curly black hair. So I sent a silly little message, no sense in a great long persuasive introduction, and the banter started from there. We emailed for ages, and then over Christmas exchanged numbers. We would text regularly, about the most ridiculous things, and some sort of virtual relationship kicked off. In the past, this has been a dangerous tactic, building up so much pressure prior to the first date that it'd almost inevitably be a disappointment. Both of us we were well aware that this could happen, so a month or so before we met we'd agreed to carry on with the foolish banter regardless of the outcome of the date. Perhaps this was a wise idea, perhaps not. 

Mr #38 was not the most forth-coming in suggesting a meet, but I rather liked that. For once, this would be a date that had taken a natural path, rather than something hurried to meet either my dating quota or their impatience. Finally, after three months of preamble, we met.

The man:
Age: 30
Profession: Theatre technician and stand up comedian.
Random factoid: Makes music using the Nintendo Gameboy.

The date:
As we both shared the same appreciation of comedy, Mr #38 volunteered a stand up night at a pub south-side for our first date, which was an excellent suggestion. This was one of the few dates I've been on that I was properly nervous, real stomach-churning, toxic-butterfly nerves, the sorts of nerves I used to get before dates prior to 52 First Dates. Because my hopes were really up, I wanted to like him and I wanted him to like me. I even took him a little bag of home made chocolates, as he'd become a bit fascinated by my domestic undertakings, so I thought I'd see if I would win over the stomach as well as the man. 

I turned up at the pub and he was perched in the corner. He looked exactly as I expected, tall, slim, with the same amazing shock of black curly hair, smart glasses and a textbook beard. He stood up to greet me and was an absolute gentleman, taking my coat and popping to the bar to buy me a drink. He was a really nice guy, delightfully geeky, bright and funny. But there was one thing I wasn't expecting about our first date - and that was his best mate.

It turned out his friend was doing a set at the pub that night, and within 10 minutes of us being sat down, this character clad in an aubergine trenchcoat wafted in, introduced himself, and sat in the corner rehearsing before his stint. We only had about half an hour before the comedy began, during which time we covered musical instruments, retro computer games and novelty cookery. We were then ushered into the back room, where the comedy began. 

It was a novices night, so anyone who fancied themselves as a little bit funny could put themselves up for doing a short set, so from the get go I wasn't expecting Billy Connelly. Mr #38's friend was first up, and I did feel sorry for him as the compere had done a rubbish job of warming up the spattering of humans in the crowd. Eleven acts later (ranging from 'pretty funny' to 'was that actually comedy or just a guy whinging about his water bill'), I'd still not spoken to Mr #38 an awful lot, so we grabbed some more drinks and tried to continue the date. With his mate, now buoyed on whiskey, also in tow. 

We carried on jabbering on dissecting comedy techniques, Dungeons and Dragons, Dr Who, Roland Rat. After one drink, his friend decided to call it a day, leaving Mr #38 and I to try and carry on with our date. The poor guy was riddled with cold, and he kept apologising for not firing on all cylinders. We got on really well, and although there was the odd pause in conversation, it didn't feel that awkward. By the end of the next drink though we were both flagging, so we wandered off to the tube and headed home.

Memorable Quotes:
'What actually goes on in the apocryphal hole in the tube map above Tower Hill? I've always wondered...'

Events of note:
The compere chatting to one of the old locals about their Valentine's Day plans. It turned out one went on an internet date with a woman he'd met online. I could've sworn he was one of the fifty-somethings that has tried their luck with me online. The compere then asked the crowd if anyone had done online dating, Mr #38 and I both went red and looked at each other awkwardly, and our psychic connection agreed to confess to nothing.

The Verdict:
This was a really unusual date, mainly for the fact that I wan't just meeting Mr #38, but his partner-in-comedy crime too. He was exactly as I expected, and I thought he was really cute, I really wanted to ruffle his great big barnet, so I was far from disappointed. My main concern was the fact that maybe we'd gone beyond the window of romance and had got ourselves into the friend zone, which can be very hard to come back from. But I was left thinking I'd really love to see him again, just the two of us, so he could feel like he was on form, and we could get a bit irresponsibly drunk and see how the chemical side of things worked between us. There certainly wasn't that instant thunderbolt of clothes-ripping chemistry, but there was something about him that fascinated me. I really hope he felt the same, and that he wants to see me again too. We'll just have to wait and see. Yikes!

16 February 2012

Mr #37 - Dinky Dollars

The preamble:
I'd been messaging and texting Mr #37 pretty regularly for a month or so now, and he really piqued my curiosity. He was a man who worked for the big bucks, but in his spare time loves to cook, collect art and do work for charity. He had a good sense of humour on paper, didn't even attempt that irksome text speak, wrote well and sounded like an all round good egg, so I was all too happy to meet him for a beverage or two.

The man:
Age: 34
Profession: Investment broker
Random factoid: Has a phenomenally mixed heritage of English, Italian, Tunisian, Maltese, Sicilian and Spanish.

The date:
This was one of the rare dates where he chose the venue, always instant Brownie points since I've been running a little short of ideas of venues of places where the staff wouldn't start to suspect I was some sort of serial dater (and of course they would be correct). He chose a posh-sounding wine and cocktail bar on Brick Lane which on first glance looked like an excellent choice. I was the first to arrive, and whilst I perched at the bar trying not to look like I was meeting a stranger from t'internet I realised that actually it was a bit of a misguided choice of venue, given that the football was on on mahoosive screens all around the outside of the bar, and the place was starting to fill up with Manchester City fans. 

Ten minutes later, my date arrived. I knew he wouldn't be very tall, as he'd put 5' 5" on his profile. Turns out, he'd fibbed a little. As he walked through the door, I was struck by how petite he was, and thought he was a good couple of metres further away than he actually was. When I stood up to meet him, he was a good inch shorter than me, making him over-ambitious by a good 4 inches. It still baffles me why men lie about their height, it's not as if I'd never find out! 

Anyway he was very nice-looking, well-turned out, polite and rather chipper, so we got cracking with the date. We covered all sorts of topics, his art collecting, archaeology, his  roots, museums, that time he ate too much meat in America and ended up with gut rot (nice!), writing novels, films, pedigree cats, chocolate and kids theme tunes (a topic which seems to crop up on many a date - I think I may be trapped in my 9-year-old self sometimes). 

Mr #37 was quite a character - he had a myriad of interests, and archaeology was a big one, to the point that once a year he goes mud-larking (google it, I had to...) and has his own metal detector which he uses to find old bits of Roman gold. He also recently spent £500 on a giant fossil for his flat, would regularly spend £100 a week on an obscenely posh box of chocolates, owned a very expensive coffee machine and was starting up his own investment business. Money, it seemed, was a big trump card for Mr #37 which I have to say I found very bit off-putting, more so than the fact that he let it slip he was both newly-divorced and a dad (funny how this all comes out on dates and people forget to include on their profiles and in the preamble). 

On reflection, he spoke about himself a lot, and told me that he was writing his own autobiography because he thought he had a really interesting life, which did leave me wondering if all of his interests were manufactured just for the purpose of bolstering the biog. I also couldn't help noticing how he kept flitting his eye line between the football on the television and my chest. Note to self - don't wear this dress on dates again. A few drinks later, we were both showing signs of weariness and mutually agreed to call it an evening.

Memorable Quotes:
'When I was in New York I had a tongue sandwich, have you tasted tongue before?' Are we really gonna go there? Stop it, stop it now...
'I used to want to be Indiana Jones when I was little. I used to bury all my toys in the garden'
'Yeah, girls do like sparkly things don't they?' Yeah, me and glitter...such a girl, I LOVE that shit...
'Your dad used to fly Tornadoes in the RAF? He's my hero, I'd love to meet him...' Uh oh, flashback to Mr #18...

Events of note:
Mr #37 trying to explain what hedge funds ACTUALLY are. To the most financially inept person on the planet. I'll be honest, it didn't go well, and I'm still none the wiser. It's still people selling invisible shit to me and getting paid fucktonnes for it.

The Verdict:
Yes, he was shorter than me, skinnier than me by half, and had smaller hands than me. On physicality alone, I struggled to fancy him as he did make me feel like the Miranda Hart to his Frankie Dettori. Actually, he could have been Frankie on looks alone. And yes, yet again I'm doing what many women do when it comes to dating gentlemen of diminuitive stature, and I do feel for them, it must be so hard as we really can be a tough crowd. But ask any straight woman you know and I'll wager most prefer men who are bigger than them purely to allow for their own insecurities. I know, because I am one of them.

Mr #37 was a really interesting guy, and I really liked the fact he had so many interesting things to talk about (bar the finance crap). But the fact that he held money in such high regard was the real deal-breaker here, and literally every anecdote did boil down to dosh in some way. I'm not looking for someone with a shed load of cash stuffed under the mattress to buy me great big sparkly thing, nor someone whose sole purpose in life is to earn money. 

All in all, it was an entertaining evening, but we didn't have a tremendous amount in common even though we found common ground to talk about, and as much as I'm not sure I want to see him again, I think he probably feels the same.
...although my tits are expecting a text any minute now...

13 February 2012

Date #36 - as told by Mr #36 himself

In case you’ve not read my write up of Mr #36, I think perhaps you should get up to speed first right here. As Mr #36 and I walked to the pub before the date we chatted about 52 First Dates,  and I offered him the chance to write his review of how the date went.

 This is what he said...


 ‘I want to start by saying that "You should see my pigeon fanciers film" is a tried and tested line, it's melted the heart of many a date in the past.  Granted the anecdote about swinging a toddler into a tree was a bit of a Hell Mary and the awkward silence that followed has led me to reject it from my future repertoire.

With that out of the way I should go onto the meat of the evening which on the whole was good.  CTS is fun, smart and noticeably weary 36 dates into her experiment although that could have been a reaction to my hulking appearance. The night began awkwardly, in part due to the speed in which it came about but also because I was distinctly aware that my terrible banter would be scrutinised and in a very public way.  Despite that I was determined to act no differently to how I would on a genuine date, despite the numerous slaps, glassed over expressions and restraining orders it's provoked in the past.  You know that on first dates first impressions count and this is where I think I fell down. I wasn't expecting to meet anyone that evening so was dressed as a dishevelled hipster farmer, an olive green burlap sack of potatoes tottering on a pair of burgundy chinos and black brogues.

 After my awkward introduction we headed to the pub and the evening was pleasant, right up until the text. Lots of topics were covered a good few laughs shared and I felt it was going ok.  When I read the message I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed, (not that she didn't fancy me, I'm an acquired taste, think Sloth from the goonies with a touch of Vince Vaughn), but because she couldn't wait until after the night had ended to crystallise her opinion of me and tell my mate.  Like CTS said I was expecting to be critiqued but not at that very moment.  It was a genuine mistake and one I can't be too sore about because it was at least a compliment (in part). What she did fail to include in her account of her reaction was what she said when I showed her the message, which I think was the most telling part of the entire evening. Having shown her the embarrassing error she responded by saying, "Well I guess you're lucky I wanted to stay this long." And this is where I think CTS's adventure is going to fall down, she is looking for that instant spark, that unrealistic staple of the American rom-com, the stars have to align and ideally shine in the eyes of her handsome romantic male lead (probably Ryan Gosling, he'd totally be my pick!). Her impatience to look past the confines of the dreaded first date, to see guys for who they grow to be instead of just that first ungainly encounter means sadly 52 first dates may never be enough. I say sadly because she is clearly an awesome catch (if you like parrots, Dominoes and jokey conversations about 85 year old holocaust survivors), and within a more traditional encounter the fact that she enjoyed my company could have led to her seeing me in a different light and a happier ending for all you good readers.’

I think we can probably all agree I got off lightly don’t you?

However, I can’t really end this post without a little bit of justification, self-defense, call it what you like, as I’m sure many people out there will have been questioning the whole process and the fact that it’s so rare I meet someone I click with. 

I think we can all agree I was a Grade A goon for my texting antics on this particular date, and I know I’m not the only person in the world to have done such a thing. Let’s face, it, it could have been a LOT worse, if I had done so on pretty much all of my other dates. But that’s not the point. I suppose the point here is the questioning of my expectations from 52 First Dates. Don’t get me wrong, a date with Ryan Gosling would undoubtedly be the best thing to happen to me ever, but I doubt very much he’s lurking around dating sites looking for a small round brunette with a penchant for parrots and cupcakes...

When I started out on 52 First Dates, I did it to get over my pathological vomit-inducing  fear of first dates, which 36+ dates in I can safely say has worked. I also wanted to meet as many different people as I could to try and broaden my horizons and counteract the pickiness I’d previously had that led to me only ever accepting 2 dates a year. And as you can tell, I have also done just that *pats back*

One of my main dilemmas throughout the process has been leading my dates on. I think considering the volume of dates I go on, to see many more of them on more than one occasion ‘just in case’ will mean I’m on a date every night of the week which would not just be knackering and expensive, but more importantly that doesn’t feel very fair on these other dates who’d be investing more than one evening with me if I’m doing it ‘just to see’. I’m not here to toy with other people’s emotions, waste their time or get free meals. That’s just not cricket.

This experience is definitely making me learn far more about myself than I ever expected. I do make a lot of poor choices (especially when I have to pick a date last minute) and a lot of mistakes (when I text the wrong person whilst actually on a date - eejit). But I’m only human. I am also learning more and more of what I’m looking for. I am neither naive nor sappily romantic enough to expect a thunderbolt love-at-first-sight experience on a first date, but what I would like is that small funny fizzy tingly feeling you get when you meet someone and there’s just something a little more there, something that just clicks and makes you want to dig that much deeper. I have experienced it in the past, and I hope I will experience it again.
Of course I would love my own happy ending, happy endings are ace (and I’m not talking in massage parlour terms), but this is real life, this is the truth, I'm not conveniently manufacturing anything and I genuinely don’t know when or where it may come from, if at all. I’ve not found it yet, despite having met a fair few unexpectedly nice guys that haven’t quite worked out, but rest assured, I won’t be giving up until I do. 52 First Dates has become such a big part of my life now, I can’t just let it go for just anyone. But for the right person, I will absolutely want to, and I'm sure you'll all be most happy for me (and maybe yourselves) that that'll be the last you ever hear from me.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

09 February 2012

Mr #36 - Mate's Dates

The preamble:
So this week I’ve had a bit of a nightmare finding my Mr #36. My first option decided a couple of hours before the date that ‘he couldn’t be fucked’ to hang around in town and do some shopping after he finished work at 5.30pm to meet me on Oxford Street at 7pm. Not everyone it seems works the ‘crazy insane’ hours I do. Personally I don’t think leaving work at half six to meet at seven is entirely unreasonable, but he obviously did. 

My next option was then lined up for today, but at around 4pm, he texted to say he was in the grip of a cash flow problem, and wouldn’t be able to meet me. Fuck. 

Since I’m busy for the rest of the week, I then had a bit of a dateless wobble, and decided to cast the net open to Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone could sort me out with a last minute date option. Enter Jemma, who kindly offered up a friend of hers that it turns out she’s been trying to set me up with some time. It turned out the gentleman in question was free, knew what he was getting himself into, and was up for being Mr #36. Brilliant! Date saved! He also in game fashion agreed to write up his version of the date afterwards, which would at least offer you something more than just my word for things. 

And, of course, there was the added bonus that we had a friend in common, and although she relishes in my more nightmarish of dates, I really didn’t think (or hope) she’d set me up with a total freak. And she didn’t. In retrospect, he, however, may beg to differ...

The man:
Age: 30
Profession: Works in development in television
Random factoid: Once ran in the Pamplona bull run. Spoiler alert: he survived.
The date:
As it was such a last minute date job, I offered up my favourite pub in Shoreditch, The Water Poet, as the venue. I was due to meet Mr #36 outside Liverpool Street tube, and with only a description of his coat, I genuinely had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, we managed to find each other without too many hitches, although an idea was mooted before we met that perhaps we could find similar-looking people to bring along so we could turn it into a double date, but sadly there were no looky-likeys knocking around Bishopsgate at that time. 

Mr #36 was a cheerful chap, and en route to the pub we got the whole 52 First Dates chat out of the way. I won’t lie, the chat did feel a little awkward at first which I put down to first-meeting nerves, but as soon as we procured a pair of pints, things loosened up and date properly got underway. 

As it turned out, Mr #36 now works in an office where I used to work, and we had a lot of common ground with talk of television. We covered birds (specifically parrots, birds of prey and pigeons), hamsters, dads, weddings, nephews, our mutual friend Jemma, Skegness, Nazi captives, recipes and MEAT (we’d been on meat heat in the office all day and I won’t lie, babyback ribs had been playing on my mind considerably). 

One thing that impressed me more than anything was that Mr #36 knew the rules of bacon sandwiches and sauces: red sauce for white bread, brown sauce for brown bread. Amazing. We got on really well, stayed there until closing time, and then wandered off to our respective buses. All in all, I would say this evening passed without a hitch, but you’ve not read the events of note yet...*hangs head in shame*

Memorable Quotes:
‘You should see my pigeon fanciers film’

‘I once swung my nephew into a tree’

Events of note:
About three drinks into the evening on a toilet trip, I decided to text Jemma to let her know how the evening was going.

‘He’s such a nice guy. Such a shame I don’t fancy him’.

On returning to the table, Mr #36 kindly informed me that I had mistakenly sent the message to him, and that he was expecting a verdict after the date, and not during. I died a little inside. And when I say a little, I mean a lot. What an absolute dick! Schoolboy texting error number 1. And I meant every word I said, he was such a nice guy, one of the best dates I’d been on actually as he was really entertaining. I just didn’t fancy him. After the aforementioned incident, we decided that if 52 First Dates ever makes it into a film, he would be played by Jason Segel. And quite frankly, it’s the least I could do to apologise...

The Verdict:

Need I say any more? I would love to go out boozing with Mr #36 again as he was a great laugh, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the evening (except of course for the minute where I realise what a knob I had been). But to be honest, I doubt very much he’d want to see me again after that.

Yours sincerely,

A very shame-faced CTS.

04 February 2012

Mr #35 - Duffle Trouble

The preamble:
Mr #35 was one of the more unusual preambles, as it originally came about through Twitter. He's got in touch after reading my friend Ritzi's rather fabulous
blog, and decided he was up being one of the 52. In the past my experience of dating guys who've known about 52 First Dates hasn't been a good one, take Mr 6 for prime example. But the blog has come along a long way since then, 28 dates longer to be precise, and now I've started to have a new fear - of the glory-hunter date. There's now an ongoing concern that self-aware dates could go in a new direction, of the guy that goes to ridiculous unrealistic efforts to be the one to put an end to 52 First Dates, and get some sort of medal for it. I'd been emailing Mr 35 on and off for a while to ascertain the basics, because I suppose from the blog and my Twitter profile I may appear to be somewhat of an enigma. 

I had ascertained a certain amount from Mr #35's Twitter profile too: mainly that the people he tweets consist of 98% hot girls. That was one observation that led perhaps to a presumption that Mr #35 might be a touch on the arrogant side, perhaps someone who's a bit of a player, and perhaps someone who rather fancied himself as a contender. This was the presumption, and we all know these are incredibly easy to make, and equally as easy to disprove.

The man:
Age: 27
Profession: Teacher of language to grown ups
Random factoid: Lives with and cares for his gran.

The date:
I met Mr #35 outside Covent Garden tube. For once I was the late one, unintentionally so, but it pissed me off for a start as that's a pet hate of mine. Mr #35 didn't seem to mind much. He turned up in his woolly hat, mittens and duffle coat, and my first impression was that he was an Eton schoolboy in London on an exeat weekend. 

He was cheery enough, had a venue already in mind, and proffered me an elbow to escort me to the venue. This anatomical offer wasn't something I expected, and I have to say I dealt with it in particularly and spectacularly awkward fashion. 

A few minutes later we'd turned up at a rather cool Belgian place with a vast array of peculiar-sounding beers on offer, so we grabbed a couple (I plumped for the cherry beer, a shamefully girlish choice for a non-beer connoisseur) and grabbed the only seats in the place: right by the front door, in prime position to absorb the icy blasts as groups of people arrived, dithered in the door debating whether to wait for seats or not, chilling the entire venue to polar proportions in the process, and then going out again. That happened ALL night by the way. 

Once we'd unwrapped from our wintry garb I managed to get a proper look at Mr #35, which I'd not really been able to do from one of those teeny tiny Twitter profile photos. He was sweet looking, with dimples and quite a lot of dark sticky-uppy hair, and he reminded me slightly of Beaker from the Muppets, only with his mouth the other way up. He was dressed smartly for the most part, with a nice checked shirt (I like checked shirts), but I couldn't help noticing a Superman t-shirt underneath. Yup, definitely schoolboy. 

Once we started chatting, it became evident that Mr #35 was no arrogant glory-hunter, he was just a nice guy, possibly a bit on the shy side. It was difficult to hear him at times as we were sat next to a couple of very loud American guys who kept saying words like 'miasma', which was somewhat distracting. As was the fact that they both ordered the most amazing smelling burgers, and since I hadn't eaten, I did find myself wrestling with the conundrum of whether to put my face in a stranger's plate on a first date or not which, for the record, I did not. 

Conversation for the most part felt very much like formal first date interrogation...where did you grow up, where did you go to uni, and it did feel forced until the Belgian beer got to work. We covered Twitter, languages, grammar, booze, supermarkets, soft furnishings and his grandmother. 

There were a few awkward silences, but Mr #35 did have a good list of date-safe questions up his sleeve to keep things moving. We spoke at length about his teaching of languages, and it was obvious he loves his job as he talked about it A LOT. And he kept correcting me on my pronunciation of foreign words which rather reminded me a lot of Ross from Friends. 

We stayed for a couple more drinks, and since I'm not much of a beer drinker (especially not those of a fruity nature), we called it a night. Being a gentleman, Mr #35 offered to walk me to the bus stop, although I think had he known how far away it was in the opposite direction, he probably wouldn't have offered. We stood at the bus stop waiting for my bus, said our goodbyes and he Googlemapped  himself back to home turf. Date done.

Memorable Quotes:
'I can't roll my rs'
'Did you see that uproar on Twitter about Unilad? Perhaps rape anecdotes aren't the best on a first date...' 
'Does your bedding look nice?' Yes. Take my word on it. It's as close as you'll get.
'I have adaptable gloves. They were very expensive in glove terms'

Events of note:
Two girls having an asparagus fight on the tube en route to the date. Technically it wasn't actually on the date, but the thought entertained me for the duration of the evening nonetheless.

The Verdict:
Mr #35 was a nice guy. I'd formed a misguided opinion of him from seeing his dialogues and posts on Twitter, which was in some ways refreshing, as the unusual online dates rely on you finding out select titbits about prospective dates only from what they choose to tell you.
We had a pleasant evening, I discovered a quirky new venue, and I learnt the correct grammatical rules of using a or an with words beginning with vowels. But getting down to the nitty gritty side of the date, there was just no chemistry there for me. However, Mr #35 has restored my faith that dates knowing about the blog isn't necessarily a bad thing. He did enquire about a second date despite my merciless ribbing of his duffle and mitten combo, but I gracefully declined.