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.

21 April 2012

Mr #44 - Telly Addict

The preamble:
Mr #44 and I have been texting on and off for what seems like forever, but in truth I think it was around Christmas when he sent his first fateful message. His dating profile was minimalist, but he appeared to be a very svelte, elegant and handsome Indian fellow from his profile (like he was modelling for an catalogue company - lots of choice knitwear) and he sounded pretty keen, so we exchanged numbers.

But 4 attempts to meet later his texting was getting a little irritating, and I think he may now hold the record for the most uses of the word 'babe' in the course of our messaging history, which regular 52 First Dates readers will acknowledge is a real pet peeve mine. We'd been messaging so long, and he was trying to spark up text chats during work on such a regular basis, I decided we really should meet once and for all lest we ended up texting until Hell froze over. So finally, after months or sporadic and partially irksome messaging, we arranged the date. 

He chose the venue, and it was in a brand new pub...right in the middle of Kings Cross station. Hmm...

The man:
Age: 38

Profession: IT developer
Random factoid: Used to be an extra, and has starred in such commercials as McDonalds, Barclays and Halifax (he was one of the people making up the giant X).

The date:
I bowled up to the date a bit late on account of being distracted by beverages with workmates, and the first thing that struck me about my date, when I eventually identified him, was that he looked nothing, and I mean NOTHING, like his profile photo. He was about a foot shorter, a foot wider and none of the luscious hair previously depicted in his photos. There was also a distinct lack of knitwear, and he was clad head to toe in a very crisp business suit complete with novelty cuff links. I, however, had turned up in jeans, converse, shirt and waistcoat and headscarf. It rapidly occurred to me that we were by far the oddest couple in the bar (which was surprisingly nice for a venue slap bang in the middle of a train station), and anyone looking at us would have instantly spotted that we'd met online, as we were, most probably, the oddest couple in the actual world. It was almost laughable. 

Mr #44, however, was very cheery and polite, so we grabbed some drinks and set about possibly the most elusive date of the quest. Pretty much the first thing Mr #44 brought up was the subject of online dating - it turns out he was new to t'interweb dating having escaped an arranged marriage, and I was the first person he'd met. He seemed baffled that I had told people about the fact I did online dating as he found it embarrassing. I, obviously, underplayed my involvement for obvious reasons. 

We spoke at length about his all his older siblings had been married off in an arranged fashion, but following the death of his mother, his father had chilled out a bit and let forced nuptials slip for the sake of his youngest son - pretty intense for the first 15 minutes of a date! He then started probing into the circumstances surrounding my singledom, and before I could protest my innocence he launched into how he'd tried to rekindle the love of his life a couple of months ago, but she'd knocked him back, and going online for dates was his rebound mechanism. Good-o! 

Anyway, once the deep and meaningfuls had been covered, the lighter chat got underway. I did have to question the inconsistency between his photo and the reality as it was such a drastic difference, and he claimed that his photo was from 5 years ago. And actually it probably was from 5 years ago...from someone else's Facebook profile! 

It turned out he's quite the telly fan, being a massive EastEnders fan, and a connoisseur of all things Take Me Out, Britains Got Talent, X Factor and The Voice. He spoke with great adoration for a little known character called William on the latter (or Will.I.Am to everyone else in the world). 

Once on his favourite subject and he'd relaxed a little, there was no stopping him! He then revealed his love for old school movies, and he had an almost Rainman-esque knowledge of Carry On films. He then moved onto his various talents, of which creating council tax databases, drawing and dancing were but a couple, and he recreated with glee and gusto his audition dance to be part of the Olympics opening ceremony dance. He'd made it through to the second round, and was pretty confident that his skills would be seen by the entire globe, so when you watch the opening ceremony, keep an eye out for the Indian guy from the background of a McDonalds advert who looks nothing like a tall, slim handsome catalogue model throwing some rather spectacular shapes. 

Mr #44 was a fidgetty sort, and the more he spoke, the more he involved himself with some rather off-putting under-the-table scratchings which increased as the evening went on. But he was really entertaining company, but I have to admit I was relieved that the babe-infused textings might finally be over.

Memorable Quotes:
When I returned from the facilities - 'what did you think of the toilets?'
'You have perfect eyebrows'
'George Clooney, he's such a heart throbe, I think he's the ultimate heart throbe'. (note - I have not misspelt this quote)
'On Saturday night, I love to get takeaway, and sit in and watch TV all night at home. In my 3 bedroom house.'

Events of note:
After declaring his skills at being able to draw 'with a pencil, on the papers, bare-hand', I challenged Mr #44 to demonstrate his skills, and demonstrate them he did. This is what he did. I think I should point out that although, this is pretty much exactly what I look like in real life (and yes, I am just as sketchy...)
The Verdict:
Bless him, Mr #44 was excellent value, and he absolutely has a heart of gold. But I don't think I've ever met someone so drastically different to me, and although it made for a good write up, I was never destined to move to Romford to spend my Saturday nights in eating fried chicken and watching talent shows. 

Within 10 minutes of my getting on the bus, he'd texted to try and arrange another date. I'd dozed off on the bus before replying, and half an hour later when I awoke to get off at my stop, he had messaged again pressing for an answer. I graciously declined, but I wished him well on his quest as I'm pretty sure there'll be a chicken-loving lady out there somewhere for whom Essex and X Factor are the absolute dream. But not me. That said, that chicken burger was rather lush...


  1. That picture is amazing.. "It's pretty much the best drawing I've ever done... the shading on the upper lip took like 3 hours..."

  2. He had me at heart throbe!! hehehe xxx

  3. I can well imagine the expression you had on your face as he was drawing you was actually that!

  4. I love reading your blog and have nothing but admiration for your pluck, tenacity and humour but I have to say that reading 52 dates has confirmed everything I feared about online dating - nice normal guys just dont do it. I am sure there are exceptions but after 40 dates you seem to have uncovered a freakshow worthy of Victorian England. The odds of unearthing an exception are clearly against us. I'm deleting my GSM profile and reverting to getting drunk in bars. G'luck with your last few weeks of freakfinding. I hope you find an exception. If anyone deserves to it's you!

  5. I became a bit obsessed with your blog and check weekly for the latest post but I think you've gone a bit off course...doesn't sound like you're going on dates to try and meet someone you might actually like anymore, you're just crossing off numbers and going out with anyone in order to do a write up. Don't get me wrong, I know how hard it is to meet good people online and I guess after nearly a year you've exhausted a lot of good possibilities (whilst I'm sure new people sign up regularly when I tried my hand at online dating I found after 6 months the same characters cropping up over and over), but is there really any point in some of these dates? I knew from the first paragraph this one wasn't going to be any good and frankly that's a bit boring.

    I really I'm just criticising here without being constructive but it would be great if you went out with people you have some hope of eventually liking.

    (And I'm aware of your defence that you're intentionally going against first instinct as you may be pleasantly suprised but sometimes you definitely just no it's not going to work and at moment you seem to be ignoring that voice).

  6. Hi Anonymous. Thanks for your comment and for sticking with the blog. I totally agree, some of these characters are doomed to failure pretty early on, but right at the start I pledged to go on a date a week for a year regardless, and that's exactly what I'm doing. Do you not think that if I was inundated with offers from men I genuinely liked I would have got this far? It doesn't happen. When I've made the effort to message people whose profiles I've selected that would be to my taste, I never get replies, so this is the best of the rest, which admittedly sounds liek a rather sad indictment on my behalf. Men like #39 don't come along very often, more's the pity, but if I don't carry on playing the numbers game, I definitely won't find him. But like it or not, sometimes I just need to go on a date. CTS x

  7. Hi Anonymous. As a fellow 52 First Dates obsessee I couldn't disagree with you more - I think that these 'characters' make much more interesting reads than just 'nice guys'. And I would love more than anything for CTS to find the man that will break the blog, but please can you make sure it's number #52 as I don't want to be cheated out of 8 more dates. Thank you please.

    Aimee x

  8. Oh of course they make interesting reading - totally agree with that! I just meant that any vain hope I might have had that there just might be someone online have been well and truly dashed! They're clearly all bonkers or at least about 42 in 44 are and who has time to play those odds?! Anonymous #1

  9. Hi Anonymous #1. Clearly I have that time on my hands ;-)

    Perhaps I'm making the online scene look a bit grimmer than it is. I know a few people who have met their current long term partners from it so I do have the faith. Perhaps I'm just an unlucky combination of discerning taste and niche market...

    CTS x

  10. The guys who don't reply to your messages are clearly missing something. I know the feeling. You are definitely funny, interesting and write really well. Like the others, I can't wait for your next posts. I'm hooked! Unlike you, I can't be bothered to meet the ones that look/sound uninteresting or weird from the beginning. I'm starting to think (like I used to) that the best place to meet someone is work/work events. People see you in a way they won't see you in a date. You know, you definitely are a woman with opionions, many men are scared of that and want a little lamb who will nod to every word they say. There are lots of machos who don't even know there are so. Bonne chance très chère. We should go for coffee and share stories.

  11. Hi SophieLondon. Thanks very much for your comments. The one really wonderful think I'm taking from this process is that in putting all this online dating business out there in the open, I'm discovering that I'm really not alone in this trying-not-to-be-alone debacle, and that's an ace feeling. It's much bigger than trying to find a boyfriend now, although don't get me wrong, I'l love to find a half-respectable Plus One for forthcoming social engagements. My email address is at the bottom of the page if you want to drop me a line. CTS x

  12. You are totally not alone! This blog and its comments have made me feel like so much less of a loser but not having coupled up yet!

    I think that old thing about it being harder in London is true but havent the faintest idea why.

    X anonymous #1

  13. It's getting on for midnight and I still can't stop reading! By the way, I live in Romford, which is actually in Greater London - London stole it from Essex in 1965! Really just wanted to say that your experiences with Internet dating sound so much like mine! I'm so glad I'm not alone! I rarely get a reply if I message a guy first, and if they do message back, it's more out of politeness as nothing ever comes of it! Must read the last lot of dates before I go to sleep!

    1. Romford is the Capital of east London.

  14. I wonder why I just got an email with this post from 7 years ago. I do miss all the updates!

  15. I just had an email with this and another date, in 2022 randomly. I do miss the updates too. Did you ever find anyone?

    1. Hello! that's so random, I posted an update a month or so ago but I don't know why you're getting old posts resent, apologies!

      As it turns out, I did meet someone. Not as a result of the blog, sadly, it took some seven years for that to happen but it's been 18 months now and he was well worth the wait :-)


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