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.

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.