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.

16 March 2012

Mr #40 - Tweet to Woo?

The preamble:
I first met Mr #40 online on Twitter, he'd been someone who'd periodically pitched up in my timeline, we'd exchanged the odd tweet, and that was pretty much that. Then a month or so ago, for some reason which I can't quite remember, Mr #40 and I became embroiled in some team tweeting which largely involved poor Mr #40 being peer pressured into going on a date with me for the entertainment of a bunch of random women on Twitter who may or may not have known him in real life. 

Mr #40, all credit to him, took up the challenge, and we exchanged a few cursory emails and set the ball in motion for a date. Then Mr #39 happened, and Mr #40, having already read the blog, understandably got cold feet. But when Mr #39 didn't pan out to be my knight in shining armour, Mr #40 gracefully stepped back into the fold again, and the date was cemented.

The man:
Age: 40
Profession: Support worker and blogger
Random factoid: Used to be able to down a bottle of sweet Martini in 2 seconds. Where do you learn shit like that??? And why???

The date:
So, Mr #40 and I planned to meet on a Friday night after whatever the working week had to throw at us, and Mr #40 kindly suggested a venue near enough to my place of work that I'd be able to easily get there, but not so close that we'd be in the same room as a bunch of my co-workers, which is never the best idea for a first date. 

I was also pleased that prior to the date he had asked what sort of activities were 'off limits'. Too many inappropriate suggestions were at the forefront of my mind, but since he was a total stranger, I gently tried to rule out food (we all know my thoughts about eating on dates), ice-skating, zorbing and anything where I feared I might die (aside from the usual fear of meeting murderous strangers from t'internet. I think from the mere fact I'm writing this gives away the end of the story that Mr #40 isn't a murderer. Lucky me). 

Anyroad, along came the day of the date, alongside a clusterfuck of a Friday which nearly put pay to my dating plans a couple of times. After a brief cancellation and rapid rescheduling (you've got to keep them on their toes, right?), and then subsequent relocation to a dubious bar opposite my office thanks to a private party at the chosen venue, I finally met Mr #40. I literally had no idea what to expect of him, because I'd only ever seen his avatar on Twitter, which was of a handsome intellectual type, albeit a cartoon. The reality was similarly cartoony, somewhat more 'grumpy Glaswegian' than I'd expected. He was also older than my usual spattering of dates, and I suddenly felt oddly like I was on a date with a grown up rather than a peer, which was something I'm not sure I'm that comfortable with.

One thing I spotted very rapidly, was Mr #40 had a cracking set of facial expressions about him, almost hypnotically so, and he managed to pull a textbook face of disgust when talking about football. Conversation was a little slow to begin with, probably because the booze had not set in either side. But pretty soon things warmed up and we were chatting about all sorts of bullshit. What started out as talking about work soon evolved into chat about eating cat food, becoming a grandparent under 30, charities, art, school reports, Brits abroad, the use of swear words, carpets, eBay, Gibraltar and what an utterly bizarre choice of venue it was (I'd asked the name of the Mediterranean bar opposite and was directed to somewhere more like an ex pat working men's club on the main road in Vauxhall. Weird). 

A couple of drinks later, the post-work fatigue and the prospect of an early morning were setting in, and I gracefully declined the offer of a third beverage. I was all set to say our cheerios outside the bar whilst he hopped on the tube and I headed buswards, but at the last minute Mr #40 decided to get the bus with me which threw me somewhat. I had another half hour of unanticipated small talk out of my sleeve.

After I rather embarrassingly expressed my admiration for TFLs live bus updates, we got onto talking about books, especially the works of Roald Dahl. Mr #40, I know you're reading this now, it was Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts you should be buying on Amazon at midnight once you've finished that bottle of Martini, they're awesome. A couple of childhood anthologies later, it was finally time to head our separate ways, and I rather ungracefully had to sprint for my rapidly approaching bus so I wasn't at risk of being asked to have another drink somewhere closer to home.

Memorable Quotes:
I''ve been blogging since 2000 - I discovered the internet and drugs at the same time' 
'I've eaten cat food before'
'I always buy things I can't afford off eBay when I'm drunk. I once bought a book from the Folio Society for £700.'

Events of note:
Mr #40 trying to explain the 'menegerie' of different voices he has in his head, all of different nationalities, who tend to make themselves known when he cooks cuisines from different countries. One 'voice' of note was that of 'Luigi', Mr #40's Italian alter ego, who seems to knock up a ravioli in spectacularly zealous fashion. Is that normal???

The Verdict:
Now then, the verdict. On the face of it, I had a very entertaining albeit slightly short evening with Mr #40. He was entertaining, funny, and once he'd warmed up he was a good conversationalist. But I was very aware of our 9 year age gap throughout, and sadly for me there wasn't anything there one the attraction front, nothing at all. And I hate myself as I type that because he has since messaged me saying he found me 'utterly enchanting', which can only lead me to believe he is not only incredibly sweet, was trying to win me over into writing a positive review (well done there), but that he must've had that bottle of Martini before coming to meet me. And I hate myself even more by writing this as I've since seen that before our date he'd tweeted to say how nervous he was about going on a date, which is a feeling I don't tend to get these days, but reading that has taken me right back to my not-so-halcyon days of pre-date nervous-pukes. 

I'll probably come under fire for saying this, but I don't think I'll see Mr #40 again. And it is essentially because I think once the dating small talk was done, I genuinely don't think there's much common ground as a foundation, and I think to agree to meet him again would give the wrong impression. But Mr #40 thank you for being lovely company this evening, and although I'm not Miss Right for you, there will definitely be one out there for you, one who you can show your 'etchings' to. You know what I mean...