Friday, 8 October 2010

Blind date

I recently went on a particularly horrific blind-date. Think of the type of bloke that, as Judge Judy once said, “If he was the only man left on earth, I’d join a nunnery,” and multiply it by about, ooh, a billion, and you are half way there. Now I know that things such as physical attractiveness are highly subjective and it is of course shallow to concentrate on merely appearances but it is also fair to say that most people know what they do and don’t like; some women like dark men, some men like tall women, etc and it’s not an insult to anybody if some people don’t fit a person’s preferences. Personally, I have an aversion to painfully thin, bald men who are shorter than me (I’m a tiny 5 feet 2 inches). So after being presented with a man (I use the term loosely) of said description I decided to change my expectations of the evening to perhaps a little light chat and a giggle. After all, it’s always good to make new friends and having just moved to a new city completely alone, a new friend would have been very welcome.

To start with we spoke about pretty standard stuff and although he wasn’t funny or particularly engaging (there are only so many different types of lock you can listen to a person talk about before feigning interest become nigh on impossible), he seemed normal(ish). That was until I asked him to tell me about himself. He told me he fitted locks (hence the fascinating conversation) and that he was very good at English. This surprised me as 1) He was English and 2) He didn’t seem particularly good at it.
“Yeah, I got a first at A level, didn’t I” he said.
I know it was naughty and very bad manners but I couldn’t help myself from putting him right.
“A levels are graded from A to E. You can’t get a first,” I said.
“Yeah, yeah I got an E level, that’s what I meant,” he said.
“There’s no such thing as E level,” I replied, starting to enjoy myself. This was much more fun than talking about the merits of the deadbolt versus the mortise.
“Listen sweetheart, I’ve got socks older than you,” he said rather aggressively, not realizing that he had actually just paid me a huge compliment (either that or he really, really needs some new socks). Ah, I thought, revolting and thick, lucky me. At least he hates me now and I can fuck off home without him trying it on. A few embarrassing minutes silence later, he found the courage to tell me exactly what he thought of me. He stared intently into my eyes.
“You are a very, very beautiful woman,” he said, “And I’d love to make love to you.” Oh for fuck’s sake.
Remembering times when I had unsuccessfully tried to soften blows, I decided this time to be brutally honest.
“Look. I’m really, really not interested in anything romantic or sexual with you in any way and never will be. I’m sorry.” There, I’d done it; straight to the point, absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever. “That’s fine, fine, no really, really fine. Let’s just start off as friends and see where it goes,” he said.
Oh God.
After a very painful five minutes of him gazing lovingly at me while I ate my chips, stuffing them down and trying to look as unattractive as possible, I felt enough time had passed to be able to leave. We began the short walk back, getting to my front door in less than a minute. “I know I’m not the best-looking guy in the world,” he said, giving a whole new meaning to the understatement “But I’m cultured. Intelligent.”
Of course, I thought, how could I forget your first at E level.
“I know stuff my love. Shakespeare. To be or not to be” he said.
“Ah, yes. I can imagine exactly how Hamlet must have felt. At this very moment in fact,” I said, wishing Jane was there to throw faces at.
“Faux pas for example,” he continued, oblivious to my sarcasm, and indeed to what he was actually talking about, “I mean. Do you think they had faux pas back in the olden days?”
“I can say with absolute certainty that they did.” I said. And then I had a brilliant idea how to end this evening and get in the house alone without too much difficulty. “What do you think?” the impish little devil in me made me say. Surely he would lose his nerve, realize he couldn’t pretend to know what he was fluffing on about and go home to read his encyclopedia of locks or hopefully go and look up the meaning of ‘faux pas’ in the dictionary.
It didn’t work.
“Beg your pardon my love but could I come in for a Jimmy riddle?” he asked. I squirmed and wondered how many turn-offs it was humanly possible to have in just one person. But, more importantly, how the hell to get rid of him so I can do something more pleasurable - like clean the cat shit out of the litter tray? Maybe I should act like I do when I really do like someone, I thought, that normally makes them run off. Or take off my make-up, that would scare him. Pretend to be mental. In the end I opted for the rather weak idea of pretending to fall asleep. Perhaps then I could scream, “Get out of my fucking flat” and blame it on a bad dream. Then as luck would have it, the phone rang and I had the perfect excuse. “I’m sorry,” I said, “But it’s my friend, she’s really upset and wants to talk in private.” He left, happy with the illusion that we had spent a pleasant evening together.
“So then,” said Jane, “How did it go?”
“Do you think they had faux pas in the olden days?”
“Are you pissed?”
“Do you know what Jane, it was shit, he had absolutely no redeeming qualities and I give up, I give up. I’ve travelled from Australia to America twice, Holland, Spain and Austria in less than five years and all I ended up with was a married womanizer who refused to buy me drink after I jumped on a plane to see him.”
“Wasn’t that the same guy who wouldn’t pay you back seven pounds for the car park after you spent a hundred and thirty pounds on a hotel on the grounds that he had bought you a bacon sandwich?”
“Yes, the very same man.”
“And didn’t he ask you to take money out when you went clubbing even though it took you four hours and an eighty pounds train ticket to get there?”
“What’s your point Jane? You know there aren’t any decent men left.”
“Actually you’re wrong. I know I’m usually very cynical but Stephanie has just found a very nice man where there happen to be lots more and you are able to see what they look like first and get to gauge their personality before you meet them…”
“I’m not bloody internet dating Jane.”

NEXT WEEK: My adventures of internet dating.