Happy Almost-Valentine’s Day, nerds. The title in this edition’s Adventures in Dating is a spoiler, but I’m so gobsmacked that I need to reiterate: my fourth date in this experiment lasted forty-five minutes. FORTY. FIVE. MINUTES. 45!!!! In case you couldn’t tell, I am incredulous, reeling, shooketh.
D and I matched on Hinge, where he liked my famous fact about otters holding hands in their sleep. He contributed with his own, similar animal fact.
“Lemurs > otters. When lemurs are scared or want to bond, they group together into a giant lemur ball,” he said.
I entered the words ‘lemur pile’ into Google and was not disappointed: a bunch of photos of lemurs huddled together flooded my screen – I would highly recommend you all do the same. I wrote back to D. “This is very cute,” I said, “but also involves being in big groups, and I’m a one-on-one type of gal.”
“And you’re talking to a one-on-one type of guy, but occasionally a lemur balling with friends would be nice, no? Maybe for a special occasion, like a birthday or at a festival?”
“It’s basically what I did on my last birthday,” I said.
I had a look at his profile again. He was an American living in London, who liked watching contemporary dance videos and approved of all the people claiming their status as ‘atheist’ on Hinge (weird flex, but okay). And he was pretty forthcoming in asking me out, because like me, he found in-app small talk rather tedious.
DRINKS FOR ONE
We agreed to meet at a place near South Bank, and in all honestly, I really wasn’t pumped to go on this date. I was coming off the back of my date with C, where I ended up having a good time, but now I was well and truly over it (again, I would not recommend organising four dates in a week). But, I persevered, promising myself that after this date, I would give myself a well-deserved breather before cracking back on.
On the day, he messaged me in the afternoon asking if we could meet half an hour later because he had a last-minute meeting come up at work. Annoying, because it meant that I would have to hang around longer after work, but then I remembered that I would be coming from Waterloo, where there’s a Foyles bookshop in the station. No better way to kill time than looking at books, if you ask me.
I made my way over to the pub we were meeting at, thinking I would be there slightly early. To my surprise, D was already there when I had arrived, and already bought himself a drink.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I arrive somewhere early, I’ll generally wait for my date before helping myself to a drink. Or at text them saying, “hey, I’m at the bar, can I buy you a drink for when you arrive?” Although, someone once pointed out to me that it’s probably not the safest thing to let a stranger buy you a drink when you’re not present, but I guess you have to make a judgement call. My point being – I wasn’t late in the slightest, why didn’t this mofo wait??
After I bought myself a drink, we found a quiet corner of the pub to chat. I say ‘chat’ – but it was a rather one-sided conversation. He basically grilled me, asking a bunch of questions about my job and my life. It felt more like a job interview than a date, and once we got onto the topic of me being a writer and working on a book, he asked me even more questions.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to get to know your date, that’s what dates are for! But I was finding myself in the reverse situation that a lot of women find themselves in: but instead of the guy endlessly talking about himself, he wouldn’t stop asking me questions. Like he was going through some kind of mental checklist to see if I was a suitable mate.
D asked me what I got up to for Christmas, and after briefly detailing my dream of a week in Barcelona, I took this as the perfect opportunity to finally ask him some questions. “How about you, do anything exciting over Christmas?”
“I’m Jewish,” he said – and let the conversation hang in an awkward silence.
I tried again: “Where in the US are you from and what made you want to move to the UK?”
“I’ve travelled around Europe a bit, and I think London is the most culturally similar to New York,” he said simply.
Really? I thought, you move to a different continent, all the way across the ocean, to live somewhere almost exactly the same as the place you grew up? How very adventurous. I’ve never been to New York, and as much as I’d love to visit one day, I can’t imagine myself wanting to live there if it’s almost the same as living in London.
THANKS BUT NO THANKS
“Well,” he said, “I better be heading back, I’ve got some work to be doing. But I’ll let you finish your drink.”
“Oh,” I blinked back, but chugged the rest of my drink, because I’d be fooling myself if I said I was disappointed. He gave me an awkward, one-armed hug at the door and we went our separate ways. I pulled out my phone from my pocket to find that only 45 minutes had gone by. I laughed in disbelief – this really was like a job interview.
I’ve had bad dates in my time, but I feel like it would be only polite to wait an hour before writing someone off. Oh well, no harm, no foul.
I can only assumes time works differently for New Yorkers than it does for Londoners – one minute obviously must be longer for them than your average 60 seconds. So the soundtrack for this date (/job interview) is New York Minute by Don Henley.