After a while of not finding anyone vaguely interesting on Tinder, I matched with E. He messaged me complimenting on my choice of anthem on my profile, Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae, and asked me what I thought about the rest of the album. We continued gushing about Janelle Monae and Prince and other such similar artists, and after reading his profile where he stated he was a bookworm, I asked him what he had read recently.
“Just finished a Bill Bryson book, have you heard of him?”
“I have,” I said, “Although I’ve only read Mother Tongue.”
“That’s literally the one I finished reading!” he said.
We carried on chatting about books, and he proposed we meet for a drink and arrange a book swap. A date was set.
We swapped numbers and spoke in the days leading up to our date. These days, I don’t really like texting too much with people I’ve met on apps, especially if we’ve made plans to meet in the near future. I think after so long of listening to Nicole Byer’s podcast, Why Won’t You Date Me, I’ve adopted her mindset that texting creates a false intimacy. I don’t want to chat too much in the intervening days because I don’t want to create an idealised version of the other person in my mind; I’d rather meet with them in person and see how we gel in real life.
But, of course, if someone is messaging me, I don’t want to be rude and ignore them. E and I would chat about our days, I would send him updates about the kittens and he would send me links to fun news stories he came across.
When we met on our date and he greeted me hello, I was completely taken aback by how posh (sorry, well-spoken) he was. I could tell by the few pictures in his Tinder profile that he was a prim and proper chap, but the way he spoke was like Hugh Grant on steroids. Not that I minded – I love Hugh Grant. In fact, his general look was not too far away from a bespectacled Hugh Grant à la Four Weddings and a Funeral. I guess it just took me by surprise, as I get mistaken for ‘posh’ all the time, so I never thought I’d come across someone with an accent ‘posher’ than mine.
While E ordered our drinks at the bar, I was tasked with finding a spot for us to sit. There were a few choices – a comfy looking sofa (although sitting side by side on a sofa felt a bit too intimate for a first date, for me anyway) and some high tables with stools. In the end, I opted for a table that was right next to a radiator, perfect for the below freezing temperatures we were experiencing at the time.
When he got our drinks, we chatted about what we did for work, and fell down a political rabbit hole. E works in news so often has to cover political stories, and he mentioned that it’s often very hard for him not to talk about politics in everyday life as well. I didn’t mind – a lot of our political views aligned and it made me feel smart that I was able to keep up a conversation about politics, something I couldn’t say a few years ago.
It was a very pleasant evening, a complete contrast to my last date with D. I felt very comfortable with him, we chatted easily and freely and had a few laughs. The Hugh Grant image still stuck in my mind, I told E about the time I watched Four Weddings and a Funeral for the first time, tweeted that I “finally found a Hugh Grant film I didn’t like”, and received a response from Emma Freud herself (I couldn’t make this up if I tried), followed by tweets from several disgruntled Richard Curtis fans.
After a couple of hours, E said, “I’m terribly sorry, but I’m gonna have to go. School night and everything, I’m a sucker for an early night.” I told him that I liked his style, because I too, love an early night. Like a true gentleman, he walked me to the train station, and lingered a while before I got onto the platform.
“I had a nice time tonight,” he smiled.
“Me too,” I smiled back, knowing what was coming. He held my hand and leaned forward to kiss me. The kiss embodied every aspect of him, very proper and polite (no tongue). I didn’t mind this – I’m already not good with PDA at the best of times, I’m not gonna do a big snog in the middle of the very cold and harshly lit Balham train station.
We continued texting after the date. E watched Four Weddings and was inclined to agree that it was one of the duller Curtis films (again, I apologise to Emma Freud and Richard Curtis) with absolutely no chemistry between Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell. And then, he asked me for a second date…
A cliffhanger! How exciting!
This soundtrack thing is getting harder and we’re only on date 5. I want to be very clever about it and pick songs where the lyrics are very pertinent to the date. But unfortunately for you guys, I’m very dumb, and there are no songs about Hugh Grant to speak of, so this week’s song pick is This Charming Man by The Smiths because E was, well, very charming…
PS. Because I kept you guys waiting nearly two weeks for this instalment, you won’t have to wait long before the next one as I’m publishing it on Friday – yippee!