Things with Q amped up after our first date. We were texting a lot before, but were doing even more so now that we knew each other a little better. He made me laugh and things felt easy with him, like I didn’t have to put up any false pretenses. I do try to be myself as much as possible when dating – it’s the only way to be when getting to know someone – but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t hold back certain quirks in order to make a good impression (hey now, not that quirks are bad, but you’ve got slowly roll out the crazy).
We spent the rest of the week texting, swapping memes and gifs, and Q sent me a link to a regional dialect quiz to see if my five years living in Yorkshire had any impact on my accent (and then lightly teased me on the main factor of my moving to Sheffield was to try and get rid of my ‘posh’ Southern accent).
Friday rolled around. I initially had plans to go to a hot yoga place round the corner from my office (what can I say, I like yoga and a trend), but a few of my colleagues were going out for drinks after work, and so I decided to sack off sweating in a room full of strangers with having a few bevvs. I informed Q of my decision in real time.
“Oh, I see how it is,” he replied, “you’ll sack off yoga for your work pals but not to come out with me.”
For context: when we initially planned for our first date, I originally said I couldn’t do Friday, because of the aforementioned hot yoga.
“You’re just jealous that I blew it off for my work colleagues and not you,” I retorted.
“Only a little.”
It turned out that Q was also out and about that evening, and while I was at the pub with work people, I contemplated seeing if he’d be up for sneaking away for a quick drink with me. No harm in asking, right?
“Sure!” he said, “let me know when you set off. Do you like London Bridge at all?”
So, asking paid off. I stayed with my work colleagues for a bit longer before heading off and meeting Q at the tube.
I haven’t ever really been out in London Bridge at all, so I let him lead the way. Turns out, there are a lot of bars that look like distilleries and beer cellars, with tall ceilings, loads of wooden barrel and a thousand different IPAs written on a chalkboard. A little too hipster for my liking, but I wasn’t fussed at this point in the evening. I was already a bit tipsy from having a couple of drinks, and I would have gone anywhere with more beer.
At one of the hipster distillery cellar bars we stopped at, Q said he was intrigued by my tattoos, as I was wearing a t-shirt that had the bottom of my stag peaking out. I must have done a dramatic eye roll because he immediately followed it up by a very confused, “What??”
“Nothing, just get a bit bored by non-tattooed guys being ‘intrigued’ by my tattoos,” I said.
“Who said I didn’t have any tattoos?” he said, with a glint in his eye.
Turns out that I had made a snap judgement based on previous experiences with men being ‘intrigued’ by my tattoos (to be honest, I think it’s just the wording that sounds a bit naff). I apologised, and then insisted that “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” with only a hint of innuendo. But I can assure you the tattoo exchanging was very PG.
We carried on our evening, hopping from bar to bar. And I progressively got drunker. And when I get drunk, I get a little handsy, especially towards someone I fancy – and it was evident that I fancied Q a lot. I couldn’t really tell if he was quite at the same level as me, he was quite a bit taller than me, so alcohol probably took a bit longer to hit him. I say this because, despite getting the vibe that he also fancied me (flirting, laughing in the right places, lots of eye contact) and that I was practically throwing myself at him, his body language seemed a bit standoffish.
Now, any rational person would evaluate the situation and back off a bit. I, however, was not a rational person – I had been drinking since 5pm (it was gone 9 at this point) with only a bowl of chips to line my stomach.
“Am I making you uncomfortable?” I said outright.
“What? No,” he said, although his arms remained firmly crossed in front of him.
“It’s just that I’m kind of throwing myself at you here but I’m not getting much back from you,” I said.
“I guess I’m just shy,” Q said earnestly, although there was a little glint in his eye still, “I just want to get to know you.”
“That’s very sweet,” I smiled, “I probably am coming across a bit strong. I can’t really help it when I fancy someone.”
He pulled a face.
“It’s just weird hearing someone say they fancy me out loud,” he admitted.
“And what’s wrong with that?” I demanded (drunk Ella does not hold back), “You’re good looking, intelligent, funny… why wouldn’t someone fancy you?”
I had picked up from my first date with Q that he maybe lacked in self confidence a bit. Because although he was funny, a lot of his humour was very self-deprecating. Which can be funny, to an extent. But the way he went on sometimes made me wonder just how much confidence he had in himself. And despite how much I was starting to like him, this was slightly worrying.
Ooo, a cliffhanger. Could there be more to the story, a third date perhaps? Spoiler: there was. But I’m afraid you’ll have to wait and find out what happened next! (And I promise you won’t have to wait two weeks for it).