Thursday, 23 October 2014

Learning to date

For a while, it seemed like everyone in the world was going on dates except me.

My mates always seemed to have a bloke on the go. When one dropped off the radar, another would take their place, and all the while I'd sit there listening, watching their phones light up with interest and wondering: how the hell do they do that?

The truth is, I've never been as comfortable with dating as I have with being single.

I tried to be a few times; for the stories, because I thought I should, because people kept asking if there was anyone on the scene, because more embarrassing than saying "no" were the cocked heads and reassurances that well, you'll find someone soon, and because sometimes nice boys asked me out and it felt more awkward to turn them down.

But in doing so, I realised that if you try and date when you're not entirely comfortable with the idea, you don't really enjoy it. You just spend an inordinate amount of time dreading the details, worrying about the consequences.

So I waited.

Then eventually, I met someone I liked - and after feeling nothing for anyone for so long, even when it fizzled out, it still brought back a little spark.

Things seemed to happen the old fashioned way after that; eye contact, flirting, a drunken kiss leading to a few lovely dates.

When things didn't go to plan (what plan?), there was the enjoyment of being single - and for nights when you just want to know that someone, anyone fancies you - there was Tinder.

The latter was used sporadically, more out of curiosity than anything else, and on one occasion resulted in a perfectly pleasant (read: boring) evening in a London cocktail bar.

Tinder dates, I concluded on the way home, merely meant three hours of wondering where on earth to begin with a complete stranger you didn't really fancy, and were best limited to an occasional confidence boost from the comfort of my sofa.

Which is why even when I walked down the steps of Waterloo Bridge early in October, taking a deep breath before scanning the crowds for a vaguely recognisable face - the one I'd been texting for the past two weeks - I wasn't quite sure how I'd ended up there.

My expectations were low even after we'd spent the evening together; when the time of his last train approached and we tried to find a way around it, but couldn't, and so I walked him to the station instead.

"Well, we'll have a less sensible night out next time then," I said of our early finish. And he replied, "Next time eh?" and I said "Only if you want to."
"Are you kidding? Definitely. That'd be amazing." and with that, an arm curled around my waist.

I walked away from the tube station that night grinning, because the kiss had lingered a little longer than it normally would between two strangers.

And I realised that this is how dating, like being single, was meant to be: comfortable, unpredictable, and always with a bit of excitement still to come.


looby said...

Kind of endearing that he implies he didn't expect you to be interested in Part Two :)

Exile on Pain Street said...

Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, every Friday night .

That's what this called to mind. It's a nice life when everything hums.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

looby - Haha, I got that feeling too. But was also thinking the same thing (what if he doesn't want date 2)

Exile - It is indeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that you've found someone. I've been reading your blog on and off for a while, and I can relate to you on so many levels. Except I'm a muslim who cannot properly date, and has um. far greater chances of being single till and beyond 30. 27 currently, caught between cultural values and what I truly believe in.

Daniel Grosvenor said...

Good on you for acknowledging there's a difference between what culture says you "ought" to value and what you truly believe in. I hope you find the strength to cast off that cultural anchor and be who you truly are.


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