Hello! I’m still alive! I know I promised, but I’m not sure I’m 100% ready to talk about the present. Therefore, I’ll part with one last gem from the past before spilling the beans on someone who is quickly becoming very important in my life.
There is, as usual, a lucky man in the story – we’ll call him McMeerkat. He’s very tall, very academic, and looks very Spanish in his main (and only) profile picture. When I enquire, turns out it’s not him. No shit. Because of his job at the university, he doesn’t want to be exposed. He sends me a link to his work profile, and I like what I see. He’s 12 years older than me, which would normally be a bit too old. But I can make exceptions for suitable candidates, of course.
We arrange to meet for a drink in a popular bar in the city centre. We haven’t chatted much beforehand – we’re both interested in going straight to the point. So I don’t know what to expect, what he likes, what we’ll talk about. However, I’ve never run out of words in my whole life, so I’m not worried.
I get to the bar first. I’m a couple of minutes late and I would have thought he’d be here. He isn’t. I choose a table and sit down. In the next 15 minutes I go to the toilet (twice, the second time to check my bum in the mirror), read the whole wine list, reply to a couple of emails, talk to an acquaintance who has come in to join some friends. He finally walks in... and he’s drunk. I’ve never met him before, but it’s crystal clear to me. His eyes are shiny and he walks just a little too slowly.
He shakes my hand, kisses me on the cheeks, apologises profusely and explains why he’s late. He slightly makes up for it as he’s really cute. He’s very smart and has got proper manners (despite the vague smell of gin about him). He asks me what I drink and I tell him the name of an Italian white wine. He comes back from the bar with a bottle. Apparently he hasn’t eaten and he tells me he feels a bit tipsy despite only having had a couple of drinks with his colleagues (someone was being promoted). I suggest he should eat something, but my advice falls on deaf ears.
45 minutes later, we have finished the bottle. I feel fine, albeit a bit too chatty. He tells me he’s opened a tab at the bar and I can get myself what I want. I go and get a Diet Coke. He’s still on the wine. When I come back and walk around to my side of the table, I can tell he’s checking me out. He’s not even discreet about it. I catch a glimpse of ‘pervy old man in need of a lay’ look on his face. Great. When I sit down, he grabs one of my hands and stares into my eyes. ‘You’re very beautiful’, he says. This is about an hour into our first date. I start thinking of an excuse to leave. I can’t think of any.
Before I know it, though, we’re leaving – together. McMeerkat wants to listen to live music, and apparently I’m going with him. It’s just odd – I really want to go home, but I don’t know how to tell him. He’s good company, but I don’t want to be alone with him. In the next place, we plonk down on sofas to listen to a mediocre jazz band. He has a very unusual accent, and the music makes everything more difficult. Another bottle of wine also appears, which makes everything easier instead. When I lean over to talk in his ear, he grabs my cheek and kisses me on the mouth. I don’t feel ready for this and pull away after a few seconds. I kick myself for having let him start physical contact – now it’ll be so much harder to get away.
At any rate, I muster the courage to say I want to leave and we walk out. It’s 1am on a Thursday, and he lives on the other side of town. I start saying goodbye as I can easily walk home from here. There’s a taxi rank just around the corner for him – I know it, and I know he knows it.
But he has other plans – he walks me all the way home. How do you get someone not to do that? I seem to have a recurring issue here!!
Fast-forward 20 minutes and we’re back at mine and McMeerkat has plonked himself on the sofa with a cuppa. He’s there because I forced him to sit down so that 1) he’d stop groping me while I’m making the tea and 2) he’d stop trying to push me up the stairs in the direction of my bedroom. What is wrong with some people.
I soon realise that sitting him on the sofa had the wrong effect. How did my smart, academic, sophisticated date turn into a slobbery, half-asleep pisshead? I politely suggest he should go home. He doesn’t answer. That’s because he’s fallen asleep in a sat-down position. Honestly. I poke him in the side – gently – to wake him up. I ask him his address so that I can call a cab. He falls asleep again while he’s slooooowly spelling his address to me. I re-poke.
Finally, the cab is booked. All that’s left to do now is walk him to the door. Will I make it?
Another 10 minutes later I have successfully put McMeerkat in a taxi and waved him goodbye – forever, or so I think.
The next day, when the work experience girl walks in the office after lunch, she asks if somebody has been drinking in work. I really must stink.
I have rarely gone out on a school night since then.
The epilogue is boring and very clichéd, but while I’m here... After a lot of stalking and bumping into each other in work, I give in and go out with him for lunch. Just so that he can explain. Booze doesn’t feature on this occasion. While we’re doing some idle chit-chat, he mentions his daughter. I beg your pardon? This from a man who told me he was divorced, and ‘thank God we didn’t have children’. How fast can I run away from the office café in heels?
Hopefully this is the last bad date you get to hear about from me – or is it?