Monday, 30 August 2010

Mutually Exclusive (Part 1 of 2)

My next internet date continued the trend of very quickly moving off the dating site once we'd initially made contact through it. We used other online chat and email and she was keen to meet up quickly, which worked fine for me. Our first date was on a Tuesday evening just five days after our first messages. I had another first date lined up for the Wednesday which had been arranged further in advance, so it almost felt like this new one was jumping the queue, but then this is how dating works, right?

We met at a pub and spent the evening talking and laughing. She was fun and cute and I enjoyed being with her. I got the feeling that she enjoyed being with me too. The time flew by and all too soon we were saying our goodbyes at the end of the evening. I gave her a quick kiss on the lips, which seemed to go down fine, and on my way home I congratulated myself for having made that move rather than proceeding with caution as I had on too many previous first dates.

The next day, while chatting online again, she asked me whether I had any other dates lined up. I was honest with her: Yes, I have a date tonight - I'd already arranged it before I met you. This didn't seem to go down too well. I guess everyone has different ideas about what's acceptable in the early days of dating and what isn't. To be honest, I would have felt more comfortable only arranging one first date at a time, but I'd got the impression that this would have severely reduced my frequency of dating and hence my chances of finding someone, plus most other people seemed to be multidating anyway.

So I went on my Wednesday evening date. We didn't click - nothing particularly dramatic happened (not even enough to make a blog post!) but we both agreed that we weren't a match. The next morning I informed my date from Tuesday of this and arranged a second date with her for that Friday evening. She asked again if I had any other dates arranged. I told her that I didn't, but that I had been talking with a friend about trying speed dating. She asked whether I was actually looking for something serious and I explained that I was, but that I thought most people did early dating this way. I said that if our Friday date went well then I wouldn't go speed dating.

All of this was taking place against the backdrop of a very busy and stressful week of work for me. I was running low on sleep and feeling rundown, plus I had a weekend trip away with friends coming up. I let her know that I wouldn't be out too late on Friday because of this. We met after work and went to a restaurant. We enjoyed each other's company again and it was unfortunate that the evening could not be longer, but I really needed sleep. We parted ways with a longer kiss and a feeling that things were going really well.

During my weekend away I kept in text contact with her and we arranged a third date for the following Tuesday. On Monday I started sending messages to other women with whom I'd been in contact, letting them know that I was now seeing someone exclusively and wouldn't be going on any new dates. I called off the speed dating plan too.

Tuesday rolled around and I was still stressed at work and low on sleep. Our third date began at a restaurant after work again chatting and having fun, or so I thought, but then she explained to me that she was getting the feeling that I was moving too slowly for her - that I just seemed to be happy to continue going to pubs and restaurants for ages. So I asked her back to my place and she accepted enthusiastically. Off we went. Upon arrival we got drinks and went to my bedroom. We sat chatting and kissing on my bed. The question loomed large and unspoken: would she be staying the night? I didn't want to be moving too slowly again but I really was feeling very tired and desperately needed a good night's sleep. Reluctantly I let her know this and walked her to her car. I asked to see her again on Thursday and she said "what's wrong with tomorrow?" I repeated my need for sleep and she seemed to accept it.

Thankfully I did manage to catch up on some sleep in advance of Thursday. We had arranged that this time I would be going to her place and that this time we would be spending the night together...

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Picture Imperfect

January 2004: Around two years after my first foray into online dating, I was now on something like my fourth. The fruits of my efforts had been roughly a dozen first dates, far fewer second dates and a decidedly messy on-off relationship. But I persevered nonetheless. I still had faith in the concept and figured that if I continued to contribute time and effort then fate would at some point contribute luck.

My next date was with a young lady with whom I'd shared many texts and a phone call or two over a couple of weeks. When I say "young lady" I mean that she was several years younger than me, and I was only 24, but we'd seemed to click humour-wise in our texts. Over the phone we hadn't connected quite so well but then I'm not that great on the phone anyway. We had exchanged photos (by this point in history most online daters had managed to acquire a digital photo of themselves but many of us did not openly display them on our profiles) and had each made appreciative noises about the other. So, next step: meet up.

We met at a restaurant on a Saturday lunchtime. The restaurant was fairly quiet. This was lucky because I'm really not sure I would have recognized her otherwise. She looked absolutely nothing like her photo. How had someone so young had time to change so much? I was having trouble even convincing myself that it was the same person.

Of course, I thought that it would be rather rude to say any of this to her, so I tried to settle into the date and chat, but I was really struggling with the idea that my date had morphed. I felt like I was in one of the more confusing David Lynch films.

We ate our food and talked a bit but my heart just wasn't in it and I think she sensed that. After the food I let her know that I was planning to head off. She asked where I was going. I realised that I couldn't really claim tiredness at 2pm on a Saturday, so I admitted that I was going to do a bit of shopping. She asked to come along and again I didn't want to be rude so off we went. What little chat there had been was drying up fast. I did my shopping and then said that I would be heading home. I was relieved that she didn't ask to come with me.

Afterwards, looking back on the date, I was trying to figure out what I could have done differently. Would it have been better to tell her what was going through my mind? I guess that might have just made things more uncomfortable and still led to the same result anyway: we weren't going to see each other again.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Mystery Woman

It's funny to think that in early 2002 I used to spend weeks, occasionally even months, getting to know prospective internet dates via online chat/email/phone/text before meeting them face-to-face. By late 2003 I was far more focussed on getting to the point of meeting up. I didn't want to precede the first date with lots of virtual contact. Occasionally this had led to comic minunderstandings, but generally it felt like I had the right idea. I was looking for real-life interactions, not an online penpal.

I had made contact with another woman through the dating site but we'd swiftly moved on to external emails and a telephone call. She seemed interesting but also secretive - we'd had a strange moment when she'd been shocked by my knowing her real name after it had been clearly shown in her emails. I'd also sent her my photo and received a reply which I found somewhat enigmatic:

"Hi Matt,
Nice photo. Funny but i have imagine you completely different. You look strong, but in your msgs you sound softer. i bet i will look different to what you imagine. However i will not send you my photo."

I wasn't sure whether to take the message as a compliment or whether I should be irked by her refusal to send her photo in return. And what did she imagine I was imagining? She then gave me a hint in our phone call - casually tossing in the words "when I was modelling..." - but was this part of the process of leading me to imagine something and then finding that she looked different? I wasn't sure. Only one way to find out.

Our date was to be at a restaurant. On my way there I received a text from her saying that she would be waiting outside a nearby shop. I guess that gave me a fighting chance of spotting her! Luckily for me, there was only one woman standing anywhere near the shop as I approached. My first thought: OK, I completely believe that you've worked as a model! Wow. My second thought: I'm really going to try not to get all insecure like I had before in this kind of situation. Let's make this one different.

We went for our meal and chatted away. She was enjoyable company and seemed very interested in me. She was particularly interested in my job - at that time I worked in the stock market. The thought crossed my mind that this might be the main reason for her interest in me but I tried to push that thought aside.

After dinner she suggested that we go to the cinema and seemed very keen to do so. I tend to think that early dates and cinemas don't mix well together but I didn't want to shoot down her idea, so we went and it actually went fairly well - the film was lighthearted and watchable, and she didn't shrink away when I put my arm round her a bit. It did put a stop to most of our talking though.

As we parted ways after this I debated in my head whether to try to kiss her - I liked her and thought the date had gone well but I really couldn't tell whether she wanted me to kiss her or not. In the end I kissed her on the cheek. No particular reaction from her. No idea what's happening in her head.

The next day I texted to say that I had enjoyed seeing her and would like to do so again. She said that she'd liked the evening too but that she was quite busy - maybe in a week or two? Hmm... I wasn't sure that she sounded very keen but I figured I would find out in due course. I asked her out again the next week, then the week after that, then the week after that... She generally sounded quite enthusiastic but always was busy. Then at some point her explanations of being busy started to involve visa problems (she wasn't from around these parts.) Was this:

1) An attempt to say "No" to me in a slightly less subtle but still very indirect way?
2) Or just an honest update on her situation?
3) Or was she even dropping a hint that maybe I could "help her get a visa"??

The week after that she didn't return my call or my text. OK, I guess it wasn't option number 3. I decided that it was time to stop chasing.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

My Two Briefest Dates

Autumn 2003: After taking some time to recover from the (final) messy ending with Pop Idolizer, I staggered back into the online dating ring for Round 3. I reasoned that my gradual accumulation of experience would serve to make the activity more successful for me. However, two of my dates in this stint did little to support my theory. Both women were students and I must be somewhat lacking in imagination as I write this because I can only think to call them Russian Student and Dental Student.

My date with Russian Student had not been preceded by all that much online contact, but enough to establish that it was in fact a date which we were going on. Therefore it threw me completely when one of her first sentences on the date began with the words "My boyfriend..." Er, sorry? Your what-now? It turned out that she had a long-term boyfriend back in Russia but didn't see this as any reason not to go on a date with me. Cultural differences maybe? I don't know - I didn't ask. I didn't take very long over my drink and then I said something about being tired and needing to head off. She seemed surprised, and as we parted ways she said something about meeting up again. I said "Maybe..." and she could see from my face that I meant "No." Her shoulders slumped and she walked away looking dejected.

As I watched her walk away I realised that I really hadn't handled the whole thing very well. Why hadn't I just talked with her about my reaction to her revelation? I'm not sure - I like to think that the me of today would do so. Maybe I was just still quite stunned, plus I genuinely was tired too. Happily for my future conscience, I did the decent thing the next morning and texted her explaining what had happened. She laughed (in text form) and seemed pleased to have received an explanation. I felt much better too for not having just left her to try to decipher my actions.

My date with Dental Student was a disaster entirely of my own making. We met at a station in town and I invited her to choose which bar we would go to, giving away the fact that I totally hadn't come up with ideas for our date. Off we went to her chosen bar and started to chat, but after maybe fifteen minutes I decided that I really didn't like the bar and said that I wanted to go somewhere else. I think her chosen bar had been a bit noisy, but why on earth did I think that this justified shooting down the choice which I'd just left her to make?

As we walked to the alternative bar which I'd suddenly thought to suggest, I was thinking "I'm an idiot, she must think I'm an idiot and she's right..." It didn't help at all that my bar was crowded too and we had to stand. This was particularly tricky because she was over a foot shorter than me (I'm 6'1) which made talking (or more precisely hearing) more difficult. I didn't mind the height difference at all otherwise, but I got the impression that she might have been self-conscious about her height and possibly didn't tend to date tall guys.

Our conversation was starting to struggle and I excused myself to the bathroom, partly to try to regroup. I liked this girl so far but wasn't doing a good job of showing it. Time to turn that around. As I came back I saw that she was sitting down and said "ah, you found a stool..." Then I realised with horror: No, she was not sitting down! My eyes had somehow ghosted in a stool behind her which actually did not exist. She was standing right where she'd been two minutes ago. What the hell was wrong with me??

I recoiled in embarrassment, trying not to laugh at how ridiculous my mistake had been. And not fully succeeding. I apologised profusely and she accepted my apology but with a look on her face that said "wow, you really are a loser." Not long after this she "remembered" that she had to go and "meet some friends" and our train wreck of a date came to an early end. I think I even had the audacity to ask if she wanted to meet up again when I texted the next day - not surprisingly she replied in the negative.

I wonder if, somewhere out there, Dental Student is writing a blog about her past dating experiences, and I'm in there as the biggest dickhead of all time?

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Back To Online Dating

After the pregnancy prank from Pop Idolizer, but before I made the somewhat questionable decision to give things another go with her (with painful results), I did make one good decision: I gave online dating another try. By that time it had been over a year since I'd left the dating website and I'd spent a fair bit of that year hoping that my occasional hook-ups with Pop Idolizer would develop into something more, but at that point it looked very much like they wouldn't and so I decided that it was high time to broaden my dating horizons again.

I got off to a promising start - within a couple of weeks I had three first dates arranged in the space of four days. In my early online dating days I would have felt unsure as to whether this was "OK" but now it seemed like this was how most other people were doing it - and it did feel exciting! I like the process of picking codenames for people I've dated (it seems like this is an important part of blogging!) so lets call them Call 999, Sparkle Motion and Positive Energy.

I met Call 999 at a bar and the date got off to a very average start. We had a bit in common but not a lot. Our chatting was continuous but not riveting. I was beginning to wonder whether this date would end up being classed a success or a failure. As it turned out, somebody else made the decision for me. Some random guy grabbed my date's handbag and ran out of the bar. I didn't even see it happen but the bar staff were after him like a shot (maybe it's a common problem there!) and by the time my date and I got outside the bar they were coming back with her bag, which the thief had thrown aside, but without her phone, which he'd escaped with.

I lent her my phone so that she could report her phone stolen. Her insurance claim required that a report be filed with the police, so we walked to the nearest police station and I waited while she provided them with the details. Then we went our separate ways - our date hadn't been going nearly well enough to survive that. She said something vague about calling me but I remember thinking that this seemed unlikely while she didn't have a phone!

The next evening I met Sparkle Motion at a (different) bar. More than anything else, I remember that date for its demonstration of my insecurities. Before meeting we'd exchanged photos and she'd looked kind of nice-looking. It turned out that she was much better-looking in person. This should have been a good thing, right? But my mind went into the whole "she's out of my league" mentality again. Not only did her eyes and smile sparkle - so did her energy for life and living it to the full. I just thought "there's no way I can keep up with this woman - she works harder than I do, she plays harder than I do, I don't know how she fits it all in!" Of course, I made some attempt to seem interesting enough to warrant a second date, but not surprisingly I failed!

I think of my first date with Positive Energy as one of my best first dates ever. The ironic thing is that I remember her in a very similar way to Sparkle Motion - good-looking with a real zest for life - but somehow this didn't intimidate me with her. I felt an early connection with her. She seemed quite unconventional and I liked that about her. Rather than meeting after work in a flashy bar, she wanted to meet on a Saturday afternoon in my local Pizza Hut! Her philosophy: why spend more when you can have just as much fun for less? And it really was fun - we chatted away about all kinds of things. It sounded like she spent her life doing various zany activities and not worrying about whether anyone thought her unusual. I used to feel that way once - what happened to that side of me?

We went out into town to bars but both just drank water. She didn't drink alcohol but that didn't seem to hold her back in the slightest, and I wasn't much of a drinker either (in recent years I've effectively quit completely.) We ended up dancing in a nightclub until after midnight, by which time our first date must have been going for nine or ten hours! Just one problem though: nothing non-platonic had occurred between us.

Actually, after the date, it turned out that there was another problem. Her profile had said that she lived in the same city as me; then she'd said that she spent part of her week in a different city several hours away; eventually it turned out that she actually lived there and was only in the process of possibly moving here. This also meant that she wasn't available to meet me again for several weeks. This was a big disappointment, but the date had been so great in many ways that I still wanted to see her again.

Four weeks later we finally had our second "date" and again went to a nightclub. This time I wanted to find out whether she actually saw me as more than a friend. Maybe I should have just tried to kiss her but instead I chose rather a weak substitute: I said "What would you do if I kissed you right now?" I like to think I would have then kissed her if her facial expression had looked enthusiastic, but instead she looked shocked and darted away, then acted as if it hadn't happened. OK - I think I had my answer. After that night we stayed in touch occasionally but something was never quite the same. We never met up again.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Pop Idolizer - Final Act

To recap: my on-off involvement with Pop Idolizer had entered a definite "off" phase after she decided to give me a 40-minute taste of her fear of becoming pregnant. Our "relationship", such as it had been, had hardly been an idyllic dream up to that point anyway. We had some kind of connection and enjoyed much of our interacting but there were big "red flags" around commitment and actually managing to spend much time together offline. At first I saw this latest joke/trick/self-sabotage as the final straw.

For several weeks I diverted my attention elsewhere. I went on a few first dates (I may post those stories some time, but I realised that this story is probably more interesting!) and didn't have much contact with Pop Idolizer. Ironically, it was during this time that she seemed to put more effort into pursuing me. Day after day I would get back from being out in the evening to find that she'd called. I wasn't trying to give her the cold shoulder (OK, maybe a little) but I just wasn't putting much energy into having contact with her. I knew that further involvement with her carried risks and that further sexual involvement with her would be playing with fire.

But that fire... It burns so brightly... That heat and light is quite a temptation... I can handle a momentary burn to the fingertips... If I know the risks, maybe I can mitigate them... After all, she was very much into safety - sometimes she wanted two condoms at once! No wonder I lasted longer than I'd expected.

My other dates didn't work out, the shock of the pregnancy incident faded, and I began to see her as my best option if I wanted my love/sex life not to be non-existent. Looking back, I'm not particularly proud of this bit of thinking, but there it is. I started returning her calls. I started meeting up with her again. I started trying to convince myself that all of this was a good idea.

The weeks without my attention did seem to have increased her eagerness to be involved with me. The cliché of wanting what one cannot have held some truth. I guess most clichés do. I happened to be going away on holiday for two weeks soon after we'd started to rekindle our involvement, and I think that this added to the effect. When I got back, she was the one talking about more commitment. For most of the previous time, we'd remained free to see other people, at her request. Now she wanted to be an exclusive couple. I decided to give it a try.

One week into our new official coupledom I was away again for a few days on a stag weekend (bachelor party.) This had been arranged months in advance and I think I even offered not to go if the idea made her really uncomfortable, what with strip clubs being part of the tradition and all, but she said that she was cool with it so off I went. During those three days I did nothing unbecoming of a non-single person but when I got back she didn't seem so cool with the trip any more. She kept asking if I'd kissed any strippers. I was completely honest with her: we had gone to a strip club on one of the nights but I don't think I was ever within three feet of a stripper and didn't pay for anything other than the entrance fee. I actually got bored in there and left before most of my friends. I'm not sure whether she believed any of this though.

We also had problems agreeing on the frequency with which we would meet up rather than just chatting on the phone. I wanted to meet up once or twice a week but after a month of being "together" I'd only seen her twice. The travelling time between us was about an hour but I would have been happy to have been the one to do most of that travelling, but she always insisted on coming to me or meeting halfway. In fact, looking back, I never once was invited to the area in which she lived, and never once met anyone she knew. More red flags!

I kept asking to meet up more often and was granted a third rendezvous. We spent an afternoon together in town and she was warm and lighthearted at first but then started to withdraw from me again. I asked her what was wrong and she said that she was just tired and wanted to go home. Off she went and I headed back to mine.

Soon after arriving home I got a text from her asking if I had time for a phone call. Something in the text, or something in the day, or the month, told me that this would not be good news. She called and explained that she wanted to end things again. She said that she had wanted things to work out between us but that there was still too big a part of her which feared commitment and getting hurt. Fair enough, I said. Nothing unreasonable about any of that. I'm happy to still be friends. It actually felt like one of our least messy endings.

...except that the phone call wasn't finished. There was something else that she needed to tell me. But it was really hard to tell me... But she had to do it... But she wasn't sure how to... Right, she's just going to say it... Oh, she's not sure what to say... This must have gone on for about ten minutes, giving me plenty of time to guess (in my head, not out loud) what was coming. Finally she confirmed that my guess had been correct: she had cheated on me.

While I'd been away on the stag weekend steering well clear of strippers and non-strippers alike, she had gone out for drinks with a guy she'd recently met and she'd kissed him. Then two weekends later (so three weeks into our newly-exclusive relationship) she'd booked a hotel room with him and they'd had sex. And now that she had broken up with me, she thought it would be the right time to tell me.

Ouch-ouch-ouch. Wow, that fire which I decided to play with burned rather more painfully than I'd bargained for. I was upset and very angry with her, but also struggling with the knowledge that in a way I only had myself to blame for rekindling my involvement with someone who had already side-swiped me with dishonesty before.

At first I demanded reasons, explanations, apologies. She did apologise but answered most other things with "I don't know." Over the following few weeks I phoned her several times per week still asking for answers in a misguided attempt to get understanding and closure. She didn't have the answers for me. I came to realise that the way for me to let go of the pain and the anger was to go with my own answers for what I thought had happened. I reasoned to myself that the part of her which feared getting hurt would never trust the rest of her to stop taking the risk of being close to me, so the only way to avoid this terrifying vulnerability was to push me far enough away that I would stay away on my own. The pregnancy hoax had nearly achieved that but after a few weeks I had come back, so it was necessary to push harder.

She was young and relatively inexperienced (as was I.) She'd had a few tough breaks in life. She really just wasn't ready to go down the road which we'd started down. It wasn't that this justified what she did, but I felt that I could at least understand how she had arrived at the point of doing it. And I didn't want to hold onto the anger and pain which I'd felt at first. Once I stopped wanting answers, wanting apologies, wanting anything from her, I could let it go. I could let her go.

I forgave her and wished her well for the future. Our phone contact declined to occasional and then to zero. I moved on with my life. I hope that she did too.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Pop Idolizer - Act II

After some promising email chat, a lukewarm first date and a decidedly chilly second date, Pop Idolizer had indicated that we would be "Just Friends." In my experience, being Just Friends with someone after having met online and gone on one or two dates does not last - there just hasn't been enough time or shared experience for a friendship bond to form and last. However, despite our lack of success in connecting in the real world, Pop Idolizer and I had built up a lot of shared online/email time together, and our emails did continue back and forth at a similar rate after that.

To be honest, I guess that I was partly keeping in touch in case she changed her mind and wanted to have another try at being "More Than Friends." After two months of friendly emails, that's exactly what happened - I wrote a comment hinting that I'd still be interested in more and she said that she liked that idea too. This was right around the time of my date with Pretty Lady... was this just a coincidence, or was that bit of "competition" just what was needed?

So, back to the racy and suggestive emails (and also phone calls) we went. Our virtual chemistry bounced back to life quickly. However, the question loomed large: would we be able to carry that over into the real world this time? It took another two or three weeks for us to meet up again, but this date (technically our third) was to take place at my house - I guess we were both feeling bold!

Any guesses as to how it went?

Yep - really badly. I met her at the station and as we walked to my house the discomfort was as palpable as the near-silence. Once we got to my house I started feeling more at ease but she just seemed more uneasy. She was withdrawn and subdued just like on our second date. After around ten minutes she said that she just wanted to go, so we walked back to the station and off she went.

Thus was set a pattern which was to continue for several months. We met up perhaps around once a month, which generally precipitated her putting a stop to things, then we would reignite our online connection and build up to meeting up again, which would fail to live up to our cyber-relationship and lead to another ending or at least cooling. She enjoyed having attention from me but was afraid of commitment or of getting hurt. As for me, I enjoyed the good phases between us and I didn't see any harm in continuing our liaisons in the absence of anything else happening in my love life. But was my on-off "relationship" with her making me less likely to find anyone else? I told myself that it wasn't, but looking back I may have been kidding myself.

Ironically, the cycle was to be broken not by one of our tentative face-to-face encounters but by email. Our physical relations had gradually progressed through the starting and stopping and it turned out that another big fear of hers was becoming pregnant. Perhaps this was partly why she was more comfortable interacting with me via telephone and email. A few days after one of our rare face-to-face get-togethers, she emailed me saying that she was worried that she might be pregnant. I emailed back suggesting that it seemed very unlikely, given that we'd used protection, we'd stopped before the point of no return anyway, and it had only been a few days so it would be too early to tell even if there were a chance.

Her concerns did not seem allayed by my email and she replied that she was going to take a pregnancy test straight away. At that point I was out of the office for an hour or so, and returned to find an email from her simply saying "I am pregnant."

My initial thought was: I don't believe her. For all of the reasons I'd stated in my email and more. The timings just wouldn't have made any sense. But what the hell should I write back? It didn't seem right to reply to her email with accusations of lying, just in case there was any chance that she wasn't lying. Her email had arrived half an hour before I got back to my desk, so I felt under pressure to come up with some kind of reply. I'd started to write something about maybe trying a second test when another email arrived from her: "Oh, by the way, I'm not pregnant!" followed by unrelated general chat about how her day was going.

Did that really just happen? Did she really just do that? Why would somebody do that? I let her know that I thought it was a horrible thing to do and asked her why she'd done it. She apologised and admitted to wanting me to feel some of the fear she'd felt while waiting for the test result (she really had taken a test but the result had been negative.) I understood that she was afraid but I still thought she'd gone way too far in response. For the first time in our on-off interactions it was time for me to be the one to say "off."

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Pretty Lady

So... back to the drawing board again. Where would my next date come from? I considered taking out another personal ad but decided against it with my low response to the last one in mind. Instead I tried replying to a few. I heard back from one woman whose ad had been entitled "Pretty Lady" - brief and to the point! We arranged to meet at a bar after work one evening.

I arrived at the bar first and grabbed a free table. A few minutes after our arranged meeting time I received a text from her: "I'm outside the bar, wearing a red top. Come outside." I liked its confident tone and I did as instructed.

Her advert title hadn't been false advertising - she was very pretty. I'm sad to report that the thoughts going through my head were along the lines of "She's out of my league... Just a fool to believe I have anything she needs... She's like the wind..." I was intimidated by her good looks, feeling that I didn't measure up. I tried to tell myself that attractiveness is subjective but I didn't really convince myself!

She wanted to go to a different bar instead and I complied. Once we were sat with drinks our chatting went through the usual basics of getting to know each other's pasts and presents and then started to stall through lack of common interests. I could tell that she was getting bored, especially as she started using her mobile phone at one point - not a good sign! But I continued to try to find a way to connect with her. I was aware that I was being quite shallow - here I was finding little in common and seeing my date more interested in her phone than in me at times but still persevering. Would I have acted the same had I not found her so good looking? I thought I probably knew the answer but wasn't comfortable with what it meant.

Soon after this she indicated that it was time for her to head off anyway. I walked her to the station and we went our separate ways. I had a feeling that I wouldn't be seeing her again but despite this I can remember feeling quite elated at having been on a date with a beautiful woman even if she hadn't been all that taken with me. Looking back I feel sad that I was seemingly so superficial at that time, but my memory reminds me that I was.

Of course, when I texted her the next day I suggested meeting up again. Her inevitable declining was concise but gentle - something like "We weren't really a match, don't you think?" She did have a point there. I wished her well and that was that. Hello drawing board my old friend, I've come to talk with you again...