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?