Have you ever been on a date where the conversation dried up? Then that ghastly awkward silence filled the air, your eyes look awkwardly to the side, and your hand started to unconsciously drift toward your phone for salvation?
Or have you ever mid-date, realized that pungent pong isn’t from the bins nearby, but is actually your date’s unfortunate lack of deodorant?
Well, you had it quite easy…
It was the year 2012, and I was taking a course on how to be assertive.
(Yes I did. Sorry just practicing my learnt assertiveness.)
There was an interesting polish woman there, perhaps she had been planted by the teacher – to see if I had learnt anything from the assertiveness course.
She was few years older, kinda cute, though she had a slightly distracting gap between her front teeth. I tried not to look at it, but I was transfixed.
She said she was a dancer, and I wanted to learn to dance myself, this got us talking. My moves at this point resembled that of a stiff, drunk puppet.
We got chatting briefly and we arranged to meet for a hot chocolate and a chilly walk down Bournemouth beach. It seems like an odd combination of “your hot and your cold,” but it worked.
There was a cool breeze that November day. We were rewarded with a cheeky bit of heat despite the sharp weather, we sat in a nice spot in the sunshine.
Things seemed to be going okay. We spoke about our dreams and ambitions. I kept all signs of my refusal to grow up and my high maintenance levels tucked away. I decided not to reveal how I leave the toilet sit up frequently or how I repeatedly fail to make my own bed each morning.
10 minutes in, she brought up her personal life. Despite only meeting her a couple of times, she decided to tell me everything about herself on our first date. What happened to mysteriousness?
She revealed she was suffering from domestic abuse, and that her recent ex-boyfriend, was a mad, bad and very jealous stalker.
This caveman (or potential future Jeremy Kyle guest) would regularly turn up in her flat, of which he still had the key, and demand her love and affection back.
He was regularly aggressive. Caveman once broke a wooden chair in frustration. He then picked it up from the floor, pushed her to the wall and then pinned her there using the broken carcass of the chair .
It turned out she had mentioned another man’s name in front of him.
Caveman would also turn up at the Gala Casino, where she worked as a receptionist, completely unannounced. He would rush to the busy reception desk, dive in, and give her a dribbly snog in front of everyone, staking his claim in front of the bewildered gamblers. “She’s mine”, he would announce proudly in front of bemused customers.
He recently broke her phone in a fit of violent rage , smashing the screen transforming into bitesize chunks. He got annoyed as she was checking the phone frequently, and he was livid she had been messaging someone. She revealed that to be me.
(It wasn’t a Nokia. They are indestructible. They can literally survive anything. Tarmac, wars, the apocalypse.)
After these revelations, I was speechless. I can sympathize with people in abusive relationships, although not at this level, but I didn’t want to run away as she had just opened up to me. I perched on the sand, slightly perplexed about what to do, or how I got myself in this unique situation.
I decided we should take a walk. I needed some walking to clear my head.
Left foot, right foot, breathe, smile. In that order.
This wasn’t my usual first date. Usually they involve awful jokes, debating whether to hold my date’s hand, and whether I’ll be splitting the bill. Please don’t order that expensive wine from 2009, darling.
The sea air was quite therapeutic. We walked past the pier, and she looked around, and told me another revelation in a hushed tone.
She whispered to me that she’d had seen Caveman! He was lurking near the Bournemouth Oceanarium. He looked disgruntled and angry.
(Like Phil Mitchell does after you look at him the wrong way or take the mickey out of his long flowing hair)
Caveman was out looking for her, he’d gotten wind that she wasn’t at home. She’d mentioned about meeting with a guy and he had gone absolutely livid. He was on the warpath. She hadn’t asked his permission to be out and about the house. Especially to hang out with tall, handsome men like myself. ( Hahaha.)
I looked around, and I could see him in the crowd, scanning the promenade for her, like a poor man’s Terminator. He was a big guy, and looked a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
Wtf was going on.
She put her hood over her head to disguise herself and clung closer to me.
We dived behind the Imax Cinema. Even though it was voted the worst building in Britain, right now it was ugly and big enough for us to hide behind. We darted around the side to refuge to the right of Jumpin’ Jacks.
I asked what would happen if the Caveman/Terminator caught up with us.
“He would hit me first….
My heart pounded in my chest and I felt a little on edge. I couldn’t believe how quickly this escalated from getting a simple hot chocolate.
As we continued to walk away, I strode around the car park, almost colliding into a pensioner trying to reverse his Volvo, but badly.
She peeked around the corner of the Imax, apparently Caveman was walking with clenched fists into Harry Ramsden’s Fish and Chips. Something was definitely getting battered, I thought( I try to crack jokes in tense action sequences like this.)
I began to to walk with a sense of brisk pace. We ended up in the town centre, grinding to a halt near The Mary Shelley. How I wish I was in there, away from this, snuggled around a freshly microwaved Chocolate Fudge Brownie.
I apologized that this date wasn’t really what I had in mind, it was too much for me. I suggested that maybe she should get the locks changed and call the police. I was subtlety trying to tell her to sort her life out.
She seemed fairly indifferent and said Yeah Maybe I should.
I bid her a quick goodbye, then quickly walked away home.
A few months later, she got back in touch with me saying she’d sorted things out. Did I give her a chance for a second date? Vote below
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