Just the word dating can make even the most confident human shudder in anguish. Is anyone mentally ready for the the barrage of awkward icebreakers such as ‘what music do you like? ‘and the anti-climatic classic of ‘so um…. what do you do for a living?‘
From the pre-date guzzle of a triple vodka, also known as ‘liquid courage’, then to making sure my quirks and bad habits are safely tucked away, I have embraced this romantic ritual to its fullest.
Despite my enthusiasm to find the ‘one’ – dating has not gone according to plan. (In all honesty, I only do it so I don’t end up on Naked Attraction with my tackle out in front of the nation.) Some dates have been horrendous – and not just the time my date said I facially resembled a terrorist.
Read below to enjoy my surreal experience from 2012. It put me into a romantic hiatus for half a year. I was only brave enough to start dating after I realised I was scowling at loved up couples on Valentine’s Day.
I think I could have been taking a course on how to be assertive.
(Yes I was. Just practicing my learnt assertiveness)
I met a lady there. Perhaps she had been planted by the teacher to see if I had learnt anything assertive from the 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 slightly transfixed.
She revealed 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, traumatised mannequin.
After some pleasant interactions, she wanted a date. We arranged to meet for a hot chocolate on a chilly autumn day down Bournemouth beach. I was hot and cold, to quote Katy Perry.
As we greeted each other, I was able to blame my nervous goosepimples on the cool November breeze. We were rewarded with a cheeky slither of heat despite the sharp weather. We sat in a nice spot in the sunshine.
Things were going smoothly. We rattled off the mandatory date questions. I kept all signs of my refusal to grow up and my only child syndrome hidden away. I decided not to reveal how I leave the toilet seat up frequently or how I repeatedly fail to make my own bed each morning.
10 minutes in, she brought up her personal life. She revealed her recent ex-boyfriend, was a mad, bad and very jealous stalker. This caveman (or future Jeremy Kyle guest) would regularly turn up in her flat, of which he for some reason had a key, and demand her love and affection back. Oh Romeo, where art thou?
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. How absolutely horrible and terrifying.
It turned out she had mentioned another man’s name in front of him.
Caveman would also turn up at the store where she worked, completely unannounced. He would rush to the busy desk, dive in, and give her a dribbly snog in front of everyone, staking his claim in front of customers. “She’s mine,” he would announce proudly in front of bemused gamblers. She didn’t seem overly concerned about his odd behaviour.
He recently broke her phone in a fit of violent rage, smashing the screen and transforming it into bitesize chunks. He got annoyed as she was checking the phone frequently, and he was livid she was teasing him about messaging someone. She revealed that special someone to be me!
(It wasn’t a Nokia. They are indestructible. They can literally survive anything. Tarmac, gravity, the apocalypse.)
I can sympathise with people in abusive relationships. I perched on the sand, slightly perplexed about what to say. I decided we should take a walk. I had to focus on how to do this – Left foot, right foot, breathe, smile. In that order.
This wasn’t my usual first date. Usually they involve my sparkling wit and hoping we will split the bill. Please don’t order that expensive champagne darling.
The sea air was quite therapeutic as we walked past the pier. She looked around, and told me another revelation in a hushed tone.
She had seen the infamous Caveman! He was lurking near the Oceanarium. He wasn’t interested in buying a jellyfish keychain or taking a selfie with a charming penguin- instead he was was searching for someone. He looked disgruntled and slightly fuming.
(Like Phil Mitchell does if you take the mickey out of his long flowing hair)
Caveman was out looking for her and he’d gotten wind that she wasn’t at home. She’d mentioned she was meeting a guy for a date and he had gone absolutely livid at this. He was on the warpath. She hadn’t asked his permission to be out and about the house. Especially to hang out with a tall
terrorist man like myself.
I looked around. I could see him in the crowd, scanning the promenade for her, like a budget Terminator. He was a big guy, and looked a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
My date put her hood over her head to disguise herself and clung closer to me.
We dived behind the Imax 3D 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….then he would hit you.”
My heart pounded in my chest. With unwanted adrenaline coursing through my veins, this was not the action I was hoping for. 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 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 a Weatherspoons. How I wish I was in there away from this, snuggled around a freshly microwaved Chocolate Fudge Brownie and a jug of Woo Woo.
I apologized. I wouldn’t wish a horrible brute like that on anyone. I suggested that maybe she should get the locks changed and call the police.
She seemed fairly indifferent and said ‘Yeah maybe I should.’
I bid her a quick goodbye, then quickly walked away home in case, pondering whether to join the local karate club on the way home.
A few months later, she has listened to me and decided to get the locks changed and called the police. Would you have gone on a second date. Vote below, and read what happens next!