Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Top Five

More snow. And completely out of the blue. Well. Out of the grey I suppose. Perhaps They knew that it was going to dump down again last night, but the first I knew of it was when I opened my curtains this morning, and swore profusely.

So. I'm doing another anecdotal post today. The theme being, "Top Five Disastrous Dates".

I have basically always been single. Well, there was one chap who stuck around for a while, and there have been a few who haven't, but I do seem to have spent more than my fair share of time on the hideous ride that is The Dating Circuit. But I think when you see this little selection of winners you'll realise why I'm content with my single status...

Aged 18, I dated a boy from the Lower Sixth. A younger man. He once referred to himself as a toy boy. Only the once though.

He was a bright boy, in a very techy sciency way. This would have been fine ... had he not talked about it. Yawnarama! In particular he was enthusiastic about one of his inventions; a cat flap which would respond to the particular meow of your own cat. It was something that he told me about on our first date. Then he mentioned it on our second date. Then on our third date. Then he told my Dad about it, and they started talking about electrical circuits.

One night, when I starting to hope that the cat flap would short circuit, we went to a party. On the way I mentally set him a challenge. If he could go the night without telling the cat flap story, I wouldn't dump him. If he couldn't, I would.

He couldn't.

I did.

Now, scroll forwards ten years. The BBC used to do programmes every six months or so called "Test The Nation". Remember them? Ann "Botox" Robinson would read out a series of questions for the watcher to answer, then score at the end of the evening. In the studio, the audience would be grouped according to their careers, and over the course of the evening, Ann's lackey would run around the studio hearing witty tales of fecklessness.

In one such quiz, one of the groups in the studio was The Rocket Scientists. Ann's boy went leaping up the steps into the audience saying "now then, someone here has a story about a cat flap ..." and there he was. It was as if time had stood still. It was the same story. I could almost sing along.

Mercifully for the sanity of women everywhere, I had a hunch that he might be single himself ...

I was at a birthday party in a local pub, and one way and another I ran into the same man a few times over the evening. We exchanged a few words, a bit of a joke, phone numbers ...

He was French. He told me that he was from Paris, and was a chef. I fair swooned with it all.

A few days later we met up for a drink, and I asked him about life in Paris. He looked at me in a slightly self-righteous way and said that he didn't really come from Paris, but from a town about 40 minutes outside Paris. He lied, he told me, because the chicks liked it. Rather more, I suppose, than confessing to coming from the French equivalent to Slough.

I decided to gloss over the blatant lies and ask him instead about being a chef.

He was not, he told me, really a chef. In fact, he hadn't really worked in France at all, and in London he worked for a prolific pub chain, putting food in microwaves and keeping an eye on the deep fat frier.

I should clarify that it wasn't that he was an unqualified button pusher from Fracknell that irked me, but that he'd told big fat pork pies (which ironically, he couldn't cook ...) Either way though, I made my excuses to leave and he offered to walk me home. I said that I would be fine, and talked him out of it. I thought.

I set off walking and, for no real reason, a short way up the road I looked over my shoulder ... and saw him duck, inefficiently, into a doorway. That's right folks ... he was following me home. I sped up. He sped up. I managed to make some ground at a couple of road crossings, and I made it to the bottom of my road about 50 yards ahead of him. As I rounded the corner, I remembered, with glee, that my car was there! That morning I'd been running horribly late, so drove to the end of the road, and there my motor was! I ran around to the passenger side, fell in, and ducked down, just in time to see him appear and look up the road, perplexed. I sat stock still, he dithered and then, realising he'd been beaten, he loafed home. To practice with his microwave.

I dabbled with internet dating. The first chap I met was almost enough to put me off the whole business. I would never have recognised him from his photo, which must have been ten years, and a comb-over earlier. But you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, so off we went to dinner.

I asked about his job. He didn't like his job.

I asked about his flat. He didn't like his flat.

I asked about his car. He didn't like his car.

I asked about his last holiday. He didn't really get away that much.

I started banging my head repeatedly against the wall. He didn't notice.

I don't really mind what your passion is - I don't have a lot of chat about many things, but I can make a bit of chat about most things. Just give me a clue, and I'll happily just be someone to bounce conversation off. Just a small inkling of something ... anything ... that we can talk about. PLEASE!

Through the fog of boredom, I heard him say something about Formula One racing. Thank the lord! I know almost nothing about F1, but by then, I was ready to milk any conversation.

I asked if he'd ever been to the British Grand Prix ... and without a hint of irony he told me that he hadn't, because he thought the traffic would be bad getting there.

CHRIST ALIVE! I was on a date with the most boring man in England! Then, he ordered the vanilla ice cream for pudding. By the time I woke up he was gone ...

My second foray into Internet dating introduced me to Ken. His parents had moved from China to London when he was a toddler. Oddly they spoke almost no English and he spoke almost no Mandarin. And I thought I struggled to talk to my parents ...

Anyway, I digress. I had typical first date angst, so when we got to the bar, I ordered a nice nerve calming glass of red, and he ordered a coke. I got a little nervous. He told me that there is some quirk of the Oriental metabolism which doesn't deal well with alcohol. I've no idea if that's true, or a strange excuse, but either way, it made it hard for me to get plastered and ramble at him, and this fact meant that we had a lovely evening and no-one was embarrassed and there was a second date.

For our second date, we went for dinner. I was typically slightly late. When I arrived, the waiter was bringing a nicely chilled bottle of chateau blanco to the table. "That's odd," I thought to myself. "Ken doesn't drink. I wonder why he ordered a whole bottle?"

He told me confidently that a glass would be fine. Fair dos. We both had a glass. Mine hardly touched the sides. His seemed a little stickier.

By the time I was tucking into my second glass, he was struggling to focus on his. By the time I finished my second glass, he had lost the power of speech. By the time I'd asked for a jug of tap water, he was slouched in his chair pointing and laughing at other diners.

We didn't stay for pudding.

The restaurant we were in was about a ten minute walk from Victoria. It took us about 45 minutes to get there, and to post him onto a train. On the way he told me that he loved me, that he wanted me to meet his mother, and inexpertly made a lunge for my left boob ... and missed.

There wasn't a third date.

I was in the pub after work with some colleagues, and they must have been boring me because I ended up talking to some bankers (stop sniggering at the back! I said "bankers") at the bar. Everyone I'd started my evening with departed and left me talking to one bloke in particular.

We rather hit it off, and by the end of the evening I'd given him my phone number on a scrap of paper we found on the floor, and had a good old fashioned snog on the way to the station. Romantic, no? (No).

He called that night as soon as he got home and we talked into the wee small hours about all sorts. We arranged to meet the following week. He said he'd call on the day and tell me what the plan was. It all seemed very promising.

But he didn't call. I heard nothing from him at all, and was a little dejected.

About a month later, one evening, my phone rang. It was him. He was sheepish. He was sorry that he'd not called. It had all been a bit tricky when his girlfriend found my number in his suit pocket and wanted to know who I was.

Yes ... I can see that would be a bit awkward. I didn't really know what to say, so I think I said something like, "erm ... I don't know what to say..." But I needn't have worried. He had it all planned.

"I've been thinking about it all a lot," he told me. "I liked you a lot, but obviously it's a bit tricky." Yeeeees. "But I've think I've worked it out." Really. "Yes. I've been thinking, and I reckon I can see you both." Um ... can you? "Yes. It'll be great." Will it now? I'm sorry, but you're going to have to talk me through this, because I think I might have missed some of the details. "Well, as I see it, everyone gets what they want." Eh? "I get to have two girls, get to have either of you whenever I want, get to see you both. It's a massive ego boost." Yes, I can see that you're lacking in confidence. And ... I'm sorry to seem selfish, but ... what do I get? "Well you get to have the great sex." Clearly.

The thing is, he was deeply sincere. He REALLY meant it. He really thought that this was a perfect solution to everyones problems, and the more I said "I'm not really sure this will work" the more he tried to convince me. In the end, the only way to get him off the phone was to say that I'd think about it. Which I suppose technically I'm still doing.

If anyone knows anyone who would be more of a catch than any of these lovely five, please, don't tell me about them, or give me their phone number. Keep it to yourself. What I'd like is a nice socially inept young man, to get to the half dozen. Social rejects phone numbers this way please!


  1. You haven't mentioned the slow burner that started and ended with a snog on the stairs. That would round it up nicely wouldn't it?


  2. Oh dear oh dear, some real charmers you seem to
    Iv never done the dating thing as I have been with MR ER since i was 19, although iv been out with my fair share of odd bods before that. Your dating tales might be a nightmare for you but it's funny for your readers :)
    I dont know any gorgeous, non wierdo men at the moment who arn't married but if i think of anyone i'l be sure to send him to London. x

  3. OMG! Makes me glad (well, kinda.... ahem) that I met hubby when I was 16. We'll be celebrating our 30th anniversary in June.

    Your stories are hilarious and are worthy of books or movies! I do hope it has a happy ending...

  4. Wow! That brings back a lot of memories of dating in London back in the day. My particular 'favourite' was the guy who drank milk all day instead of eating so that he could get drunk quicker (nice!).

  5. I had delightful date with an American university exchange guy who's idea of foreplay was to rub my wrist with his used fork at the table and say "doesn't this just turn you on?". If you have no aversion to forkplay, I'm pretty sure he's still single!

  6. Troubling. I'm sure everybody feels they have one date worse than this (arranging a date with a young lady only to find the night before that she'd had wild monkey sex with my best mate the previous year is mine - it makes for a very awkward evening) but to clock up five of this calibre would put anyone off.

    Scarier still is the thought that everyone out there has a list like this. I bet I'm on more than one.

  7. Brilliant! Sitting at work reading this and laughing so hard on the inside (in a very sympathetic way!). You write so brilliantly Tooting and your posts always make me chuckle...thanks for cheering up a slow morning at work!

  8. Zippy - I don't know what you mean. (Well, at least, I do, but I'd rather I didn't).
    ER - I'm not choosy. I'll take the weirdos!
    Maureen - thanks, but it's already been done, under my pseudonym, Bridget Jones (really ... you should meet my mother! She's the spit!)
    HF&I - He sounds like a catch. Is he Mr HF now ...?
    RH - Forkplay! HA HA HA! At least any perverts I've dated have kept their cutlery fetishes under wraps!
    MLS - I should point out that this isn't an exhaustive list. This is just the top five!
    Becky - Thanks! It is funny ... in retrospect!

  9. Nah, I ended up with the first Reading boy I dated, though we met in London. I'm sure someone has snapped him up though!


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