As I am encouraging you all to share your online dating nightmares or hilarious tales for a new podcast project, I feel it is only fair to share mine. You show me yours and I will show you mine.
Following my big move to London, the opening few months mostly consisted of settling in to a new job, trying desperately to find somewhere to live and drinking far too much alcohol in the sun. London gets proper tropical summers. And you can drink in public places. I became far too accustomed to purchasing a can of Heineken on my walk from the train station, following my after work drinks in a beer garden in London.
I sound like a character in Sex & The City. What is the name of the chubby Irish one?
At this point in my Tinder career, I was mostly swiping and then cowering behind my couch, unsure what to say to every match. In my defence, I literally had NO time to pretend to be interested in what they have to say, let alone meet up with them. The time came when I had…...well, time. So, it was time to put these apps to the test. Around this time, I matched up with a fairly incredible young lady. Very out of my league. Thankfully she was not as shallow as I was and agreed to go out with me. She suggested dinner. Which I thought was weird. Pretty much all of my dates that I have ever gone on, at the beginning anyway, just involved consuming a tonne of alcohol followed by poor choices.
I know many, many bars in London town but very few places to eat. Christ, I am really painting myself out as an alcoholic but look, it is what it is. I think going on a first date for dinner is a disastrous idea. It is too adult for me. Yes, I am almost 30 but…..it is what it is. We matched on a hungover Sunday (when I do most of my swiping) and agreed to grab food on the Wednesday. She was efficient. She lived and worked out of the city so we went to Highbury & Islington as it was a midpoint. H&I is a lovely part of the world and I know it slightly better than other parts of the world, so I did not get too lost when trying to find the restaurant.
I obviously still got lost though. Just less so.
I tend to be 15-20 minutes early for everything I ever do in London. Sorry, that is a complete lie. I INTEND to be 15-20 minutes early for everything, and I should be, but usually involves me desperately running somewhere and pondering about what life would be like if I wasn’t so stupid. I always leave at the right time to get to my final destination but something will happen en route. Without fail. Unfortunately, these events are almost certainly my fault.
A personal favourite is when I organised date down the road from my house. Perfect. How convenient. I left the office and headed home, to get changed before meeting my date. This is so convenient. I get the tube home everyday from work, so nothing can go wrong? For some absolutely bizarre and unexplainable reason, despite doing this journey 5 days a week, I got on the tube going in the wrong direction.
Like, why? I sat on the tube and saw “Pimlico” pop up as the next station.
“That’s weird. I could have sworn Pimlico was the opposite direction.”
I was correct. Well, I got on the wrong tube like a moron, but I was spot on with my discovery that I was on the wrong tube.
Anyway, back to our date.
Naturally I lied about knowing loads of places and asked our date to choose what type of food she wants. Asian was the choice. Perfect. I love Asian food. I jumped onto DoneDeal or some bargain website and spotted that there was a Teppanyaki place that was doing 20% off.
I had never done Teppanyaki and that is so cool and hip and different. And I am so cool and hip and different. There was literally no way that she wouldn’t fall in love with me after this. For those who don’t know, Teppanyaki is when you sit around a table and they cook the food in front of you. This is a super date idea. But an absolutely atrocious first Tinder date.
We sat down and the first question asked was;
“Are you guys a couple?”
Obviously, we are not a couple. So I do not know why this shit is awkward, but it is. I mumbled something and thankfully, the chef was aware of the uncomfortable situation that was developing. We sat and had a really great date. She was very funny and more importantly, she found me funny. This, unfortunately, is very important to me. How sad. I fear writing about my dating experiences is merely going to highlight how insane I am.
The date was great. Few glasses of wine and plenty of chats. There was no awkward silences or anything. It was the best date I had in a while. Great success. And she was gorgeous. And I am shallow. Great success.
However, what happened next was to shock me. I asked for the bill and it came out. This was no shock. As the waiter placed the bill down on the table, she stood up.
“I am just going to pop to the toilet”
OMG! The oldest trick in the book. I was trying to work out whether she innocently needed to tinkle right as the bill came out or whether, what was actually happening was happening. Disastrously, even with 20% off, the bill still came to £70. Bloody hell. I am the worst like this on dates. Thinking that I am a baller, spending a tonne of money and then secretly stewing in self hatred for the rest of the month until payday.
I paid the bill and shock horror, our date returned. I was a bit put off by that. Even allow me the opportunity to offer to pay for it. To be fair to her, I definitely would not have offered. I am happy to pay for dinner but I feel on a first date, and via the internet is a bit much.
Brian, your cheapness is showing.
We vacated the restaurant and walked towards her car. Oh, she drove. She did not drink more than the legal limit, so put down the phone, nark.
Post smooch, we hopped in her car and she dropped me down the road. I shouldn’t have gotten in the car as in order to get my bus, I needed to only cross the road, so I ended up getting dropped 4 seconds down the road before walking back in the direction I came from to get the bus.
An expensive but relative success.
However, it was date 2 where everything went mental. Following our solid opening date, we opted to walk around a few markets on East London. A day date. A refreshing change to my usual dating experiences. Too much alcohol and too much bad choices.
We pottered around East London and checked out a variety of different markets. We had mulled wine. It was all very lovely and very chilled. She suggested that we go get food, my heart began to race. What if she did it again?!
Like a champ, she split the bill. I was due to head back to my housemates birthday which was happening in the house so our date was winding down. The date was very keen to keep hanging out, so we went to a bar mid way from my house and hers. We had a few more drinks and had plenty of great chats. However, the time came for me to go. I had to head back to my housemates thing. I didn’t know a tonne of his friends so I offered her to come back and join. She agreed but said;
“We will go after one more drink. It’s my round anyway”
Be still, my beating heart.
She came back to the table and began telling a story. It was mid way through this story that I realised that she was completely hammered. Like, not making any sense. I don’t know what she had in that sup of wine but it seemed powerful as f**k. I suggested that she goes back to hers and I will go to the party. I was not that keen on bringing a crazy wasted Tinder date back to a party where I don’t know many people. Not a great look. In fact, it is a very creepy look. She insisted on coming back to the party. Not a whole lot I could do but she was super fun and party’s are fun so it should be fun.
So we come back to our house and she wants to drop her stuff up to my room. She is stumbling all over the place. So, like the absolutely legendary gentleman that I am, I grabbed a tonne of water and tried to give it to her. She wanted wine and not water. I suggested that maybe water would be better than wine, as she has drank a lot of wine and is struggling to stand up straight. I should have known that telling a drunk woman that she is too drunk, is like waving red in front of a bull.
Our date then started picking up my shoes and throwing them at me. It was confusing and mildly painful. Thankfully I do not have that many shoes so she eventually ran out of her bullets. Like a true psychopath, she started laughing and came over to hug me, apologising. Dodging a variety of shoes appeared to sober me up and I was eager to get the date out of the house so I could enjoy my night. Oh, in the shoe fight, she knocked over the water that I brought up. She requested another water. But she was being sweet and not psychopathic and I sort of had to do what she said in case she threw a TV at me or something.
I went down to get water and spoke to some of our guests. I explained that I had a super drunk girl from Tinder in my room and that I am not a rapist. I went back up into my room, and she was gone. Confused, I popped my head into other bedrooms to see if she was there. Alas, no where to be seen. Concerned and secretly relieved, I wonder where she is. I find her in the living room, talking to two other girls and drinking a bottle of red wine.
Who are the girls?
Where did she get the wine?
None of these things were important. She was grand and I could go and socialise. I crack open a beer and chat away with some people there. Suddenly, I see my housemate waving at me frantically.
“She is on the move!” - he mouths.
Godamnit. Christ, almighty. I head out of the kitchen and see our date trying to make her way out of the house. She was struggling. I offer to walk her to the train station. We walk to the station and she asks if I will get to the train with her to Camden and she can get home from then. I pretend to be fine with that decision and we jump on the train. The poor girl is so bloody wasted at this point and turns into a horny toddler. I will not go into graphics but she put a malteser into my ear and then sucked it out. I was making eye contact with an elderly Carribbean woman sitting opposite me. She looked disgusted. I mouthed “sorry” and tried to occupy the drunkard. I tried my best to sit still and ignore her.
At this stage, I am fairly fed up and eager to get away from her and return to the party. We arrive at Camden, she needs to change to her train and I will head back. She is, obviously, still wasted and she asks can I go slightly further with her to her home. She lived in Barnet. Now, I asked how long Barnet was away and she said it wasn’t long. And I foolishly believed her.
We continued our epic journey back to bloody Barnet. I am completely stone sobre now and fairly fed up. She has passed out asleep at this stage. Drooling on my jacket. That can be cute and adorable. After the evening that we had, it was not cute nor adorable. We finally bloody arrive at some station near Barnet, Narnia, I believe. I still have plenty of time to head back to the party so I give her a little kiss and run back to jump on the train back to society.
I stop in my tracks. Turn around praying that she is just saying “Goodnight!”. If you are screaming at the computer and encouraging me to go to hers and do the deed, I cannot stress how drunk she was and how eager I was to go back to the party. There was a gang of youths standing near the station and she asked if I could walk her home. Again, I fear this is sounding like she wants to seduce me. But I promise you, she isn’t. She claims that she lives near the station and despite her telling me that Barnet is near Camden, I believe her.
In her defence, in the grand scheme of geography and in comparison to Camden and Barnet, she did live close to the station. About 15 minutes or so. I drop her to her door and run off. Despite all these delays, I still had more than enough time to catch the last train back. Or so I thought.
It seems the Northern Line from Barnet or Timbooktoo or wherever the hell I was, stops running earlier than other lines. Absolute disaster. I quickly check Citymapper to see how long it would take me to get home. 7 weeks and 4 thousand buses. Obviously not, but it was ages. I think close to three hours (because I am using night buses also). Just an absolute ‘mare. It would have cost a fortune in a taxi. So, this was my life. I was going to need to set up a new life in Barnet. I phone the date and ask does she mind if I sleep on her couch. She acts weird and almost as if I am being some creepy dude who planned all of this as a way to sleep in her house. But I was stuck. At this point, I felt only resentment towards her, so did not mind pissing her off.
She was super nice and lovely when I got there and offered me some wine. Maybe this won’t be so bad. She passed out asleep fairly soon after and I was left, drinking wine, watching Couples Retreat, in Barnet.
Couples Retreat is a f**king terrible film.
I did not see her again.