I feel the need to test my hypothesis about English women being all wrong for me, so I reactivate my dating profiles which results in a flurry of activity at my keyboard. The national newspaper’s dating site reveals to me someone that I find appealing. She’s English and a psychiatrist. This could be interesting.
It’s a rainy Friday night in November as I make my way through the huddled masses of rush-hour commuters. Banter with the English Shrink has been positive and short and after only three emails she agreed to my suggestion to meet up. She lives in my county but has suggested that we meet in London after her work ends. I’ve now been unemployed since August and don’t mind a visit to London for what seems like a promising date.
The English Shrink texts me to say that’s she’s running late and I answer that I’ll grab seats for us at the bar she has suggested meeting in. I find it unusual that a woman has been so emphatic about where we meet, but I go along with it. I’m not the type to sweat the small stuff.
She eventually arrives a few minutes after 6pm and the first impression is a poor one. Her platinum-blonde hair is wild and looks as if it hasn’t seen a brush since breakfast. Her clothes are old and shabby. Her face is far more wrinkled than the solitary photo on her dating profile. Dammit! I forgot my rule about single-photo profiles!
Then she smiles.
Oh my gawd. She has almost black teeth!
She is obviously an ex-smoker. I so hope that my face doesn’t show my feelings. I’m here now, so may as well make the most of this. Who knows, it might get better.
I order her a non-alcoholic drink and we sit side by side at the bar. It’s quite casual sitting like this, not so formal and adversarial as a restaurant table would be. Maybe we’ll end up in a restaurant later? I’ve set the whole night aside for her and wonder if we might catch the same train home as we might be living next to the same trainline.
After the initial chit-chat she launches the first serious question of the evening.
“Do you feel jaded by internet dating?” she asks.
“Umh, I’m inclined to say that I am. There have been times when it has felt like hard work,” I answer truthfully, perhaps too much so.
She says nothing and looks at her drink. Shit, I must remember that I’m talking to a psychiatrist here. Memories of my only date with the German Shrink hurtle forward to the centre of my thoughts. I remember her saying that analysing people was a professional hazard in her private life. Am I being analysed now too?
“How about you?” I ask.
“Yes. I’ve also had my fair share of dates,” she says.
In that moment, for reasons still unknown to me to this day, the date died there and then. The English Shrink’s answers became shorter and her eye contact became sporadic. Conversation became laborious and the atmosphere between us became stultified. What in my mind was promising to be a fancy restaurant for dinner became a Burger King for one on the way home.
At 7pm the English Shrink’s words nearly knock me of my perch that was the bar stool.
“I’m sorry, but I have to get going. I’ve had a long day and tomorrow is another early start for me,” she says.
I’ve learned that when an English person uses those words “early start” it actually means “I would rather be home alone watching shit on television eating crap out of a cardboard container.” Fine, that’s her choice. I’m not particularly taken with her. In fact, I’m disgusted by her teeth. I don’t find her physically attractive at all, more to the contrary.
“Well, we’re both heading for the same train station now, so may I escort you?” I ask, sticking to my unappreciated gentlemanly ways.
“Uh, uh…uh…oh, okay, let’s go,” she says after suspicious hesitation.
We walk and talk as we cross soaked streets, avoiding buses and cars that might splash puddles onto us. I’m going home and I’m just being friendly and civil. I know that we’ll never see each other again and I’m fine with that. Once at the train station that serves our county I continue with my old-fashioned manners.
“May I escort you on the train until my stop?” I offer.
“Uh, uh…uh…no. There’s something else I need to do first,” she says and gives me a polite kiss on my cheek.
I’m speechless, smile a confused smile and watch as she turns away and walks out of the concourse into the darkness outside.
An English shrink could only handle an hour of a date with me. Jeez, what was that about? Am I that repulsive?
I get myself a Whopper meal and sit eating it on the train. My head is spinning, trying to make sense of what the hell just happened there. It took me longer to get to the date than what the date actually lasted for. What did I say or do that was so wrong?
Ah, it must have been my admission that I felt jaded by internet dating. Yes, that must be it. Of course, English Shrink went off extrapolating and analysing all that and must have come up with a conclusion that she didn’t like.
Stupid! There’s something else that I’ve forgotten about. She’s English! One of my reasons for going on this date was to get confirmation of my theory that English women are unsuitable for me. Well, how much more evidence do I need?
It was only when I got home did I realize something else. The date was so short because she had another date to go to! That’s why she walked back out of the station. That’s why she was hesitant about catching a train with me. That’s why she wanted to meet in London and why she specified where to meet because her next date was nearby.
By 8pm I’ve thrown myself down on my sofa. It feels like I’ve hit an all-time low with online dating. It feels like it’s been a big waste of time, energy and money. My opinion of women, English women especially, has hit rock-bottom and is digging it’s way to Siberia where it will no doubt freeze to death after being beaten to a pulp by heartless Russian female prison guards with moustaches because it had committed the heinous crime of arriving without enough money.
Flicking through television channels leads me to an interesting documentary about psychopaths. I think it’s because I’ve just had an encounter with a psychiatrist that this televisual fare appeals to me. ‘Psycho’ is a term we all use, but it’s something I know nothing about. I’ll watch this as a way to distract me from my miserable dating life.
As I sat there watching this show I slowly became cold as blood drains from my upper body. Aspects of psychopathy being detailed were uncomfortably familiar to me. Each trait identified led to a little tick-mark in my head about someone I knew!
To be continued…