It’s a year to the day since I met Baltic Babe and I’m bothered by my date with The Matron last night. Was there anything in her profile and pictures that I had missed that would have alerted me to the true nature of her enormity. I go onto OKCupid to look for clues when I see a profile that had intrigued me in the past but I had not written to because she wasn’t blonde. Apparently we’re a 95% match, one of my highest.
Her profile speaks of someone my age with a similar taste in music (I’m stuck in the 80s), movies and she has travelled a fair bit. She’s pretty enough in her three photos, but the smallest one gives me cause for concern because she looks a bit older than her 39 years that she states in her profile. Just a bad photo I tell myself.
Driven by a sense of frustration I fire off an approach email to her, not really expecting a reply. I get on with analysing The Matron’s profile and come to the conclusion that I had not missed anything and that she had just flat lied about her appearance. At the end of this exercise I see that the other woman has written back. It’s lunchtime on Saturday and she’s on OKCupid? Then again, so am I, perhaps she’s had a run of bad dates too? We arrange to meet.
Could she be The One?
It’s late Sunday afternoon and I’m pleased with the speed with which we’ve agreed to meet up. Not many people are able to move as freely and quickly as me. Apparently some people have a life; I say they’re just disorganized. I’m sitting on the patio of a pub in the middle of nowhere in the English countryside that looks like it could have been used in ‘American Werewolf in London’, it’s that creepy. There’s only a retired couple inside the pub and a few bar staff. My date suggested this place because it’s close to where she lives. I didn’t mind because it’s somewhere new for me.
A text message arrives from her saying that she’ll be a few minutes late. I know what that means so I go and get a pint. Half an hour later a car arrives in a cloud of dust. She parks unnecessarily far away in the empty car park and gets out.
Is it her? I’m not entirely sure. It kind of resembles her.
Oh, fuck! Not again!
This woman also doesn’t look much like her photos! Then I remember the third photo that I was suspicious of. How old are the other two photos?!
“Sorry I’m late,” she says as I kiss her hello on a cheek, “but I remembered as I was leaving that I needed to feed my pets.”
“What do you have?” I ask, seizing the obvious conversation starter as we sit down. I like animals, you always know where you stand with an animal; with humans you can never be sure. I like dogs and I’m starting to wonder about the nature of women who like cats.
“I have three cats, two dogs and a chicken who thinks he’s human,” she says matter-of-factly before continuing. “The dogs actually belong to my ex but he hasn’t come back for them yet. It’s been more than six months now.”
“The chicken sounds like a character,” I say, playing along with this oddity.
“Yes, he likes to wait for me to come home, then jump on the front of the car and sit on the bonnet as I drive into my parking space.”
I smile, my eyes blinking furiously, I’m probably looking like a ventriloquist’s dummy.
What do you say to that? Good thing we’re not standing at the stairs outside Tower Hill Tube station and I pull my chicken joke.
“I take it you don’t live in an apartment then?” I jest.
“No, I live in a stone cottage on a big piece of land. I can’t even see my neighbours. It’s less than a mile from here,” she says.
Less than a mile away and you’re still half an hour late?!
I change the topic of conversation to a safe one that everyone enjoys: travel.
“I see on your profile that you’re a bit of a traveller. So where was your last trip to?” I ask in all innocence.
“A couple of weeks ago I went to Greenland,” she replies.
“Really? Why there?” I can’t think of a single reason to go there.
“Well, I went to be pulled along in a sled by a team of huskies,” she says with a mysterious smile.
“I get the impression that there’s something else,” I coax.
“You’re going to laugh, but I have a tickle fetish. I don’t know if fetish is the right word,” she says with a silly little laugh.
I just keep quiet, wondering what the hell I’ve got myself into now.
“When the huskies were running along at full speed, I crept forward on the sled and tickled the closest ones,” she says and looks at me with big eyes.
“And you do this why?” I have to ask.
“Because it’s fun,” she says cheerily.
“Have you done this before?”
“Yes, I’ve been to Thailand where I tickled a tiger. A proper conscious one, not one of those sleepy, sedated ones for tourists,” she says.
I think it was the expression on my face that made her take out her phone and start showing me pictures of this. Someone else was taking the photos outside a cage as she crept up to a tiger from behind and gave it a quick tickle. The photos were in slow-motion time-lapse fashion and I could see her facial expression change from mischievous delight to fearful horror as the tiger lifted its head and then it’s body, turned and lunged at her. She quickly escaped via a door.
I say nothing. I don’t have to, she’s on a roll.
“Then I went to Borneo to meet the orang utans.”
Now you and I might go all that way to see those creatures who remind me of my high school headmaster so that we can pull funny faces at them, or shake hands with them or high-five them. Not this nutcase. No, she went to tickle them. She shows me photos of her sneaking up behind an unsuspecting adult male and tickling him. He jolted upright and then stood up with a pissed off look on his face as she ran off.
I know how he feels. Maybe I should do a runner? No, I’m staying; you can’t make this shit up.
“Ah, this is my favourite,” she says, thumbing through her iPhone. Whatever next?
“Here’s the time I went to Darwin to visit a crocodile farm,” she says proudly. Surely not?
Again she shows me time-lapse sequences of her creeping up behind a big crocodile that is sunning itself with it’s mouth open. She sits on its abdomen at the rear and tickles its side. I know that the top of a croc is hard, the lower sides and under-belly is softer and fleshy in places. I don’t think that the croc felt her tickle, just the weight of her sitting on it unannounced. It spins its head around and its jaw starts slamming shut in her direction. Her face goes from childish glee to total fear in about a second. She jumps up and starts running as the croc starts turning around, intent on chasing this idiot.
I seriously need another drink now. Why can’t I meet someone normal?
“I’m getting myself a drink. What can I get you?” I ask as I stand up.
“I’ll have an Earl Grey tea, please. I don’t drink alcohol,” she says with a cheery smile.
Of course you don’t drink alcohol. Normal people do that. You don’t need a drink to do crazy shit.
I think of her as The Wild Animal Tickler. The ‘wild’ bit is apt.
I return with a pot of tea, a cup and my pint of cider. The Wild Animal Tickler – The WAT – is thumbing through her phone, giggling to herself. What would she be like if I got her drunk? Shall I spike her tea? No, there’s no need. Something tells me that there’s a whole world of kookiness still to come.
Asking The WAT about her job sets her off telling me about her demanding, stressful job in the medical industry. While she talks I take the opportunity to check her out. In her photos she has light brown hair, but today’s she’s a dark brown – her natural colour I suspect – with a hint of a few grey hairs. Nothing wrong with that, I have a few grey hairs too; it’s grey pubes that I fear. She’s slim and trim with a-cup boobies; they seem pert. Her skin has seen a lot of sun with a few blemishes on her arms and shoulders. Her throat and hands are much older than a woman of 39. I wonder how old she really is? She is quite pretty though, with expressive big brown eyes.
The WAT stops moaning about her job and at the end mentions that she was at work yesterday. I make a comment about an issue we had discussed in our exchange of emails yesterday. She stares at me blankly, having no idea what I’m talking about. My instincts tell me that something is not right here, so I fall silent, trying to figure out what it could be. After an awkward silence she speaks.
“Okay, there’s something I have to tell you,” she says.
Oh shit, now what?
“My best friend was answering my emails yesterday,” she says in a subdued tone.
“What?” is all I can say. I’m shocked.
“I was at work and I’m rubbish at writing emails, so my best friend was helping me out,” comes her explanation.
By now I’m slumped back in my seat, not feigning passive disinterest but showing active surprise. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my face easily betrays my feelings. I could never make money on the poker circuit.
“Anything else I should know?” I ask, suspecting that there’s more.
She’s leaning forward, her elbows resting on a knee and she’s thinking.
“My best friend wrote my profile. I’m not good with that sot of thing. In fact, this whole internet dating thing doesn’t sit well with me,” she says.
I’m starting to feel the same way…because of nutjobs like you!
“Anything else?” I coax, not really expecting more but just making sure.
“Yes. I’m actually forty-six, not whatever it says on my profile,” she replies.
She certainly looks good for her age, but the whole lying thing just floors me. I want to say to her, “Lady, I have serious trust issues. You can’t go doing the things you’ve done!” but I know there’s no point. She’s not The One.
Your friend must be fronting for you because you’re stark raving mad. She’s probably tired of you and this is her last roll of the dice to unload you onto someone else before she has to commit assisted suicide.
I make some more small-talk with The WAT and when I point out that it’s getting dark we decide to call it a night. I walk The WAT to her car and give her a goodbye kiss on a cheek. The next day I send her a text message of “Great to have met you. Sadly I don’t get the feeling that we’re meant for each other. I wish you the best of luck in your search.”
If I spent a night with her, I’d probably be rudely woken up by her tickling me, a cat sleeping on my clothes, a dog licking my nuts and a chicken nesting on my head. (I think the cat sitting on my clothes would be the worst bit, in case you were wondering.) Sex with her would probably be kinky and freaky. Tempting as it is to have stories to get a lifetime of free drinks with, I don’t want to be the straight character in her funny farm.
The date I have lined up for this coming Friday night with an American can only be better…surely?
LESSONS LEARNED: 1) The worst photo in a woman’s profile is what she’s likely to look like 2) Some women are not afraid to lie about their age. 3) Not all profiles are written by the person it represents; sometimes not even the emails. 4) Some women are stark raving mad. 5) OKCupid’s matching algorithm is crap.
Gnarls Barkley – Crazy