Disastrous second date

I remembered The Finn telling me on our first date that her favourite cuisine is Turkish, so I did research on the web and found the best Turkish restaurant in North London. I make a booking for the next night and in the evening talk to The Finn about my plan. Unfortunately she had already been to that restaurant, but I wasn’t going to make another booking elsewhere.

On the day I get there very early and kill time in a nearby busy coffee shop. Two young women are at the table next to mine. One of them, a pretty brunette, keeps looking at me. I find that flattering but I do nothing about it. I don’t think I’ll ever have so-called ‘day game’ whereby I chat up a stranger whom I find attractive. In the recesses of my brain I keep telling myself that there’s a 95% probability that she will want children. I’d be wasting my time. I ignore her flirtatious glances and coy smiles. In the past two years I’ve had this happen several times and each time I rebuff the unsolicited attention. My friends think I’m crazy for ignoring these opportunities, but I know what’s good for me. Well, I like to think so. What intrigues me is how women know that I’m single.

I meet The Finn at a nearby train station and my initial reaction upon seeing her again is positive. She is the prettiest woman I’ve seen all day. The sight of her makes my blood flow faster. I kiss her hello on each cheek which makes her almost blush, then I lead us to the restaurant.

Conversation doesn’t flow easily and naturally. On second dates you find out a lot more about a person. Well I did. She never asked a single question about me again, which made me think that she isn’t taking me seriously as boyfriend material.

A far greater issue is that it’s becoming apparent to me that, besides a mutual physical attraction, we have very little in common. For example, I asked, “So what’s your favourite kind of movie?”

“I don’t watch much television or movies. I definitely don’t watch horror films.”

“Okay, so what’s the last music concert you went to?”

After much thought she answered, “My last concert was a Nordic music festival.”

“I see. I was meaning mainstream pop music.”

After more thought and an uncomfortable silence she answered, “I can’t remember.”

“Okay, not a problem.”

I’m trying to come across as making polite small-talk, but inside I’m becoming alarmed at her seemingly having little cultural pursuits and what she is into is nothing like mine. I’m trying to not make the date sound like an interrogation, but her answers or lack thereof was making it so. Nevertheless I persevere.

“What kind of books do you read?”

“I definitely don’t read horror stories.”

Silence.

What’s a guy to do?

For the rest of the evening it felt like I was pushing an elephant up a mountain. Conversation was as dry as the Atacama Desert. Her impenetrable answers give me no idea about whether she’s a Taker or a Giver, but quite honestly, I now don’t care because she’s become boring to me. What chemistry there was is fading.

I decide to stop asking questions and let her deal with the awkward silences. It’s an old dating tactic of mine to not break the silence, to let the other person speak their mind as it reveals much. She would do so every time by starting to talk about her favourite pastime of hiking. I hate hiking.

By the time the meal ends I have come to the conclusion that we have very little in common. Our interests and pursuits are worlds apart. The question is: Do I take this as an opportunity to broaden my horizons or do I decide that we have little basis for a relationship? This was to play on my mind.

Neither of us feel like dessert as the Turkish meal we had just shared was sublime. We chose to settle the bill, which I paid despite her offering to pay her half. I sometimes wish I wasn’t such an old-fashioned gentleman, but letting the woman pay even half would spoil the experience for me.

It’s a balmy Summer’s evening and a very pleasant temperature, so we decide to go for a walk along the high street where there are many boutiques, restaurants and pubs. She seemed to have eaten at every second restaurant that we passed, which surprised me because of how skinny she was. Then I remember that she confessed to having been on many dates.

As we walked past an old-fashioned butcher, she asks me, “Do you like venison?”

“Absolutely. I like all sorts of exotic meats. How about you?”

“Yes, me too. Growing up in Finland we’d have elk after the Summer hunting season.”

“Well, my town has a monthly farmer’s market where there is a butcher who sells all sorts of meats. Would you like to visit it sometime?” I asked, hoping for an enthusiastic response which would indicate to me that she was open to growing a relationship with me.

Instead I get a stony silence.

I now got the impression that she isn’t that interested in me. After all, if the person you were interested in invited you to visit their town with an implied visit to their home, you would jump at the opportunity, right? I feel down-hearted and somewhat confused by her inaction that borders on rejection.

It was now getting late so I escort her to the nearest Tube station. In that time I decide to test her by trying to kiss her. You can tell a lot from a kiss. Maybe this will be a catalyst between us and a relationship will spark into life? We approach an escalator and I stretch my strides so that I can stand in front of her. Was it going to be like the first kiss with Baltic Babe?

I turn around and face her, a naughty smile on my face. She smiles too and I think she suspects what I was up to. I lean forward to kiss her, but don’t go all the way in, choosing instead to hold back just a little bit, waiting to see if she comes in to kiss me too. After all, I don’t want to force myself on her and I was looking for an indication of interest and attraction. If she doesn’t come in for the kiss, then I would know that I was wasting my time and for sure wouldn’t be seeing her again.

The Finn puts a dainty hand deftly on my shoulder and leans forward to kiss me. Her lips are so fine that I can barely feel them. Our lips are badly mismatched and the kiss is unappetising; a big disappointment. It is my worst first kiss ever.

Instead of the date ending on a high, it was a deflated feeling. I got an answer about the level of attraction that she felt for me, i.e. minimal. I have also never encountered such a bad kisser before. I’m learning that a bad kisser gives bad blowjobs.

I wait with her on the platform until her train arrives. Conversation is stilted. She hops on board without any hint of wanting another kiss. We smile politely and I give a perfunctory wave goodbye as the train pulls off. A part of me suspects that I might never see her lovely face again.

Fuckit, I'm going home.

Fuckit, I’m going home.

By the time I get home I’ve decided that she isn’t right for me. Despite a promising first date, this second encounter was a big let down because it became obvious that we have very little in common. Our interests are too divergent and I can’t see a basis for a relationship other than what, at best, seemed like a mutual physical attraction. If all I wanted was easy sex then I’d spend more time on her, letting matters meander to the bedroom…or my sofa after watching Californication. She is beautiful and seducing her would no doubt be a sweet experience. That’s not what I want.

I’ve learned that first dates are about pleasantries and formalities; everyone is on best behaviour. On a second date you find out if you really have anything to talk about. By the end of the third date you know if you want to keep talking. With The Finn I know that I don’t want to keep talking and it’s only been date two.

The young White Knight me would have tried to see where things could lead with the Finn, but I have enough experience, knowledge and, crucially, understanding to know that I would be trying to make love out of nothing at all. That would be foolish and I’m not that fool any more. The me that I have become, this older Grey Knight, knows what needs to be done next.

The Finn was going away for the weekend to Finland for a wedding and returned on the Monday night. That night I sent her the following message:

I’ve spent a lot of time over the weekend thinking of you.

I’m sorry to say, but I have come to the conclusion that I do not believe that we are right for each other.

We just don’t have enough common interests that we can enjoy together. I have optimistically thought that we can introduce each other to new things and broaden horizons together. However, I realistically know that that is not likely to be the case. At this stage of life we are all set in our ways to a large extent and our interests are fixed.

I hope you understand, and perhaps even agree?

You are a remarkable woman and have much to offer – and deserve much in return.

I wish you all the best in your search.

Her response arrived a few hours later:

Thank you for emailing me your thoughts rather than becoming uncontactable. 

I know what you mean by perhaps not having enough similar interests. Although we didn’t really have a chance to find out if something you like could develop an interest in me or vice versa, which has left me slightly disappointed.

Anyway, meeting you has given me hope that there are decent men out there! You are a lovely guy and I really enjoyed your company and our chats.

Good luck with your future dates. 
All the best,

This experience felt cold, icy even. This was my time of Ice. Fire was next, but I didn’t know this.

LESSONS LEARNED: 1) A profile’s words has to invoke a sense of “wow – I want to meet her”, not be just a few pretty pictures. 2) Don’t get your hopes up until after the first kiss. 3) Physical attraction is more common than a cerebral connection.

Air Supply – Making love out of nothing at all

Date #46 – The Finn

In a moment of discomfort after breaking up with Busty Blonde I go on to Plenty of Fish to see what or who was in the Dating Ocean. My usual search for an attractive woman who didn’t want children yielded a new profile. It was a single photo profile of a 40 year-old pretty blonde who, after reading her profile, I realized was not British. Her second language was “other” and her religion was Lutheran, so I surmised that she was another Eastern European.

I thought nothing more of it because single photo profiles had been disappointments to me. However, when I went on to PoF a few days later to look at her profile again, I noticed that she had viewed me too. Catfish don’t tend to view victim’s profiles because they’re too busy working over some innocent who has written to them.

“What the hell,” I thought as I wrote a short approach message. I didn’t expect to hear back, it was just a bit of naughtiness mixed with frustration that made me press “send”.

She wrote back the next day, a lengthier message than mine, telling me that she was Finnish. I answered with a little polite banter and my usual way of suggesting that we meet. She wrote back later that same night agreeing that we meet up. Game on!

The Finn’s profile spoke of a physically active woman who likes the outdoors. I have always been in danger of becoming a slouch-potato, so having someone who gets my arse out the door more often will be a good thing.

I had never met a Finnish person before, so I read up online about their social norms and customs. It appears physical contact in public is eschewed and they are famous for being quiet and introverted. That said, they are also considered the most promiscuous in the Western World. If it is written on the internet it must be true.

I have to keep an open mind. I am not of my national stereotype, so I have to proceed in the belief that neither is she. It would also be churlish to assume the moral high ground after the year that I’ve had.

Old habits die hard. I did my usual Googling routine and found her surname, so I located her LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. I only found three photos of The Finn and I like the look of her; a wholesome girl-next-door blonde.

Could she be The One?

It’s a Wednesday night in June as I stand waiting outside Tower Hill Tube station. Is The Finn going to look like her photos? Probably not. Are we going to get along? Possibly; I can talk to anybody about anything. Will we fancy each other? That would be a nice change.

I spot The Finn walking up to me and I can’t help but smile. She is very pretty and I instantly fancy her. At least the third best-looking woman I’ve dated; The Model and Krazy Girl were close to perfect. I’m keen to make love to her. She smells good too as I kiss her hello on her cheeks.

Outside the Tube station I do the chicken-wing thing. She laughs and holds on politely, but lets go at the first opportunity. By the time we’re seated at the Dickens Inn she’s warmed to me. We don’t lack for conversation and from the amount of time she spent playing with her ears and hair, I would say that she liked the look of me too.

Conversation was upbeat and positive; she was far more lively than what I expected. My expectations were based on the dour stereotypes about Finns. A bit like me, she is not like from where she comes. She had worked with several South Africans in London and I think she was positively disposed to my being South African.

We have similar emotional backgrounds in that we didn’t get along with our mothers, prefer the wide open spaces to cities and love to travel. A sense of freedom is important to us. We’re both in a position of not being too choosy about nationality. There aren’t that many of out compatriots in and around London who could be relationship material.

She also left her home country the first chance she could get. In her case she went to a Middle Eastern Kingdom for 3 years which was a financial success for her. Then she moved to the UK and had been here 11 years. I conclude that she’s very similar to me in that she’s not afraid to take big risks and see things through no matter how rough the going gets.

The more I look at her, the more I like her. I remember thinking to myself, “This is more like it!” Someone whose look pleases me, someone who, when I look at her, my spirits feel lifted. The opposite of feeling, “Nice person, shame about the face.” Shallow, perhaps, but it matters. It so matters.

She’s very trim and I can just imagine her slender body against mine, her legs and arms wrapped around me as we make the beast with two backs. She’s somewhat flat-chested, but I will happily trade in boobage in exchange for the far more valuable albeit invisible substance called “chemistry”.

There were a couple of notable negatives. First, she asked hardly any questions of me. If you’re interested in someone there are things you want to know about. Secondly, she didn’t say thank you for the meal and wine. Thirdly, she has been on various dating sites for over a year and hinted at having been on many dates. There’s either a problem somewhere or, like me, she knows what she’s looking for. The only thing that bothers me that can’t be explained away is that she has a deep voice for a woman. I checked her Adam’s apple and there’s no scar. Yes, her voice is that deep that I felt the need to do that.

I went out of my way to see her off at Kings Cross Station, where we stood at the escalators saying our goodbyes. I knew that I wanted to see her again, but didn’t want to come across as too eager, so I said, “If you’d like to see me again, send me a message.”

Her facial expression turned negative and it seemed that she didn’t know what to make of that. I didn’t want to risk her misunderstanding, for fear of losing her, so I went for it and made my intentions clear by saying, “I’d like to see you again.”

Instantly her face lit up, she half-smiled and she said, “I want to see you again too.”

I like her. I get a good vibe off her, but she seems very guarded, which I know I have to give time to resolve itself. There were times sitting at the table in the Dickens Inn when I could see the glimmer of a relationship. We’re an intellectual match, both just want to be happy and I think we fancy each other.

For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about someone.

It would be naivety in the extreme to think that seeing someone for six months will be followed by The One. I still have it in me to hope for the best, but I am so well equipped for dealing with the worst nowadays.

I suspect that she’s something of a serial dater. Whenever I’ve been on PoF, she’ll have been on too. It seems she goes on in the morning, then at lunchtime and then very late at night. I’m not entirely sure what to make of that.

As attracted as I am to her, I know from all my years of experience that I’m going to have to play it very cool with her; act nonchalant and be Passive-Disinterested. It’s going to take a lot to maintain this for several hours on a date, but I know I have to do it.

The night before our second date we swapped a few emails. Here’s how it ended.

The Finn: However, despite knowing your dark secret I’m still going out on a second date with you. What does that tell about me??

Grey Knight:
A) That you like to live dangerously…
B) You fancy me
or
C) I’m the best date you’ve had in a long time…

I can’t decide. Care to help?

The Finn: All three

With that she handed me all the power in the relationship…

Anatomy of a break-up

It’s a Sunday morning at the end of May, a perfect sun is shining and I make Busty Blonde pancakes for breakfast in bed. Afterwards, following some cute banter, she cups my face with her hands and says to me, “You know I really love you, don’t you?”

I have been dreading this moment, hoping it never comes because what could I say in response. I had been thinking about it for weeks, but haven’t come to a satisfactory response in my mind. Yes, I have grown very fond of her, yes I enjoy her company, yes there have been times when I have looked forward to seeing her…but…she’s not The One.

I think quickly and say, “Aaw, that’s so sweet. I don’t know what to say. I’ve gone all soft inside.”

That seems to please her and she doesn’t say anything in response, but just smiles lovingly at me. I feel like such a cowardly shit. To my surprise she doesn’t seem disappointed that I don’t reciprocate with the same words. I think she is just pleased to have got it out of her system. She must have been storing it up for a while. I think this because I know that that’s what I did with my last girlfriend and ex-wife. I kept it in me until I couldn’t take it any more and just had to tell them.

It’s a landmark moment…I hear a heavy clock ticking louder…our demise is now approaching fast.

It’s Monday afternoon, the next day and I just can’t do this any more. Busty Blonde is in love with me, but I don’t feel anywhere near the same. I love being with her, but I’m never going to be in love with her; I know this for sure. She doesn’t deserve this and it would be criminal of me to string her along any more than I feel I have already done. I should have ended it long ago. It’s time to do the hard but right thing.

I decide to call her to end it now, so I go over my thoughts one last time, checking them, because I know that once the words have left my lips that there’s no going back. We can never ‘try again’ because any such attempt will be compromised from the outset. Her trust in me will be damaged and the foundations of any new relationship will always be quicksand. At the slightest sign of trouble we’d be starting all over again. Neither of us would deserve such a relationship.

I phone Busty Blonde and, as gently as I know how, let her know that we had come to an end. I was expecting tears and drama, but her response exceeded what I had expected. It all came as a shocking surprise to her. Towards the end of the hour-long conversation I have a lump in my throat and I’m fighting back the tears. I know I’ve hurt her.

We say goodbye one last time and a solitary tear traces my jawline before dropping into my lap. She must be crying her beautiful blue eyes out.

And so an innocent love lay mortally wounded, slowly bleeding to death at my hand, destined to never recover. Have I committed a crime against love? Probably.

Ironic

Ironic

Over the next few days Busty Blonde sent me the following text messages:

I just can’t understand why you would do this. It seemed so good. What did I do? Why don’t you care?

I feel sick and empty. You broke my heart and took my happiness.”

I still can’t quite believe I’m never going to see you again. It hurts.

I slow down the speed of my responses and give her time to talk to other people as women are prone to doing. By comparison men withdraw into their man-cave, hiding from any sense of vulnerability until they feel it’s safe to come out and face the world again. By the following Monday she seems to have accepted my decision because the text messages stopped coming.

I don’t like hurting women, especially one as good and decent as Busty Blonde. She doesn’t deserve the pain that I have inflicted on her and I feel ashamed of my conduct. I should never have let matters get as far as they did.

I wrote earlier that I have two regrets in my life. The first was quarrelling with my father the night before he died and not reconciling. This is my second: not breaking it off with Busty Blonde sooner. That’s how bad I feel about this episode.

My personal weakness is gut-wrenchingly disappointing to me. I am capable of far better treatment of others and will endeavour to do so. However, I might never shake off the sense of shame that I carry with me that gets triggered whenever I think of Busty Blonde or something I see or hear that reminds me of her.

I am surprised by her not in the slightest seeing this coming. I’m not trying to blame her, but didn’t certain things strike her as being odd? Didn’t she think it strange that she had not met any of my friends? Didn’t she wonder why I was never making long-term plans with her? When I declined to go away on holiday with her, did that not make her stop and think about things? Did nothing make her think ‘Darling, are you going to leave me?’

Man in love

Man in love

I think our relationship was a far better experience for her than for me. She got to fall in love and have a good time in doing so. I think it commendable that she still has the capability to do that. I’m starting to wonder if I have it in me to fall in love again.

LESSONS LEARNED: 1) Age is a complicated thing and it doesn’t become easier to resolve as we progress through life. I definitely want to be with someone younger than me. 2) I need to be in awe of the woman in my life. Never for a moment do I want to wonder if I can do better. 3) Physical attraction just has to be there for me. I’ve heard it countless times that it’s the person who matters, but for me that ‘hmm-yes, anywhere, anytime’ feeling has to exist. 4) If I have my doubts, then there is no doubt. Small imperfections at the outset of a relationship easily grow in stature and take centre-stage in proceedings. 5) Love is a matter of the heart, an irresistible response, not a logical choice of what seems perfect on paper.

For a couple of weeks after breaking up with Busty Blonde I felt pretty low about myself. There was bitter taste in my mouth that wouldn’t go away. I didn’t look at a dating profile for over a week, which is some kind of record for me. I was wrapped up in a feeling of mourning that felt like a soiled riding cape, hardened in places by mud, shabby and unsightly.

Eventually I realized that I have no choice but to shake off this feeling, to keep going, to keep looking, to keep sending off approach emails that go unanswered, to keep believing that The One is out there. Somewhere out there She’s waiting for me; it just has to be so. My quest must go on, largely because failure is not an option. I feel that a life without love is not a life worth living.

I’ve now dated 45 women in the last two years. I don’t care if I have to date another 45 before I find Her.

There was no way that I could have known then that I was about to embark on what I now think of as my time of Fire and Ice.

London Grammar – Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me

Second date with The Saffa

I feel like such a treacherous bastard for having anything to do with The Saffa. Busty Blonde is blissfully ignorant of what is coming her way when I break up with her, but I find myself already going on a second date with someone else. Who and what have I become? I’m not sure any more.

I’m seeing the Saffa again because when we had our first date I had a bad cold; I wasn’t myself. People spark off each other, especially on a first date and I wasn’t on top form. I might be missing an opportunity with The Saffa. I owe it to myself and her to give it another go. There might be better chemistry the second time around.

It’s a Friday as I drive to the blot on the landscape where The Saffa is still at her friend’s stone cottage. I get a kiss hello full on the lips which makes me smile. Her eyes are on fire as she looks at me. She seems pleased to see me, but is she wanting more? That’s what strikes me as she collects her things while asking if we could go have lunch in a nearby town. I agree because I’m not keen to sit chatting in the cottage. She might be frisky, but I don’t want to lower myself into cheating physically on Busty Blonde on top of everything else. Yes, I’d like to fuck The Saffa, that physical attraction is there, but not today.

The Saffa needed to return something at a department store and after that we found a restaurant overlooking a cricket pitch. All the time over lunch conversation is flowing, but it feels a little stilted. She seems to be on her guard which I ignore for fear of wanting to exacerbate her attitude. I’m just me, not only in a hope to put her at ease, but largely because it is so much easier for me. There’s obviously something going on inside her head today. I won’t ask; I’ll let it play out.

By the time we finish dessert I realize that not once had I felt that thunderbolt moment. You might know that moment, the one in which you think and feel that the person before you is The One for you? There is a palpable lack of chemistry between us. Talking about mutual friends and identical favourite places where we hung out but never met only counts for so much. How we would work as a couple was foremost on my mind and I wasn’t seeing cause for optimism. We have strong characters each and can both be stubborn. I can foresee many splendid fights and much drama in a relationship with her. By the end of our lunch I come to the conclusion that she isn’t right for me and that I won’t be seeing her again.

Aside from the lack of chemistry there is something about her that was starting to bother me. She is tactless. I don’t mind direct, but speaking without thinking was her manner and she can easily give offence. An example of this is her saying to me as we finish dessert, “So where’s this athletic, toned body that you selected as your body type on the dating website?”

For a man of my age I’m in very good condition. I don’t look my age, with virtually no wrinkles around my eyes, not balding and I’m not sporting a beer belly. I go to the gym several times a week and think seriously about what I eat. I don’t want to end up in an early grave like my father did. Her words seem inappropriate and somewhat insulting.

My ex-girlfriend was tactless and often embarrassed me and herself in public. It was one of several negative factors that weighed heavily in that relationship and I so badly never want to be with someone like that again. I think that most men, myself included, want a woman to be the perfect lady in public, but a complete slut in private.

The Saffa’s words are laughable too because she is carrying several pounds excess weight. When last has she looked in a mirror? If I slapped her backside, it wouldn’t wobble, it would slap me back.

We walk around a market and visit some clothes shops. I like to watch a woman engaging in retail therapy because it gives me a clear idea about how she goes about making decisions. The Saffa seems given to making spontaneous, ill-considered decisions that she needs someone else’s approval for. I can just see how her and I would squabble over money. She has an irresponsible streak to her. I don’t want to live in a home littered with crap.

As we walk and talk I let her initiate the topics of conversation. I’ve learned that doing so will tell me much about what troubles and motivates a woman. What are her concerns and what she wants are clearly on show if a man just shuts up and listens carefully.

The Saffa has still not made her peace with the boyfriend who died. After bouts of banter when all other topics are exhausted, this is what she comes back to every time. I feel sad for her because of that. Could she love me, no matter what? I don’t think so. She has too much damage from her past that she either can’t shake off or won’t let go of. Her world is all about her and her broken heart.

I’m not looking for a project; someone to rehabilitate. I’m looking for the finished article, someone emotionally healthy, not someone beaten down by life’s inevitable setbacks. I also can’t decide if she’s a Giver or a Taker, so I’m learning that when undecided to not make any assumptions. However, this last point doesn’t matter because I’ve seen too many red flags.

I drive her back to the cottage where I say my goodbye after a few minutes of banter. I get the impression that she wanted me to stay longer, but I’m taking no chances. I’m not going to let myself become embroiled in a situation that would be bad for me.

It is only when I’m driving home that I revisit her insulting words: “So where’s this athletic, toned body that you selected as your body type on the dating website?” Was she hinting that she wanted to get physical with me? Yes, I think that she was. I misunderstood her, but I’m glad I did. Would I have resisted the temptation to fuck her? I’m not totally sure. I do find her attractive and smacking her backside while pulling her hair as I shag her doggy-style would be good fun.

Pull my hair!

Pull my hair!

Later that night I send The Saffa a message on Facebook. I tell her that she’s great, but not the The One for me. I lavish compliments down on her because she deserves her own happiness and, in case she was getting her hopes up about me, I tell her that we can still keep in touch but only as friends. I don’t think that the latter will happen; it’s just a platitude. She responds promptly and claims to be of the same opinion.

I feel relieved. I don’t enjoy hurting anyone and I like to think I’m getting better at removing myself from their scene.

I now need to focus on extricating myself from the doomed relationship with Busty Blonde.

I’m fully aware that she too is going to be suffering from a broken heart. I just hope that she isn’t damaged for life because of me.

A part of me wonders about the state of my own heart. After all these dates and things not working out with Busty Blonde, am I the one with the broken heart?

Rixton – Me and my broken heart

Meeting Ann St Vincent

I met someone remarkable recently. She’s a fellow blogger who calls herself Ann St Vincent. ( http://annstvincent.com/ )I’m a follower of her journey because in many ways, seen from a high level, we have been treading a similar path.

We’ve both been trying to find meaningful love while trying to make sense of what is going on around us right now. Along the way we have both discovered that the way forward lies behind us. Until we make peace with our past the future will be a repeat of a sorry old scene that always ends the same way.

I’m aware that it is an easy mistake to form an impression of someone from their blog. We’ve been trading witticisms and barbed comments on each other’s blogs for two years, so when the opportunity arose to meet her, my trusty steed couldn’t keep me away.

A cool, blustery Saturday afternoon outside a bustling Tube station was the setting for our first face-to-face encounter. I wasn’t too sure what to expect. This would either be a waste of time or the total opposite.

My initial thought upon meeting is how tall she is for a woman. I wasn’t expecting that. The vibe she exudes is positive and energetic. Her intellect was quickly on show as her rapier-like questions poured down on as if fired by a battalion of archers hiding behind the ramparts of an internet firewall.

My plan for the afternoon involved taking her to St Katharine Docks to share a convivial drink on the balcony of the Dickens Inn. I know that she has read my every post so she might appreciate the significance of the setting where the majority of my dates have happened. Alas, the public transport system wreaked havoc on my plan and we ended up only halfway there, at Piccadilly Circus to be exact, when I had to conjure up an alternative plan.

I remembered a nearby funky pub where I took The Model for our first date. The rugby World Cup was on and an important game was being shown on a huge television that other patrons worshipped. I positioned myself strategically so that I could watch the game over Ann’s shoulder. If she was a talkative bore I could make the most of it.

I don’t know what happened during that game because Ann was sparkling company. We could have talked all night about anything and everything that the rising moon overhead cared to cast it’s gaze over. I was concerned that we would degenerate into swapping unpublished details about penile playthings, but that wasn’t the case. Instead we had great banter that made our time together fly by.

When I inevitably and sadly escorted Ann back to her lodgings for the night I got the feeling that she didn’t want to say goodbye. We fumbled our parting, but I know that we’ll see each other again.

Even after spending the time with her as I did, it still isn’t clear to me how her story will play out. Perhaps like mine?

What I do know for sure is that anybody who counts Ann as a friend should consider themselves lucky.

Claude Debussy : Clair de Lune

Date #45 – The Imposter

She appeared as my top match on OKCupid when I went onto that site just to see what’s changed. I was also wondering if I said goodbye to Busty Blonde what my prospects were. I immediately liked the look of this new woman, she was just my type: blonde hair and blue eyes. Her photos were of an elegant, sophisticated lady and her narrative echoed this. We were a 98% match but when I read some of her answers to the hundreds of questions she had answered I came away with the impression that we would get on each other’s nerves as we had polar opposite views on several important things. She also seemed undecided about wanting a child.

Shaking my head in disbelief I sent her a quick message saying that I had lost faith in OKCupid’s algorithm and that by the end of the first date she would want to claw my eyes out and I would want to delete my account. She wrote back with a cute reply and quick-fire banter commenced. She was Slovakian and worked in academia at one of London’s many universities.

For several weeks we sent each other a weekly feisty and humorous riposte. After a month of this banter we had descended into bemoaning our dating experiences and sharing other insights about our lives. It started to look like we had more in common than I first thought. Of course I felt pangs of guilt about doing this while still seeing Busty Blonde, but I knew in my heart that she wasn’t right for me

One Monday night the Slovakian and I swapped about a dozen messages and hers were much more lengthy than mine. This told me that she was more into me than I was into her. I was still curious about her and decided to suggest that we meet for a coffee one lunchtime. Before I knew it she suggested that we meet for dinner that Thursday night.

Could this Slovakian academic be The One?

I am quite excited about meeting this Slovakian. If she’s anything like The Fitness Freak then she’ll be good fun. I’m expecting the same kind of intensity as I felt with Baltic Babe because she seems highly intelligent. I am also being realistic in that she might want a child, so there’s no real prospect of a relationship, but I just have to meet her.

So why am I going to meet her? Largely out of curiosity and to see what I might be missing out on by way of attraction. There have been times lately too when I’ve been out in public and seen cute little girls. No not women that I want to bed, I’m talking about little toddlers with their hair up in knots, gurgling laughs and happy smiles. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have one of those in my life. Is my insistence on avoiding parenthood coming with too heavy a price?

I think it’s because I’ve been writing about Baltic Babe lately that my train of thought has wondered over to that topic. Despite that, the question remains: would my life be better if I had people in my life whom I loved? If so, for how long? How long would the woman love me for until the stresses and strains of parenthood tore us apart? How long before I became bored and felt trapped by the routine that children require?

It is my first new date in London in over 5 months. It feels like I haven’t been dating for ages. Yes, meeting The Saffa last week was a date, but it didn’t really feel like it because of it being in a cottage. I feel as guilty as hell for doing this without having broken up with Busty Blonde first. I convince myself that I’m letting her down gently by not springing a horrendous surprise on her. It’s easy to believe your own bullshit.

It’s Thursday evening and I’m standing outside Tower Hill Tube station with butterflies galloping around in my stomach. It’s the middle of May and it’s a balmy evening. Some pretty young things are already wearing short skirts and swaying their hips. Is it the week before their period, the time when a woman sways her hips the most?

Suddenly a woman with brown hair and green eyes comes up to me and calls me by my name. She tells me hers.

What the fuck?! This is my date?!

I’m expecting blonde hair and blue eyes. What’s going on here?

She also has lots of wrinkles that aren’t there in the photos on her dating profile. She’s definitely not thirty-seven years old as she claims in her profile; she’s at least forty-two, perhaps even older. Much of that can be explained away but the fact remains that she doesn’t have blue eyes. Who is this person?

Surely there’s been a mistake somewhere? What have I missed here?

Then it dawns on me: I’m dealing with an imposter. Someone is standing in for a friend or, like with the Wild Animal Tickler, someone else has been handling her dating profile.

Deceit kills it for me, instantly, no matter how small. If somebody is weak enough to lie about small things, they’ll definitely be weak enough to lie about big things. This woman – whoever she might be – is not for me.

What should I do? Should I just end the date now and walk away? Should I confront her and ask about the obvious? Or should I play along with this and see what happens?

I opt for the latter choice. I think it was that famous psychopath, Nicolo Machiavelli, who wrote “it is a double pleasure to deceive a deceiver”. I’m going with that approach on this date. I’m keeping my best poker face on.

What is this woman hoping to achieve here? What’s her motivation? Is she standing in for a friend who chickened out? Does she need dating practise? Is she horny and hoping to get laid tonight? I now think of her as The Imposter.

I smile and offer her my arm when we’re at the stairs that lead down to St Katharine Dock. My customary “Do you like chicken? Take a wing,” I think is lost in translation and falls flat. At The Dickens Inn my favourite waiter finds us a table on the balcony. We have the perfect view over the marina, but all I want is a view of The Imposter’s brain. I want to get inside that; I need to find a way. I have no interest in availing myself of any of her orifices, even if she offers them to me. She’s too skinny for my liking; I like some cushion for the pushin’.

My demeanour is relaxed and passive-disinterested, because that’s exactly what I feel about her: disinterested. Our chit-chat is civil and positive, but it feels like I’m swimming with a shark. I can’t let my guard down, I have to focus. I don’t care what she thinks of me, but for some reason I’m still inclined to pay attention because there might be some opportunity to come out of this farce.

I convince her to try some South African chenin blanc. On my other dates wine has had the effect of calming a nervous date down, loosening her lips and occasionally loosening the lips between her legs. Let’s see what happens.

Ordering food turns into a painful chore. What is it with Eastern European women and their fussy eating habits? The waiter gives me an annoyed expression as she asks yet another question about the ingredients of a dish on the menu. Does his look say, “No mate, she’s not the one for you,”?

The Imposter is in essence allergic to food, so that’s a big no-no to me. Basics shouldn’t be so difficult. Food should be fun, not a problem, especially as I like to cook for my woman. I’m learning that if a woman is fussy about food, she’s bloody fussy about everything. I’m developing an allergy to high-maintenance women.

About halfway through the meal The Imposter confesses that she has lied about her age on her profile. I feign shock and disapproval, then wind her up about it by saying that I find that trust is badly damaged by people telling lies on their dating profiles. Then I give her my naughtiest boyish smile. She seems to appreciate my sense of humour.

“Tell me something. Do you think that I look like my photographs?” she asks.

Is she playing games now? Obviously she doesn’t. Is she testing my honesty?

“I was expecting you to be blonde,” is my reply. The matter of the blue eyes remains unspoken. Why bother?

The Imposter laughs to herself and takes another sip of the wine. Does alcohol make her more confident, more brazen? She says nothing more about this and resumes hiding behind her own poker face.

We talk some more about our jobs. I should have known better. Very few of the women I’ve dated have said anything good about their jobs. It’s an instant downer topic of conversation. The Imposter almost slumps into a depressed stupor as she finishes telling me about her daily grind that finances her ability to live in an over-priced shoebox in a dodgy part of London.

I change tack and start talking about something we had discussed via email: starting our own business. I’ve started and built several businesses over the years. I know what’s involved and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. The Imposter starts telling me of her ill-conceived plan and I can’t help but offer some tips and advice. She rebuffs my contribution and is adamant that her airy-fairy ideas will work. She is quite uptight and rigid-minded. My freedom of spirit and unconventional thinking is probably uncomfortable for her.

To avoid an unnecessary argument I move the conversation onto other topics we’ve discussed before meeting tonight. She bats her eyelids at me, obviously nonplussed by my words. After prompts from me about several things we had exchanged emails about the conversation finally dies. Ah, there’s confirmation that she wasn’t the recipient of my emails.

The Imposter looks at me sheepishly. I think she realizes that she’s been rumbled. I give her a stern look, largely in an attempt to let her know that I don’t approve but also to let her know that the date is coming to an end.

I don’t care what she’s up to, this is just a waste of my time. Yes, I’d like to know what was going on from her side, but I just won’t believe anything she tells me. She foregoes having dessert because it might change the colour of her belly-button fluff, or something frivolous like that.

I stupidly pay for the meal; I just can’t stop being a gentleman. We’re both heading in the same direction so I stay on the same Tube line as her until I need to get off.

“It was nice to meet you,” is all I say as I get off the train. She doesn’t deserve more than that.

Looking past the deception was the evening positive in any way? No it wasn’t. It’s one of my worst dates ever. If she initially came clean and then we had great chemistry, then perhaps something might have come of it. However, I didn’t fancy her and there was no chemistry.

Her and her friend are obviously single for a reason. I now know what they’re about. They’re scheming, deceitful, manipulative bitches. I have no time for women like that.

I now also have no faith in OKCupid’s algorithm. I now call that site ‘OKStoopid’.

My curiosity was satisfied though. It seems that the pickings on the dating sites are slim and just a different flavour of the same old shit scene that I was wading through last year. Do I really have cause for optimism once I’ve dumped Busty Blonde? No.

On the train home it hits me. I deserved this date. I’m the deceitful one. I’m out dating women before having broken up with Busty Blonde. I need to do something about that and soon. Until then I’ll continue to wear my poker face.

Tomorrow I’m meeting The Saffa for our second date…

Lady GaGa – Poker Face