It’s been more than a week since I switched off my dating profiles, but this morning I switched them on, thinking they’re like drift-nets out at sea; maybe one day someone interesting will swim into them. Well tonight something interesting did indeed happen, but not anything like what I was expecting.
The Wanderer was visiting London and I went to meet her. We had a fun, friendly evening catching up and I went back to a major train station to get a train home.
As I walk along the platform I spot a pretty blonde sitting on a scarce seat along the wall and we make eye-contact. I like the look of her but I keep walking to the far end of the platform.
A minute later she walks over and stands next to me. We’re the only two people standing so far from the growing crowd.
We make eye contact a few times, then smile suggestively to each other.
I can’t help but conclude that she deliberately came to stand next to me. There was no reason for her to do so.
People start to shuffle forward to claim a spot where they think a door will be on the train as it stops.
She moves forward and I think, sod it, I shall too.
I stand next to her.
She feels my presence and turns to me. Our eyes meet and she smiles coyly before quickly looking away.
The train arrives and we all pile on. It’s a fast train, so the next stop is half an hour away. She gets the aisle seat of a two-seater while I decide to stand near the doors as I normally do.
Everyone has their seat and the train is about to depart. She looks around, our eyes meet again…and she moves over to the window seat, cramming herself into the two-seater unnecessarily.
No, fuck it, I’m going to go sit next to her and I’ll wait for an excuse to talk to her.
I go sit next to her.
We don’t look at each other.
I keep peering out the corner of my eye for an excuse to talk to her. Nothing presents itself.
After a while she sneezes.
Here’s my chance to say, “bless you” as an ice-breaker.
After that I’ll launch into my prepared cheesy, “I know this is totally random and you’re going to laugh, but I don’t suppose you’re single?”
I can’t say it.
I can’t say a word.
Something inside me has locked up tight.
I chicken out.
I’m angry and ashamed at my cowardice.
Then I realize that that is my problem.
I’m ashamed of everything.
I’m ashamed of me. Ashamed of my life. Ashamed of my possessions. Ashamed of being unemployed.
My brain starts racing and projecting what could happen if I strike up a conversation with this cutie that might lead to a date.
I wouldn’t want her asking what I do because I have got to the point where I now fear that question.
I wouldn’t want to invite her to my home, because I’m ashamed of it.
The idea of taking her out on dates fills me with a sense of dread because I just can’t afford it.
This realization is an epiphany to me.
Not only am I not ready for love, I am also not even capable of dating at the moment.
The train gets to the first station and she stands up. God, she’s nice. Perfect-looking, in fact.
I turn my legs aside to the aisle so that she can get past. She takes her time passing me and I look up.
She’s looking down at me and she gives me a lovely smile. I watch through the misty window as she disappears into the oblivion outside.
An earlier version of me would never have let this play out like it has.
I feel like dying.
I’ve switched off all my dating profiles again.
I’m continuing to give dating a break.
This experience just reinforces my belief that the man in the mirror needs to make some changes.
Michael Jackson – Man in the mirror