It’s a bitterly cold Wednesday noon at the end of February 2015. I get to Tower Hill almost an hour earlier than our date, so I scout out the area and find a coffee shop near the Dickens Inn that I’ve never been to. I don’t want to spoil The Artist on the first date despite my wanting to make a good first impression. With time to kill I go to another coffee shop close to where we are to meet and I sit thinking about her and how this date could turn out. I’m really nervous and I don’t know why, but I suspect because I sense real potential with her despite the odds being against me. I know that in her country of origin – somewhere in central Europe – people are incredibly class and status conscious and if she’s of that mindset then we’re both wasting our time. Nothing ventured, nothing gained; it’s time to go find out.
As I sit nursing my over-priced coffee, I realize that this is the best I have felt about myself in several months. Something I’ve been wondering about is did my state of depression come about because I come off a high induced by copious amounts of exciting sex with glorified strangers? There was certainly a pervasive adrenaline rush that I was operating under for several years; I think of it as a prolonged sexualized state. I stopped the sex and the cold turkey stage was my depression?
I can’t think about that now, it’s finally time to meet The Artist. I make my way over to the exit to Tower Hill Tube station where I find a good spot to see and be seen. Thumbing my phone, I’m standing sending her a text message saying that “your knight in dented and tarnished armour is at his spot” when a crowd of people come through the turnstiles. I send my message and look up, wondering if she’s a new arrival. Out of the corner of my eye I fleetingly spot someone who might be her, but I don’t stare. It is her and she comes up to me.
The first impression of The Artist is not a good one. I had been wondering if she might be overweight, but the size of her shocks me. Then I realize that she’s wearing a poncho and her arms are by her side and that makes her look bigger than what she is. Her face is pleasant enough but not nearly as pretty as in all the photos I’d seen on the internet.
I kiss her hello on both cheeks out of habit, despite reading up the previous night that in her culture that that is not the done thing, but she seems happy enough about it. I’m wearing my regular first date outfit of blue jeans, white shirt and smart blazer. Without saying a word she slips a lapel of my jacket between her fingers and I think that she tries to say that I look very smart but I suggest that we get out of the way of the crowds.
“Are we going to St Katharine Docks?” she asks.
Fuck it. I was so hoping that it would be a wonderful surprise for her. So few Londoners even know it exists because it’s right next to Tower Bridge, an area heaving in tourists all year round so locals avoid it.
“Yes,” I say, with a scowl on my face.
“I’m sorry, have I ruined your surprise?” she asks.
“You’re no fun,” I retort and we laugh.
Her laugh is nothing special, but at least she has a sense of humour. People from her country are not famous for their sense of humour. I really can’t be bothered to conjure up an alternative plan on the spot so I decide to soldier ahead with my plan. I really want to see her in surroundings familiar to me, that will make it easier to see her in context.
“How do you know about St Katharine Docks?” I ask.
“My parents brought me here on holiday when I was a teenager and we stayed in the hotel there,” she replies.
“Oh, by the way, how do you pronounce your name?” I ask, not sure if it’s the French or German pronunciation. She tells me and it’s the German version.
“Do you know how to pronounce my name,” I ask, curious as to whether she knows how because native English-speakers struggle to get it right. She says it correctly and I’m impressed. She probably asked someone at work.
As we walk to St Katharine Docks the banter between us is relaxed with a healthy tinge of nervousness at times on both our parts. She’s very smiley and chatty, but I’m still nagged by a feeling of disappointment because it looks as if she made no effort to get dressed up for this date at all. I find that a little disrespectful. In the moment I realize that it’s perhaps not an entirely bad thing because if she was drop-dead stunning I would be so intimidated that my dating behaviour might be thrown off kilter.
We settle into our seats at a table in the coffee shop that I had scouted out earlier. Banter is incessant and comfortable, consisting largely of me asking questions and her doing the talking. She does like to talk. We order coffee and a tiramisu each. Most women on a date are very reluctant to eat anything, preferring usually something neutral to drink that they can nurse for a while. As they become more comfortable in my company they relent and order something, usually because hunger has caught up with them. Not so with The Artist, oh no, she keeps talking and still manages to finish her tiramisu before me. I don’t think anybody has managed to do that before.
As we talk it becomes evident to me that we are an intellectual match for each other. We both have an interest and ability to observe people’s behaviour. We both love history and travel, both have lived in several countries and speak several languages to varying degrees of fluency.
We have many other significant things in common in that we both come from unhappy childhood homes. Her mother died when she was 22 and my father died when I was thirteen. She is also an only child; I think we might be able to understand each other in a way few others can.
I find myself talking about the same old things that I have with the dozens of other dates that I’ve been on in recent years, but today it feels different; today it feels like it really matters. Swapping our life histories feels like the natural thing to do and I find hers mildly interesting. I’m paying attention because I know already that I want to see her again. From my side I feel some chemistry, but of course I have no way of knowing what she’s feeling.
As she speaks I become more taken with her appearance. I can see the good pictures of her on her profile, so if she makes the effort she can scrub up nicely. She has pleasant green eyes that seem soft and loving. Her skin is on the milky-white side but still touched by the sun, yet there are few blemishes. I don’t think that she’s the 38 years old that she states on her profile, she looks younger, but I’m not going to say anything, but will instead see how long it takes for her to come clean with me. Her golden-blonde hair up tight in a confused bun probably adds a few years. I bet she’s beautiful with her hair hanging down, just like in her profile photo that I’ve stared at so much.
So far I’ve come across with active interest and remember to go passive disinterested on her, so I deliberately turn sideways and lean back against the window behind me. She almost instantly leans forward, keeping the distance between us the same, which tells me that she’s very comfortable with me and wants to maintain the vibe.
I can feel the sun on my back and she gets some sun on the front of her, nevertheless I realize that is on the chilly side in this coffee shop, probably from the refrigeration equipment. It surprises me then to see The Artist every few minutes taking another layer of clothing off until she is only wearing a thin vest-like top. I make a concerted effort to not let her catch me checking out her breasts; I know it comes across as lame and immature to a woman notices a man doing that. I also know from female friends and Busty Blonde that their breasts are something they are particularly cautious about.
So it surprises me further when The Artist sits back in her seat, puts her arms around the back of her seat and essentially sticks her breasts out at me. I deliberately don’t look, struggling manfully to fight Nature and keep looking her in the eye. Only when she looks away a few times do I stare at what I consider an amazing rack; I would love to fondle and kiss them. How does she not fall over when she walks? Patience; she’s either subconsciously trying to attract me or is deliberately doing this for whatever reason. I would prefer it if it was the former because that makes it more sincere and powerful.
Conversation between us twists and turns easily and naturally. It becomes evident to me that we have a very similar way of looking at matters and interpreting them. I sense that she has a gentle nature, but more importantly I come to the conclusion that she is a Good Girl and a Giver. I can trust her and I already know from her life story that I can respect her. I’m starting to sense serious relationship material here.
Its been a couple of hours now and I don’t want this quick coffee date to end any time soon, but it’s getting cold in here and these seats are uncomfortable. I didn’t want to do this on our first date for fear of spoiling her if I thought that there would be a second date, but walking over to the Dickens Inn is the obvious thing to do. Will she want to do this? It’s a big assumption to think that she’s as interested in me as I am in her, but ‘he who fears rejection never knows love’.
“I’m getting hungry. How about we go share a pizza and a drink over there?” I suggest, nodding toward the Inn, holding my breath as I await her answer.
“Yes, I am too. Sounds like a good idea,” she says without any hesitation.
Oh yes, I think she’s feeling what I’m feeling too. Her smile and eyes hint at this. I also get the feeling that she wants to touch me; I don’t know why I think this, but I do. She goes off to the ladies and I guard her belongings that she has left at the table. I sit there in a mild stupor, contemplating the hereto unimaginable in that I might have finally found The One. Stop it, I’m being stupid, it’s only been a few hours…but I can’t help feeling this way.
Upon her return I say “My turn,” but I don’t go to the ablutions and instead go settle the bill for our coffees and cakes. I steal a glance her way and she’s sitting staring out at the marina, smiling to herself. She looks happy.
I return to our table and help her get her layers back on. She seems quite at ease with me doing so, unlike some of the other women I’ve dated who didn’t have a clue what was going on or didn’t like it. The Artist is as classy as I was expecting. Good, she might appreciate some of my old-fashioned touches and in the next few hours together I’ll know for sure, not just about that, but a host of other things too.
“We need to pay,” she says.
“I’ve already taken care of it,” I respond with a wry smile.
“Oh, well then thank you,” she retorts.
“You’re welcome,” is all I say. Hmm, she has manners too; that’s good. So many of my dates haven’t had the common decency to say ‘thank you’ for anything.
We get seated in the Dickens Inn at a quiet table away from the hubbub and my regular waiter gives me a knowing wink. He’s not done that before. Does he know something I don’t?
Pizza and wine is ordered quickly, something I pay attention to wondering if she’s a ditherer. To my delight she’s decisive and orders the spiciest pizza on the menu and asks the waiter for a bottle of tabasco sauce. She likes her food spicy, which pleases me because I know it’s a sign of her being an enthusiastic lover.
We make pleasant small-talk about our travels and I ask where she wants to go to next. It’s a ploy I’ve used in the past with other dates, getting them to project forward about something positive as this makes for a pleasant date. Today my question isn’t about mind games, it’s genuine interest. The Artist rattles off a series of places that I’ve already been to, but I say nothing, pleased again that she shares an interest in similar places. I can see myself going back to these places with her, especially China, Japan and Turkey.
We lose ourselves in conversation and an idea comes to me as we finish dessert. I do my old dating trick of presenting her my spoon laden with dessert to see if she’ll play along. She has the same dessert on her plate but to my delight leans forward and with a naughty tinkle in her eye takes my spoon in her mouth.
My heart thunders as I smile.
Another idea comes to me, all my moves are coming out tonight.
“What colour are your eyes?” I ask.
“Light green,” she says.
“I can’t see. Come closer,” I respond.
She leans forward again, leaning her breasts on the table.
“I still can’t see. Closer,” I say.
The Artist smiles, I think she’s rumbled my plan, but nevertheless leans over as far as she can.
I lean forward, my lips stopping just short of hers. I look her in the eye.
She almost stands up out of her seat, her elbows on the table propping her up and our lips meet.
Her lips feel like fine strands of silk.
She has no hesitation in kissing me, that’s good. As first kisses go it’s not bad, but not as good as I would like. Maybe I’ve been spoiled in the past?
The Artist smiles and sits back in her seat, there’s a hint of a blush.
“Did you write to me hoping that I would answer?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says, with a coy smile.
The restaurant staff noisily start closing for the night and we realize that we’re the last patrons. I settle the bill while The Artist goes to the ladies. She makes a point of thanking me for paying when she returns to the table and realizes what I’ve done.
Walking back to the Tube station I stop her twice and under a clear moon above we embrace in increasingly passionate kisses. I don’t want this night to end. I want to talk more, get to know more about her, make plans for the future and walk around holding her hand. I resist the urge to extend the evening and risk spoiling it somehow. I’ve learned it’s best to end a date on a good note, leaving the woman wanting more. We say our goodbye at the Tube station, agreeing to be in touch again.
She is one of the prettiest women I have met for a date. I struggle to think of a woman I’ve met with bigger breasts than her. She is definitely my intellectual equal and we both love history. I think that she’s very sweet and has made her fair share of mistakes in relationships.
I’m disappointed by her poor dress sense for a first date; a shawl, a gilet and a poncho is not very elegant. In the grand scheme of things that’s trivial.
Can I live with her imperfections? Yes, at the moment they seem petty. Do I realistically think that I can do better than her? Possibly, but it will take a long time. Do I think I can fall in love with her? I’m inclined to say ‘yes’, but it’s only been one date.
I consider it quite an achievement to have gone on a date with her. I’ve felt a bit on the defensive the whole time since I first saw her profile because she seems a social class above me, now having met her I still feel that way. However, I want to see where things lead with her. There are two milestones in the future, the first is getting her to sleep with me and the second is to have a relationship with her. I’m pretty confident that I can bed her, but it’s too soon to say if we can have a relationship.
I am so taken with The Artist that on my train home I send a text message to someone whom I’m supposed to meet on the weekend saying that I’ve met someone else and that her and I won’t be meeting any time soon.
The Artist feels good and right, perfect even, but I’ve been here before.
Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah