Romance & Love For Beginners: The First Date - The Awkward One
I'm not very good at dating. I always seem to dive in head first and demand love, happiness, full devotion and constant affection, I know that makes me sound like an insane woman from a Katherine Heigl romcom. I'm working on it. Generally casual dating is not really my thing, I need to learn to handle that better. So in an attempt to learn to play it cool I haphazardly agreed to go out for dinner with the Man from Flat 3, a 28 year old barrister (of the law kind, not Starbucks). He caught me in a moment of weakness and my mind was shouting "Test the waters! See what kinds of different guys are out there! Play the field! Beyoncé would say yes!"
On paper he was ticking a lot of boxes on my list but as you will soon see, the list is a fiendishly misleading guide for how people translate into real life.
I got to choose the restaurant (Potted Pig - one of Cardiff's best restaurants). Saturday night was agreed, the dinner reservation (presumably) made by him, I bought some fancy trousers (dogtooth cigarette from Topshop in case anyone is interested) because why not? My romantic interests in Man from Flat 3 were (and are) non existent, but I thought worse case scenario is that the conversation is awkward, but at least I know the food will be good and maybe we can strike up enough of a friendship that when I need a lightbulb fixing (not an innuendo) he can help.
Too much hope too soon.
Saturday morning, the morning of the date night. My iPhone vibrates angrily. Man from Flat 3 says he's too poor to afford taking me to dinner, and would I mind terribly if he cooked for me in his flat? I do mind. I have just spent £40 on half of an outfit (reckless in hindsight) and was considering wearing heels. I am slightly annoyed and see the red flag being hoisted. My twitter pals persist and say: "positive spin, he's being honest". I am inclined to disagree. Don't offer to take a girl out for dinner if you can't afford it maybe? Regardless, rather disheartened I hang my trousers away for a better date.
Did I cancel? No. Should I have? Probably. But if I had cancelled I would have looked like I was only after a nice dinner in The Potted Pig. Which would have been a tiny bit true. I am tempted to be 'ill'. But I'm too much of a nice person and feel guilty. So I agree, 8 o'clock and yes risotto sounds good. My friends console me and say that at least the walk of shame to my flat is short. I remained unimpressed, or amused. My friends are not comedians.
Long story short; I wore my ASOS smock dress which is covered in cats and didn't brush my hair. The risotto was undercooked in places and he'd forgotten to cut out the seeds of the butternut squash. After dessert (Tesco finest salted caramel something or other out of a plastic box) we sat on the sofa with a glass of wine and had Match of the Day on. My friends and co-workers keep saying "You have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince". Well this frog wasn't even kissed. I fled up the corridor to my flat before he could hug or kiss me goodbye.
Am I sad? Not in the slightest. I'm more annoyed because now I have to power walk past Flat 3 every day and dive into my flat before he can come out. It's also rather inconvenient as he always seems to be the one who signs for my ASOS parcels when I'm at work, and then leaves them leaning against my front door rather pointedly. He's also somehow managed to get me to agree to having a drink with him sometime. I said yes but I think that may purely be to get some writing material which seems a little mean and extortionary. I may rethink that one.
The romance lesson from this episode: don't ever go on a date with your neighbour no matter how persistent they may be. It's probably not worth it.