Another Joe! Everyone is called Joe at the moment! There’s my flatmate Joe, More than Average Joe and now this one.
I’ll call him Joe-Kay Cupid as we met on OkCupid.
He sent me a message, so I looked at his profile. He had written something about not being able to decide which Beatles album is the best – Rubber Soul or Revolver? I replied saying I had the same dilemma.
Lots of messages went back and forth, and we arranged a date.
There was about a week between the first message and the date, so there was a nice build up and lots of anticipation.
I was looking forward to it as he seemed nice and funny from his messages, and we had lots in common. He was 35 and worked as a manager for a big company.
My only reservation was that his ex-girlfriend came up very early in our messages. We were talking about my job and he said “my ex was a nurse”. Then, when I said where I live, he said “my ex has family there.”
In Bridget Jones’ Diary, she calls it ‘Mentionitis’ – when someone keeps coming up in conversation when it’s not strictly relevant, raising warning signs.
We met at Marylebone. I pushed back the time of the date; I had dropped and smashed my phone the week before, and been without a phone for a painstaking week.
That day, a new phone arrived, but it didn’t work so I had to race to a phone shop after work, to sort it out.
It was a sunny day so I wore a sky blue maxi-dress which I really like. Flatmate Joe said it was my best date outfit yet, and made me look like a Greek Goddess.
I arrived at Marylebone, and looked for Joe-kC. At first I couldn’t see him, but then realised he was outside.
He was wearing a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and looked nice. He was also wearing that t-shirt in one of his profile pictures, so it must be a favourite.
We hugged and did the air-kiss thing.
My first impression was that he was attractive. He was about the same height as me, which I was surprised about – for some reason I had expected him to be taller- but I didn’t care.
We walked to a pub, and instantly picked up the conversation from where we’d left off in our texts – talking about mobile phones.
The conversation was easy from the start. We walked for a while because the first pub was too full, so had already had a good chat before we reached the second pub. We were talking about where we each live, and our experiences of trying to buy houses.
We sat down, and he went to get drinks.
I asked for a glass of white wine.
When he came back, he said “I only got you small glass, as I couldn’t afford a large.”
I was happy with a small glass of wine, but I found it a weird thing to say.
What did he mean he couldn’t afford a large glass of wine?
Did he only bring a certain amount of cash? Couldn’t pay on his card?
Did he try to pay by card, realise he was at his overdraft limit and ask them to tip a bit back into the bottle?
Did that mean I’d be paying for all the subsequent drinks?
I’ve realised over the years, when people say they ‘can’t afford’ something, often they mean “I don’t want to spend my money on that”. I suspected that was the case here.
It was only a small thing, so I tried to forget about it, and we carried on talking.
A few minutes later he said “I feel bad I didn’t get you a large glass now!”
Well, let’s not keep going on about it. I thought.
We started talking about OkCupid. Normally I don’t like it when people break the fourth wall and talk about dating on a date, but I enjoyed this.
He asked how I was finding it, and I said “to be honest, at first I was a bit smug, because it was going really well, but as time’s gone on I can understand why people think dating is tough.”
He laughed when I said the bit about being smug.
He said he’d only been on OkCupid for two weeks. I wondered if I was his first date.
We made fun of the common, silly things people put on their profiles. I said I didn’t like all the personality test things – the ENFP, INJT or whatever they are. He said he didn’t like “sapiosexual.”
We finished our drinks, so I said I’d get some more. We decided to have dinner, which I said I’d order while I was at the bar.
He wanted to pay for both our dinners, and spent ages rustling around his wallet. While he faffed around, there were ten pound notes, twenty pound notes emerging from his wallet, before he finally handed me a crisp twenty pound note.
Ok, so he definitely has cash on him.
I went to the bar and asked if I could order some food.
“Sorry, we stop serving at twenty to ten.” The barmaid said.
“Oh, but it’s twenty to nine now?” I asked, looking at my watch.
She thought about it and then said “Oh yeah, it’s because it’s a bank holiday this weekend.”
I nodded in incomprehension before asking for two packets of crisps.
The rest of the night went well. I felt like it was fun, we laughed a lot and the conversation flowed easily. I seemed to talk about different things to my usual first date material, which I liked.
It was after 11pm when we left, so I could get the last train home. I’d had about 5 drinks on a pretty empty stomach so I was quite tipsy.
He kissed me at the station. It was a good kiss, except his stubble was a bit scratchy.
I felt pretty happy on the way home, but my concerns were:
- Is he tight with money?
- Is he over his ex?
- Is he a bit of a cleanshirt?
I absolutely cannot stand tightness with money. My first long-term boyfriend, Rob, was terribly tight. For the first two years of our relationship, I hadn’t passed my driving test yet, and we lived in the country, where public transport is nonexistent, so he drove us everywhere. Whenever we went out for dinner, he would say “your share of the bill is “£17.50, but as I drove, can you pay £20?”
One time, when I was at Uni, I was cooking us dinner, when I realised I needed a red pepper. As I was halfway through dinner, I asked him to go to my purse and get a pound, and run to the shop for a red pepper. He came back into the kitchen saying there was no cash in my purse. I said “oh, have you got any cash on you?” He went mad at me, saying he shouldn’t have to pay for the pepper, because we were eating at my house.
One time, we were on our way home from a holiday visiting my brother in Australia, and we had two days in Malaysia. I was very emotional as I knew I wouldn’t see my brother for 18 months, plus I was jet-lagged. I burst into tears as we walked around Kuala Lumpur, and he went to get me a packet of tissues from a shop.
As he handed me the tissues, he said “they were 5 Ringt. Just give me the money whenever.”
Balthazar was the complete opposite. He was terrible with money, didn’t open his post so he didn’t know who he owed money to, but always said “what’s mine is yours” and was generous with everything he had. One Christmas, we celebrated Christmas Day in early January because we both worked shifts over Christmas.
As he was cooking our Christmas dinner, there was a knock at the door, and it was a bailiff. Balthazar hadn’t been paying his council tax. It felt like we were in a Charles Dickens book. I had to give the bailiff loads of money because Balthazar had spent all of his money on loads and loads of presents for me. It was infinitely preferable to Rob’s tightness.
So, on one hand Joe-kC wanted to pay for the dinner, but on the other hand, he didn’t want to stretch to a large glass of wine.
His ex-girlfriend came up in conversation a lot. It usually didn’t seem like the biggest stretch, when she came up, because it was always when talking about something she had a connection to. For example, we talked about working in healthcare, which I do and she also does. We talked about where I live, where she also has family. We talked about Australia, where my brother lives and Joe-kC and she spent a year (weirdly, she worked in the same hospital my brother works in!). However, he could have quietly noted the connection in his head, without saying anything.
He asked me what it’s like working for the NHS, and then spent longer telling me how his ex found it, than listening to my opinions. I kept saying “yes, yes, MY OPINION is this though…”. I would’ve been more interested in hearing what he had to say than the thoughts of someone I’ll never meet.
I’m not totally sure what I mean by this, but I think of a ‘cleanshirt’ as being someone who is a bit mainstream, or a bit of a square. Something about him made me think he might not be very alternative, or might not live life on the edge very much.
He was wearing a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt, but I wondered if he felt very rebellious for doing so.
Also, sort of related – when we were talking about healthcare, he said “In America, they have something called ‘Obamacare’.” I thought Yes, I’m familiar with Obamacare, thank you.
Anyway, overall, despite my doubts, I had a great time and was looking forward the second date, which we had already pencilled in.
When I got home, I couldn’t open my front door. The lock has always been a problem – you have to put the key in all the way, then take it out a few millimetres, exactly the right amount, while turning it very hard to the left. It keeps getting worse and worse, and it’s even more difficult after a few drinks.
We have complained to the building management company. The back door works fine, but there is only one key, and usually when I can’t open the front door, Flatmate Joe has the back door key so that’s no help. A few weeks ago, the management company came and changed the lock, but they accidentally changed the lock on the back door instead, and didn’t give anyone a copy of the new key, while ignoring the front door.
I think Flatmate Joe was away that night, so after trying to open the door for about 10 minutes (and, it turns out, twisting and permanently damaging my key in the process), I realised my only option was to buzz one of the neighbours to let me in, even though it was nearly midnight.
The next day, I said to Flatmate Joe “I felt terrible, having to buzz someone so late, when I couldn’t get in.”
Joe said “Oh no, which flat did you buzz?”
“All of them.” I replied. Drunk logic.