Last week I went on another first date.
I’m calling this guy CAPS LOCK GUY. Even though he wrote his messages in lower case, mainly using capitals where it was appropriate, and even though he talked at a completely appropriate volume, his whole personality felt like it should be described in CAPITAL LETTERS. I guess you could say he has a big personality.
We started chatting on OkCupid. I noticed our ‘match rating’ was 98%, so I said “what do you think the 2% is?”
He went through the questions we’d both answered, and said “I’ve found it! You won’t sleep with someone on the first date, but apparently I will!”
I said “maybe I should consider revising my answer – it’s nice when things are a nice, round number!”
He suggested meeting up that night, but I said we should chat more first.
We chatted over the next week. He is in his early thirties, a couple of years younger than me. He’s a lawyer and is from Pakistan, but has lived in London longer than I have.
It was difficult to tell how handsome he was, from his photos. He looked great in some but less so in others, and in the rest it was just hard to tell what he looked like.
He was moving house and kept sending me photos of his progress. Eventually, we arranged to meet. Part of me didn’t really want to, as I sensed we wouldn’t get on, but I went along with it.
We met on a Friday night, at a pub near London Bridge.
As I walked there from the tube, I thought God, I love this city.
He texted asking what I was wearing, so he could find me. I said my purple leather jacket and a denim dress. I asked him the same, and got this response:
I thought a) he is being very melodramatic about wearing jeans
b) is he joking about being ‘incredibly handsome’?
Then I said I was waiting outside; I was ten minutes early, but he sent several messages apologising for being late, saying his boss was being needy and “I hate being the guy who is late.”
I pointed out he wasn’t even late, I was just early, and he replied “Oh yeah! NERD!”
I was bracing myself for a personality tornado by the time he arrived.
The way he said hello was not too full-on.
He was handsome – lovely eyes, wonderful eyelashes. He was tall and slim.
We hugged, and then went inside to get some drinks. He commented on the fact we both had leather jackets on.
“Yeah, we’re like a school production of Grease.” I replied.
It was initially a bit awkward as it was hard to hear each other in the bar, but then we went outside again and stood by the river, looking at the bridge.
We talked about our jobs, and soon got onto CBT – the type of therapy I do.
He said he’d had CBT, but before I could think Fuck’s sake, I realised he didn’t want to tell me about his problems.
“I was having CBT, but my very political friends, who I really respect, said CBT is part of society’s neoliberal agenda, so I stopped going.” He said.
“Woah. Hold my drink. OK, let me tell you why you’re wrong.” I said, quickly rustling up an argument in defence of CBT.
It was nice, because he himself wasn’t criticising what I do. He seemed to agree with me and enjoy the way I talked about it.
We moved onto transgender issues, somehow. He had got into trouble with one of his friends recently; they’d been talking about a transgender woman who went on a date with a guy, and when she told him she was transgender, the guy said he didn’t want to go back with her.
CAPS LOCK GUY said he could understand the guy’s point of view, because who you’re attracted to isn’t really in your control. His friend had told him off for being transphobic.
I said I could understand his point. He said “yeah. Your genitals are not woke.”
I thought about the quick, half-arsed job I’d done epilating my bikini line the night before, and said “actually, my genitals are quite woke.”
He then said “actually, I have something I need to tell you. I’m a woman.”
“Oh, err…” I said for a second.
“I’M KIDDING.” He said.
We moved onto feminism and noted we were covering very heavy topics, but we both liked it.
After a while, we decided to go inside and get a second drink and some food.
We found a table and sat outside. He started making some physical contact, like touching my leg with his. I felt OK with this. Although he was full-on, he was fun and interesting.
We moved onto talking about ourselves, instead of social issues.
He kissed me, quite early on. I was OK with this.
He said “you’re cute and lovely, why are you single?”
I said I had bad luck with relationships. Normally I avoid talking about exes on first dates, but he asked and it kind of seemed natural, so I gave him the gist of why I broke up with Matthew.
It didn’t work out with his ex either. Apparently they decided to have an open relationship; “I was just trying to be cool,” he said.
They started having threesomes with one of his female friends. Then his girlfriend and the friend got together. Ouch.
We talked about OkCupid. He was slagging off dating apps. I thought let’s not bite the hand that feeds us.
I told him something bad that had happened to me, I can’t remember what it was, and he said “OH MY GOD” and gave me a hug.
We kissed a few more times, as the night continued. I definitely talked about myself more than he talked about himself. I kept pointing this out, and he kept saying “It’s fine, I’m more interested in you!”
We talked about a second date.
After a while, I realised I needed to go, if I was going to get the last train.
On the way to the date, I had thought OK, I haven’t had sex since May. I’m gagging for it. If he’s passable, why not shag?
And he was passable, more than – he was pretty cool, and I fancied him, but somehow I was ready to go home.
He said something low key about wanting me to come back to his. If he had been about 5% more persuasive, he could’ve talked me into it.
I don’t know what that’s about. I keep thinking about sex all the time, and then not taking the opportunity when it comes. Maybe I’m anxious about having sex with someone new.
Now I think about it, quite a few of my recent sex experiences aren’t very positive.
The last times I had sex with Matthew, last year, were fraught with stress and passive aggression. He was constantly disappointed with me for not wanting sex more. One time, we had sex which I thought was great, and I felt relieved we were back on track, but afterwards he was negative about it. The last time we did it, I didn’t want to, but I felt I had to, and it changed the felt I felt about him.
Sex with Daniel was terrifying, left me bruised, bleeding and sore, and afterwards he said my body was disappointing. Sex with Young Jaguar was fine, thankfully. Then, sex with Whippersnapper was tender, heartbreaking, but also fraught with stress, because of his BDD and STIs.
I was too drunk to remember my first shag with Mike, and the subsequent sex made me feel guilty because I was still in love with WS. The first time with the Bearded South African Man was good, but the second time made me feel mauled, and like he didn’t care enough about preventing giving me herpes.
I suppose if you throw in a bit of Catholic guilt, a history of sex being painful in the past and my ongoing bikini line battles, it’s probably not surprising my brain and hormones are pulling me in opposite directions.
We walked back to the tube together, and kissed on the way. At one point, he pushed me up against a wall in a sort of shop doorway, and kissed me quite dramatically, which was nice. I did like kissing him, but the only thing was that towards the end of each kiss, it tended to get a tiny bit slobbery. Hopefully I can meander him towards my style a bit more.
Overall, it was so much better than I was expecting. Although I think he might be a bit much for me long term, he was fun, interesting, fit and he made me feel great about myself.