This had been rescheduled 4 times, because he had bronchitis which kept having resurgences.
It was starting to get on my tits a bit. He kept not fully cancelling, but getting me to officially deactivate the date.
For example (one hour before we were due to meet): “Dater Analysis, I’m coughing a lot right now. I’m still at home, but wondering if we could meet on Sun, Mon or Wed, once I am in better form. I really wanna kiss you!! If by any chance you are busy those days, I can still make it if I leave now.”
In some ways, it’s very sweet when someone does that – it makes it seem like they really are ill but really do want to see you and they’re giving you the final say.
But on the other hand, I kind of think if you’re too ill, you’re too ill and you should just cancel and not make the other person do it.
I suppose I’m wary of serial cancellers after the Whippersnapper. He would sometimes put out some pre-cancellation priming, (e.g. “I’ve had a good day thanks! except I think I might be coming down with something”) in the hope I’d deactivate the date and say “oh, we don’t have to meet if you’re ill!”
I was having none of it and would say “oh no! Anyway see you at 7pm.”
Also, after Matthew I’m wary of being manipulated so the canceller can say at a later point “but it was you who said we should reschedule it, not me!”
Because really, it’s one of those situations where you appear to have a choice but you actually don’t. If someone has said “I want to see you but I might be too ill, but I’ll still come if you want,” you can’t really say “yes, I would still like you to come please. Get up off your death bed now.”
But none of these ex dramas are the Chilean’s fault.
Anyway, he cancelled 3 times, on the day of the date, because of his cough.
I also cancelled one of the rescheduled dates because I was too hungover after going out with the Scot.
We finally went ahead and met on a Wednesday. I had suggested the bar of the Everyman Cinema at Baker Street, because it’s near Marylebone. Also, right before Christmas in central London, early evening, every bar is packed and loud, and the Everyman bar seemed more likely to be quiet enough for a decent chat.
I had mixed feelings about the date. Our first date was really, really good. We got on very well and I was really impressed by his work. We kissed and that was great too.
However, the messages in between dates (nearly 3 weeks) hadn’t been great.
He’d sent lovely messages on the way home from the date, but we hadn’t been in touch that much.
He sent some nice messages, but they were quite brief and didn’t propagate loads more chat. Our communication felt a bit staccato and stilted.
Anyway, I went along on Wednesday night. I had just bought a new skirt which I was pleased with (from Asda!).
“You have a very beautiful skirt!” He said.
“Thanks! It’s from Asda!” I replied.
He bought us some glasses of Chilean wine.
He apologised for the cancellations and told me about his bronchitis.
“You’re the first person I’ve wanted to see since being ill!” He said.
We talked about Christmas and what it’s like in Chile and other countries.
We soon got onto communism again – I had been chatting to a Romanian interpreter at work about Christmas in Romania, and she had said Easter was much bigger than Christmas there, partly because there wasn’t capitalism for so long.
We talked about our families. We talked about London and how we both love the views from Waterloo Bridge. He told me it was mainly built by women.
I said it was one of my favourite places in London, “but I do love Prince Albert Bridge too, as it’s so flamboyant.”
He said “can I give you another hug, as you like Waterloo Bridge too?”
We hugged and he said “I want to kiss you again, later.”
I said “we can work up to that.”
It’s weird because in some ways I’m not sure if I 100% fancy him, like if I look at a photo of him, I’m not sure.
But when I’m around him, I definitely feel some pheromone action and I definitely feel something in my lady area.
He asked how dating was going.
“Fine thank you.” I replied. I refused to elaborate. I don’t want to lie but don’t want to say “there’s a Scottish guy I may prefer.”
He said “I haven’t been dating anyone because of being ill.
I got second drinks for us.
He asked when my birthday is, and we realised our birthdays are only 2 weeks apart.
I was excited by this. My birthday is in March. I think a disproportionate amount of people have March birthdays, because nine months earlier it’s the summer and everyone’s parents forgot their contraception on holiday.
However, despite everybody’s birthday being in March, and every fucker’s birthday party always clashing with mine, I’ve never had a March boyfriend. My exes’ birthdays have always weirdly clustered around June or the same week in September.
Then he asked my surname. After I told him, I said “do you want to know my mother’s maiden name as well?” because he was asking the kind of questions the computer asks when you’re locked out of your internet banking.
This lead to a conversation about how surnames work in different countries; in Chile they don’t have ‘maiden names’ because women don’t change their names when they get married. Everyone has two surnames – one from their mother and one from their father. When they have children, the children take the father’s surname from each parent.
He said what our children’s surnames would be if we had children, in a joking way. I said if we got married he should take my surname because there’s something really good about my surname.
He agreed and said “I would take your surname! But I don’t know what I would bring to the relationship.” He thought for a minute and said “I’m good at making breakfast in bed.”
A bit later he asked if I want children, which would have been surprising on a normal second date, but wasn’t with him.
He said he did want kids, but didn’t feel like he absolutely had to. I said I had mixed feelings. I think being a therapist means I really pay a lot of attention when people tell me their difficult experiences. Every time someone tells me how hard it is being a parent, I take it seriously and remember it.
On the other hand, I am just an ape whose ovaries want me to replicate. Some children aren’t too annoying and it would be nice to have someone to visit me when I’m in an old people’s home.
I was ambivalent for a while, but recently one of my best friends, who’d also always been ambivalent, got pregnant. I suddenly thought fuck! if I don’t get to do this, I’m going to be gutted.
Also, my parents have made clear for a long time that they want some grandchildren in this hemisphere (my brother has children but in Australia). I always joke “you’re the ones who taught me to be responsible about contraception!” But recently it’s hit me that they won’t be around forever, and I really want to make them happy in that way while they’re still here.
The Chilean asked if I ever talked to any ex-boyfriends about having children. I told him about something that happened with Balthazar, my ex-boyfriend who died.
Once my fish tank cracked in the middle of the night and he got up at 1am and found all the fish lying the gravel. He thought they were dead and woke me up saying “something terrible’s happened.”
I ran downstairs and filled up a lunchbox with water and scooped up all the fish into the lunchbox, and they all started swimming.
They were alive!
Then we got the spare fish tank out of the loft and set that up, still half-asleep.
When that was done, and I knew the fish were safe, and I turned around to see Balthazar sitting on the stairs, with two tears running down his face.
“We can’t have children. We’d have to keep them in a drawer! I couldn’t take it if anything happened to them.”
Normally I avoid talking about my dead ex-boyfriend on dates, but both times with the Chilean, he has asked really personal questions and the conversation has made it seem appropriate. However, both times, I’ve found his reaction a bit crap and underwhelming.
On the first date he was asking all about my exes and I said “and a few years ago, I had a boyfriend who died. It was terrible.”
He said “why was it terrible?”
I said incredulously “because he died.”
He said “oh!”
I think there was some kind of language barrier issue.
I do appreciate that people find death uncomfortable and awkward and normally I’m used to it. Maybe it felt more jarring with him because he set up the impression that no topic is off limits.
Anyway, I was absolutely starving so I suggested we went for dinner. He seemed really pleased I suggested it.
We went to Pizza Express nearby. The waiter in Pizza Express asked if the Chilean was Italian and seemed to love him.
I can’t remember what we talked about in Pizza Express but it was all still going well.
When the people at the next table left, and there was no one around, he said “and do you like receiving oral sex?”
“Yes I do.” I replied, unflinching.
Then he kept saying increasingly sexual things. I don’t know why, but I had a feeling he was trying to see how much he could say and what would make me feel uncomfortable.
But maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he just felt like saying sexual things.
Then he said “now I want to touch your legs with mine” or something like that, and he stretched his legs over to my side, under the table.
I must admit, that wasn’t terribly comfortable as his shoe was digging into my ankle a bit.
We moved on to talking about something normal, then he said “and even now, even though we’re talking about this, I’m still thinking about having sex with you and picturing you naked.”
At the time I was thinking cool! whatevs! that’s fine by me and feeling flattered.
Then he was saying about how he’d been looking at my body all night and something about me being attractive. He said something like “and I really like those two moles you have on your cheekbone – one is smaller than the other…”
Again – at the time I was fine but when I look back, it makes me cringe a bit and makes me feel a bit exposed.
Then we paid – we were splitting the bill in half. My card got declined, but I managed to style it out. He paid and I said I’d pay next time or heavily implied I’d repay him in sexual favours.
We left the restaurant and walked back to Marylebone, and kissed when we were waiting to cross the road. It was a good kiss.
At Marylebone, we kissed a few more times. Really good kisses. He said “I really want to fuck you.”
“Ok cool.” I replied.
He seemed concerned about me not missing my train, but he also wanted to keep kissing me, and both things were nice.
Eventually I scampered through the ticket barriers and jogged to my platform so I didn’t miss it.
On the train, I got a text from him saying “Thanks for the lovely evening. Looking forward to giving you orgasms kissing you between your legs. Xx”
There – that’s the answer to the question “how much can he say before I feel uncomfortable?”
I definitely feel confused about how I feel about him.