Easter weekend was not a good weekend for sex.
I had a second date which was scuppered by my period coming early, and Abrasive Uber sent me a text that kind of ended things.
The date was with a guy who I haven’t mentioned yet. We went on our first date the week before.
I knew very little about him before the first date, because we hadn’t chatted that much. However, there was one reason I already really liked him.
We got chatting on OkCupid, the week I moved into my new flat.
He’s slightly older than me, and looked handsome in his photos. He looks like George Clooney but more handsome.
I sent him a message, complimenting a painting that was behind him, in one of his photos. Then, we got talking about moving. He had recently moved too.
He asked how I was finding it, going from living with someone else, to living alone.
I said “I’m really enjoying being undemocratic with the heating, and masturbating with the door slightly ajar.”
As I pressed send, I thought what a hilarious, sassy comment!
This is definitely a good idea.
Two minutes later, I was doubled over with regret and embarrassment.
What was I thinking!!
I imagined how I’d react if a man sent me a message about masturbation, 3 messages into the conversation.
He had been replying quickly up til then, but this time a while went past, with no reply.
I had quite liked the look of him, so I was disappointed I might have ruined things with my inappropriate joke.
Then he replied!
“Ajar? You should try it with the door wide open!”
“I’m saving that for when I really need to jazz things up.” I replied.
A few messages later, we had arranged a date.
We met on a Wednesday night, at Wimbledon. We met at the tube station, then walked to a street where the pubs were.
He looked just like his photos, and seemed nice.
As we walked down the street, I saw the trees all had fairy lights on them. For something to say, I said “I like the trees!”
He was silent for a moment, then said “mmm.”
“Are you not a fan?” I asked.
“Well, it’s not Christmas!” He said.
We chose a pub and went in. We found a table and he went to the bar to get us drinks. There seemed to be a lot of pissed, loud people on work nights out, even though it was only a Wednesday.
When we came back, I noticed he was wearing some jewellery I didn’t necessarily approve of.
We made some conversation about our jobs.
When I described working in mental health, he said his friend had problems with erectile dysfunction, which were caused by anxiety.
“Oh, OK!” I said.
It certainly made a change from the usual responses I get on dates, when I say what my job is:
- men telling me which medication they’re on, or what disorders they’ve got
- saying “are you analysing my behaviour right now?”
Then he said “so how did you decide you want to do that job?”
I said “well, I knew I wanted to work in mental health ever since I was a child, and when I learnt about CBT, when I was doing A-level Psychology, I thought that seems pretty good, I want to do that.”
He said “so you just kind of fell into it?”
“Well… no. The opposite. I wanted to do it from a young age.”
Had he not been listening?
His job was something to do with computers. He works for a massive company. I told him something I didn’t like about their website.
He said he would feed it back to their headquarters. Then it felt like we were having banter more, and felt more fun.
He had lived in London for a few years as a child, then moved to a Mediterranean country, where one of his parents is from, and spent the rest of his childhood there.
He moved back to London in his early 20s, and is in his late 30s now.
I told him the different places in the UK where I had lived. He didn’t know where any of them were.
At first I thought that was reasonably fair, although his knowledge of the country he’d been living in for over a decade was at the lower end of the spectrum.
Then I mentioned Devon, and he asked where that was, and I was a bit surprised.
Then I said my parents live in the Lake District and he said “is that in the west as well?”
“It’s in the North! YOU SHOULD KNOW WHERE THE LAKE DISTRICT IS.” I said.
I realised I was really bollocking him, but maybe we weren’t really there yet.
We talked about normal things for the rest of the evening.
Just as I was thinking I’m not sure I fancy him, actually he took my hand in his and looked at my ring in detail.
I felt much more chemistry in response to the physical contact than I was expecting.
We went our separate ways at the end of the night, and didn’t kiss.
Then, a week or so later, we met again, this time on a Saturday night.
In the day, I was really surprised when I got my period, as it was a few days early. In the afternoon, I had really bad period pains and lay on the floor groaning while I waited for the Nurofen Plus to kick in.
We met at Clapham Junction station. I was fiddling around, laboriously putting my Oyster card in my handbag when I looked up and saw him right in front of me.
He was wearing a coat with a slightly Paddington Bear vibe, which I liked.
“I like your coat!” I said.
He said he liked mine, and he was right to – I love my black and white striped coat.
“Thanks, it makes me look like a humbug.” I said.
I explained what a humbug was as we walked down the street.
He suggested we went to a rock bar he knew, and I said yes, that sounded right up my street.
He got our drinks and we found somewhere to sit. We chatted about our days and about home improvements.
It definitely felt more comfortable on the second date.
I told him about finding a box full of old diaries from when I was a teenager.
He has a daughter who is nearly a teenager, and I liked the way he talked about her.
We talked about music for a while. He likes similar music to me, but his favourite bands are a bit heavier than mine.
We talked about our friends.
He held my hands again and spent quite a lot of time looking at them and kind of stroking them. I quite liked that.
After our second drink, we talked about whether to have another drink or go somewhere else. He suggested we went back to his.
I said “we could, but there’s a menstrual barrier to… some of the things…”
He looked like he didn’t really want to hear more about the menstrual barrier, but said it would still be nice to hang out at his.
So, we got up to go. It turned out he had driven to the date so he said he could drive us back to his.
He had also driven on first date. Both times it had surprised me.
I know this really varies between countries, but in the UK, it’s really frowned upon to drive when drunk. It’s not like ‘frowned upon but everyone does it’, or seen as a fun ‘oops’ thing. It’s pretty much the only thing where I’ve heard friends contemplate reporting other friends to the police for doing it.
And it makes sense. I can’t be trusted to walk across a pub safely, without having some kind of calamity, after a few drinks, so I wouldn’t trust myself to control a machine that can kill. (Last year, after only 2 drinks, I closed my handbag and caught some tassels of a nearby table lamp in my bag, without realising. I dragged the lamp behind me until electric cord started to tug at the plug socket.)
If they’re driving, some people will have one alcoholic drink, or at a push, two and other people won’t even have one.
I grew up in the country, where there’s basically no public transport, so when we enthusiastically embraced drinking as teenagers, we would really have to plan in advance our journeys home, and get taxis or have a designated driver.
The only people who get pissed and still drive are old men who remember back when it was still acceptable to drive when trashed, and famous footballers.
So Brits don’t drink and drive. But we also can’t do anything vaguely uncomfortable and social without alcohol.
We’re constantly paralysed by awkwardness and excessive politeness and self-doubt, so the thought of going on a date, which is basically a sexy job interview, without any alcohol, brings me out in a cold sweat.
So in my experience, driving on a date is rare. Each time this guy had drunk two drinks and was probably OK to drive, but it was surprising he either set out on each time, planning to hardly drink, or to push the driving limits.
Anyway, he suggested we get some alcohol from a shop on the way to his car. I got some cider, and he said he was going to be drinking whiskey. He asked if I wanted a spirit to drink shots of, so I said vodka.
We got back to his flat.
“It’s really nice!” I said.
My flat’s nicer though I found myself thinking. When did I become so Location Location Location?!
We sat on his sofa and carried on chatting and drinking. I wasn’t totally clear why we were doing shots. As a teenager, we did shots to try and get as drunk as possible, as quickly as possible, but these days I’m usually aiming for the opposite.
We got quite drunk. I vaguely remember us talking about politics, which we seemed to agree on. However, at one point, he said something like “I think a lot of people are disappointed that Obama wasn’t more progressive, don’t they.”
He looked at me, but I was deep in thought. I was weighing up everything I think about Obama – Obamacare, not closing Guantanamo Bay, the flurry of activity at the end of his reign, how he seems now, compared to Trump – and then thinking about everything I remembered other people saying.
I said “I don’t know.”
“Ah, OK!” He said, touching my arm patronisingly.
I realised he thought I said “I don’t know” because I wasn’t interested or informed about politics.
I said “I think he did some really good diplomatic stuff with Iran that wasn’t reported that much.”
I said “tell me something about you which I don’t know.”
I think I was trying to feel a bit closer to him.
We talked a bit about past relationships.
I told him I thought he looked like George Clooney, but more handsome, and that I liked the way he seemed to have his shit together.
Before long, he kissed me. It was OK. He kept leaning in and then pausing before kissing me, with his face millimetres away from mine, which I couldn’t really see the purpose of. Also, he had the amount of stubble where it’s almost not there, but is at its most sandpapery.
His hands were really roving all over the place.
He said “it feels like you’re holding back a bit?”
I said “well, we know it can’t go anywhere, because of…”
“Oh yeah.” He said, before I had the chance to say ‘menstrual barrier’ again.
I don’t know why I wasn’t feeling it. I enjoy his company and find him attractive. I’m not totally convinced we’re on the same wavelength.
Eventually, we went to bed. He gave me some pyjamas to wear, which was sweet.
I woke up at about 5am and his hand was on my thigh.
This made me think Noooo move your hand!
I turned over, even though I was comfortable, to try and get his hand to move, but his hand followed my thigh.
I don’t know why that was my reaction. I know part of it was my period. Since blood was painfully pouring out of me, I had no interest in my vagina being used for anything else.
But I don’t think that was the full story. It was also the first day of my period on my third date with the Scot, and we didn’t care. We were both knee deep in blood by the morning and it made me like him more.
When I woke up properly, a bit later, I went to the toilet.
The night before, I had noticed that his bathroom wasn’t great, from an acoustic point of view. It seemed quite easy to hear exactly what was happening in there.
I woke up with a painfully full bladder, but I knew if I had a wee, it would be the kind of wee where you do a massive fart at the start.
So, I sat on the toilet, frantically trying to relax one sphincter enough to allow my bladder to be emptied, while keeping another absolutely clamped shut, while blood aggressively poured out from in between the two.
It felt like a weird version of trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.
With the concentration of a gynaecological Jedi, I actually managed to have a reasonably silent wee!
I came back out the bathroom.
He had made me a cup of tea while he was in there. He was sitting at his table and had left my tea on the table next to him, but for some reason I felt the need to take my cup and go and sit on his sofa, a few metres away.
My period pains were really bad, so I took some more painkillers and rested the hot mug on my stomach.
I checked my phone, and saw I had a message from Abrasive Uber, saying “I have something to ask you.”
Great timing I thought, putting the phone back in my bag.
Then, George Clooney got a bit obsessed with the fact his fridge was making a noise (the kitchen and living room were all one room).
As he faffed around, rearranging things in his fridge and neighbouring cupboard, hitting the fridge in various places, I replied to Abrasive Uber.
“That’s intriguing!” I replied.
He said “I was wondering what you saw you and I as.”
I can’t get into this now.
George Clooney managed to locate the source of the fridge noise.
After I finished my tea, we left his. He was going to see his parents for Easter Sunday lunch. He gave me a lift to Clapham Junction.
He pulled into a side street so I could get out. The kerb was one of those that is about a foot higher than the road, and I accidentally scraped his car door into it as I opened it.
He said something as I got out the car, which I didn’t hear. I assumed it was about the door-scraping, so I gave him an apologetic look and said goodbye.
It was only as I was walking away that I realised he was actually saying something about meeting up again.
I got on the train and replied to Abrasive Uber.
I felt a bit gloomy as I made another cup of tea.
The date had certainly not been bad, but not amazing.
And then, it was disappointing about Abrasive Uber. I didn’t feel too bad about it, as I wasn’t 100% convinced by him, and maybe the Friends with Benefits thing would work well for us both.
I supposed it was appropriate that I was having the mother of all periods, early, on Easter Sunday. Easter is all about rebirth and eggs, and I was contributing a menstrual egg to the occasion.
Oh well. I thought, and cracked open the Easter Egg I had bought for myself.