The Second Policeman and the gem of a date

Last Friday night I had an absolute gem of a date. I kept smiling the next day.

It had been arranged ages ago, and I wasn’t especially enthusiastic. He is a police detective.

Part of the reason I didn’t feel that optimistic, was that I had that date with another police officer last year, who struggled to find a second topic of conversation besides his job.

Obviously not all police officers have the same personality, but there was a comment this new one made, early in our messages, about how he’d been on a Speed Awareness course that morning. He said “I was doing 26 in a 20 limit, I was lucky I wasn’t locked up.”

I found that a bit over the top and policemanly, but then a work colleague suggested he might’ve been joking.

The other reason I hadn’t felt too enthusiastic was that we hadn’t messaged each other that much. We only exchanged a handful of messages before he suggested meeting up, but I had just been on a terrible date after arranging it too quickly and didn’t want to make the same mistake, so I said “maybe we could chat just a little bit longer first?”

He said “sure :-)”.

Then we exchanged 1-2 messages a day, for a week, before he asked again and I said yes. We had messaged each other about our jobs, where we’re from and where we went to uni.

Then we had to wait until I was back from my holiday, and then for him to finish a week of night shifts.

He suggested a bar in central London. Once the details were arranged, we didn’t message each other at all.

I considered cancelling, because in the meantime, a friend from work arranged her leaving drinks for the same night.

On Friday, the day of the date, people at work kept talking about who was going to the leaving drinks. I kept saying “I’m just coming for one drink, then I’ve got a date with a policeman!”

Each time I said “with a policeman!” I realised I actually was quite excited. I read his profile again and remembered why I’d originally liked him, and noticed we were a 98% match, according to OkCupid.

Early in the evening, I was enjoying my friend’s leaving drinks, so I was pleased when The Second Policeman texted to say he was running 30 minutes late, because of an incident at work.

Then, I got confused about my timings and stayed at the pub too long. I had to drive my car home, then get the train to central London. I planned to nip into my flat and maybe get changed, have something to eat and definitely put more makeup on and clean my teeth.

However, I realised I was going to struggle to get there on time, even if I parked and ran straight to the station.

On the drive home, I texted him when I was waiting at a level crossing, saying “Can we say 8:45ish! I’m really sorry I got carried away thinking I had loads of time. Just on my way to drop my car home first.”

Then I remembered he’s a police officer and considered sending a follow-up saying “I wasn’t texting while driving” but decided against it.

Once I was on the train, I applied my Emergency Handbag Makeup and wished I had my full makeup bag. I had been to bed too late all week and I looked knackered, and my skin was terrible. My handbag concealer wasn’t cutting the mustard.

I got to Waterloo and started walking to the bar he had chosen. Initially I went the wrong way because I don’t think Google Maps is very clear sometimes. He was already there but had seemed relaxed about having to wait.

When I got there, I realised it was a bar I had walked past before – Jack’s Bar. It’s in a railway bridge arch, and I had previously noticed that it looked busy and vibrant, and there’s a seating area outside that looks nice.

I went in and shot to the toilet before trying to find him. I had needed the toilet since I left the work drinks, but there had been a queue.

When I came out of the toilets, I saw him standing at the bar.

He looked exactly like his photos. Tall and slim, blond-ish hair, nice smile. We did the slightly awkward half-hug, half-aborted kiss-on-cheek thing, and I said “I’m Dater Analysis, are you…”

I had temporarily forgotten his name. He looked unnervingly similar to the First Policeman, and their first names were very similar, so I nearly called him the wrong name.

We managed to find a table outside. It was such a lovely, sunny evening.

He’s not ACTUALLY the same guy as the First Policeman, is he? I thought, as we sat down. Have I literally been through all the men in London and gone back to the start?

Then I thought no, they definitely are two different people. They had completely different voices and this one was much taller.

I apologised for keeping him waiting.

“So, there was an incident at work?” I asked, as he’d been the first one to push back the time.

“Yeah. A stabbing.” He said earnestly.

I tried to think of a fun, sassy comment to make about that, but there wasn’t one, so I just said “oh” and nodded sadly.

Then we bonded over the seriousness of our jobs. I said “this one time, I was meeting my friend who works in TV, and I said ‘my day has been so stressful’ because someone was going to kill themselves, and he was like ‘me too!’ and I thought I bet it wasn’t as stressful as mine. But your stressful days are probably even more stressful than mine!”.

We talked about forensic mental health – the middle of the Venn diagram of our two jobs. I used to work in a hospital for people who had been sectioned after committing violent crimes. He had done some investigations connected to forensic mental health.

Quite early on, I noticed I liked his eyelashes, and then a bit later, I noticed he had very attractive hands. Both times I thought I would like something to happen with this man. 

He listened very intently and asked lots of good questions and smiled a lot at some of the things I said.

We talked about institutional racism in the police (he brought it up, not me).

“We’ve been talking about really serious stuff, haven’t we?” I said.

He agreed.

I said that normally I struggle to keep it light, after spending all day talking to my patients about things like suicide, child abuse and torture, so this was great.

“I mean, this is the stuff that’s actually interesting, isn’t it!” I said.

He said “yes!” enthusiastically.

He asked me if I still feel passionate about my job. I was like “YES! I love it! When it works, people’s lives actually get better and it’s amazing.”

He said he feels he has made less of a difference as a police detective than he was hoping. He seemed quite world-weary, like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.

I said “I was thinking on my way here, about the various interactions I’ve had with the police – which are hardly any – but the ones I have had, like being given bad news – you’re there at some of the most pivotal moments in people’s lives. And some of them are always going to be terrible, but you can make them less terrible, and that’s massive.”

He said the work he enjoyed most was working with families, where it feels like he can make the biggest difference.

After a while, we were told the garden was closing so we had to go inside, which we did.

“Well, I’m so anxious to find out the results of the Irish referendum!” I said, when we found a table inside.

We got onto politics. He was about to tell me who he votes for. I almost didn’t want to know – it was going too well.

“Bear in mind, everything hangs on this.” I said.

He laughed and said the name of a political party that was not the correct one, but not a total disaster. My heart did sink a bit though.

Then somehow we got into a debate about Ched Evans, the footballer who went to prison for raping a woman, a few years ago. When he came out of prison, there was a lot of debate when it seemed like he was going to be able to walk straight back into his previous football job.

(Some time later, there was a retrial and this time he was acquitted of the rape.)

Lots of people, including me, felt that he shouldn’t have been able to walk straight back into that job, because

  • the football community would be sending a really unhelpful message about sexual assault, especially given that the woman who accused him faced so much vitriol and abuse, that she’d had to change her identity several times
  • every patient I worked with, in that forensic mental health unit, would never be able to dream of walking back into the same job after they were released, so it felt really unfair for a footballer to be able to do that
  • being a footballer seems like a well-paid privilege that comes with responsibility, because it has billions of impressionable young fans. Certain careers, which are so closely related image and advertising seem like they should different standards, compared to normal jobs.

The Second Policeman was saying that he thought Ched Evans should have been able to have his job back, even though he hated the situation, because he had served his time, and if you believe prison is for rehabilitation, part of that is having a job, and the same rules and opportunities have to apply to everyone.

I was really pissed off at first and was rethinking my opinion about him and how the date was going.

I said things like “he hadn’t ‘served his time’, he was on licence and had only served the custodial part of his sentence.” I had literally no idea what that meant but I’d read it in a magazine.

I also kept pronouncing his name ‘Shed’ instead of ‘Ched’, for some reason.

I still think I made some good points, but he was saying that people’s outrage came from them conflating this case with their understandable feelings about low conviction rates for sexual assault and the unfair privilege that footballers have.

I realised he was actually right. I had never heard anyone making the case for Ched Evans having his job back, without vilifying the alleged victim.

I was partly angry because my former patients had such a lack of privilege in society when they left hospital, so they’d be more likely to re-offend, but that doesn’t mean it should be equally shit for everyone, it means it should be better for everyone.

I’ve been thinking about that conversation a lot since then, and I actually really like that his stance was what it was. He wasn’t being a sexual assault apologist or anything like that, he just really believed in fairness and prison being for rehabilitation.

Anyway, we agreed to move onto less controversial topics. And started talking about religion.

This actually went better, even though we didn’t have exactly the same views. There was nothing confrontational – most of the time he was just listening.

After a while, he went to get us more drinks, but then came back, saying the bar was closing but the bartender told him about another bar nearby, which was still open.

We went there – Penny’s, which was the bar of the Old Vic Theatre.

When we sat down, I referred back to the religion conversation and said “you know, you should probably feel privileged, because I don’t normally say that much about being agnostic rather than an atheist. All my friends are atheists and I usually just keep it to myself.”

He looked simultaneously perplexed and also slightly pleased with himself.

We talked about politics a lot in this bar. We disagreed on some things, but this time he came round to my point of view more, as opposed to earlier, with Ched-gate, when I’d come round to his.

Some people at a neighbouring table asked him to take a photo of them. I noticed their iPhone camera was on video mode rather than photo, but couldn’t be bothered to say anything.

We talked a lot about our friends. He asked who my close friends were and seemed really interested as I described each of them. I liked the way he talked about his friends. He has a lot of female friends, and there was one that I sensed could be a potential love rival.

He described a male friend he got to know when they needed a new housemate, and a friend of a friend moved in. He said “it was a real gift because he turned out to be great.”

Then, it got to 2am and this bar was closing.

“Well, I guess we could see if there’s anywhere still open, or… do you just want go?” He said.

“Well, I’ve been really tired all week as I haven’t slept enough, so I could definitely sleep now. But I am having a really good time, and I kind of want to stay out!” I said.

I think he looked pleased when I said that.

I found it quite exciting that it was 2am and we were going on somewhere else. I hadn’t expected that at all, and I liked the spontaneity.

He found a club in Soho and booked an Uber.

When we were in the queue, there was an American man behind us who was incredibly enthusiastic. He was saying to the bouncer “I’ve been to this bar before and it was awesome!!!! so I want to go again please!!!” and the bouncer was looking underwhelmed.

I was in the kind of mood where I find everything subtly hilarious.

We got into the club and I bought us some drinks, and then we went and sat down.

“I am loving it in here!” I said emphatically. “I loved the enthusiastic American man and bouncer in the queue, I’m loving the decor in here, did you see the barman – he was loving life – and even the music – it’s not what I’d put on at home but I’m loving it.”

The Second Policeman agreed.

“Let’s definitely talk about more lighthearted things. TV.” I said.

Most of the TV and radio he likes were serious, non-fiction things, but he did like some of the same comedies as me. We spent ages talking about Peep Show.

My leg touched his, under the table, and neither of us moved our legs away.

We talked about our hobbies. I told him I like sewing and making things, and showed a photo of my coffee table, which I covered with postage stamps, and he seemed really impressed.

“That really is very creative.” He said.

Then, that bar closed.

It was about 3.30am. We stood outside, on the pavement, and tried to decide what to do next. He got his phone out and suggested trying to find somewhere else.

“Well, I guess… would we be looking for somewhere quiet enough that we can talk and things?” I said.

He said yes.

“Well, I guess – where do you live again? One option would be to go back to yours? Because then we can carry on talking more easily than, like, in a club or whatever?”

Then he held my hand and said “yes, we could go back to mine” then kissed me.

“I mean, it would be more of a practical thing and mainly to carry on talking, I mean, there is a menstrual barrier, to some of the things.” I said. I feel I’m always telling men about my menstrual barrier.

“Of course! That’s fine.” He said.

Then he seemed to get a bit stressed out about me judging his home. He had moved a few months ago but still had quite a bit of unpacking to do.

I said I didn’t care, but if it really bothered him, we could go to mine instead. He said no, it was OK.

Then we kissed a few more times. It was really good. I noticed after each kiss, he would kind of stare at me in a pleased way.

“Stop appraising me in between kisses.” I said, but actually, it made me feel nice, like he really, properly fancied me.

14 thoughts on “The Second Policeman and the gem of a date

  1. Love those dates where you start off tired but then feel naturally energised to go on to other places.

    Independent thinking is so attractive. I grew up in an area that I guess would be described as “champagne socialist’. I find that people I grew up with tend to inherit their political views from their parents and then will align themselves to positions / causes that they feel reflect their identity, rather than ones that they have thought through critically. I love meeting people who understand the art of debate and reasoning (I may have been happier in Ancient Greece!)

    I am agnostic too and find Atheism a little perplexing – how can someone be that sure?

    This euphoric bar sounds amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: If we have sex at some future point, I think it’ll be really good | Dater Analysis

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