The Man Marathon


Posted by in March's Magazine

Jeez, am I glad that month’s over. I’ve been on what seems like a gazillion dates and I barely had time to catch my breath. As I’d only signed up for one month’s membership to the online dating thing, I figured it made sense to cram in as many as possible. But inevitably what started out as a little fun turned into a seemingly endless task.

When I left you last month, I’d just been approached with the strange chat-up line: Selleck, Guttenberg or Danson? You might recognise that dramatic trio as the stellar line-up from 3 Men and a Baby. The fact that ‘Tusk’ had chosen this as his opening gambit – as well as a username inspired by a Fleetwood Mac album – immediately appealed to my obsession with all things 80s. But what was the right answer? Deciding Selleck was too obvious and Danson too oddball, I replied with confidence, “Guttenberg, of course.” As luck would have it, I was right and it seems my reward was a date.

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I had high hopes for Tusk. He might not have been my usual tortured artist type (in fact, he was a London bobby!) but his photographs looked promising, his chat was entertaining and we seemed to have a few things in common. Unfortunately the moment I laid eyes on him I knew none of that mattered. I didn’t find him remotely attractive and no amount of red wine seemed to be able to change that. Dammit.

When he texted the next day to ask for the all-important second date, I politely declined explaining that though he was a lovely guy – for me, there was just no chemistry. He graciously wished me luck and that was that. Quick and painless – I was getting good at that part.

Next up was Ade. Now with Ade, I felt like I was on safer ground. He was Northern, he had good banter, he worked in the music industry, heck he’d even worked with one of my best friends. When we met – for a quick drink before he had to head off to a gig – things looked promising. Admittedly, we’re not talking chiseled good looks and irresistible charm but I figured he might be a grower and with this in mind, I happily accepted his offer of a second date.

Big mistake. While Ade and I may have had enough: ‘So you work with this band? So you know that person? Wow, that’s a coincidence, me too’ chat to see us through the first short meeting. A full-on evening of fun seemed to be beyond our grasp. Conversation faltered, there were painful silences, I realised I didn’t find him all that attractive. And then the worst possible thing happened; he lunged in for a kiss. Stunned, I somehow found my way through it then spent the rest of the evening trying to dodge any further assaults on my face. I felt terrible when I had to break it to him that the date he assumed had gone so well, was actually enough to put me off seeing him ever again.

Vowing not to make the same mistake of misleading my next date if I wasn’t interested in him, I found myself signing up for a Saturday night out with a nice Irish chap called Mikey. The fact that we’d arranged to meet on a weekend might suggest we both had high hopes – you don’t give up an evening at the weekend unless you’re keen. Only in this case, it was more a matter of scheduling. We’d been trying to arrange a date to meet for three weeks and this was the first night we were both free. With such a long build up, the pressure was really on and I was willing it to go well. My determination might explain why I ended up staying out so late, drinking so much, and trying so hard to convince myself I liked him. But in the sober light of day, I knew I wasn’t really feeling it so it wasn’t long before my well-practiced ‘thanks but no thanks’ text arrived in his inbox.

By now, I was reaching the end of my tether (and my subscription) so I threw caution to the wind and accepted a date with a boy who was about as far from my type as I’d ever gone. He was too young (27), too innocent (fresh from the countryside), too wholesome (just back from building a school in Ghana), and from the sounds of it, too honest (“I know I really shouldn’t admit this on a first date but I’m not really all that into music”). Yet despite all of that, he had me completely smitten. Walking me to the tube at the end of the evening, he told me he’d had a really lovely time and said he’d be in touch. He was true to his word too. A few days later, his much-anticipated text finally arrived in my inbox, I recognised it just a few words in: “Thanks for such a fun evening but I don’t think meeting up again would be right…blah, blah, blah.” It was my perfectly formed rejection text practically word for word. I guess it was only ever a matter of time. Sigh.

Illustration: Bernie Reid

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