Honestly I feel completely hardcore. I’ve gone from having no dates AT ALL in two years, to having three with brand new men in less than four weeks.
Number three was a product of the Greenbelt lock and key debacle, a nice guy who wasn’t offended by the exercise too much to get in contact after the event.
Last night I learned that even though I’m fully halfway through this challenge, there is no room for complacency. Or fatigue. Just because I feel like I’m in the swing of it, doesn’t mean I should settle back and get lazy.
So my date with number three took in all the basic info – immediate family, where you’re from, job history and how you ended up in London – and then veered into discussion of family histories and mysteries, the Holocaust, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, and, strangely, Eat, Pray, Love.
And then, just when I was feeling like I’ve got this whole dating thing sussed, I made a classic error. Number three and I had had some banter via text before we met about our favourite London bus routes. (Don’t mock, I spend so much time on buses, I can’t help but love them). He asked me why I called the 155, ‘the bus of dreams’.
‘Oh because I had a flirtation with a man on that bus ages ago.’ I replied without thinking.
‘Tell me about that!’ he said.
‘Oh no,’ I replied. ‘It wasn’t anything.’
‘It must be if you call it the bus of dreams. Tell me the story.’
So I was coerced into telling a story about another man who I had been attracted to. It’s a classic dating error. And with every single word of the story I could feel that error in my gut. The FMOTB story is silly and inconsequential but also exhilarating and romantic. This date was really pleasant but nothing sweeping or earth-shattering. Just your average first date. An average first date where I made the classic mistake of talking about past romances.
Clearly I am still learning what makes me a good or bad date.
I am now adding this onto my growing mental checklist of things NOT to talk about, along with politics, sex trafficking, how competitive I am and the royal wedding.
And to be fair to myself, I am also learning what makes a guy a good date. I’ve now got a list of small things that make a big difference to making a good impression on me on a first date:
A smart appearance (I’m not talking about suit and tie, but just some evidence of having made an effort)
A gentle compliment (I like your shoes, for example)
Offering to pay and not fighting me too hard when I offer to reciprocate
Being decisive enough to suggest places to meet and things to do, but still presenting options so I get a choice
All of which I think can be summed up as someone who is attentive and considerate, and who has a generous spirit. Surely not that hard to find. Right?