How not to go on a date…

I love the smoke shelters on nights out. I always end up chatting to interesting people out there. It’s where the best conversations happen. A few months ago I ended up chatting to a guy on a night out who had a Black Jack vape, it was like smoking sweeties. I’m not a smoker, but there’s something about drinking pints of cider that always makes me want a hit of nicotine.

The actual details of the conversation I had with Vape Guy are a bit hazy as I was several ciders up at that stage in the evening, but we got on quite well. A few weeks later I was coming out of a pub and bumped into Vape Guy again. We added each other on Facebook this time, before I sauntered away down the high street with my mates.

The next day he’d messaged suggesting we meet up for a few beers and my sober self remembered the previous night’s meeting. He was single. He said. And not looking for a relationship, just wanted to engage with new people. ‘Go on a date’ is on my bucket list, so I agreed to meet up on a weekday night. Nothing too serious, but at least I could chalk up another new experience. Albeit far too late in life. I should have been doing stuff like this back when I was a skint uni student, much thinner, younger and not when I should be entering the hot water bottle and early night phase of my life.

I definitely called this one wrong though. He may have told me that we were just hooking up for a chat, but he clearly wanted more from our encounter. As I chained my bike to the railings outside the pub I could see from his face that this wasn’t just about a casual chat. He had a hunger in his eyes, and seeing him with my sober eyes for the first time I realised that I probably hadn’t thought this through properly. But my bucket list is all about making my comfort zone more elastic, so I headed towards him, smiled and decided to tone down my natural flirtyness, as I didn’t want to come across as too keen. And I definitely didn’t want to give the impression that this was going to be repeated. I’m a people pleaser by nature, but I’m learning now that just because a guy likes me I don’t need to enter into anything. I’m learning discernment.  

He spent a lot of the night talking about his ex partner and what her issues were, as well as his ex wife, who he still seemed to have some degree of fondness for. I’d had this fear that we wouldn’t connect, and we didn’t, well not from my side anyway.

As per on my nights out I ended up chatting to some new people, in this case, two guys from a local builder’s merchant, who happened to be sitting on the table next to us. This didn’t go down well with Vape Guy who wanted to keep me to himself, and kept trying to extricate me. I took the opportunity to welcome the new pair into our conversation as it lifted the mood somewhat. I always tend to collect new mates on nights out, and my date night was no different. Vape Guy was persistent though and asked if I wanted to join him with a pizza and take it back to his. I politely declined, jumped on my bike and pedalled off into the night air.

I’ve been a serial monogamist my whole life and never played the men field. This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve not hopped out of one long-term relationship into another and I’m going to have to learn to go on dates, and deal with the toe-curling nature of them if I’m going to explore my single life to the full, and decide whether or not I want to return to the world of coupledom. It’s looking more likely that sticking with having fun, and not arguing about whose turn it is to wash up is winning out at the moment though.

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