I jump out of my skin, whip my earphones out, and spin around. It's 6.45pm on a Thursday evening, and I'm at the top of a very busy Tottenham Court Road in London.
So who's facing me? Who felt the need to run across the road and command my attention like that? Well, it's funny actually, because I didn't catch his name.
Just earlier that day, I had been chatting to a work colleague about how difficult it is to meet men in London. The dating world has moved online. My thumb had started getting RSI from the Tinder swipe to the left. I was bored of dating sites, but it felt like there was little else to try now that men don't approach women in everyday life like they used to. They're become self-conscious and feel safer hiding behind an app.
So what about this moment in time?
A man in his mid-20s stood in front of me. He was breathless and said "I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to scare you! Do you speak English?" Yes I say. "Oh I thought you were going to be a foreign student from Holland or somewhere!" Nope, just English I'm afraid. "No, that's great. I saw you from right across the street and I had to come and tell you... well, I think you're really attractive."
I blush. I know where this is going, and unfortunately I don't feel he's my type. At this point I would usually run a mile, but instead I stand there and share a rare moment of conversation with a stranger.
He asks what I do and where I'm heading, and I ask him the same. He works in Pret and likes sandwiches. When I say I'm working in video production he sounds surprised. "I thought you must be a fashion student or something like that..." He grew up in Stroud. "I went there once" I say. "No way that's sick, did you like it?" he replies. "I don't know. I was five!" I respond.
A little after five minutes, the moment draws to a close (my bus is about to arrive). We say goodbye, and I say thanks for stopping me. "That took guts and I really appreciate it." We don't swap names or numbers.
I catch the 29 back to Camden, with a small spring in my step about that moment. I feel reassured that the art of talking to strangers isn't completely dead. Perhaps next time, it'll be my dream man running after me?
For more of Chloe's travels and adventures, check out Wanderlust Chloe.Suggest a correction