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Emily Sargent Headshot

Three Dates In

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I always wondered before I came out what the first date would be like. I figured I'd probably wear a nice Ted Baker shirt and she'd be at the bar rocking a crew cut.

I was confused when this didn't fill me with a sense of thrill. Apparently my imagination was aggressively stunted until I moved to Brighton four weeks ago.

The actuality of it was a little different; we both had a full head of hair for one.

I did assume correctly, however, that I would behave like a moron.

I have gone on few actual, arranged dates as it is, and all of these have been with men. And it's always totally awkward, let's not lie.

I mean, the talking at the same time: "you go... OH... oh... Ha! No you...", the nervous dry-mouth which, after laughing, makes you accidentally go all beaver face as lip hits gum... Plus, to add to this, if you're me, trying to get to the bar through a door that (in retrospect) was clearly a broom cupboard.

That was my first move, last week, before anything had been drunk.

Given that I am always shit-faced after a sniff of wine (NB I don't know when this happened - I was raised on a three-treble-warm up from age fifteen in Newcastle), my movements predictably became more exciting.

With guys, even though I could never really be bothered and I flirt like a spade, there was always a natural inclination be a bit more handsy, you know, cop a feel and that.

But now, having a drink with a really fit girl, I was unfortunately sucked in by a tactic honed over the past few years; slap her on the back and call her 'mate'.

Everyone I've ever fancied up until now I've imagined as secretly looking like the Tree Man underneath clothes to chastise feelings of lust.

The next point of interest in the evening was when I fell over.

The details still escape me somewhat... Suffice to say whilst leaving the bar with to find a seat, I travelled at some velocity from an upright position to cheerfully banging the floor with my forehead. I also took out the bar's pot plant.

As it turns out, it was an excellent icebreaker - although by the end of the evening the event had become wildly exaggerated and according to local rumour I had a clubfoot.

Somehow despite all this I got a second date.

Conversation was not a problem, but my issue is preventing myself from being an asexual mollusk around girls.

Example:

It turned out we both had a childhood interest in animal trivia.

Me: "Let's have a quiz."

Her: "Ok."

Me: "Name me an animal that cannot vomit." [Strong opener.]

She didn't know. And looked startled. (It is a horse, by the way.)

Her: "Name me an animal that mates for life."

Me: "Um, a VOLE. HA. Name me an animal with a black tongue."

You get the idea.

IN MY DEFENCE, she asked me why a flamingo was pink - the answer to which was "due to their diet - in particular, the algae and shrimp brine they consume."

The whole thing would have made an excellent intro-script for zoologist porn.

By the third date I was bemused, but that (last Saturday), involved drinks at her friends' and a night out.

It didn't actually go as explosively badly as anticipated. There was no fall, I didn't ask what her thoughts were on enormous crabs (previously had), and I didn't talk frankly again about my crippling phobia of German sausages.

People laughed, everything was great... The only comment I vaguely regret was generated by a description of my friend's tortoise, Curtis, whose neck I said looked uncannily like a penis.

This, on reflection, was a bold statement amongst new friends.

I am, however, gradually learning not to punch her in the face as a response to handholding, which I like to think is progress.