A gang of dressed-up twenty-somethings come barging past and one of them steps on my toe, which is not ideal as I am wearing strappy sandals that consist of wisps of diamanté nothingness. I yelp in pain but he doesn't even stop or acknowledge his clumsiness. I limp off to the bar to sulk and ruminate upon the fact that I have officially become INVISIBLE.
I would have to say that the oldest cliché in the dating world is the one surrounding humour. The late Christopher Hitchens once said that, in the sexual stakes, 'if a man isn't funny, he's finished'. As a man of great humour, I would be inclined to agree. Many times, in preparation for a date, I have organised my anecdotes.
As I always say, your dating profile is your storefront, your big shiny window display that you use to get the punters in. But in just a few short sentences, you can turn your gleaming emporium of you into a rundown old convenience store, with dirty canopies, smeared windows, and nothing of interest inside.
Looking up, she gasped, "what happened to your face?" "This?" I said, stroking my three day beard... "Is this because Charlotte knocked you back?" "No, of course not. I'm just trying something new. I wish to reboot myself, as it were. I want to be reborn as a grittier, edgier version of me. Dark and brooding, I am going to be the Christian Bale of HR."
A new dating avenue opened up to me the other week when a friend wanted to set me up with his girlfriend's friend - "the introduction" - a classic high-risk/high-gain manoeuvre. I was very excited. Should things go well, I thought, we could all form a summer gang and link up for festivals and beer garden larks.
I slink over to the kitchen and scour the worktops for a tipple. I settle on a big bottle of Plymouth gin and glug as much as decency will allow into the nearest clean glass, before peeking around the kitchen, like a meerkat, on the search for tonic. I soon see a bottle, which is attached to the hand of God, or his nearest approximation on Earth.
In his faltering English, he tells me he wants to take me out for coffee. I've loads of work to do and look like I've been sleeping on the backseat of a bus for a week, but when I cast my mind back to the bubbles, I remembering liking what I saw. Let's see how he holds up without the taps digging into his back.
I thrive on flirtation on dates; it's the plutonium I need to get me to the end of the night. From him, however, there is none. Usually I'd put this down to nervousness or shyness, but that's not the case here. He exudes a kind of bland confidence; he's not brash or assertive, just, well, a bit boring.
When your lake becomes devoid of fish - or you're sick of catching the same old ones - you must cast your net farther. To the sea, even. And so I find myself in a seaside town, firing up a dating app (allow me the indulgence of fooling myself that the men on this app are only looking for dates and nothing more intimate) and seeing who's available.