Online dating is like a takeaway menu for the chronically obese ( and I don't mean to offend with that statement because there is most probably an online dating site for the 'chronically obese'). What I mean is that the choice and possibilities are endless. You could have Asian on a Monday, 'Suited & Booted' on a Tuesday, Naughty Nurses on a Wednesday and 'Big and Buxom' by Thursday.
We've all been there. You wake up, slightly disoriented, amid bed linen which feels unfamiliar. Strange sounds emanate from a mass not too far from you. As you open each eye slowly, cursing them for the amount of time they're taking to adjust to the light, you realise you've done it again - you're back at theirs, for the first time. It's the morning after the night before.
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.
1. "So having weighed up all the evidence and considering the fact that I was quite drunk at the time and I didn't technically put it all the way in, do you think my ex was right to say that it was cheating?" 2. "What do you think of the coalition government?" 3. "I have been on soooo many dates this week..."
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.
Punctuality is the politeness of kings, my grandmother always used to say, and while I'm not particularly regal, I do believe the least you can do on a date is get there on time. 'Fashionably late' is a flawed, dangerous concept. One man's height of style is another's fashion faux-pas. You mustn't leave anything to chance.
I have a rule: no food on a first date. It can only end in disaster, really. Sauces slop down your front a whole lot more eagerly if you're dining opposite somebody you're desperate to impress and vegetable-induced farts are all the more enthusiastic if they know you're sharing crudités with a stranger.
The true cross that every anonymous blogger has to bear is that most people don't know (or indeed care) who they are. For some bloggers, this adds to the mystery and appeal and so they value their anonymity (yes, I'm talking about me now), but others regret that their face sits behind a paywall that nobody is going to shell out the pennies to peek behind.
He is taller than I thought he would be, his dirty-blond hair slicked into a side parting, and wearing a white T-shirt with a wide crew neck which grazes his collar bone. He beams as he sees me and walks over to me. I stand and put out my hand for him to shake. Ridiculously, pathetically, I puff out my chest.
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.