Afternoon dates are always a risk. Daylight can be unforgiving, of course, and going for a drink in the afternoon always seems a little seedy when you're with a stranger. But here I am... I didn't factor in the rain, but here it is, like a gooseberry. A wet, miserable chaperone to match my date's mood.
Being literate and enjoying full sentences can be something of a barrier on Grindr. While all those little avatars of six-packs claim to be erudite grammarians, it seems nobody is safe from that dreary "hows u??" or "heyyy mister". So when I hear that magic ping and see a headless torso wishing me "a very good afternoon, handsome" I am intrigued, interested.
The first date went so well, I hadn't really felt like I was trying; now I'm flailing and babbling. And when I'm not firing off questions, there is silence. I watch him fidget like a constipated toddler on a tricycle trying to let out a fart. He fiddles with his laces, runs his hands through his hair...
When you're online dating, a lot of dates happen when they really shouldn't... Because you are so adorable, desirable and amazing, lots of people will want to date you, but you can't be into all of them. So you should be clear from the off about what you do and don't want in your online dating profile.
Everywhere I turn there is a clock reminding me how late my date is. Late, late, late. I can't look at my wrist any more, above the bar is off limits, and outside, a clock tower looms in my eyeline. And just to serve as one more reminder, even the barman's wonky eyes are positioned at ten to two. I roll my own baby-blues and go back to studying my rapidly draining pint glass.
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.
I've done things I haven't liked, been to places I haven't wanted to go and pretended to enjoy some really bad theatre all in the name of trying to get a new relationship off the ground. I have peeled off awful underwear and accepted clumsy kisses. These are the things you do in the early days; it isn't sustainable for any kind of long-term liaison.
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..."