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.
Flings are curious things, usually because at least one of you doesn't know you're in one until it's over. Flings come in all shapes and sizes, whether they're masquerading as lasting loves or little more than a f**k buddy you don't mind having a conversation with, but the one thing every fling has in common is that they end.
The true currency of dating, the one you never really think about, is time. Whether you're buttering up a honey in a noisy bar, doing extra lengths at the swimming pool to impress a buff lifeguard or stumbling through endless online profiles, the amount of time you spend on this initial process can be disheartening if the end result is less than satisfactory.
You need a thick skin to be an internet dater. While there may be weeks where suitors are banging down your inbox, there are others when the only emails you'll get are from the dating site to remind you that you've been a customer for six months (already!) and must renew your subscription. Six months, and Mr Right still eludes you.