"Go on, just suck it. You might like it."
I roll my eyes. Yet another date who confuses sleaze and innuendo with flirtation. For me, they're uneasy bedfellows.
I'm sitting in the park on an unseasonably warm day for the time of year. Before me is a mini banquet of all manner of romantic foods: chocolates; adorable cupcakes; dinky little sandwiches with the corners cut off; fizz. And yet there is no spark whatsoever between me and my date, who now sits next to me proffering a red lollipop, eager for me to wrap my lips around it. No doubt he's anticipating a preview of the 'technique' that I am now absolutely certain he is never going to experience in real life.
You should try to avoid going on dates if you're not that keen on the person. While it can be nice to 'get out of the house', toying with someone's affections merely because you don't have anything else in the diary is unfair. I am, of course, filled to the rafters with advice I never take and standards I set but refuse to live by, so, through lack of other options, I'm here with Graham, an accountant from what he calls "the West Country", getting grass stains on my favourite shorts. I'm a bad person, I know; I don't need telling twice.
This is our second date - our first was a run-of-the-mill 'four drinks and home' on a Thursday night. There was a distinct lack of something on our first meeting, but he has a nice face and has made the fatal mistake of acting as if he is very 'into me' -- the ultimate aphrodisiac. I am nothing if not vain and stupid, so rather than politely decline his invitation to poke over finger food in the middle of Regents Park, I accepted. For one brief, idiotic moment I imagined an afternoon basking in the undivided attention of a pretty boy would be a good way to spend the weekend and a relatively wholesome one at that. Instead, he's trying to get me to fellate sugary treats in an effort to move the date on from being two vague acquaintances nodding at each other across a picnic blanket, to a pair of lusty bodies writhing around in the herbaceous borders.
He's giving up his Saturday for what he thinks is a sure thing, so I do feel a little disingenuous having agreed to meet him. Lewd lollipops aside, he's gone all out to charm me -- and his picnic is impressive -- but, like I say, I didn't have anything better to do anyway. Sometimes that's the only reason guys say yes to a date -- an empty horizon. I have jumped upon the wrong ship out of sheer desperation.
I take the lollipop, despite myself, and wrap my mouth around it. He watches, transfixed, like a businessman watching a stripper take her bra off. To make up for my guilt at wasting his time, I make more of an effort to be entertaining and chatty. I know this isn't going anywhere, but I don't have to act like an arsehole. I at least owe him some conversation. I ask him lots of questions and he answers them eagerly. I quickly realise my renewed interest in him is making him like me even more. I'm not really sure how to extricate myself from this, so I turn on to my front and prop myself up with my elbows, noseying at everybody else in the park. He reaches out and strokes the back of my knee with his hand. I turn to look at him; he's staring straight ahead. His facial expression displays nonchalance, but the tremble of his touch betrays his nerves. Soon, the sun starts to slink off behind the trees. I sit up and nervously fidget with the lolly wrapper.
He fixes his doe eyes upon me and asks: "What are you doing tonight?"
I lie back on the grass and close my eyes tightly. I hear the splash of prosecco as he refills my glass. "Nothing," I say. "I'm free tonight."
I open my eyes and he is looking back at me. I guess he's maybe thinking that 'sure thing' is going to work out for him after all. He's pleased, hopeful -- whereas I just wish I'd never laid eyes on that bloody lollipop.
Stats: 28, 5'11", brown/blue, Taunton
Where: Regents Park, London
Pre-date rating: 6/10
Post-date rating: 6/10
Date in one sentence: Don't suck anything unless you're prepared to face the consequences.