Midweek. Another bar. Another pint with a stranger. I sit and wonder where I'll be in five hours. Will I be back in my flat ignoring the ironing or will I be tangled in Egyptian cotton and kisses with tonight's contestant? You just never know.
My date tonight bristles with efficiency. He was on time, buying drinks and sitting opposite me with a rictus grin on his face, in his pristine baby pink polo, before I knew what was happening.
"It seems weird going on a date on a Wednesday, no?" he says.
"Wednesdays are perfect, I think," I reply. "And you wore pink!"
I nod at his polo shirt, knowingly. "Perfect shirt for tonight!"
He narrows his eyes. "I don't follow."
"Oh, errr," I stumble awkwardly. "It's from Mean Girls. They say 'On Wednesdays we wear pink'. Yes?"
His face is blanker than a blank thing on a blank day in a town called Blankton.
I probe further: "Do you know Mean Girls?"
He leans back in his chair and his face changes to a look of bemusement tinged with disgust and a dash of weariness.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he sighs.
I gulp, feeling dumb and shallow. "It's a film. Written by Tina Fey. Lindsay Lohan was in it? It's quite old."
"Yeah, I've heard of it. I mean..." he shakes his head dismissively. "I just wouldn't even want to watch it. I'm not into trashy movies."
I shrug. "It's not trashy, really. It's quite a clever, knowing kind of comedy. Not as good as Heathers, but in the same ballpark."
"I don't really like the kind of films that gay men usually like," he replies.
Oh, I see! BINGO! We have the new gay stereotype - the gay man who refuses to conform to a stereotype! How lucky for me to have snared this rarest of beasts. And barely halfway through our first drink.
I have two options. I could just let this go, or I could take a tin-opener to that can of worms he's waving in front of me. Egyptian cotton, or home alone? I imagine the pristine sheets. Lovely. Then I think of him in them, beckoning me to a world where sex means never watching a popular movie again. Decision made.
"I don't like it because I'm gay, you total snob. I like it because it's funny."
"Yeah, right," he replies, folding his arms. A drawbridge goes up with great speed. "But you think it's a funny film because of the bitchy dialogue and the pretty, evil girls being all 'fabulous', right? It's just a bit... obvious." He unfolds his arms for a brief second and waves them dramatically in the air.
"So you have seen it, then?" I smirk.
"Uh." A pause so long you could actually use it to nip off to watch Mean Girls. And then: "I might have done actually."
I'm back in my own kitchen - alone - within the hour.
Stats: 5'10", 31, mousy brown/brown, Devon
Pre-date rating: 7/10
Post-date rating: 3.5/10
Date in one sentence: Gay guy thinks pretending popular culture isn't a thing makes him less gay.
A truncated version of this post originally appeared in the monthly dating column I used to do in Gay Times magazine. I now answer GT readers' dilemmas and dole out relationship advice.