Precisely 3 calendar months to the day was my last post in which I declared I basically wanted to give up dating and implied that I’d be better off with a monk like existence.
So it will come as no surprise to you that I’m here today to write about a first date that I went on yesterday. I haven’t been on any dates whatsoever in the 3 months prior to this one so I was a little nervous.
The build up to this date was unusual for me because, due to conflicts of schedules, we were not able to find a mutually convenient day to meet up for over 2 weeks. There was a lot of texting and I was getting a good feeling from her but when the day came it felt like, okay I’ve built an idea of this girl up from all the messages but things might be completely different in person.
I knew she liked the outdoors so I suggested an afternoon stroll around one of London’s parks. I arrived first and awaited my fate outside the station. This was when I started to feel really nervous. I don’t think it’s going to matter how many first dates I go on, I’m never going to attend one completely nerve-free. I texted to let her know where I was waiting.
A few minutes go by and a figure approaches in my peripheral vision. I look up, and holy cow. This girl’s photos have not done her justice. She’s gorgeous. The best word I can think of for her is “dainty”. A good start.
I suggest we grab a hot drink for our walk and she orders the same as me. I pay for both.
This might just be me, but I figure a walking date is something a little different than just sitting across from someone in a pub or cafe, and my hope is that walking facilitates talking. After all, we’re here to get to know one another.
We begin our walk and I’m not feeling on great form. I’m nervous and a little out of practice and there are little silences where I can tell neither of us know what to say. Hardly a massive crime on a first date but you want to try to minimise these as much as possible.
I get the feeling that she is a little nervous as well and, as I later found out, it was actually her first first date for quite a while as well. I also went on to find out that as someone who works from home, she doesn’t have as much outside world interaction as the average person – something I completely understand and empathise with.
And these revelations kind of legitimise (for want of a better word) both hers and my nervousness.
As we continue to walk, we talk about lots of different things and we find there are lots of areas of common ground. Despite this, the occasional moments of silence persist. I also get the impression she may be quite reserved and holding back somewhat and the reason I get that feeling is because every now and again I feel like she is more forthcoming on certain subjects and the mask is lifted to reveal her true self as opposed to her ‘first date’ self.
She said something else that made me think that. She said she was wearing boots that made her taller because she’s quite short and (I’m paraphrasing this bit) I might not like that. I mean, it’s lovely and great that she wants to make a good impression and present her best self, but I also want to know the real her. Maybe that’s simply way too much to expect on a first date and maybe everyone does this when they first meet someone new romantically.
I guess it’s normal to let your guard down gradually with someone new and everyone’s different with the size of the guard and the gradualness in which they let it down. How many times do you hear people say ‘oh I’m quiet at first but once you get to know me I don’t shut up’?
She also did this thing that you see in Disney cartoons. Whenever I made her laugh (which was actually quite frequently), she would laugh then kind of stifle it a little bit and sort of look away almost sheepishly, or like she was suddenly shy. As if she didn’t want to reveal too much laughter? I can tell fake laughter from genuine and I could tell it was real – maybe it all feeds into the nervousness thing, I don’t know.
But anyway, all in all, I’m okay with it. I’m okay with an imperfect first date. I’m okay with an occasional silence. I’m okay with a little awkwardness. I think in the past I may have been guilty of writing this off because we didn’t get on like a house on fire right from the word go but I don’t think it’s necessarily wise to jump to those conclusions anymore.
During our walk, it started to rain heavily, which meant we took shelter and had another hot drink in a conveniently located cafe. We sat outside, under cover, and as the rain lashed down around us, my date opened up about some other aspects of her life. There was some lovely “Yes, me too! I totally agree! Exactly!” moments and I actually think she’s like me in a lot of ways. A deep thinker. Don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.
We made our way back through the park to the station and, as I always do on first dates, I give the girl the opportunity to say she has to go or has somewhere to be. An excuse to leave, basically, at a natural moment. To my (slight) surprise but (mostly) delight, she did not take that opportunity.
We went on to a pub and had a drink, this led to having dinner and before we knew it, we’d been out together for 7 hours. Quite lengthy for a first date, no?
We walked back to the station and I wasn’t sure how I was going to say goodbye, though I had an inkling. I walked her to her platform, suggested something for us to do ‘next time’ and she said, yes, that would be lovely. A second date tentatively agreed then.
Her train arrived. We kissed, she did the ‘suddenly shy look away thing’ I described earlier, and with that the date was over. An imperfect date, sure. But with enough for me to want to explore further in a second one.