I do try and say yes to dates. I get out and about, dinner sometimes, drinks sometimes, coffee sometimes. What could possibly go wrong?
Late one Friday night, I gave my phone number to a guy in a pub, just because he asked. My drunk friends squinted through red, slitty eyes and said, "He looks ok".
He left a message for me on the next Sunday morning, while I was away for the weekend. I drove a couple of hours back home, had a nap, had a coffee with my flatmates, and eventually, called him back late that afternoon. *Ding Ding Ding* Alarm bell number 1. "Oh N, I'm so glad you called me back. I've been waiting by the phone for you to ring ALL DAY LONG." This turned out to be another lesson learned the hard way, as when he said, "What are you doing now? Come around and I'll cook you dinner" I thought it sounded like a reasonable idea.
I arrived at his house. Through the door, tripping over the piles of detritus all the way up the hall, into the kitchen which had piles of dirty dishes in the sink, including a greasey fry-pan containing half a congealed egg. There were 2 cats and 2 dogs climbing all over everything, and messy bowls of overflowing pet food. *Ding Ding Ding*
It's funny how at moments like this, my natural wish to "be polite" overrides my actual inclination to run screaming. Why did I stay? I do prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I think I just wanted to see what happened next. So here it is.
We went into the living room, which was full of dirty ashtrays, used plates, tatty magazines, and the sort of rubbish I hadn't seen since my student days when I lived in a 3 bedroom house with 7 people. *Ding Ding Ding* His flatmate came home, a female pipe-smoking beat poet, fresh from a recital. He left us to get acquainted while he went to the kitchen to whip up the dinner.
Canned Cream of Mushroom Soup. With white bread toast, and NO BUTTER! *Ding Ding Ding*
The final nail in this coffin was the conversation. He wasn't interested in me talking at all, which was probably pretty lucky, since I was fairly dumbstruck. Most of his sentences started with, "Hmm, now what else can I tell you about myself?" Yet when I made a funny comment, he said, "I love the way you talk, it really tickles me." I said, "Oh, I thought it was because I'm so pretty, ha ha."
He said, "Well...you're no classic beauty. You're no runway model..."
That was it. I have no idea what he said next, because I stopped listening. You can invite me into your grotty house. I can eat canned soup, even toast with NO BUTTER. But tell me I'm no classic beauty, and THAT is the last straw. I made my excuses and left. The whole thing was over in an hour and a half, and I drove home laughing all the way.
Post Script 1. The next morning, the first thing I thought when I woke up was, "He has a closed mouth smile. He crushed his toast into the soup until it was soggy. Maybe the reason we had soup is because he has no front teeth."
Post Script 2. I ran into him out one night, and he had a new girlfriend. She was NO runway model.
Post Script 3. I ran into him a few weeks later. No girlfriend. He said, "Oh N, letting you go was the biggest mistake I ever made, I can't believe I let you get away. I'm so sorry, please give me your number again" as he tried to stick his tongue in my ear. I said, "You know where you went wrong? With the CANNED SOUP! You don't get to ring me."