You know what it’s like when it’s your first time; nerves, anxiety, sweaty palms, not knowing how you’ll perform, or whether you’ll do it right. This was going to be my first time and I won’t lie, I was nervous.
I had been on one or two dates before, but this was going to be the first time I’d ever been on a blind date.
We were introduced online by a mutual friend who thought we’d get along. I was fairly inexperienced in the whole ‘dating’ lark at this point and the thought of us getting together this way was actually quite exciting and felt quite grown up.
She didn’t live that close to me but I had it in my head that I wanted to go on the date nonetheless. I didn’t have access to a car though, so we arranged for me to get a bus and she’d then pick me up. We’d then go to the cinema, which was her choice and I didn’t complain.
At this point, albeit early in proceedings, all was going to plan. She picked me up at the bus station as we had arranged. The chat was light and friendly in the short car journey to the cinema, however, it became clear quite early on that we were on fairly different wavelengths. To be honest, I thought she was actually a bit immature, much more so than when we’d chatted online. I let it slide though, careful not to judge her too quickly.
Once in the cinema, she insisted we sat at the very top row and right in the far corner. My naivety initially couldn’t understand this, what with plenty available seats in the middle providing you with optimum screen viewing. It eventually clicked though, and I was as flattered as I was surprised.
We settled down in our weird little corner and after half an hour or so I was getting quite into the film. I glanced over to her to gauge her feelings on it. To my horror, not only did she look bored, but she wasn’t even looking at the screen. She was looking up at the ceiling, eyes wandering around the room. Basically everywhere but the screen. I caught her eye so I gave her a half-smile and raised my eyebrows in a “what do you think about the film” kind of way.
“Are you actually enjoying this?” she said, in a volume I am uncomfortable with during a cinema viewing. I whispered back extra quietly, just to emphasise that point.
“Yeah, aren’t you? I think it’s good.” I said.
“You know, we don’t have to be watching the movie…” she replied. Her eyes had widened so much that they reflected the screen that she wasn’t watching.
“Oh. Do you want to leave? Would you rather go somewhere else?”
“No… I mean…you know you can kiss me if you want to, right?”
I looked at her a little taken aback. I didn’t really have any desire to kiss her. I wasn’t really attracted to her, her conversation was poor and, to be quite frank, I didn’t want to miss much of the movie.
Before I could say anything though, she jolted her head towards mine, catching the corner of our foreheads together as she did so. I had little time to recoil in pain though as she quickly grabbed my face and began undertaking what I can only describe as an insult to the fine art of kissing.
A “kiss” that lasted only a few seconds, however.
I’m a firm believer that a kiss should be an act of lust, desire or love. Not a mechanical task for the sake of it, which she seemed to think it was. She basically planted her mouth on to mine and started popping her tongue in and out of her mouth like a toy you have to wind up.
It was not enjoyable. I pulled away, glanced her a fake smile and turned back towards the cinema screen.
After a short while, I looked back at her to see her smirking at her mobile and tapping away at it.
“Is everything okay?” I whispered.
“Oh yeah. It’s just my ex. He’s hilarious.”
“Huh? Your ex!?”
“Yeah, my ex-boyfriend.”
“I know what an ‘ex’ is. Why is he texting you?”
“Oh he always texts me. We’re still close. In fact he’ll be at the house later if you want to come back and meet him after we’re done?”
Now, in my head my response was ABSOLUTELY NOT, but I’m pretty sure in reality it involved a shrug, a nervous laugh and a mumble along the line of ‘we’ll see’.
The film ended. I had missed large chunks of it which didn’t help my mood, and I’m pretty sure she slept through the last half an hour.
The conversation was strained as we got back in to car and started driving. I suddenly felt a long way from home. She drove back in to town and I started dropping hints that perhaps we should call it a night.
She had different ideas though.
Without warning, she pulled in to the car park of a massive retail park. It was deserted. She found a space in the middle, stopped and turned off the engine. I looked around, and then at her, confused.
“Why are we here?” I asked. She laughed.
“Why do you think?”
“Your ex-boyfriend isn’t meeting us here, is he?”, I said, only half-joking.
“No, why do you want me to… ”
“No!” I interrupted. “No, I was kidding.”
I was nonplussed. I had no idea why we were sat there. I mean, I had seen some television shows and films where young folks (like me) would stop in car parks in cars and get up to all sorts of business.
Normally though it’s on a picturesque hill, at night, overlooking a sleepy, moon-lit town. Not in an empty car park, in broad daylight, overlooking a B&Q.
I shuffled awkwardly in my seat and suggested again that it was getting late. Truth be told, I feared a little for my safety. She sighed and shrugged and started muttering to herself. She wasn’t happy and I couldn’t really blame her. I think we both had very, very different ideas as to how this date was going to go.
We eventually exited her arena of seduction that was really just a grey, concrete slab, and soon found ourselves hurtling down the dual carriageway as I started to wonder where she was going to take me next. Maybe behind some bins.
Suddenly, though, she flicked on the car indicators. Only there was no turn off. We drift over lanes and she pulled up in to the hard shoulder.
“Is this okay for you?” she said, telling me more than asking me.
I looked around me. Probably not, I thought.
“There’s a bus stop just down there and across the bridge.” she added, firmly.
“Ah, right. Okay then yeah that’s fine. Thanks.” I said as I stumbled out of the car.
As she sped off I took a moment to get my bearings and tried to process the last few hours.
I trudged along the hard shoulder and headed for the bridge, inhaled deeply, and took in the view where the grey road meets the grey sky in the distance, and I sighed. A long way from home, alone, and lips feeling like they’d been blowing up balloons for hours.
This is ‘dating’ then, I thought to myself. Maybe I wasn’t quite as ready for it as I thought I was.