Recently I went on a date with someone. The lead up was a classic case of girl meets boy, girl gets the inkling that boy might like her so is understandably thrown when boy in question encourages his best mate to ask her out. Girl turns down lovely best friend and is then confronted by the boy who berates her for shooting down his best mate. Confused and slightly irate with the bullshit going on girl calls boy on this situation and surprise, surprise turns out he liked the girl just was big on delivering favours for friends but it all ended in the agreement that we should go out.
I remember the first date I ever had. I was 15; his mum sat between us, bought him a large pop corn and a coke (I’m just saying it was enough to share) and made me a cheese sandwich, made with that plastic cheese stuff. Sharing led to sex, well that was her theory on why she insisted on me paying for own ticket, not making eye contact with him or offering him piece of my gum when he clearly was gagging for it. Let’s just say that relationship didn’t really pan out and if you were to believe the gossip he ended up living in a basement with his mum for over 12 years only managing to escape her non-sharing ways by suffocating her death, a result of wrapping her in Glad Wrap – “not cling wrap, no the good stuff” my mother would always say when she recounted that story to guests over dinner.
I was leaning towards the idea that this boy wasn’t going to try and wrap me in cling wrap but given the last few dates I’d been on over the years that ran that gamut from them not turning up and then following it up with the excuse “yes I know I set a date and time but you can’t hold a person to those sort of restraints, I’m feeling like I can’t be myself in this relationship” to “…and I got this scar when my He-Man costume, the one I told you about that I bought on eBay started to really chaff me, I just hope it doesn’t happen when I finally get to wear it in public.” – Let’s just say nothing would surprise me.
Of course my friends had to have their two cents on how the whole evening would pan out and being the romantics they are they just came right out with it.
“You going to sex him?” my friend Sally asked nonchalantly as she refilled out diet cokes at Subway.
“I’m not having this conversation with you guys.”
My other friend Mel was chomping down on her sandwich as I toyed with my salad, damn my wheat allergy.
“Bet you will” muffled Sally as she picked her pickles out.
“And how do you sex someone anyway – you make it sound like some sort of sailors grip”
“Hey, calm down Lou, don’t get too excited, neither of us mentioned grip – don’t get ahead of yourself.”
My tomato was dead and I decided the ice left in my drink would be sufficient to pass my time away. I crunched away slowly.
“I’m not planning on it” and given I had cancelled my two latest appointments to the beautician then I could have easily put on money on it, invested it in variable shares and made something back, yes, even in today’s economic climate.
“You know what I do when I don’t want to give it up on the first night.”
Both Mel and I looked over at Sally as she attempted to wipe smeared tomato sauce from her face without the use of mirror or napkin.
“I just have a really big wank and then by the time I get there I just can’t be bothered.”
“Charming” I remarked as I found and conquered my last ice-cube.
“I’m just saying that if you do it yourself Lou then you won’t feel any pressure to outsource it. It’s like taking your own lunch to work, you don’t end up spending money you don’t have on crap take-away wishing you’d taken that sandwich that you know you left in the fridge to work instead because it was pesto chicken and at least you know pesto chicken can satisfy you.”
I put aside Sally’s chicken analogy and went and had a coffee with my friend Peter who overall was little sterner on the whole dating subject.
“When you get to your age Lou it’s best you start putting everything that could be coming up to its use by date at the front of the shelf – not quite bargain basement, but cheap enough to grab their attention, you know like a good quality cut of meat”.
I really had to remind myself to stop talking to my friends at some point this year.
“The key is to give them the illusion that you’re just as good as say, what’s that make-up you like, that MAC stuff, but really who can afford that day-in-day out, and you’re more like that Pond’s tinted moisturiser my mother still uses after 15 years – reliable.”
Our suggestion to share a piece of cake was an ill advised one as Peter had begun chomping down on what clearly was my side of the plate.
“I’m not moisturiser Peter.”
“I’m not saying you are Lou, but I’d much rather buy home brand for longer periods of time and really I only buy label as a one off thing.”
“If what you’re saying is that I’m a top label and I need to force myself to be more home brand in order to keep this boys attentions then I can do one of two things – take it as a compliment or advise you that I’m going to give this one a little more credit – anyway I have no idea about his shopping habits.”
Peter contemplated this for a moment.
“You’re right, for all you know he could buy online.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about” I said as I took the last bite of cake.
“None of what you just said has made any sense at all”
“All I’m saying Lou is by all means put out on the first, it’s a different world we live in now.”
“We’re the same age Peter”
“Yeah, but times were different back then.”
“Back when? What when we were minors”
“Don’t be gross Lou; is it ever possible to have a mature, adult conversation with you or does it always has to end up inappropriate?”
“Sorry” I mumbled as some cake coughed its way out of my mouth.
“Anyway all I was saying was sleep with him first time round just make sure you don’t talk to him for at least three days after, he’ll feel so guilty about the idea of touching himself up over that night that he’ll be forced to call you, just for maintenance if anything.”
Now I need to point out at this point, I do not go seeking this advice, these pearls of wisdom just fall into my lap time and time again and so with firm thoughts of getting a restraining order out on my friends for offering my somewhat questionable advice I decided to go ahead with the date and declined Pete’s offer of a cheat sheet I could just place inside my shoe just in case.
“Surely by the time I’ve taken off my shoe then that would dictate that something was taking place…” I remarked as we trailed the video store.
“Given how many times your shoes fall on any given day I thought it the most discrete option.”
He had a point and as he picked out Sean Astin’s classic Toy Soldiers for his movie night, he turned to me as asked, quite seriously…
“So what you reckon, would you do Toy Soldier’s Sean Astin when he was a teenager and you’d still have to be thirty, or Lord of the Ring’s Sean Astin but him as a hobbit and you still thirty?”
I thought about it a moment and then picked up my final Mars Bar from our Pic’n’Mix Selection.
“You know what Pete, wouldn’t matter either way, you’d never know. I don’t kiss and tell.”