Last Friday, I woke up 45 minutes earlier than usual to get ready for a date that I was almost certain wouldn’t happen. As utterly ridiculous as that sounds (and is!), after almost a month of looking forward to it, I wasn’t going to let that doubt win – just in case I was wrong. Of course, as I was stumbling for my nail varnish in the dark and cursing the bad lighting of the winter as I struggled to shape my eyebrows, I tried to pretend I was putting in all of the effort for myself (“I like painting my nails and doing my hair” and “It’s nice to wear matching underwear just because!”) just in case I was right. But the cold, hard fact of the matter is that I wasn’t risking being unprepared for a date that was intended, undeniably, to be a hook up.
This date was going to be a third date. I want to make that clear for two reasons – not just because it’s typical third date behaviour but because it’s important here to acknowledge that I’d seen this man – let’s call him Liam – twice before. What’s crucial to this particular tale, though, is that I’d had the most incredible date with him the last time we’d been out. We went to a rave, for goodness sake! We talked through the night and fell asleep at 10am, curled up together on his sofa. We spent the day learning about each other, casual, comfortable, entwined under the duvet. He walked me to the station, told me to stop playing games and to reply to his messages faster (!) and he kissed me goodbye.
I couldn’t wait to see him again.
So of course the date didn’t happen.
We exchanged messages constantly in the run up. He asked me questions in every single one, replying fast and often. When I then didn’t hear from him for 24 hours (I was going mad, of course, but we can talk about unnecessary emotional attachment later) I asked him outright if he wanted to see me again. Of course he did! He suggested the third date. He suggested that we have some drinks at his place because we were both struggling with money this month. He sent me messages about looking forward to it.
And then he vanished into thin air.
I texted. I WhatsApped and then, I called. As I was leaving work, on that Friday evening, just to be sure. And then I took my bag packed with overnight things, home. And cried.
Because it doesn’t make sense. Because it isn’t fair. Because I had asked him outright and he had said he wanted to see me again. Because he made the plans. Because he wrote his birthday in my calendar and it’s next week. Because I thought he was brilliant and because he told me he thought I was brilliant.
But most of all because it’s not just him, is it? The best date I’ve ever had was with The Boy – we shared the most perfect day at a festival – and that was our last date before he told me it was over.
So bring on the bad dates. Because at least there might be seconds and thirds. Because I’m now almost certain that having a good date means I’ll never see them again.