Love don’t cost 70p.

Last Monday, I met a man in a bar that was selling pints for 70p. I kid you not. It was astonishing!

And that is where the astonishment should end.

Just in case you were thinking for a brief moment that my surprise (I can’t use that word again) was over meeting a man in a bar, I should be clear that this was another Tinder date, and not that (almost impossible) natural meeting of two people in a place that serves beer. I should also be clear that the man wasn’t literally selling the pints – that was the bar (or rather, the bar staff, I suppose…) but now I’ve overthought the semantics of that opening sentence and…

ANYWAY.

This man was called Stuart. We’re using his real name this time – and if I’d have thought about it enough, the fact that he was called Stuart should probably have told me all I needed to know. (I just can’t see myself ending up with a Stuart… Can you?) He lived and worked around an hour outside London (second red flag – I don’t know what I was thinking!) but he had nice hair and a nice face and that nice pretty-boy thing going on and, well, I’m powerless to resist that sort of thing. He also messaged me first, and often, and suggested that he would come into Central London for our date, so I was – understandably –  feeling pretty confident that he wasn’t going to be Like All The Others. Then when I arrived at the bar just before 7pm and was met with the unexpected news of a 70p pint – sold! This was going to be a great night!

To give him his credit, he arrived on time – as good looking as his pictures suggested and with the added bonus of being well over 6ft tall, which – as I’d panic-texted my housemate – was much taller than I was expecting someone that good looking to be. (I have learned rather fast that there are real expectations and then there are Tinder expectations…) He bought us all of the (more expensive!) drinks and he was charming and talkative – we covered all of the usual date conversation ground and even managed to make it through a not-so-subtle-moving-in-for-a-kiss moment. Twice. At the end of the evening – after the bar staff had ushered us out of the door – he walked me to the station and told me he really hoped he’d see me again. Textbook.

When I woke up the next morning he’d sent me a text reiterating what a good a time he’d had – along with extolling the virtues of chicken nuggets (he’s not wrong) – and then he sent me a topless Snapchat asking me how my day was going. That’s two different types of getting in touch – I’m onto a winner, right?!

I’ll admit, Snapchat wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for in terms of post-date communication – and he was probably a little disappointed with the Snap he got back (who even does that?!) – but I figured he was making enough of an effort that we’d be seeing each other again. We carried on messaging…

And then he vanished.

What?!

Again?!

I’m astonished.

And not even because I didn’t see it coming.

I’m astonished because just like all the others seems to be just the way men are – and it’s baffling that so many men can spend so much time, money and energy on not getting laid.

So it turns out that love don’t cost (a thing) 70p. But at least that’s all I spent on this attempt. On to the next.

Why I only want bad dates

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.