Fifty first datesPosted: August 8, 2011
I like first dates. Or rather, I used to.
I mean, they’re obviously tummy-turningly scary, what with the pressure to be skinny and fascinating and pretty and witty and all that.
And there is, of course, the chance that it will all go horribly wrong; that you’ll realise in the first 2 minutes that it’s simply never going to happen – cue at least 28 minutes of polite tedium before you can reasonably make your excuses and run.
But setting all this aside, first dates can rock. Long lingering glances, ‘accidental’ finger brushes, deliberate arm touches, gentle teasing, that moment when you know you’re going to kiss, it’s just a question of who makes the move, and your nose goes all tingly from all the electricity in the air. Oh yes. I do like a first date.
My first first date with The Pirate was a stroll around a lake on Good Friday. We both took our dogs – a good thing, since what kind of idiot agrees to meet a stranger at an isolated beauty spot? Oh yes. That would be me. The furry chaperones gave the whole thing a flimsy veneer of safety – my dog is ‘bark worse than bite’ personified, and his is a stringy, scrawny streak of greasy grey fur. Neither would be a particularly good defender of a girl’s honour, much less her life.
I wasn’t happy with what I was wearing. A long navy and white maxi dress, red necklace and white cardigan. Nautical in my head, more than a bit Lady Di in reality. So I drove to the reservoir in a state of mild peril, which stepped up a notch when I saw him waiting for me by the edge of the water. He had his back to me, looking out at the boats. And he was thin. Properly thin. I am probably not as revoltingly fat as I am in my head, but still. He broke my golden rule: never, ever sleep with a man whose thighs are thinner than yours.
I considered tiptoeing quietly backwards to my car and pretending the whole thing had never happened, when he turned round and saw me. Oh bollocks. Hi…
So we walked and talked. Went to a pub. Talked some more. Walked back to our cars, with seconds to spare before they locked the car park. It was lovely – the conversation flowed, it was a beautiful evening, our dogs got on well. But there was no flirting. No touching. No long lingering glances. I fully expected us to shake hands manfully – perhaps with a hearty back slap for good measure – and drive our separate ways home.
“So, would you like to go for some fish and chips in Matlock Bath?”
I wasn’t expecting that… I love Matlock Bath. The seaside! But without sea! Very awesome. So we had supper, and then a couple of drinks at a pub, and it was all very platonic and pleasant, and we walked back to our cars and again, I was expecting the back slapping, hand shaking thing. But no. He’s lingering. He should have got into his car, but he’s lingering.
And look, I’m lingering too. Are we having a moment? Does he… does he want to kiss me? No… He’s barely looked at me all night… But he’s looking at me now. In that way? Oh god, I have no idea. I haven’t done this for so long. I am buggered if I’m making the first move. I may have read this all wrong… I am not kissing him. He’s going to have to kiss me. Preferably sooner rather than later. It’s fucking freezing out here – glad I wore the Lady Di cardigan now. OK. This is getting awkward. The tension. All these long sideways glances followed by coy smiles down at our feet? They’re a bit too Dawson’s Creek for 2 people in their 30s. What the- ? Oh – he’s kissing me. Wow.
Yeah. In the end he just grabbed me and pulled me in. And things became less Dawson’s Creek and more late night Hollyoaks special. Just thinking about the security camera footage makes me feel all cringey, like a slug that’s had salt poured on it, curling in on itself. I didn’t make out in car parks in my teens. Turns out I’m a late starter. It was frantic, desperate… Not kissing. Nothing as chaste as that. Snogging is the only word for it. And OK, yes, with dry humping for added tackiness.
“You know, you could invite me back to yours for coffee…” he mutters in my ear as he grinds against my thigh (my god, I am a classy lady. Nothing Lady Di about me at all…)
“I could – but I’m not going to,” I reply.
Half an hour later. I can’t feel my feet or my hands, my chin is raw from his stubble and I swear there is a dogger watching us from the bushes – I keep hearing shuffling noises…
I pull away from him and we stare at each other, slightly breathless. “Are you a good man?”
“I’m absolutely fucking freezing – like, to the marrow, can’t imagine ever feeling my toes again freezing. I don’t care what you say, there is definitely someone behind that bush over there, watching us and wanking. Half of me wants to invite you back to mine and the other half thinks it’s the stupidest idea I’ve had since agreeing to meet you at an isolated beauty spot, so help me out: are you a good man?”
“I like to think so. I don’t think I’ve ever deliberately hurt anyone.”
“Good enough. I live about 20 minutes away. Follow me…”
And so he came back to mine. When he pulled up on my drive, he got out of his car and said:
“I’ve been thinking on the drive over here. It’s alright asking if I’m a good man, but are you a good woman? Are you going to tie me up and do horrible things to me?”
“Only if you’re a very good boy…”
So he came in, and we drank hot chocolate and thawed out, and had very good, very energetic, very bruisey, scratchy, bitey sex. Four times. The things those poor dogs saw…
And I woke up in the morning and giggled aloud at my own audacity. Look at his gorgeous curls spread out on my pillow! Look! See how brown he is against the crisp white of my sheets! I slept with a gorgeous man and he didn’t seem bothered about my thighs! And I kicked him out of bed because I had plans with my best girlfriend for the weekend, and I didn’t imagine I’d ever see him again, and that was just fine with me. I’d had very good sex with an extremely handsome man after a very nice evening.
And then the texts started, and then he ended up coming over to mine for lunch the next day, and then for drinks two days after that, and we fell into dating.
But here’s the thing. EVERY SINGLE DATE IS LIKE THE FIRST ONE. Platonic and pleasant, slightly awkward and off-kilter.
This man has gone down on me while I have my period. He’s gone down on me while I’ve read aloud from Lolita. He’s gone down on me and wiped my juices all over his face in a disturbingly sexy, animalistic way. We’ve had anal sex, I have licked his arsehole, he’s come in my ear and hair. We’ve been away together twice, I’ve heard him poo through a hotel room wall (I went downstairs in the restaurant loo, obviously). We are not strangers.
Yet every time I see him, it’s like starting again. The first date thing is getting old now. It’s not thrilling when you’ve been doing it for 4 months. It’s confusing. He came over last night and it wasn’t until we went to bed that you’d have known we’d ever met before.
Sex aside, he is gorgeously affectionate in bed. Full of hugs and strokes. I woke at some point during the night to find him curling around my back, uncurling my fingers to hold my hand with one of his hands, cupping my breast with his other. And later, we’re facing each other and he grabs the back of my head, gently pulls me in so we’re forehead to forehead and holds me there by a loose handful of my hair as we drift back to sleep. (Three amazing things about him: he doesn’t get hot in bed and happily, actively snuggles all night, he doesn’t get morning breath and we can somehow lie face to face without feeling like we’re breathing in each other’s horrible stale air, and he smells absolutely divine. I can’t tell you how good he smells. It is intoxicating. I am thoroughly looking forward to going to bed tonight and lying on ‘his’ pillow. Not in a lovesick way. More like a coke addict, desperately snorting him up. I’ve mentioned going Annie Wilkes on his ass previously. Screw that. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is where it’s at…)
He is demonstrative and affectionate in bed, and totally platonic out of it. We talk on the phone like best buds. We meet up and we’re best pals. He did say before we first met that he was looking for a best friend. I thought he meant it in a soul-matey kind of way. Not literally. I am firmly in ‘friends with benefits’ camp, stuck in an endless loop of awkward first dates. God help me…