World’s worst date? Yeah. I reckon.

Start the day on an argument. It’s like ‘Go to work on an egg’, only a bit less catchy and unlikely to make me as rich and famous as Fay Weldon. However. Today’s strapline: start the day on an argument.

I went away with The Pirate this weekend. He spent yesterday fishing while I shopped and snoozed and indulged in beauty treatments. It’s very telling that the most harmonious part of our date was when we weren’t together…

I was expecting him to meet me at the hotel between 6pm and 7pm, for drinks and dinner. He rocked up at 8. I don’t know why it made me cross, since I *knew* he’d be late, but still. I was cross. Bad start. But since spitting is rude, I swallowed my crossness down like a good girl.

I’d bought him a gift during the day – a bottle of his favourite aftershave. I know some people find it hard to receive gifts. Seems The Pirate is one of them. Nothing gracious about it. Just a lecture on money management. No, that’s unfair. He was pleased. But the accompanying lecture took away *my* pleasure in giving the gift. I like giving gifts, and I don’t expect anything in return. Certainly not a telling off…

We went for dinner, and he didn’t enjoy it. We walked the dogs afterwards and he questioned why our room wasn’t river facing. The dogs were in our room and mine barked and chuffed when people started getting up this morning, and he got really cross.

Unfortunately, so did I. All of my crossness – which was really disappointment – about how a night in a nice hotel just wasn’t that nice came out. I stropped out of bed and into the shower, got dressed at breakneck speed and huffily told him I was taking the dog out so he could get some peace, and I’d see him later.

He was a little bewildered. I suppose it must have seemed like my anger came out of nowhere. But it came on top of all my insecurities about how I look at the minute – thanks, Mum – as well as all of my uncertainty about HIM, and what we’re doing, and what he thinks about me. Basically, I was spoiling for a fight, itching for another chance to push him away. It’s getting worse, it really is.

So he asked what was wrong, and I told him he’d done nothing but moan and I felt like he’d have had a better break if I wasn’t there. He said that wasn’t true, said he’d get up with me, but I stropped off anyway.

We met back in the room an hour later. He apologised for making me feel bad, said he loved coming back to meet me last night. I apologised for being stroppy. None of the important things were said. None of the things that are eating me up inside came out of my mouth. I just wanted to smooth things over. I am pathetic.

But you want to know the best bit? The argument isn’t even why this post is entitled ‘Worst date ever’. Oh no. The argument was just the starter. The main course? Oh god. Today was just awful.

Today, I went fishing with him. We’ve done this before. It was a disaster that time too – he got so caught up in the fishing, he forgot about me. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different outcomes, right? Right.

It started off OK. We walked through beautiful countryside down to the river. It was a really steep descent, with lots of wooden steps. Down, down, down we went, and he fished by a beautiful viaduct while I sat in the glorious sunshine, reading.

Then we moved on. Along the riverbank, jumping streams, avoiding tree roots, squelching through shin-high mud… Up the bank, down the bank, over rocky beaches, until we reached the next fishing spot. And the heavens properly opened. And it all started to go wrong.

He fished for a bit, but the water was too low really and the rain was terrible, so we headed back. While I had been sheltering under a tree watching him, I had broken the zip on my waterproof jacket. It was now pissing it down all over, well, ME. I am soaking. Rat tail hair – the hood on my waterproof is so big I can’t see if I put it up – and mascara dripping off my chin. Awesome.

And if I thought the journey to the second fishing spot had been quite an adventure when it was dry, it was fucking treacherous going back in a monsoon. My wellies – the left one of which had kindly sprung a leak – slipped and slid all over the rocky beach, the moss on the stones now acting as a deadly lubricant.

The steep banks were mudslides, the jumps over streams perilous now the banks were basically made of blancmange, and the marshy shin-high muddy bits went down a treat inside my left welly.

The Pirate is striding ahead. I’m following some distance behind with a really sexy  ‘squamp (pause) squamp (pause) squamp (pause)’ soundtrack, courtesy of my leaky boot. I found out later that his shoes have spikes on the sole, to grip the riverbed, but at the time I didn’t know this, and I feel like the world’s least agile and capable person as I basically mudskate my way along, while he picks his way like a mountain goat. He has to keep waiting for me. I feel I am letting the side down. And I’m starting to get tired. I’m not the world’s fittest person at the best of times. Marching through all this mud, up and down hills, is killing me.

And then fuck me we get to the bottom of those bastard steps. They stretch up for miles. Up into the clouds, forever. Giants live up there, I swear. And then I remember that, after the steps, there is the really very steep hill that takes us into heaven/to the gate by his Jeep. Oh god.

I ask The Pirate whether we could just live together there, at the bottom of the steps. I’ll build us a house out of fern and mud – god knows there’s enough of the stuff. He knows which mushrooms are good to eat – ooh, and his dog can catch rabbits! We’ll be grand!

He says not, and tells me to go first.

I fall over on about the 5th step. The steps are wooden and mossy and muddy and wet, I am wearing plastic shoes and it is me – the world’s clumsiest person – climbing them. My fall was inevitable really. Just a case of when. But did it really have to be when The Pirate was behind me? And obviously my glasses fell off too, for added indignity. I now have very muddy knees to add to my soaked-to-the-skin, mascara-streaked look. Yeah baby. I’m hot.

No really, I’m roasting – will these steps never end?! My head is about to explode with redness, my breathing is ridiculously laboured and my thighs have given up. Another step? I don’t think so. Sorry. We’re out of muscles today. Overcooked spaghetti – that we can do.

After my fall, I made The Pirate go first. And it is this that makes today the world’s worst date, ever: he stood at the top of the hill holding the gate open for me, and watched me make my slow, cumbersome, sweaty, fat, steamed up glasses, out of breath, soaking wet, muddy way up.

I know I have a tendency to be my own harshest critic, but I think I’m being pretty objective when I say I looked extremely unattractive and undesirable. On pretty much every level. I tried to look really nice for dinner last night. Did good make-up, wore a sexy (for me) dress. All undone in a moment.

He is kind and doesn’t comment. This makes me feel worse. And we get in the car and carry on our way. And the tea and cake I was promised in a nice teashop is consumed in the Jeep, because I am soaking wet and have huge patches of mud on my knees that make me look like I’ve been giving bad boys blow jobs behind the bike shed.

And so we make our way home. A 2.5 hour car journey. We talked – it wasn’t totally awkward – but I wasn’t myself. I haven’t been myself with The Pirate since our very first dates.

You’re supposed to become more comfortable with a person the longer you spend with them, right? Not so with The Pirate. The longer it carries on with me not having a fucking clue what we’re doing, convinced he is only seeing me for what I can do for his business, the more I retreat into myself and into a little shell of self-loathing.

I try sentences out in my head before speaking them, and replay bits of conversations after we’ve had them, thinking ‘god, did I REALLY say that? Why? WHY?’ All of my self-loathing inner dialogue leaves precious little time for actual conversation.

I know that The Pirate finds strong, confident, willful, driven women attractive. I am so far from that right now it is untrue. I shouldn’t be dating. To get all Oprah about it, you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself. I don’t think I’ve ever hated myself more. I have no confidence and I feel so vulnerable and exposed. When The Pirate says something that upsets me, intended or not, my  body language changes and I try to fold in on myself, put up a physical barrier. I need a barrier.

He carried my bag in for me when we got back to my house. Gave me some very nice kisses and left. I am trying to focus on those kisses, but all I can see is me dragging myself up that hill, and I just want to die. I just want him to like me. That’s all.

I’m going to cry now and consume gin, if you don’t mind.

 

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