A blind date is like jumping out of a window when your house is on fire not knowing if you are going to crack your skull on the garden path.
The moment you meet on a blind date, the reason why you are there flies out of your head. You feel tense, a bit stupid, and it’s hard to focus on this stranger with his unknown desires and expectations.
A blind date was traditionally set up by a mutual friend of the daters. In cyber times, with almost as many dating sites as porn sites, love is found stroking the keyboard. You can invent a new persona. If it doesn’t work, change your Gravatar and become someone new, an unceasing quest to find yourself as much as love.
Before I was hooked up, if I wanted to meet someone new, I spent a night in one of my preferred West End bars, usually with a girlfriend, sometimes alone when sleep was the enemy and my notebook was itching to slide out beside a glass of champagne and get written in. There’s always danger, but it’s never dull.
It was under Gemma’s pressure that I succumbed, and my blind date with Mike (real name) provides a list of warning signs that have stuck in my mind liked a tattoo.
Blind Date State of Play
We met at a restaurant – a public place, safe for us both. Mike was at the table and glanced up from my photo on his phone. He looked at my legs, tits and finally my face.
We brushed cheeks and he sat back where he had been sitting looking out with a view of the restaurant. I sat facing him, and the wall, and he snapped his fingers for the waitress. I began with a glass of cava. He asked for house red and tap water.
We ordered, and when the first course came my blind date complained that the walnuts in his Waldorf salad were rancid. ‘It’s just the flavour of the yoghurt,’ the waitress told him, and he told her: ‘Why don’t you taste it yourself if you think I’m lying.’
She took the plate away and brought him the Greek salad, the same as I was having; fresh feta, plump Kalamata black olives, ripe tomatoes and cucumber. ‘I hate it when they try and rip you off,’ he said.
There’s an old joke: a man talks about himself in a restaurant for two hours and then says, well, that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about you – what do you think of me? The joke came to mind as Mike sat there telling me about his job in IT, and just the mention of those two initials were enough for me to swig back my cava and order another one.
Mike moved on from his career as a world authority in SEO – search engine optimisation – to his love of ice hockey, which he played growing up in Maine and could have gone pro. ‘I guess you were meant for higher things?’ I said, and he nodded modestly.
I asked Mike how he knew Gemma and he snapped his fingers at the waitress. He needed another glass of wine to explain that she was a ‘crazy girl’ who ‘ran hot and cold.’ They really had something, he said, but she just blew it. He couldn’t stand ‘ego-mad’ women who only thought about themselves.
He had started to tell me about another crazy girl who’d messed up up his life when his phone rang. He glanced up from the screen. ‘I have to take this,’ he said, and proceeded to explain to a client for ten minutes that SEO doesn’t happen over night. Like love, I thought. He mentioned keywords and alt tags. I wondered if I should ask him for advice about my own blog, but didn’t.
In fact, now that he was on his third glass of wine, he was stroking the back of my hand and telling me I had nice eyes. ‘You should see my feet,’ I said, and he wasn’t sure if I was joking or not. I realised, too, that what attracts me most in men is wit, silliness, fun, and Mike from Maine must have had a humour bypass.
We shared the bill and I paid the tip. He didn’t have any change, and didn’t think the waitress was worth anything. She was gamine with short pixie hair, the perfect blind date, I thought.
10 Blind Date Warning Signs
- He looks first at your tits and legs, not your face.
- He sits facing out in a restaurant, leaving you to face the wall.
- He snaps his finger for the waitress and treats her with impatience – this may be done simply to impress. Don’t be.
- He complains about his food as if the waitress is to blame for its apparent shortcomings; a sign that he is probably abusive, even violent.
- A blind date who talks incessantly about himself isn’t as interesting as he thinks he is. He’s a bore and bores get more boring the longer you know them.
- Men who talk about sport usually aren’t doing any, they’re watchers, not doers, a statistics wonk, not an action man.
- Ask him about past girlfriends. If he puts them down, if he blames them for breakups, it’s a red light on the list of warning signs.
- He leaves his cell phone on the table, a display of his belief in his own importance.
- If he gets too romantic or sentimental and starts stroking your hand across the table, don’t let him keep refilling your glass, and be careful if you go to the loo in case he’s dropped a rape date drug in your drink.
- He under tips – or worse.
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