I’ve become a reluctant connoisseur of dates in recent times, having been through the mills of embarrassment, awkwardness and the rushed voice message to your groupchat when you go to the bathroom to “powder your nose”. I used to think that people genuinely came to me for advice on the do’s and dont’s of meeting someone for the first time, but it’s slowly beginning to dawn on me that I exclusively have advice for the dont’s.
Once I met a guy at a LUAS stop that had only ever seen me ahem.. tipsy, I tried to make a joke about how it was going to be awkward now that I was more reserved. This was not the case as I wound up “playfully” kicking him in the shin whilst grandly gesticulating and crippling him for five minutes, reserved indeed. I normally do go for the awkward one-arm-up-one-arm-down hug situation because the one time I went for the handshake he held out his right hand and I held out my left, leaving me with no choice but to awkwardly grope his hand in the fashion of an old lady giving you a fiver at a family gathering.
“I tripped over my untied lace and grabbed the nearest thing to me. Of course this happened to be his hand. It was at this moment that he felt the need to tell me he “didn’t wanna hold my hand”
The one time I went for a walk in the park, I tripped over my untied lace and grabbed the nearest thing to me to stop myself from face-planting. Of course this happened to be his hand. It was at this moment that he felt the need to tell me he “didn’t wanna hold my hand”. Here I was watching rom-coms thinking clumsiness was cutely endearing. Grabbing something to eat on a date is a pretty good choice because despite my bemoaning of the patriarchy it almost always results in a free meal. Except for that one time where I got the bill because his card was declined and he had brought the grand total of a fiver. Cue awkward fumbling in the purse and silent prayers that my bank account could withstand the power of my appetite when I think I’m not paying.
Choice of food is very important, I have come to learn. My first ever date saw me order a spicy chicken burger that came out bigger than the size of my head. One bite sent the entire thing into collapse and came with it a tsunami of chicken, lettuce and I swear to god, an entire bottle of mayonnaise into my unsuspecting hands. The worst part about this whole situation was the fact that I started choking on the spice of the burger and tried to cover my mouth smearing mayonnaise on my face. Attractive right? He just asked if I wanted to order something else. I resisted the urge to say “…a taxi please?” I always seem to go for cheesy stuff and god knows the elasticity of cheese increases tenfold when there’s a date underway. I’ve been slapped in the face by molten mozzarella hanging off a pizza and been rewarded with a nervous laugh while I scrape marinara sauce all over my face.
At the end of the day, the embarrassment, awkwardness and anxiety of going on a date is an important part of life, forgive the cliche. The worst thing about cliches is that they are often rooted in a small kernel of truth and that sure as hell makes me feel better about my series of disasters. You may never meet the one if you don’t push yourself and go for awkward pints with strangers. Even worse you may never have stories to tell if you don’t encounter the occasional freak or geek along the way.
In my case, I fear I may be many people’s freak or geek. Either way, my one piece of advice, embrace any awkwardness and be yourself as much as you can. Even if you make a fool of yourself, it can only go uphill from there. Something to tell the grandkids…