I did it.
I broke my “never meet a man off the internet” rule.
We decided to meet at the train station- convenience more than anything else. On arriving, I made an immediate dive for the toilets- on a side note…THIRTY FUCKING PENCE?!?…WHO came up with that? Spending a penny- plus inflation??? Anyway, a little red cheeked from the run to the toilets and from my anger in paying for the privilege to pee- I decided a tone down on the make up was in order. I also gathered myself together.
I felt like somehow everyone around me knew that I was one of those saddos, incapable of finding love in the real world. I imagined that they all knew I had a date with a man off the internet. I was embarrassed. Why I should give a toss, I don’t know, but I did.
As I painted my lipstick on, I caught the flash of my phone- the man I was to meet was ringing. Oh great, I was being stood up. I didn’t answer. I wanted to scurry away back home and back into bed. Again the phone rang. And a third time. Then I received a text: “I’m outside WH Smith in a navy coat. PLEASE don’t stand me up.”
I looked at the time- was I unbelievably late? No. I had 7 minutes. Clearly this man was more of a nervous wreck than I.
I fluffed around with my hair a bit, desperate to somehow give it some volume and had a quick perfume spray. In the time it took me to do both of those things he had called once more and sent me another text. “I don’t want to seem too much, but I saw on the board that your train came in five minutes ago.”
It was too much.
I really didn’t want to meet him now. It wasn’t a nerves thing, it was more of an avoid the psycho type thing. Misrepresentation. He hadn’t mentioned or hinted (via email/the phone) at the fact that he was slightly obsessive.
As much as I wanted to run away or drown my sorrows in a nearby pub, I couldn’t be that cruel. I put this man out of his misery, with a minor white lie: “Ran into an old friend, will be a couple of minutes x” I texted.
I then plucked up my courage and went to meet the psycho. His coat was purple- distinctly purple. More misrepresentation. How could I have a relationship with a man that didn’t know his navy blues from his deep purples?! I recognised his face though. Dark hair, big brown eyes and a little stubble. He wasn’t a bad looking man.
He grinned. That’s when I saw it…Stone Henge teeth and one missing on the far left. Yuk. Immediately he went from a solid 8/10 to a 5. Poor teeth? No excuse. I didn’t suffer the best part of two years with painful gums and train tracks on my teeth for nothing!
Awkwardly he went in for a kiss on the cheek, I opted for the hug. I wasn’t ready for that kind of proximity to his dental region.
We did all the necessary small talk. Nothing too exciting. We walked for a little bit, it was early afternoon so I thought maybe he might have booked for us to go somewhere or to do something. Even grabbing a sandwich from Pret or a coffee from Starbucks would have been nice. BUT NO. It was a walking date- except we weren’t in Wales or the Lake District…we were at London Euston train station. ZERO thought had gone into this “date.” We walked through some random streets at the back of the station until we found a block of drab looking flats with a bench outside. This bench was where we sat for the entirety of the date. WHO SAID ROMANCE WAS DEAD? It wouldn’t have even been so bad if it was the middle of summer and we were sitting in a scenic spot, but it wasn’t. We faced some huge, grey concrete flats that looked like they had been made with as little money and care as was humanely possible. It was a cold, drizzly day with a sky to match the flats in drabness.
I suggested we get a cab somewhere more central, he declined. I indicated that a coffee or a meal might be a nice thing to do, again he declined. It was only when the drizzle turned into full blown rain, that he got the hint….and suggested we return to the fun place that is Euston station for us to simply relocate and sit at some other crappy bench there.
I didn’t know if this was symbolic of him being tight with his money or if this truly was his idea of fun- but either way he was a no go.
We talked about ourselves, films and music and I was at the very least grateful that conversing with this stranger was easy.
Easy isn’t fun though. Especially as you sit on a cold bench covered in dried pigeon shit, in the middle of some depressing block of council flats. It isn’t fun in the cold drizzly air when all you can think about is how the hair you just fluffed up is now getting damper and damper, flatter and flatter.
Sitting on the bench in the station after our relocation, I caught sight of the next potential train I could catch. “I really ought to catch that train” I said, not even bothering to back up my excuse with an explanation. “We must do this again,” he said, smiling genuinely at me whilst showing his dreadful teeth yet again. I nodded enthusiastically- almost convincing myself that I would.
I initiated a goodbye hug to avoid another awkward rejected kiss. Hurriedly, I then strolled to my platform.
Two hours, thirty four minutes I had given this man from the internet. Two hours too many.