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My Blind Date Experience

7 Nov

Following my blind date last Wednesday, I found myself describing the experience to others in terms of stocks and shares;  I realised that throughout the course of the evening, my blind date’s ‘value’ fluctuated according to what was happening or being said at the time. So I felt that the most accurate, and dare I say it, scientific way for me to describe this fateful evening to you all would be through the use of the following very thorough line graph:

It doesn’t take a genius or a mathematician to decipher from this graph that, unfortunately, I won’t be seeing my date again. But before I write my conclusions, I will take you through the evening, using the above as my reference point.

As you all know, I was pretty nervous about Wednesday evening, and I spent a great amount of time wondering why I was about to put myself through it.  For someone like me, who dreads and avoids rejection more than the average person, this was the ultimate ‘facing my fear’ moment.

In preparation, I had a facial and a mani/pedi, but I have to emphasise to my friends back home in the UK that these ‘treats’ are weekly rituals in Dubai, and therefore I didn’t really feel I was going to too much unnecessary effort for someone I had never met before. I also stopped myself from buying a whole new outfit and settled for a LBD that makes me feel both confident and classy. Looking back on it, perhaps something flirty and ridiculously low-cut would have been more appropriate. All men are perverts, after all.

My friend Ashley, who set the date up, arranged for us to meet at Teatro in Towers Rotana at 8pm. I suggested this place as it’s one of my favourite restaurants in Dubai, and they serve some of the strongest Caipirinhas in the city. That way I knew that even if the date was awful, I would be able to numb the experience with alcohol.

While I was getting ready, I was very nervous. So nervous that I almost fell in the bath, which is ironic considering that one of my ‘genuine-sounding, harmless excuses as to why I cannot make it on Wednesday‘, was that I had slipped in the bath and was therefore bedridden. Note to self: karma can be a bitch.

Once I did my hair, finished my makeup and got dressed, I decided, to the disagreement of many, to have a couple of quiet drinks in the comfort of my home to take the edge off.  I know many of you had visions of me drinking copious shots of vodka and turning up absolutely wasted, shouting ‘wah hey hey’ at everyone, including my date. But thankfully, I controlled myself, and I have to say the two glasses of sherry did what was necessary of them, and I went off to my blind date feeling cool, calm and collected, which is shocking considering what a nervous wreck I’d been earlier in the day.

So, there I was, at Teatro, on Wednesday November the 2nd , at 8pm.  Here’s what followed:

Point One – He’s Twenty Minutes Late (His Value: – 10)

I arrived at 8pm on the dot, and was very pleased to see that my date had not made it yet. This allowed me enough time to get myself to the bar, order a drink, sit up straight, and pretend I was a confident, sassy young woman who had no qualms meeting complete strangers for blind dates, and who certainly doesn’t tell the world through her blog what a dating coward she really is. This was my Sex and the City moment, and I loved every minute of it.

However, it soon transpired that my date was in fact running very late; my back was starting to hurt from sitting up so straight, and my jaw was aching from having a fixed fake smile plastered on my face. At 8.10pm, a cute guy sidled up to the bar while looking at me. My heart started to race; was it him, I wondered. He sat down two seats away from me, and just as I began to consider whether I should try and talk to him to see if he was the stranger I was supposed to be having dinner with, Ashley started calling me. She confirmed that my date was running late, but was now on his way.

At the time I must admit that I wasn’t too bothered about it. To most of my friends, however, this is one of the cardinal sins of dating. You never keep a lady waiting. Looking back on it, I now agree with common opinion; you should never be late for a blind date. You make the effort to be on time, and if you don’t, it’s obvious that you’re just clearly not too interested in the whole thing.

So I carried on drinking through my fixed fake smile, and my date’s value started to plummet before he had even arrived.

Point Two – My Second Caipirinha Arrives (His Value: 20)

Don’t judge me, but I got through the first Caipirinha in fifteen minutes, flat. By 8.20pm, I was onto my second one, and my date’s value began to rise. Simply because I was getting tipsy.

Point Three – My Date Arrives; Hello Cute Smile! (His Value: 65)

As I was busy updating one of my friends on BBM of my late-coming date, I suddenly heard a voice say: “Andrea”? and for a split second I wondered who the hell knew my name. I then realised that, oh, wait, my blind date had arrived, quickly sat up straight, and slapped my fake smile back on.

My first impression was, wow, this guy has an AMAZING smile. And from what I could see, he was tall, dark, with a hint of greying hair (I’m obsessed with George Clooney. Grey hair is always a massive turn on for grave snatchers like me).

The smile, I have to say, made his  value begin to rise substantially, and I started to wonder whether I’d been too quick to judge blind dates.

Point Four – We Start To Find A Lot Of Common Ground (His Value: 87)

To me, the best part of getting to know a potential partner is those small moments of magic that occur when you both realise you have something in common.

My date and I had a few of these moments. For one, I discovered that his favourite cocktail is also the Caipirinha. When he said this to me, I started to wonder if I would end up marrying him. He also shared the same weird obsession I had for New York in my youth.

These ‘common ground’ moments were great, but I have to say, from this early on into the date I was searching for that ‘spark’ people have when they both really like each other, and sadly, it was nowhere to be found.

Point Five – My Third Caipirinha Arrives; It Is Strong and Tasty (His Value: 90)

Yes, I judge experiences on the basis of the quality and quantity of alcohol that is available. I’m a lush; what more can I say?

Point Six – He Passes The Heels Test (His Value: 95)

At this point in the evening, my date asked me how tall I am, to which I answered 5 foot 8. He then, much to my satisfaction, informed me that he is a nice and tall 6 foot something. This, my friends, meant he passed the heels test.

Before I headed out, I had informed my friend Dona that I was wearing SUPER high heels, to which she exclaimed sarcastically, “As opposed to the flats you wear to work”?! These heels, my friends, aren’t for the fainthearted. Some lesser trained women (and drag queens) get vertigo wearing them. Here is a picture, which illustrates my point:


Subconsciously, this is my way of weeding out the guys who don’t match my height while wearing heels. I’ve never been someone who has a specific ‘type’ of guy that I always go for, but I have to say, height is one thing I cannot seem to compromise on. Wearing these heels ensures I know whether or not he makes the cut.

My date did, and his value continued to rise nicely. But then, it all started to go a bit wrong.

Point Seven – He Eyes Up Another Girl (His Value: 50)

So, we were still sat at the bar, conversation was flowing rather nicely, and then I see him look away, and eye up a very pretty girl who walked past us at the bar.

No, no, no, no, no! Gentlemen, is it too much to ask you keep your eyes on your date for the few hours you are with her? Looking at another girl is just not cool. At this point, my date’s stock started to fall again.

Point Eight – He Starts To Talk Too Much (His Value: 47)

I am all for listening to other people’s life stories, but at the same time, I want them to listen to mine. At some point, my date decided that his life was far more fascinating, and that he’d rather listen to himself speak the whole time than find out anything about me.

This to me was an indication that he wasn’t really interested, and it was at this point I stopped trying to look for the ‘spark.’ It clearly wasn’t there, and nothing he or I could do from this point forward would change that.

Point Nine – He Doesn’t Pay Attention When I Am Talking (His Value: 45)

At the points when he would actually ask me the odd question or two about my life, my date wouldn’t sustain eye contact with me, which, again, is an indication of someone who isn’t really listening. His value continued to plummet.

Point Ten – He Tries A Bit Of ‘Date’ Play (His Value: 67)

We decided to move from the bar to a table and get something to eat. At this point, my date tried some playful date banter, which mainly consisted of him attempting to ‘guess’ what I would pick off the menu, and what my choices tell people about the type of person I am. Well, I ordered the Thai Red Curry. I guess you can say I am a bit spicy.

This playful banter is always enjoyable. His stock began to rise again, slightly.

Point Eleven – We Discover More Common Ground (His Value : 70)

My date and I did share quite a few things in common. Our love of hip hop, for one, led to a very long conversation about Tupac and Biggie, and East Coast versus West (non-hip hop lovers, feel free to glaze over at this point). He also comes from a large, close-knit family, which is always an attractive quality. My family mean the world to me, and I don’t think I could ever be with a person who isn’t close to his.

On paper, we should have ‘worked’ as a potential couple. But the spark…it just wasn’t there.

Point Twelve – He Reveals He Has Housemates (His Value: 50)

Without sounding too superficial, I find it very unattractive when a guy who is over 30-years-old still has housemates. I guess to me it feels like the person isn’t very responsible, and is still content living a slightly student-esque life. When my date revealed this to me I couldn’t help but make some negative assumptions about his personality.

Point Thirteen – He Starts Talking About How Attractive The Girls In Gossip Girl Are (His Value: 15)

Yes, I know that Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl are stunning. Of course they are: they starve themselves to death, have personal stylists, makeup artists and hairdressers at their beck and call. Do I really need my date to sit and drone on about how beautiful they are? He should be telling me how beautiful I am instead. Men.

Point Fourteen – He Accepts Money For The Bill (His Value: -100)

The date came to a natural conclusion as the restaurant was starting to wind down for the evening. We asked for the bill, and when it arrived, the waitress naturally handed it over the guy. He looked at it for a few seconds too many, and I, unfamiliar with dating etiquette, handed over my debit card. He took it, and we agreed to go dutch.

And his value nosedived.

Since that evening, I have asked many other ladies their opinion on this one, and the majority seem to agree that the unspoken rule is that the guy pays for the first date. Perhaps the fact he agreed for me to pay half of the bill is an indication that he also realised there wasn’t a spark between us, and he resented having to settle the whole thing himself. Which, again, isn’t very gentlemanly of him.

And on this slightly sour note, I thanked him for a lovely evening and made a quick dash for the cab queue. We didn’t exchange numbers, and I really wasn’t bothered about it.

Conclusion:

First, I want to emphasise that my date was a lovely guy and on the whole I did enjoy his company. I can see why my friend Ashley decided to set us up; on paper, we really should have hit it off more. We are both British, from ethnic minority, close-knit families, we both love to drink, cook,  listen to hip hop, and party. On top of all that, looks wise, he does tick a lot of my usual boxes: tall, dark, and a great smile.

However, despite the fact that my date and I should have ‘made sense’ as a couple, something was missing, and that’s the highly-elusive ‘spark’ we all look for in a potential partner. It’s that overwhelming, indescribable, amazing feeling that you get when you are with a person who completely gets you. Boy, do I miss that.

So, I will not be seeing my date again. But, I have to say, I am proud of myself for going through with it. The experience proved to me that dating isn’t so bad after all. Although I do maintain that there is something very unatural about the whole thing – had my date and I randomly met in a bar and got to know each other without the pressure of a ‘date’, the outcome may have been different.

 

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What NOT To Do Before A Blind Date

31 Oct

Depending on how well you stalk me, you may or may not know that I have agreed to go on a blind date  on Wednesday. Mentally, there have been some ups and downs since I officially arranged for this to happen. I started out feeling neutral about it (there’s absolutely nothing to worry about, Andrea), then a few nagging doubts started to creep in (you will be fine, Andrea), and within a day or so I found myself completely freaking out (WHAT WERE YOU THINKING AGREEING TO THIS YOU STUPID, STUPID WOMAN?).

So, in order to maintain a relatively stable level of sanity, I decided to implement some ground rules on what NOT to do before a blind date. And it’s worked so far. Well, sort of.

Google your date

‘Blind’ is the operative word here; Googling your blind date not only makes the whole concept of it null and void, but it can also lead to some unpleasant findings, like discovering he has a tattoo of a racist insignia all over his face. Or potentially, it can fill your mind with a load of dangerously fuzzy thoughts, especially if you happen to stumble across a photo of your guy hugging some Romanian orphans.

I am proud to say that despite the fact I have two mutual friends with my date, I have yet to look him up on Facebook. Usually, when I meet a guy I like, I undertake a mission to find out as much as I possibly can without actually talking to him. And thanks to the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, I have the ability to compose an entire background check on pretty much any guy I lay my eyes on (don’t judge me, I’m a journalist; this is what we do).  But this will not be one of those occasions. I am actually looking forward to getting to know a guy completely from scratch, with no preconceptions of what type of person he is. It’s actually pretty damn exciting, if I dare say so. And very 1950s.

Let your mind wander

It all starts innocently enough: you think of your date and the first thought that comes to mind is to have no expectations. After all, you don’t know the guy, so he’s probably not even your type, or he might have bad nasal hair, or the IQ of a toilet brush, or, horrors of horrors, he may wear chinos.

But then, something happens. Your mind decides to have a laugh at your expense, and starts to tell you that maybe, just maybe, he will be a David Gandy lookalike who has a heart like Mother Theresa, style like George Clooney and more swagger than James Bond.

The reality is, however, how many people have actually made it work after a blind date?  Do yourself a favour and keep busy. Do not think too much about it. There’s plenty of time for that after you’ve met him.

Make a list of potential excuses for cancelling

I will have to confess, I have already thought of what I would like to call a few genuine-sounding, harmless excuses as to why I cannot make it on Wednesday. These include “I slipped in the bath and I am bedridden.” “my (nonexistent) dog died,” and “my washing machine has flooded my flat and I am at risk of drowning.”

Those of you who read my first blog entry relating to this challenge will know that I’ve never been on a proper date. I just  get drunk and woo men with my intoxicated charm (please note, this is ironic).   Hence, I know I am at flight risk this Wednesday. The only saving grace is, I love my friend Ashley (who arranged this blind date) to bits, and I would not like to let her down. So, the only advice I can offer for this point is make sure you get one of your closest friends to arrange your blind date, and that they guilt you into going!

Buy a new outfit (and get a facial, manicure, pedicure, new hairstyle, personality transplant)

Invariably, the question of what one should wear during a blind date comes up at some point. Wardrobes are dissected, outfits tried on and vetoed one by one, then you decide that you have nothing  to wear in a big, dramatic panic.

So you decide to buy a new outfit. But then, if you get a new outfit, you need new shoes, right? Oh, and your hair, it’s looking very dry, you definitely need a treatment, and your nails – have you been cleaning gutters for the last few months?! And bit by bit, you dissect every part of your appearance, decide you’re a horror and therefore not fit for a blind date. Instead, you’re going to sit happily on that shelf, pig out on brownies, and look at naked pictures of David Gandy.

I suggest, you take a deep breath, pick out the dress that makes you feel great and that you’re comfortable in, and save the pennies to donate to charity. Much more ethical option.

*Note: Speaking of ethics, I feel like I would be unethical if I were to lie at this point; I admit, I’ve already had a facial. And tomorrow I’m having a mani/pedi. And maybe I’ll shop for a new dress.

Yes, I am a failure of disastrous proportions, and it’s therefore probably better if you completely ignore whatever I say.

So, there’s only one thing for it now – wish me luck!

I Am Going On A Blind Date (Cue Cameron From Modern Family-Type Scream)

22 Oct

I have a secret to share with you all; I have never been on a date. Now when I say date, I mean it in the true sense of the word: boy invites you out and does his best to woo you with a gorgeous box of chocolates, a bouquet of roses and a three-course meal at your favourite restaurant.  No, romance has always been nonexistent in my life. In the past, I have always tried to get to know guys over a few pints in a dingy pub, followed by shots in an even dingier bar, concluding with a greasy chicken shish kebab at the end of the night if I’m lucky. Well, that is how we Brits seem to do it anyway.

It is my own fault. I have spent most of my life having way too much fun with my friends to ever take guys too seriously. I love being single and have never really been on the look out for a relationship. And, on the rare occasions that I do like someone, I am a master of  school playground behaviour – I pretend I don’t like the guy, to the point where he actually ends up thinking I hate him. Normal, eh? I am sure that there is some sort of Freudian explanation to all this, but I have decided it is time to stop making excuses for myself and to, shock, horror, try to open myself up to the possibility of an actual real life relationship with a guy. They don’t all smell, after all.

Hence, the reason why I decided to add the go on a blind date challenge to my list. The truth is, the idea of a real date has always freaked me out. Being in the spotlight in that way, where I feel like everything I say or do is being judged, is too much like a job interview.  So the only way I would ever agree to meet with a guy is if I knew that a) it would be as informal as possible and b) that there would be a lot of alcohol involved. What would inevitably follow would be a very drunk Andrea, who would do many stupid things, and then wonder why the guy didn’t call again. I am not an attractive drunk. I am a husband beating, man hating drunk. I need to drill that into my thick, vodka-numbed skull.

Do you want the great news? The blind date has already been arranged by my very own Cilla Black, Ashley. During a very drunkard book club session last Tuesday, I found myself agreeing to being set up with one of her friends. I have to admit, when I added this challenge to my list, I wasn’t sure if I would go through with it. In fact, I dread this one more than skydiving, which pretty much sums up my attitude towards dating. But the whole point of this blog is to make myself do things that scare me in some way, so there’s no turning back.

My expectations? Well, I don’t have any. I hope at the very least I learn that dates aren’t that terrible after all and have a good laugh with a guy who I hear is a lot of fun!

The date is set for next Wednesday. I need to decide what to wear. And how to stop myself from reaching for the tequila bottle out of nervousness. Suggestions? Will a cup of herbal tea help?

Note: For those of you wondering what happened with the snail challenge, bear with me. I will be facing those slimy monsters at some point over the next few days.