**So just so you know, the reason why all my dates have names like Vegetable Man, The Hipster, Sweaty Back Guy etc, is because it’s how my friends are able to differentiate them when I’m talking about past dates. It’s actually my friends who name them based on the various different things that I tell them happened. Soon you’ll be introduced to The Spy, The Alchemist, The Leprechaun, The Visa-Hunter and many more, but Vegetable man was so named by my Foodie friend who cried laughing when I told her this story….**
Vegetable Man – Part 3
We scheduled the date for the following Saturday.
A whole week in between a first and second date is dangerous territory for me. I’m an over-thinker. I could literally over-think something to death, in fact I often have. Two things usually happen to me when I have too much time to think between dates, I either call and cancel cause I’ve decided the suitor is just not for me, or I spend a week envisaging what our kids will look like, where we will live once we are married and what our dog’s name will be.
To be fair this guy was falling somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. By the Monday I had pretty much convinced myself that 46 was way too old for me and I just couldn’t get past him having a son, but just as I was thinking that he sent me a text.
“Evening Princess, how was your day? :)”
“Hey… good thanks, how you doing?”
“Ah grand, just in work, busy night, just saved some poor old dear who had a heart attack, got her back with some CPR before dropping her off in James’s”
Ah jeez he’s an actual hero. I’d spent the day working on some spreadsheets and trying to sell an ad campaign for Malteasers onto my websites. Maybe I could live with the age gap after all.
By the Thursday we had been texting lots back and forth and his messages put a smile on my face, it was fun. I had nearly forgotten what this first flurry of dating someone felt like. But I had fallen into this trap before, and it’s an easy trap to fall into in todays technological age. People can be charming as all hell via text and then a complete let down in real life. This guy was soooo nervous during our first day but since then he’d been super confident and full of the compliments over text. It could really go one way or the other..
That night I went and met a friend for dinner….
“Sooo any news?” she asked as she poured Malbec into my oversized wine glass. Glug, Glug, Glug – my all time favourite sound.
“Welllll, I have a second date on Saturday” I smiled smugly
“Oooohhh tell me more”
So I did. I told her, all the facts, the good and the bad. I told her about the texting, his desire to call me, the cancelling of the dates, the son, the ex, the accent, the age gap, the hero’esque job, the kissing and the sweet messages he had been sending me.
When I finished she sat back and said…
“Hmmm, no, sorry, I don’t think he’s for you”
My friends are opinionated as fuck. But that’s why I love them. Deep down I agreed with her so I didn’t fight it too much.
“Well jeez, tell me what you really think” I smiled topping up her glass. I had barely made a dent in mine cause I’d been talking so much but her’s was almost empty.
“Ha, I know, sorry, but come on Ari, he just doesn’t sound like he has a lot going on upstairs, I mean I’m sure he’s lovely and all but I just can’t see you with a bloke like him”
I get this a lot. All the blokes people can’t see me with.
“Who can you see me with?” I ask exasperatedly
“I dunno ….but not someone like him, you’d be bored within 5 minutes”
As frustrating as this is, she’s right and I know it.
Our starters arrived just then and our conversation moved on. I checked my phone about an hour later and saw two texts from him.
He had texted me earlier that afternoon saying
“Hey how did work go today? What you up to?” but in my rush to get out the door to meet my friend I forgot to reply. Now there were two more texts.
“I’m on the Ambo tonight :|”
I decided to send him a quick text “Hey sorry I’m just out to dinner with my friend, hope work isn’t too hard”. My friend came back from the loo and I put my phone back in my bag.
Two hours and two bottles of Malbec later I checked my phone again. Four messages this time.
“What did you have to eat?”
10 minutes later
“On the ambo with a good lad so makes it easier”
30 minutes later
20 minutes later
“I hope you’re not lashing the wine tonight:) :)”
Too many texts dude, and the last one kinda angered me. Who did he think he was? It was after midnight at this stage but I texted him anyway
“And what if I was? Less of that outta you please, I’ll drink what I please when I’m out with my friend thank you very much :)” I threw in the smiley face at the end just cause he may have been jesting and I had had 4 glasses of wine.
“Party girl Ariana…. lol”
“That’s me” I replied “I’m sure you used to be a party boy, all those years ago :). Don’t be hatin”
“I actually love it…. :)”
“Good. Stick with me son, I’ll have you partying again in no time” I teased
“I want to stick with you”
“Ah we’ll see if we can stick to a second date first”
“Saturday, I can’t wait”
“You better plan something for us to do” I warned
“I’ve done all the organising so far”
“I will I promise, just keep Saturday nigh’ free Poshie”
“Night night” I said. My mate may have been right but hey a dates a date, I’ll make my decision after Saturday.
The next day he sent me some really sweet messages saying how he was really looking forward to seeing me. I was like a flippin yo-yo. Up and down with my feelings for him.
When Saturday morning rolled around I had arranged to meet another friend for lunch before the big 2nd date.
This friend is happily married and has a lovely little 2 year old son who would love me to find a nice guy to settle down with. When I had finished telling her about him and the upcoming date she was enthralled.
“He sounds lovely” she gushed.
“The age gap is not that bad, come on, your Dad was 9 years older than your Mom”
This is true.
“And it’s sweet that he has a child, at least you know he is committed to him and he sounds like he’s a great Dad”
By the end of our lunch she had all but married me off to him and I spent my drive home picking out the colour of my imaginary bridesmaids dresses.
However so lost in my reverie was I that it was 5pm before I realised I hadn’t heard from him yet that day, considering he was texting me like mad the last few days to not text me at all on the day of our date was a little worrying. Here we go again I thought. I bet he is going to cancel on me. I still didn’t know where or what we were doing on our date, I had pressed him for info the day before but he just avoided my questions. I assured him that a quick bite to eat and a few drinks after would be grand and he just said “Leave it with me”
By 5.30pm I messaged him….
“Um, yo yo, we still good for tonight?”
At 6pm he messaged me back. A half an hour is an excruciatingly long time when a date hangs in the balance.
“Sorry just having dinner with the yung fella and me folks” he said nonchalantly
“Oh ok, so I guess we’re not going for something to eat then no?”
“Sorry no, not tonight, maybe next time”
“Ok cool, no worries”
This was like trying to get blood from a stone.
“Soo where do you want to meet?”
“Maybe I will pick you up”
“Ok cool” I messaged him my address
“Um, so what time should I be ready for?”
“Ok. 7.30pm ok”
I looked at phone it was 6.15.
“See you soon handsome”
I hurriedly got ready. Not knowing where I was going I opted for a black dress, and tights and boots.
At 7.30pm I texted him.
“Let me know when you’re outside and I’ll come down”
10 minutes later he messaged back.
“Running behind, I’ll message you when I get there”
“Ha. I’m sensing a theme” I teased, he was late for our first date too.
By 8pm I texted him….”How long we talking? Should I take my coat off” I asked getting a little annoyed
“Don’t be hard on me Ariana, I’ll be there as soon as I can, my Mam kept me talking”
At 8.30, a whole hour, or in dating terms a glass and a half of wine, two cigarettes, 10 checks in the mirror and a nervous wee later he messaged to say he was outside.
I allowed myself a cheeky fantasy on my way down in the lift. I imagined he’d be standing in front of his car, maybe a sexy black Range Rover with a bunch of flowers in his hand full of apologies for being late. He’d pull me towards him and plant a long lingering kiss on my lips and then we’d speed off to some quaint little bar in town where he’d know the bartender and we’d drink cocktails and laugh all night.
Sadly my fantasy didn’t last long.
I got outside and it was raining, worried my fake tan would start to run, I ran out to the front of my apartment block. The only car I could see was a beat up 12 year old Astra parked up on mucky kerb across the road, sure enough I could see him there in the car fiddling with his phone. He didn’t even look up as I ran across the road.
I opened the car door and he looked up, I expected him to be all like…. ‘heyyyyy how are you, you look nice” but instead he just said “Hi”. He was nervous again I could tell.
I sat in the passenger seat and looked out at the rain as he put on his indicator and pulled out of the kerb with a plonk. It was so weird, all the warmth he exuded over text was just zapped from him in real life.
“Sooo, where we going” I said.
“Ohh hahahaha” he laughed nervously. “You’re too organised for me you are”
“Ha, no seriously though, where are we going”
Oh god, he didn’t know where we were going. He had no plan whatsoever. We were just driving around aimlessly.
“Do you know where we are going?”
“Yeh” he said glancing at me from the corner of his eye.
Right ok I’m not going to push this I thought, just go with the flow Ari.
“So how was your day?”
“Eh yeah it was good, the yung fella had a football match this morning. It was baltic though. Rained cats and dogs for the whole match. I was drowned for the whole thing”
“Ugh god that’s shit”
“Ah no wouldn’t miss a match for the world, not even in the rain, love that boy” he said and I swear to god for the next 15 minutes as we drove around aimlessly he talked in another stream of consciousness about his kid. This time though he told me about the dinner he had cooked for him the day before. In minute detail.
“So he doesn’t like onions righ’, so I tried to trick him. So what I did was yeah, I got an onion yeah, and I chopped it up really really small, yeah. And then I put it in the pan with loads of butter yeah, and I kinda browned the onion in the pan yeah, and then like I got mashed potatoe and I put the mashed potatoe on the plate and then I put the fried onions and all the butter on the mash yeah, and then I covered it in this bolonaise sause dat I made, and he was all, Da, this is luvly and I was all laughin and all cause like he didn’t even know der was onions in it”
“Ha aw that’s funny yeah” I said humouring him
“But then like later on he sees the onion peel in the bin and he was all, Daaaaaa did you give me onions and I was all, laughin and all cause like he doesn’t like onions ye see”
Jesus Christ is this guy for real. I must have been drunk last week
I also realised the more he talked, the more I didn’t fancy him.
It was like “Poof”, any attraction I thought I had for him the week before just evaporated. He hadn’t asked me a single thing about myself since I got into the car. In fact he barely looked at me, he was just driving and talking to himself about his son.
Eventually I realised we were turning right at traffic lights on a dual carriageway in Palmerstown.
“Er where are we going” I asked nervously
“The Palmerstown House”
“The PALMERSTOWN HOUSE!” I exclaimed “Are you joking?”
“Haha, you’re too high maintenance for me” he said glancing sideways
Oh my god. This was bad. The Palmerstown House was a pub in the middle of nowwhere frequented by aul fellas and old married couples. Not that I’d ever been in it…. I mean don’t get me wrong I’m sure if you were with your boyfriend 7 years and you fancied a carvery on a rainy Sunday on your way home from Liffey Valley then the Palmerstown House would be as good a place as any to go to, but this was not by any means a place to bring someone on a second date.
I contemplated not getting out of the car but he had accused me of being high maintenance, something I really hate being accused of cause I’m really not high maintenance at all so I reluctantly got out of the car and pulled my skirt down towards my knees. I was morto going in here dressed in my little black dress and make up done to the nines.
One drink I thought. I’ll have one drink and then I’ll get myself a hailo the fuck outta here.
We walked in and it was like we had just walked into Mass in the depths of Rosscommon, Everyone and I mean everyone, turned to look at us. When I say everyone I mean the 8 aul fellas at the bar, the bar tender, the lounge girl, and a married couple in their 60’s sitting in the corner nursing their pints.
I hurriedly went to sit in the corner.
“Glass o’ wine Poshie yeah” he said
“I think I probably need a brandy but yeah a wine will be fine” I said.
He arrived back with a large glass of wine and a pint of water for himself. Jesus christ he wasn’t even drinking. Well I know he’s driving but I suppose it hadn’t really occured to me that it would mean I’d be drinking on my own.
“So you’re not too happy with me are ya” he said eyeing me nervously
“Ha, um well it’s just not really what I was expecting”I really didn’t want to come across like a bitch so I was trying to be nice to the poor chap who was clearly very very out of practice.
“Sorry” he said “I just didn’t really know where to go in town or anythin, sure isn’t here as good a place as any” he said nudging me and trying to make me smile.
God, ok I need to just get through this I thought.
“Anyway…. it’s grand, so um,” I pointed at the writing on his T-shirt that said San Francisco Fire Brigade “That’s cool, you been to San Fran?”
He looked confused for a second then looked at his t-shirt. “Oh, no, never been, just a random t-shirt I had in me wardrobe” he said
Okaayyy….he still wasn’t asking me anything I was having to make all the convo here.
“Oh, okay, um so you ever been anywhere in America” I attempted
“Ehhh I was in New York once with the crew on a big station trip away”
“Ah New York, I love New York, such an amazing city, did you do much sight seeing when you were there? Did you go to Ellis Island? ” I asked
“That, that mad famine place?,no no we did’t go there no, we went on a boat trip alright but to be honest we were all locked the whole time we were there I don’t really remember much of the trip “
I sipped my wine wishing I was locked and would not have to remember much of this date either.
He sipped on his water and tried to put his arm around me.
“I don’t really travel much, I brought the yung fella to Spain a couple of times the last few years, just me and him like, and me Ma and Da one year, but other den dat I don’t like going too far away”
Right so we don’t have travel in common.
“Um okay so like, are you a foodie?” I figured he went into so much detail about the food earlier we might have some common ground
“A foodie? What d’ya mean?”
“Um like are you into food like, do you like nice restaurants, cooking all that stuff” I know I know I was really clutching at straws here but I was trying my best.
“Well, like, I like to eat”
“Ok so what do you like to eat”
“Well like I like me vegetables. I like potatoe’s, carrots, onions, broccoli, I like cauliflower, cabbage, pea’s, love pea’s. I like mushrooms, tomato’s, turnips the odd time” He looked up into the distance trying desperately to think of more vegetables he likes when I decided to interrupt him.
“Um, it’s ok” I said “You don’t need to list all the vegetables…. I got it”
He smiled at this, relieved he didn’t need to keep going with this ‘Foodie’ business I was banging on about.
I think we both knew there and then that this was just not going to work out.
He was looking at me thinking, this is a high maintenance snobby so and so, and I was looking at him thinking …..
“Tomatos aren’t even a vegetable”.