This one fell into the tall, dark, handsome, shaved head and bearded category of my ‘type’. His photo selections were good. The first pic was of him smiling directly into the camera with a cheeky grin, one of him actively playing rugby, a group Rugby shot of him and his team, one of him blue steeling looking tanned and funny with his mates. All in all a nice selection that showed me he was handsome, had friends, was sporty and up for a laugh. So I swiped.
To my disappointment it wasn’t a match. But as with the nature of Tinder my disappointment lasted all of about 0.25 seconds as I was immediately distracted by the next Tinderee appearing on my screen.
I was starting a new job in the morning and this was a welcome distraction to my new-girl-in-work nerves. I was still living in London at this point and had just left a fun and exciting job at FHM and Empire to go and work for a rightwing Tory magazine called The Spectator. The roles couldn’t be more different but it was a welcome change, and I would be working in Westminster, with a view of Buckingham Palace from my office window.
I certainly felt like I was moving up in the world and a date with a handsome stranger to round off the week would go down a treat. After a couple of matches I decided to call it a night and set my alarm to go to sleep, just as I turned off the light my phone buzzed with a Tinder notification. You have a new match, it happily proclaimed, I clicked in and to my delight saw that the new match was my bearded Rubgy man. Result!
Woken by my early morning alarm the next day after a fretful sleep I picked up my phone and saw ‘you have a new Tinder message’ scrawled across my screen.
Hoping it would be you-know-who I eagerly clicked in and was thrilled to see a message from him.
“Congratulations, you have passed Tinder Level 1! Hurrah”
Ha! This was certainly original and miles better than the normal ‘Hey how are you’ opening lines.
His message made me smile but I needed to think about my response and my impending first day of the new job took over and I hopped out of bed.
12 hours later, after a successful if somewhat boring first day filled with inductions and paperwork I found myself ensconced in bed. Now was my chance to message him back.
“Nice opener 😉 soooo what do I need to do to get past level two” I cheekily queried.
“Ah Ha ! I see I have caught your attention fair maiden, level two is the question and answer round. We go back and forth finding out various things about one another before deciding if level 3 (a date) is on the cards :)” came his reply about half an hour later.
It turns out we were both pretty damn good at level 2 of the tinder game. In fact he remains to this day, the best god damn banter I have ever had with someone I hadn’t met yet. We talked back and forth for three solid hours that first night. Don’t ask me what we talked about cause I couldn’t even tell you. We just talked about everything and anything, something and nothing. One of those chats where you just say whatever comes to your mind as though you were talking to your best mate and not someone who you hadn’t even met yet.
We talked for four hours the next night, in fact it was 1.30am before I realised we were still just chatting shit back and forth to one another. He was hilarious and I was on fire with my witty bantastic responses. It was the hours into the third night in a row of incessant chat when I proclaimed.
“Oh my gosh. We have actually managed to talk for three nights and not even once mention what it is either of us do for a living”
This is in fact extremely rare, most peoples second question is “So what do you do?”
Either because it’s just what we do to make polite conversation. What’s your name? where are you from? what do you do? Pretty standard questions in any first time conversation, not just dating ones. But sometimes it’s because we are trying to size them up. How intelligent how they? how much money do they have? how ambitious are they? Do we have work in common? Do we know the same people? Basically any manner of things could come out of this most basic of questions. But it can also be a fairly boring one.
The fact that we had avoided this, the most banal of questions was a mini miracle and in the world of online dating this was even, dare I say it, super romantic.
“I know, pretty great eh, I reckon we should leave that question for when we meet. It’ll give us something to talk about” he said with a winky face. We had already arranged our date at the end of night two. We were meeting up the next evening, a Thursday, or Tinderday as it should be renamed.
We had jokingly toyed with the idea of meeting up in the airport and jumping on a last minute flight to Berlin for our first date cause we discussed how it was a city we both really wanted to go to. I love a bit of spontaneity and momentary madness, but neither of us actually had the balls to go through with it for fear that one or the other turned out to be a nutter, so we settled on meeting in Gordon’s wine bar. A pretty famous date night venue in London’s Embankment. A cave like wine bar that had candle wax dripping from the tables and dimly lit nooks and crannies where people could steal away a first kiss beyond prying eyes.
I was very very nervous. There was no doubt that I liked this guy, a lot.
I hadn’t even met him yet but after 3 nights of solid talking I felt connected to him and I know he did to me too so the stakes were extremely high. If we turned out not to fancy one another I was going to be extremely, extremely disappointed.
Part of me didn’t want to meet up with him at all. Like why potentially ruin this guy who was so perfect over text. But the words of Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting kept repeating in my brain. “You’re not perfect sport, and let me tell you something, this girl you met she’s not perfect either, the question is, whether you are perfect for each other, that’s what life is all about”
So on Thursday night in my new work toilet I changed into my best date dress, slapped on some make up, spritzed myself with perfume and headed off to the bar with my fingers firmly crossed.
To be continued …..