And so it was we began dating. After our afternoon of pool and cider he came back once again to my bedroom and we did what all people do who are in the throes of new found lust. After, I cooked us some food: my pear, walnut and blue cheese salad with quick fried steak and homemade honey mustard dressing. It was delicious and we wolfed it down with some wine and water. It was Sunday evening by this stage and he reluctantly had to go home as we both had work in the morning and he was in two day old clothes. We arranged to meet again on Tuesay for what would technically be our third date although after the weekend we just had it was more like our 5th or 6th if you wanted to be pedantic about it. We we going for drinks in my local pub ‘The Old Dairy’ which had a famed quiz night every Tuesday.
Tinder tip- quiz nights are great activities to do on a date night. Freudianly you can learn alot about a guy from how he conducts himself during a pub quiz: How clever he is, how much he knows about current affairs, how competitive he is, whether he is a cheater or not, how seriously he is willing to take something and so on and so forth.
As it transpired he was ridiculously clever and knew loads of stuff that I didn’t have a clue about. However this was one of those weird quizzes less about general knowledge and more about anagrams and picture rounds with obsucre sportsmen and z list celebrities and so we just fudged our way through, kissing and flirting and supping on our beers. Our team name was ‘If Carlsberg made dates this would probably be the best third date in the world’ which seemed like an hilarious idea at the time until the MC started calling out the results and made us make ourselves known and everyone cheered for us and then we just felt like we were being watched all night which was rather unnerving, probably why we came 2nd last, a position worthy of a prize which was a nice surprise. We won a £30 bar tab which ensured a forth date at the very least.
We decided to keep the tab for another time though and so for our fourth, two days later, we went for a tasting menu in a lovely little new restaurant that had opened up in my town, we had passed it by on our way to play pool and remarked on the special menu they had in the window, and thus our date was made. He was a foodie like me and we relished every dish although truth be told we were more looking forward to relishing each other when all was said and done.
By the time Friday morning rolled around we journeyed to work together like an old married couple. It had only been a week since our first date and we had spent almost every day in each others company in some form or another, he had spent the night in mine both nights and each morning we would walk hand in hand to the station and get the tube to Westminsiter together, kissing on the platform as our trains pulled in.
It was safe to say I liked him. But I was still being cautious and repeated my ‘This is just a bit of fun’ mantra often.
Over the next few weeks we fell into a gentle routine. We had a date two or three times a week. But we always stayed in mine, I had not yet been to his, which truth be told suited me just fine. We often met mid week and I didn’t fancy trudging clothes and hairdryers and all kinds of girly paraphenalia out with me on a date and then down to South London.
In our fourth week I invited him to a West End play with some of my work colleagues and clients. It was a big step introducing him to my colleagues and making him real as it were. We hadn’t yet met each others friends, we existed within our own lustful bubble and so wheeling him out and bringing him to a play where he himself had to act as the dutiful boyfriend was a big deal. Even though techinically he wasn’t actually my boyfriend. Despite our intimacy we hadn’t had that talk yet, and so there was that awkward moment where I introduced him to my client as ‘my friend’, he looked at me weirdly but I looked away, afraid to dwell too long on the technicalities of what we were. I was just afraid of getting hurt and so I tried to keep up the illusion within my own mind at least that this was fun, fun, fun and nothing more.
He on the other hand, was full on. He used the L word in a text message to me in our third week. Not so much I love you, but more in a ‘making love’ context. I baulked at this and told him to ‘watch his use of the L word there mate’ which he did’t take kindly to.
He also told his Mom about me. He had gone home to his folks for his Dad’s birthday and sent me pics of him and his Mom holding a birthday cake. He texted saying how his Mom remarked on my prettiness when he showed her my pictures. Of course I thought this was incredibly sweet and I was extremely flattered that he deemed me worthy of a Mom mention but equally this kind of step made me equivocally nervous. I had been down this road before. Men who were this full on this early on were classic commitmentphobes. They put me on a pedestal in the first few weeks, promising me the sun, moon and stars, reeling and reeling me in until finally I give in and then Boom, they are gone in a flash. So I tried my best to keep him at arms length but my quest was proving futile, each time I would get sucked in hoping that this time they would be different.
In our fifth week we went and cashed in on that bar tab we had won. We sat at the bar drinking and eating olives and chips with aioli. We were awesome conversationalists, talking about everything and anything all the time. We got to talking about classic movies and I asked him if he had ever seen ‘The Quiet Man’ one of my all time favourite films. He said he hadn’t, in fact he had never heard of it, which made me exclaim loudly, shrieking that he hadn’t lived and how we needed to go home and watch it immediately. I pulled out my phone to show him my facebook cover photo which featured Sean Thornton and Mary Kate Danaher in a black and white tug of war in the famed cottage. He complimented my profile picture ‘Thanks’ I said ‘Hey actually when our we gonna be facebook friends’ I asked tentatively. FB friendship was a fairly big step in any modern day relationship so it was a question I didn’t ask lightly which made his response all the more shocking.
“No sorry but I don’t add girls I am dating as friends on FB” he said deadpan
“Hahaha” I laughed thinking he was joking
“No I’m actually being serious” he said looking me dead in the eye.
“What? Really? Why?” I said, flabberghasted
“It’s just a thing I have, I just don’t like being friends with girlfriends on FB”
“Wait, so hang on, that girl, the Spanish one you went out with for two years, you weren’t friends on Facebook?” I questioned
“Nope” he said shaking his head
“I know you probably think its weird, but personally I just think some things should be kept seperate. I’ve seen too many friends relationships played out entirely on facebook and I’m just not a fan”
“Oh okay, so like you just don’t use Facebook much yourself?” I reasoned
“No, no I’m on FB every day, I love it, just not something I choose to share with girlfriends, that’s all” he said shrugging his shoulders.
“Hmmm” I said, feeling perplexed “that unnerves me, like maybe you have something to hide”
“I knew you’d think that, but trust me it’s nothing like that, its just a thing I feel strongly about, trust me, I like you, alot” just then he put both his hands on my face and pulled me in for a long lingering kiss and all thoughts of facebook were temporarily washed away.
Later that night lying in my bed sleepy and sated I brought it up again.
“Sorry” I said “but this is just really bothering me the whole facebook thing, so your saying we can never be friends on facebook”
“Probably not no, is this going to be a problem” he said with an edge to his voice
“I dunno, maybe” I said “I mean its just that I’m such a facebooker, I use it all the time to share my thoughts, my music tastes, pictures of my friends and family, reflections on the days events whatever that may be, it just feels strange to think that you won’t be seeing any of that, it’s like an extension of me in some stupid weird way and yet you will not be privy to any of it” I tried to lamely expplain.
“Look I’m not saying never, but just up to now it’s been a thing of mine not to be friends with girls I’m dating, I just think it complicates things and I hate the way relationships play out on them, it’s just not something I’m into” he said exasperatedly.
I fell silent and just sort of stared at the ceiling.
He leaned over and pulled me close to him
“Is this our first fight?” he whispered making me laugh.
I wasn’t covinced but I decided to leave it there rather than aggravate the situation further.
The next day I went to work and told my work colleagues about it.
“DUMP HIIIIMMM” chroused the girls on my pod “Oh my god dump him immediately” said Jane. “Seriously he must be married or something” came Sarah’s twopence. “Yeah come on Ari that’s just weird” chimed Kate.
Of course I agreed with them. I mean it was just plain weird, and unnerving and definitely made me think he was up to no good. But was I really willing to dump a guy who was so great, so lovely, so funny and kind simply because he didn’t want to be ‘friends’ with me on an app that bloody Mark Zuckerberg invented in 2007!! I mean he was friends with me in actual real life, why was this so god damned important. But deep down I knew it was and I couldn’t shake the feeling that crept it’s way into my gut.
Over lunch I asked my mate Dan what he thought. The male perspective as it were.
“ah well yeah it’s defo a bit weird alright” he said. “but you’ve been to his house right, you’d know if he was married yeah”
“Er well no actually I haven’t” I said sheepishly
“Oh right, um, well yeah mate look sure I’m sure it’s fine I know heaps of blokes who just don’t like doing the whole ‘in a relationship’ thing on facebook. It’s perfectly normal” he said trying, but failing, to reassure me.
Damn, I thought, something wasn’t quite right here and yet I couldn’t very well break up with him over this, could I?
To be continued……