Okay so he wasn’t THAT old. He was 37. But given that I almost exclusively go for men in their twenties, he was fucking ancient in comparison. We met on Tinder and had been chatting for about a week. We arranged to meet at King’s Cross on Wednesday at 2pm and go for coffee. He lives in Hertfordshire so he got the train down to meet me.
I may not have turned up at 2pm. God the Piccadilly line at the moment. Not sure how it’s going to run a night service when it can’t even run a bloody day service. The fact I left my house at around 1.55 has nothing to do with this. Anyway he waited for me by the Christmas tree and when I first saw him I didn’t get that panic feeling to turn around and walk away in the other direction that I often get with internet dates.
That morning I had phoned the Soho Theatre to find out how to go about getting a ticket for Fleabag, and if I could queue for returns on Thursday. They said it depends, but that there was an extra performance happening that day that wasn’t sold out, so I should come down at 3pm to get a ticket! So I basically turned up to my internet date at 2.25 and told him we were going to see a play. He seemed slightly unsure at first but then warmed to the spontaneity of the idea.
On the way to the theatre we talked about life and work. He is a self-employed digital designer, I think he owns his own home, and generally seems to have his shit together. This was very new territory for me. When we got there I tried to pay for my own ticket, but he insisted on paying and put in his card for £50 for both tickets like it was nothing.
We also talked a bit about internet dating. He said he’s been on some good ones, but that it’s usually him who doesn’t want to see them again because there wasn’t enough there. Then he told me a story about how his brother’s wife’s sister’s best friend (or something similar) had been murdered on a Tinder date by a lawyer in a hotel. It wasn’t very widely reported in national press, but of course the Daily Mail picked up on it. And people wonder why lawyers have a reputation for being untrustworthy.
We discussed how you can be spending time with someone and just not know what they are really like. All you have to go on is your intuition. I postulated as to whether she’d had any bad feeling about him, but ignored her instinct and went to the hotel anyway, which we’ll never know. I wonder if he tells this story on all his Tinder dates as a warning to women not go home with men if you have any doubts – but the problem is psychopaths are naturally charming and that’s how they trick people.
As for the play, it was much more intimate seeing Phoebe Waller-Bridge in front of me on a stage, after watching the show on TV. You get to see a lot more physicality in the play and how versatile she is, as she plays the part of other characters as well. Her delivery is impressive – good punchlines become hilarious because of the way she says them. It was a bit darker than the TV show, as she says she always wants to go darker. I forgot that she kills the guinea pig in the play and have to admit even I was a little bit shocked.
I did prefer the TV version, but I think that’s like when you read a book before seeing a film or vice versa. (My date started watching the TV show afterwards and said he preferred the play). In the play she’s addressing the audience, but in the sitcom she has to break the fourth wall to do this, something I love watching. I also missed the visuals involving the other characters, e.g. when the man at the bus stop opens his mouth for the first time, or when she sees the anal sex guy in the shop and pretends she’s buying regular tampons instead of super.
I can definitely relate to Fleabag – I’m not as much of an awful person as she is, but people I know said she reminds them of me, I guess it’s the dark, filthy, ‘bad’ feminist side they are talking about. When she does the long speech at the end about fucking and how she fucks everything literally and metaphorically, and it’s sort of a cry for help; a recognition that she’s fucking to fill some kind of void, it resonated with me and I actually got a bit emotional, and then I thought fuck that, and wiped the tears away before my date could see them.
Afterwards, my date and I sat in the bar and I ordered a pizza (pepperoni and red chillies). It came with onions sprawled all over it, despite not being mentioned on the menu, so I spent the next few minutes picking them off (anyone who knows me knows I woke up one day in the mid 2000s and suddenly couldn’t eat them anymore). I let my date have some of the pizza, and we talked about the play and various other things.
He said he doesn’t really like stand-up comedy, which I can weirdly kind of understand, although he did do that whole ‘you’re so brave I could never do it’ shit that us comedians hear on a regular basis. He then did quite a funny rant about not understanding how bicycles stay balanced and planes stay in the air, and then we wondered about boats for a bit. Why don’t they sink?! Phoebe Waller-Bridge wandered past a few times and I almost went to talk her, but didn’t and then wished I had. This is unlike me, usually I would just go for it, but there just didn’t seem to be a good moment. But oh well. That ship has sailed. It’s all Waller under the Bridge. I bet she gets that all the time. Okay I’ll stop now.
Anyway it was a fun and random afternoon, he seemed like a really nice, genuine guy, but ultimately I don’t think we had enough chemistry to see each other again. We texted a bit afterwards (mainly about Fleabag) but I didn’t reply to the last message (there was no question) and he didn’t pursue it. I did tell him about my blog, so he might be reading this…Well at least I didn’t get murdered, and I got to see Fleabag. Result.