Evidence that first dates are not always great

Five years ago

I’ve been a law student for a few days. It feels strange. The textbooks are shiny and floppy and new, rather than the dusty, stiff books of my English degree.

I’ve yet to decide which group to put myself in: the earnest, nice girls who talk very seriously about cases, or the group who lark around, drink too much coffee and go out too much.

A slim, blond man is sitting on the bench outside the law library. I know he’s on our course because I saw him in the IT induction session. He was on Facebook though, and clearly not listening. The redbrick arches behind him are lit up by the lunchtime September sun. I walk over. He has a sweet-smelling coffee sitting on the bench next to him. The steam from the little hole in the lid curls around his finger as he picks it up and moves it.

I sit down, though I don’t know why. I don’t make a habit of going up to virtual strangers. Perhaps I am in Fresher’s Week Persona, the one where you speak to anybody about anything.

“How’s it going?” I say.

He shifts awkwardly. I look at the high forehead, the blond hair, the straight, wide nose. He doesn’t look like anyone I know. In fact he doesn’t look like anybody I’ve ever met. And yet I feel it – I feel like I know him.

“Alright,” he murmurs. I am still looking at him as I sit down. Those freckled hands,  forearms scattered in blond hair. That voice – Shropshire twang mixed with a bit of Brummie and a bit of posh. I shake my head.

“How are you finding it?” I say, crossing my legs and shivering a bit as a September breeze drifts by.

“Alright, yeah,” he says again. “Full on. I’m still hungover from Saturday.” He gives a broad, easy smile.

I grimace. It is Tuesday. “Did you do all the summer reading?” I say, because I am Hermione Granger.

“Er, no,” he says.

I follow my rule of three: if somebody is still not interesting after three converstaions starters I will stop trying. “Your voice is hoarse,” I say.

He looks at me, and I see his eyes are blue, rimmed brown in the middle. How unusual.

“Football chanting – at the weekend,” he says.

I smile politely and nod. A football hooligan, I think. He may be beautiful, but interesting he ain’t.

I get up to leave.

Six months later we fell in love.

4 thoughts on “Evidence that first dates are not always great

  1. This is why I’m so torn about dating websites – most of the really good relationships I know are built on the kind of connection you can’t quantify, and if you were shown a list of the person’s interests etc you’d never go for them.

    On the other hand I’m notorious for giving up after one date – but for the same reason – it doesn’t matter how good a match you are on paper, if it’s awkward as anything and you are physically repulsed by them, it ain’t never gonna work! If I ever meet someone gorgeous who I feel a connection with, I’ll give them a second chance!

    • Yeah it’s tough. My friend is dating and finds it very difficult to know what’s a deal breaker and what isn’t, and also finds it hard to make her mind up about people generally as she is usually a bit ‘meh’ about everyone. I was SO attracted to MR I would’ve given it a second date by which time his natural funniness etc would have shone through!

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