Timing is everything. Make no mistake.

Whilst browsing a particular dating site for a while, perhaps even before the last few dates I’ve written about above, I’d sent a message or two to Happy Days, Grotty Nights.

Happy Days, Grotty Nights will be henceforth known as HDGN. Unless my stating the full name is funnier for one reason or another.

The first few non-successful messages were probably the latest standard opening gambit. Something along the lines of ‘Gosh your hair is marvellous’ or ‘Wow, your taste in dress is to die for’.  Something just enough to make them feel that although they could date me for a while, at some stage I’m going to burst out of the closest to fanfare and confetti wearing a leotard, heels and a Freddie Mercury ‘tache.

I can’t remember the exact messages, but I remembered her. And I remembered we’d already had a few messages back and forth with nothing moving forward. This happens a lot on dating sites, in my experience. You can message someone non stop for a couple of days, even exchange numbers, then for one reason or another it just stops and there’s a feeling of “Well….lets not push.” I’m not a pusher. I don’t like pushing. If it doesn’t feel like pushing would be appreciated, you shouldn’t push. I try not to push.


Woman hiker standing on cliff edge

“Nature will find a way” – Jeff Goldblum


A few months after we’d first had a back and forth, I was clearly drawn to her profile again and sent her something along the lines of “You’ve clearly been on dates and they’ve all been absolute rubbish, when in fact I am not rubbish and I am possibly 2, maybe 3 steps up from rubbish”.

Like a flyer. Or a pamphlet.

She must have liked charity muggers or kebab shop windows because it was almost instantaneous that we began texting and arranging a time and place to meet. She gave very little away in those opening messages, really. I knew she was smart and articulate, had a passion for photography and had big ambitions, but other than that our pre-meet correspondence was minimal. I still wasn’t sure what to expect from her.

She lived in a small town no more than 15-20 minutes drive away from me. I didn’t know that then as I didn’t drive. And had never been there before. So on a Wednesday night, I gladly got on a train to meet her. The location we met was about a 10 minute walk down a long road from the train station and I distinctly remember taking a photo of the road I was walking down to my friend.



The mood was set.



I eventually got to the pub. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what pub it was, so I’ll refrain from that and let you make your own assumptions. Which are probably true.

I was just glad to be indoors.

I got there rather early as I tend to like to do. Too early in fact, to the point where I managed to have a pint or two and actually wait outside  on a bench across the road to await her arrival. When I saw her arrive, a feeling of dread overcame me. Not because she was limping or had tickets to ‘The Full Monty’ – she looked…WAY stunning. I can picture the situation now, more than 3 years later, thinking “I’m totally wasting this girls time, this isn’t going to last more than an hour”. She walked towards the entrance with a swagger that was undeniably confident, and dare I say, sexy AF. It was at this point the two pints I’d already had seemed like a Godsend, so I decided to follow her in and meet her at the bar in a “SURPRISE, I’M YOUR DATE” kind of way. But with less fanfare and more Strongbow.

And that’s pretty much exactly what happened.


She did this. But with WAY better hair. But worse lips. And worse cheekbones. Better teeth though…I think? I don’t know.


Overall, the reaction wasn’t as horrendous as I expected. Although even then, and certainly in hindsight, she was a good person. We took our ‘surprise’ drinks to a table that I had secured for nearly an hour and we began chatting. If I was to detail the finer points of our conversation, I’d be making nearly every single one of them up. If it hasn’t become clear already, gentle reader, I remember the things that are important to me. I’d been here before. This wasn’t my first Rodeo. But a few key points do remain crystal clear.

Point 1: My Story

I may or may not have (I did) tell a story (it was probably my killer ‘losing iPhone down a National Express Bus toilet’ story) and at a couple of points throughout I did get the feeling that I’d completely lost her. Like, her beer mat was way more interesting. You are more than likely familiar with the feeling of telling a story to someone when you’re TRYING to keep them engaged, but seeing in their eyes that they have totally, truly, unquestionably lost all manner of interest. It’s a horrible feeling. If you have never felt this feeling then I would suggest you…just…fuck off.


Point 2: The Statement

At some stage throughout us chatting, drinking, and laughing about my hilarious iPhone story, it felt right to kiss. And kiss we did. At one point in mid kiss, of which the kisses were fairly drunken and…well,…drunken (in a well lit Wetherspoons at prime hour) she said something to me. At the time I loved it. And even now I love it. But I’m never sure that I interpreted it correctly.

She said:

“I never thought I’d fancy you this much”

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, querying the meaning of this statement is akin to asking Elvis what he thinks about Brexit.


“Well I do worry about the strength of the Sterling, honey.”

But at the time, I took it MASSIVELY flatteringly. Like, really well.

Hindsight has made me think that “I never thought I’d fancy you this much” could be applicable to my so-so online profile, my piss poor texting technique, my “SURPRISE” introduction or my *amazing* iPhone story. And we’ll never know, friends. We’ll never know. What we will know is that when she said it, mid-kiss, I felt invulnerable. Regardless of the context, it’s a positive. And a memorable one. It’s still a nugget of strange interpretability that I adore.

Basically, in the end, she had the hots for me. And the feeling was mutual. Until 12 hours or so later.