So you met someone on Tinder? A dating network which provides little more than opportunity and 6 Facebook photos.
You've used the built in online 'chat'. Tenuously discovered their surname, painstakingly found them on Facebook and stalked the hell out of them, and that girl who keeps 'liking' all of his status updates.
Next you've found the perfect excuse to ask for the 'Right Swipe' for his number and the perfect witty remark which makes it all seem so not #awkward.
You've made it to the text phase, so far they're not using awful abbreviation, and they know the difference between a comma and an apostrophe. Next you need to check that they've not grown a second head in the last couple of months, developed a hideous skin condition, or shaved a swear word into their hair.
In this round it's vital to play it cool, you search through you're phone, bite the bullet and click 'add'. Their screen name's a little odd but you decided to brush over that and go straight to a snap of your dinner. A selfie feels just a little too forward.
Finally after half a horrible hour they reply; a quizzical expression and hey, maybe it's really good lighting or maybe it's a filter, but jackpot he's pretty hot!
(And yes you're still as shallow as the day you created your Tinder account)
So now you know where he works, his Monday morning routine, his favourite drink, what music he's into, the shows he watches, whether or not he likes spooning, his Friday night routine and a brief account of his current dreams and aspirations. You think you like what you know so far. Now one of you has to take the plunge.
The first date.
It shouldn't be hard for him to ask (yes him, I am a modern woman but you know what, there's still a huge amount of pleasure in being the Askee' instead of the Asker!) you both swiped right so there's a safety net in that knowledge, surely.
Finally you've arranged to meet in a trendy bar in Shoreditch and you think you know where it is. You've had an outfit picked out in your head for weeks and you don't care if you can't quite walk in the heels or bend over in the skirt, even though your best friends have warned you that comfort is key on the first date.
But now you think, how do I go from Zero to Romance?
All the weeks spent staring at a screen and giggling at each other's constant messaging. Feeling like adolescent again. But you've built up an image of this Mr Right Swipe in your head. An image which creates pressure for you both.
You've told him all kinds of truths, along with an inevitable few lies. You've almost crossed the line with a few inappropriate remarks, and you've let slip about some bad habits, even the odd tit bit about your ex.
But the truth stands. You've never met this person.
When you first see each other in the real world, after all these weeks of conversation and friendship building, do you hug as the old pals you feel you've become? A kiss on the cheek because you've tried to come across ever so sophisticated? Or do you shake hands because well, you've never met this person!?
In the end I arrived late in the wrong bar. I'd picked a different outfit so that I could run for the bus and my hair which I'd painstakingly curled into perfection was now hanging limp and wet around my shoulders from the January rain. I'd even contemplated standing the poor guy up after keeping him waiting almost 40 minutes whilst I'd darted backwards and forwards lost in google maps on my phone.
But I thought, we've come this far, and I've possibly developed arthritis from the constant texting. I have to at least meet him.
It turned out he'd already bought me a drink in the bar that I just couldn't find. But like a Knight in a soggy over coat he came and rescued me, meeting me in the only bar I could navigate my way to. Luckily I knew him immediately as he walked in dripping from the weather. My stomach did a funny little dance that made me a bit dizzy as I wandered over to the middle of the bar so he could see me.
He smiled and without hesitation we hugged. And that's where it's started.
To be continued.... I hope.