An impromptu blind date conjures all manor of mixed emotions.
First there's the dizzy heady excitement. You're coming to terms with the fact that you're about to meet a stranger and it's time to pluck out your A-Game along with your best anecdotes and witty one liners. You're going to be forced into close proximity, face to face with possibility, only a drink and an extra coat of mascara to hide behind.
Next it might cross your mind that this 'what the hell' last minute booking with a stranger could actually go right. By some miracle in a city of thousands, you may have actually hooked out your 'match', the one that sticks, your next big thing.
Shortly after this consideration you'll laugh at yourself and remember all those times when you looked across to the bar and spotted the vague attempt at a profile picture you kind of recognised. You groaned inwardly as you mentally left swiped and began drumming up 'my friends cat just killed a guy' excuses to get you out of there.
However, for some reason as you leave work to embark upon yet another 'what the hell' drink, and begin walking towards which ever overpriced bar you've arranged to meet in, there will be that familiar sickness in your stomach. The one which makes you hope he doesn't want to order food.
Then, possibly, if you happen to hang a lot of optimism on this particular night you'll be greeted with that bitter cold body chill which fluctuates through your spine. Then just as you're questioning your outfit for the 6th time that hour and wondering whether it was wise to wear heels, you'll tell yourself to get a grip, because it's just another guy you'll probably never see again.
I still hate to be right about that last part.
Last night as my date arrived, I was greeted with the sentence;
"Can you excuse me a moment I think I need to go and blow my nose."
Well at least it wasn't "You have beautiful eyes"...
I mentally left swiped, bit my lip and tried to drown out the evacuation sirens screaming from the most shallow depths of my brain.
6'4, the very definition of lanky, with Malfoy white hair and almost translucent skin. He could have almost passed as a 'Hipster', except his Pound Land Grandma glasses left no trace of irony to his appearance.
I contemplated running, but he'd trapped me. Keys, wallet and phone left on the table in a Soho bar. I might have been shallow but I wasn't a totally bad person.
I gave myself a mental slap on the wrist: 'Maybe he was sweet, you shouldn't be so quick to judge, this is exactly what is wrong with our dating culture today.'
10 minutes later, Malfoy had blown his nose and stocked up on tissues, and we had begun to establish that the night would feel like the longest of my life. Yet, there I sat in a sea of determination to get something resembling a date out of the evening. Meanwhile he sat starring at me, cocky, disinterested, answering all my 'witty' questions with non-answers. I'm still not sure why I continued.
But like a lot of the baffling behaviours of the single female population, my determined politeness and continued attempts at witty conversation (even in the face of, 'I don't fancy him' and 'He's actually being pretty damn rude') did not waver. So why continue?
Was I just so damn polite? Or was I a little desperate? Or, could I put it down to vanity, the difference between Men and Women:
Women desire to be desired. Men desire Women.
- Shirley Conran
I can't think of another reason to try so hard. After all, I knew that I didn't want to and wouldn't see him again.
What felt like hours later but in reality was possibly only 30 minutes, things finally turned from awkward to just plain weird.
So I'm hoping that what I'm about to write is not a 'thing' and growing 'craze' that singles are just doing now.
Whilst I was on a date (all be it a terrible one) Malfoy in his pound land specs was actually just; "ticking me off the list". His words not mine.
“So, I just came from breaking up with my girlfriend…”
I actually wasn’t surprised, that kind of made sense. It was what followed which threw me.
“…and I was on my way to start things with this other girl, that I guess I had been having an affair…”
“Sorry, so what am I, your half time show?”
Finally on the verge of moving out of the oh so familiar 'Grey Area', about to take that small step for man kind, but giant leap for most boys into relationship territory, Malfoy had taken a slight detour into a bar with me.
Apparently, and this is a mixture of his words and mine, he needed to see what else was out there before he got tied down. Sort of as if he was planning to buy a property he'd been renting, but thought just to be on the safe side, he would see what the market had to offer south of the river.
"I'm not interested in you at all, sorry."
His words again, not mine. Although I'd been thinking it the entire night. God, I am polite.
I sat there and laughed, because what else was there to do?
“Well she’s a lucky girl.” I said.
“Yeah?” He looked surprised.
“Yeah, because she doesn’t know what a complete dick you are just yet.”
Now it was his turn to laugh.
“I’ve never been called a dick on a date before on a first date”
This surprised me.
“I wouldn’t call this a first date if I were you. I mean, first implies that there will be a second, and we both know that’s not going to happen.”
There followed another awkward silence until I finally leant in and gave him permission to “ just go.”
I actually wished him good luck before he left, and although I didn’t mean it, I wasn’t angry or upset. Just a little bewildered. Bewildered and worried.
I walked through Soho alone looking at the couples in the street. Intoxicated, seemingly happy, some even passing for 'in love'. I couldn't help wondering how many of them were ticking off their own panic lists before they felt they were tied down.
Sure, once I got onto the night bus, a place where dreams go to die and the drunk go to get home, I felt a little used. Not a date with possibility at all, instead a measure on the barometer of women. To gage whether or not this poor unsuspecting girl was worthy of Malfoy's undivided attentions. I guess I could be happy for them, gloss over the fact that had tonight gone well Malfoy and I would have broken that poor girl's heart, just because he could.
Except I didn’t like him, and I don’t make lists.