If we use the term ‘dating’ loosely, my history stretches way back to being 14. Admittedly, these ‘dates’ consisted of going for a walk around the local park, sitting on the very front row of the cinema (no-one sits there – much easier to hunker down and snog) or strolling idly up and down the local high street, but when your repertoire is as limited as mine, you have to count as many as you can.
If we’re talking ~ proper ~ dates, then I’ve had three, maybe four at a push. I’m not a good dater, but I am a serial boyfriend collector. From 18 to 23, I’ve had about 8 months of being single, and within that time I managed to rack up what a lot of us would agree are the major dating faux pas. Here’s the catch though – I’ve never really taken dating seriously. I arranged four or five dates through Tinder and cancelled them all because I couldn’t be bothered to go, when I did go on dates, the ultimate goal was to get drunk and have some good stories to tell and if a boy didn’t want to go out with me again (even if we’d slept together the night before so I had ultimately been pumped and dumped), it was no biggie.
Some people feel 100 times more confident when they are a part of a loving relationship. They feel uplifted by their partner, given more confidence by having a permanent cheerleader on hand. Oddly, I am the other way (through no fault of my boyfriend’s, I must add). I’ve written before about self sabotage in relationships and how, over time, I come to doubt both myself and my partner’s feelings, but this is the flip side. When I’m single, I’m at my most confident. So he doesn’t want to see me again? Aight. So I asked an awkward question that socially should have been saved for the third of fourth date? Who cares. So I invited my friend along because I was getting slightly bored of the date (more on that later). Better to have a good time, right?
Even though my dating history is succinct, it is mildly entertaining. Think of it as a very Ipswich version of Girls – a little bit sexy and a little bit Suffolk. There are no rooftop bars or art gallery openings to be found here my friends, oh no. It’s all Vodka Revs and a dodgy old pubs – v. Carrie Bradshaw.
So few other words can get a guy quite as hard, quite as fast as these. Two first dates I had, two first dates I asked. Luckily for me one of these first dates turned into my now boyfriend, made even more slightly surprising by the fact that we continued to date even though he didn’t give the instant – and correct – answer of yes, and so was subject to a 45 minute drunken grilling about why he of coure should be a feminist and why my vagina is my own property to offer out at will.
If I was to – God forbid – ever become single again, I would still ask this on each and every first date. It’s a time saver; if my date was to reply with ‘I don’t believe in feminism because it focuses on women’, ’what about all of the issues facing men?’ or flagged up the meninist Twitter account, I would instantly know that this first date was also, coincidentally, our last date. If, like Keiran, my date seemed relatively unsure, I would then relish the opportunity to delve deep into my repertoire of ‘does that seem fair to you?’ facts and see if the subject could be swayed. It’s an entertaining challenge, if anything.
Here’s the story: I met up with this guy at a local pub for a couple of drinks and a relatively chill date (spoiler alert: we had already slept together after a night out and had been texting, so I thought, you know, not a high pressure situation). Fast forward a few drinks in and I can feel something building inside of me. It simmered slowly at first, but then that simmer grew into a bubble and that bubble grew into a BOOM – yes ladies and gentleman, I was mega pissed and ready for a night out.
And who can go on a night out without one of their best friends? So, naturally, I snuck into the toilets and text my friend, who then showed up unannounced and to the complete surprise of my date. Bizarrely, not only did he carry on drinking with us, he went home to get changed especially for the occasion. That’s right – he went home and then came back. By the end of the night I was so pissed I don’t really remember heading back to a Premier Inn to sleep with him (high point of my young life), but of course I did, and the story, luckily for you, only gets more cringe. As I tried to sneak out, I got to the hallway of the hotel and realised I couldn’t get downstairs without the key card and that, surprise surprise, my phone was also out of battery so I couldn’t ring reception. I then had to knock.on.the.door and get him to escort me down to my extremely awkward 6am taxi.
Needless to say we didn’t see each other again. In fact, he still avoids all eye contact if I see him now. Amazing.
If you can’t request receipts for every sexual partner your companion has ever been with on your first date, then when can you?! Oh, later on in the dating schedule? Maybe when you’re actually a couple? Right…
Needless to say I obviously did not get this memo circa 2015 and so I now ask you to picture the scene. A lovely young gentleman (okay, it was Keiran again and it was the same first date) are sitting at a bus stop, eating cheesey chips with mayonnaise and ketchup after a few drinks turned into a legitimate night out, and I, cooly and calmly, pop the question. No, not the question, although knowing me I probably did enquire as to whether he’d ever want to get married and what did he think of the name Claude?? No, instead I asked: “so how many people have you slept with, and who are they?”
Granted, this may seem like stereotypical psycho girlfriend behaviour to some (and this was in the very very very pre-girlfriend stage), but just give me a moment to state my case. Number one: I was totally shit-faced (excuse enough for most things, me thinks). Number two: our friend groups overlapped somewhat and he’d already slept with a few people I knew of so I thought, hey, why set myself up for the random awkward surprises – let’s just ask now! It’s a miracle that he didn’t ‘pop to the corner shop for cigarettes’ and never come back, but somehow he navigated the question with charm and here he is, still dealing with my deeply personal sex questions a year and a half later.