Salad Days

I am staring at salad-man’s biceps as he fiercely spoons an avocado into a leafy lunchbox. In a moment he’ll ask me if I “want seeds on that” and I will resist the overwhelming temptation to say “GIVE ME YOUR SEED[s]”. If I do finally request this today, I’m assuming he will shove the nearby tray of halloumi to the ground and hoist me over the counter into his avocado-honed arms. A lesser-known 80’s power ballad starts to play. Yes, there’s couscous flying everywhere, falling around us like drops of semolina rain; his fingers, covered in pesto dressing and 50p extra toppings, stroke my face. A bit of residual crumbled crouton goes in my eye. “OW JESUS CHRIST” I yell, blinking furiously as he leans in for a passionate kiss, then add a panicked “DON’T WORRY I’M FINE KEEP GOING” when I see him falter. My bloodshot eyeball weeps gently at him, but I try to style it out by raising a sassy brow. Salad-man’s gaze swiftly fills with questions and aversion. His pesto-hands leave me bereft.

“Do you want seeds on that?”

“No thanks.”

It’s probably for the best.

I’m a single mid-to-late-twenties lady Londoner person. I hate tomatoes and I practise fake arguments in my shower. Look, who hasn’t at one point or another found themselves mid-lather, completely naked, frowning and gesticulating wildly as they interrogate a poster of Han Solo at the other end of the bath? “HOW DARE YOU, HAN?!”. I make a podcast. When I was 16 I wrote an absolutely shite erotic novel. I’m still deciding whether I actually like wine. I am deeply in unrequited lust with comedian Dustin Demri-Burns. I have a troubling addiction to burritos.

Right, let’s get into it, here’s the worst date of my life:

Picture this – 2015, OkCupid, a Sunday afternoon, a man who looks attractive – 5,11 he says, motorbike he says. I’ll take it, I have nothing else to do today. I’m waiting outside my flat and around the corner comes a tiny scooter with a learner sticker on the back, and by the sounds of it this thing is running purely on farts. This is fine, I think to myself, still somewhat hopeful. He stops in front of me, removes his helmet. Hi. Hi. Steps off the scooter, he is my height – I am 5 ft 3inches. IT’S FINE, I think, still somewhat hopeful. Maybe he’s hilarious. “Guess you don’t have to wear leathers on that thing, right?” I am jesting. In full jest mode.

“Actually these are motorcycle trousers.” He gestures to them, his voice sounds like a below-average Alan Partridge impression. He is not smiling or laughing. This is not a joke.

IT’S NOT FINE, I think, all hope is lost. SOS. TO THE LIFEBOATS.

But a good captain always goes down with his ship, and I wasn’t going to abandon this date 24 seconds after it had set sail.

On the way to the bar (the closest I could think of), he tells me he hasn’t brought any money with him. It’s because he’s invested all his money, he says. In bitcoin. Someone in Vietnam also owes him £700 for farmland he adds, because obviously that makes this less weird.

I buy the drinks because I haven’t invested all my money in bitcoin, and also because I need alcohol to prepare me for this disastrous voyage. I raise the topic of Judo because he’d mentioned it on his dating profile. We do brief Judo chat. I say “Yeah, guess I wouldn’t be very good, I’m quite small”. At this point he – bafflingly – thinks it’s a great idea to start guessing my weight, and pins me at five stone heavier than I actually am. I jovially tell him he is incorrect and he goes:

“It’s because you’ve got THICK HIPS.” With this, he reaches out and grabs my hip, giving it a good squeeze. I try to hop away, but I’m already pretty much leaning against a wall. ABORT ABORT ABORT. He sips his wine and shoots some incredibly boring breeze, seemingly confident that none of this is FUCKING WEIRD AND AWFUL.

I start to down what’s in my glass.

“My mother had red hair.” He says in sultry tones a moment later, then without warning strokes my head and then swoops his hand down to my arse.

“H’OKAYYYY—” I screech and perform some sort of botched hula move to get away from his hand. Again, he calmly goes back to drinking and chatting as if THIS IS NOT BIZARRE AND UNACCEPTABLE SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR. By this point, I am considering excusing myself to go to the ladies’ room so I can just leg it out the door and down Northcote Road. But his “motorbike” is in my carpark, and that means I need to let him back through the gate. Jesus.

Then comes the coup de grâce.

“You know, I used to have hair as long as yours.” He says.

“Oh great,” I say into my wineglass.

“Here, let me show you.” He produces his phone, holds it in front of me, and opens the photo gallery.

On the screen: vaginas. Just… vaginas as far as the eye can see. It is a gallery solely of vaginas. Vaginas.

And, very calmly, he just presses the home button to close it. Clears his throat, and opens facebook to find a different picture.

I am laughing. A lot. It hurts because I am trying to hold it in by not opening my mouth. Instead a horrific series of snorts escape my nose. Fucking hell.

And YET AGAIN, he pretends as if nothing awry has occurred, and duly shows me his weird mullet-do and for god’s sake I’ve had enough.

“Let’s go shall we!” I say cheerily, grabbing my coat and fast-walking out the door. He thinks he’s in. He genuinely thinks he’s going to see my vagina and add it to his vagina collection.

We get to my carpark, I open the gate. He genuinely, genuinely skips past me and walks towards the front door of my building.

“ERM…” I call out to his back, “WE’RE GOING TO END IT HERE, PATRICK.”

He stops and turns as I’m making a slicing motion at my neck. Then his shoulders slump and he walks slowly back to me and his “motorbike”.

We are in silence for the next minute as he puts his motorcycle trousers back on. And then I open the gate and wave him goodbye.

And that’s the worst date that ever was, lads.

I’ll end the first post here.


Song of the week: here!!!!!