Every date brings you one step closer to that lucky someone for you (unless fate destines you to live alone forever…), but for every good date, there are plenty of bad. Now imagine fat-shaming, invalidated careers, plenty of Echo Falls, and a suspicious smell of corn, and you have our unlucky three milestone dates.
Picture this – 16-years-old guy, crippling body perception, never dated a guy before and wanting to explore your sexuality in a world when Tinder wasn’t exclusively for over 18-year olds. In comes a guy who lives three hours away but seems really keen to get to know you. At this point, you only ever send half-faced high-angle selfies to hide how you feel about yourself (you wonder if that’s catfishing) but you agree to meet up anyways. On the first date, everything seems great, you watch Antman, go for a meal, go shopping in a clothes store and try on funny hats like you’re in an early-2000s rom-com. There’s really nothing in your head that could go wrong and so you get antsy and invite him back home after clearing it with your parents. You can’t believe it, your first date has been a huge success. Then, while snuggling in bed, waiting for the first date to officially end, he snuggles in closer and whispers “I love bigger-guys” as he wraps his arms around your stomach and gently squeezes.
Imagine this with me if you will: you’re an international student in England for the first time, recently single, and out at your student union bar with your friend for a “postgrad wine and cheese mixer night.” (God only knows why either of you thought this would be a half-way decent idea). You’re both dressed up in cute dresses, heels, and matching rose gold clutches, feeling good about yourselves, and looking forward to the prospect of meeting some dudes who— hopefully— will think you look cute too.
But what you get cannot possibly be farther from what you had imagined. In reality, you are approached by two guys who have clearly never seen a real live woman before, much less encountered one in the wild. One starts talking to you— and will not shut up— no matter how many times you politely hint that you have been suddenly inundated by “a flood of important emails from uni.” If anything, this comment only invites him to ask inane questions about your degree… and then quickly invalidate it.
After an hour of trying and failing to shut him down, you give up and announce that you need to head home, in direct refutation to his invite to “get down tonight at Orange Rooms.” As you flee to your taxi, he suggests that you “add each other on media content” before you go. You pretend not to hear him, rush home, and attempt to bleach your brain of the memory via Domino’s and Echo Falls.
When I was 18, I was speaking to a guy from Tinder for a long while. We eventually decided to meet up; I’d drive half an hour to pick him up, then drive half an hour to the train station where we’d catch a train to Birmingham. When he got in my car, I was hit with the overwhelming smell of corn. Not like the cobs, but like ground corn, as in uncooked tortilla chips. Our online spark was very much non-existent and it was almost a silent car ride. Too awkward to leave, we got to the city centre where he presented a £20 Pizza Express voucher that his mom had given him for the date. He then watched me eat every bite. I am not a fan of Pizza Express. When we got back to my car, it dawned on me that he was expecting a lift back home. My awful date was then extended by 20 minutes by school traffic. And to top it off, I got a text from my ex-boyfriend that night saying that they were childhood best friends. I then deleted the app.
Fast-forward two years and you’re 18 now. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get your dating life off the ground, the world of Grindr suddenly becomes a possibility (oh dear and oh no). Grindr’s where you make meaningful lasting relationships, right? One day you match with an overly eager guy who looks way out of your league, and yet you get talking and even better, he’s interested. BOOM. Wants to meet up in Dorchester that day and you say yes. You catch the train and get off, asking if he wants to go get coffee, he checks his watch nervously and says, “we should have time”. After getting coffee, spilling it on yourself, and realising there’s very little spark, he takes you back to the train station for what you think is the end of the date – but NO. With the boring and unnecessary part of talking to each other out of the way, he sits you down on the bench and starts chatting about trains. What proceeds in 2 hours of train-spotting and the chance to talk about nothing else. When you tell him you should probably be getting home, he just nods, gets up and says “there aren’t any more exciting trains today anyways” before turning around and leaving you alone. Sadly, this was not Francis Bourgeois…