Reason #4's pre-date preamble involved lists, the type which are circulated around office email as a way to 'get to know' your friends. (Note to list-junkies: it's easier and more efficient just to go to the pub on a Friday night work drink - you'll soon find out who's 'the shouty one', 'the teary one' and 'the one who always manages to lose a shoe by the end of the night'). As a girl who regularly spends 20 minutes plus just deciding on jewellery at the top of the morning, being asked to define my personality through book, film and travel choice was tantamount to being given a crayon and told to sketch out my DNA sequence. What did 'great' literature really mean anyway? Laughed until I spat my soup out, or made me a better person? What about half-books? Did they count? (Half-books, unlike Pret's half sandwiches, are not actually real, but a device I am using to cover instances when a tome has been cast aside around page 70 something in favour of 'Nikki's Story: Why Pete Dumped Me' in Now magazine). Anyway, at the end of the list rainbow lay a pot of gold labelled 'cocktails in a trendy hotel', so I persevered.
Friday night, somewhere in Clerkenwell. In homage to Reason #4's declaration that he worked in fashion PR, I bedecked myself in ironic gold necklaces and tried to ignore the danger that someone might mistake me for a Christmas tree. I needn't have worried. Reason #4 was ridiculously attired to a level that only fashion peeps can manage. It was a match made in heaven.
Onto the cocktails. I went Martini, he went White Russian. He also went to the bathroom a lot, but explained quite graphically that this was down to a digestive as opposed to a narcotic issue. Maybe the vodka had kicked in, but I remember thinking that such a level of openess so early on in our relationship was a good omen. As was the fact that we ended up sitting next to a group of his friends. As I gaily conversed with his fashion allies, it seemed that a marriage filled with sartorial bliss, conversational merriment and 40 per cent proof beverages was definitely on the cards. 2 hours later, there was just one tiny issue to iron out - the fact we hadn't actually spoken to each other over the course of the evening.
And so the bar shut. The friends went home and we were finally left in search of another bar, and a chance to explore the intricacies of each other's minds. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.
Fast forward ten minutes, through bag carrying, beer drinking and a bit of satirical disco dancing. And an introduction into black magic. Yes, it surprised me too. Actually, I have no issue with alternative faith, but it had never really cropped up on a date before. I was expecting 'I'd like to see you again' and 'I can make you into a queen of the black arts' slapped me between the eyes. What was in this beer? (The cocktails were technically in the day before by this point, and were thus discounted.) Still, any residual confusion was tsunamied out the way with the next question - whose house we would be heading to to 'seal the deal'.
'Um, I'm not sure I'm quite at that stage yet' I stammered like a teenager in a sex education class.
Gents, there are a number of things you can do when faced with a quick-fix hurdle as detailed above. One is to accept these things take time, and suggest a second meeting. Another is to move off subject but ingratiate yourself to a point where the predatory behaviour is glossed over and first, if not fifth base, is conceded, as Judy Blume might say.
The following is not a recommended option:
Line 1: 'What's the problem?(See Appendix 1) I just want to put my penis in you (Appendix 2). It's not exactly like you're a virgin, is it? (Appendix 3)
Line 2: Nothing. Just put your beer down and walk out of the bar. (Appendix 4)
For the hard-of-understanding, here's a brief explanation why:
Appendix 1: That's surely obvious
Appendix 2: Referring to your genitalia by its biological name just reminds me of courdroy clad science teachers, which isn't helping your chances
Appendix 3: If a balance of > 0 = no longer worth bothering about, someone needs to tell Bono to stop campaigning against all that Third World Debt
Appendix 4: Think about it. Even if I was drunk enough to think that 1 to 3 constituted a reasoned argument, the same alcoholic intake combined with high heels is going to make it impossible to chase after you.
Maybe he realised the error of his ways. Maybe he thought his proposition lacked clarity and he wanted to phrase it more poetically. Maybe he reasoned I'd want to skip the vanilla and jump to raspberry ripple with sprinkles, whipped cream and a flake on top.
Cue 2am text. It's good to know if I ever change my mind, I'm one phone call away from a buggery delivery service.