Now, technically he should be called The Model’s Brother, but I figured Model Brother had a better ring to it! I know the Model herself through one of my closest female friends. They rowed together at uni, and last year the Model won a nationwide competition to become the face of Weight Watchers.
When I first posted the idea of the 30 Date Challenge on Facebook, the Model almost immediately offered up her elder brother. He texted me shortly after, and scheduled a date originally for Thursday night. Plans were changed when we decided to go the London Zoo Lates (which only happen on Fridays), so I switched over my dates with MB and the Burlesque Dancer, only for the Model Brother to realise yesterday that the event was sold out!
The date started early. The original plan had been to get dinner before heading up the Shard, but a mixture of travel issues, and hunger-quenching heat delayed our plans. I started the date well, getting lost on my way out of London Bridge tube station, and having to get the Model Brother to come and rescue me! Ironically it turned out the tallest building in Western Europe could still be rather hard to find, when all the nearby streets have been closed off for roadworks!
Once he had found me, the Model Brother led the way to the Slug and Lettuce, where we settled down for cocktails in the afternoon heat. It seemed to take a while for the him to relax, and at first conversation was rather awkward. He told me about ‘rackethlon’, a sport I remain convinced he made up, and we compared broken little fingers (I fell on mine the other day playing sport and it’s currently looking rather unsightly!).
After a couple of drinks we headed back to the Shard. ‘The View from the Shard’ is described rather poetically on the landmark’s website. ‘On arrival at Level 00, you will be drawn into the tapestry of London with glimpses of the city laid out before you. Travelling skyward in two high-speed kaleidoscopic lifts, you’ll swiftly reach Level 68 – a cloudscape above the world.’ Essentially, what this translates as, is the most expensive lift in London! £25 to take two pretty lifts (their ceilings decorated with split television screens), up to two viewing platforms of London.
In the bluebird sky heatwave, the views seemed never-ending, but the structure of the viewing platforms was unoriginal and restrictive. The Shard lacks the romance and history of the Eiffel Tower, and also, as Model Brother kept pointing out, the ‘fear factor’ of metal grids where you feel like you can touch the sky. The greenhouse-like viewing platforms kept the world safely behind thick panels of glass.
The panoramic views were beautiful, but the experience was definitely overpriced. I had assumed the ticket price would include drinks in a sky-top lounge, or at least a glass of bubbly on arrival, but the package was very limited and over-hyped.
Given the choice I would have rather spent the money on Zoo Lates, than the overpriced elevator, however the date was definitely something different. The Model Brother is quite outspoken, and there were definitely a few cringey moments. Firstly when he asked the lift attendant (you are followed everywhere in the Shard!) what a ‘kaleidoscopic lift’ was … turns out she hadn’t been revising the site website! And then when we went to take the lift back downstairs, he managed to make another lift attendant feel massively awkward by joking that we had wanted the lift to ourselves! (quite what you could manage in the ten seconds it takes to go from floor 68 back down to floor 33, I have no idea!!)
We investigated the three dining options the Shard had to offer, but the staff were rather snobby about the fact MB had shorts on. Rather than make him change back into his work trousers in the thirty-degree heat, we decided on a nearby Italian restaurant, where the food is cooked fresh infront of you, and we could sit outside to eat.
We ate in a courtyard decorated with modern coloured lights. The downside of the restaurant was that you each have to go inside the restaurant to order, and then wait there to have your food prepared. MB went in to order, and it was only after about ten minutes that we realised it would probably work better if he ordered for me too, so I probably sat outside alone for about twenty minutes. The date was pretty comfortable though, and despite a couple of jokes at myself over Twitter that perhaps he’d done a runner (he hadn’t, he’d left me with his rucksack!), it wasn’t a big issue.
Because MB had ordered my food, and asked for toppings for my pasta, I wound him up a fair bit, as without asking, he’d had garlic and chilli added to my pasta! (I’m really not great with chilli!) However, to be honest, I did spend A LOT of the date winding him up! We got on relatively easily, and he seemed quite open to banter, so within the first hour I had told him he reminded me of Rylan Clark! I had also come out with some appalling one liner insults! (Seriously, if he was grading my chat last night, I was probably lucky to score a five! God knows what any blog he’s currently writing will say about me as a date!) He just reminded me a lot of some of my male friends, so I slipped into the ‘piss-take’ banter that I have with some of those boys! Probably completely inappropriate for a first date, but it became a bit of a talking point (especially when at one point on the Tube I thought he was gonna kick me for a comment I made!), and made the date entertaining.
After dinner we took the Tube across to Covent Garden, and hunted out a Frozen Yoghurt shop. The Model Brother had never had frozen yoghurt (probably because midway through his dessert he actually remembered how sensitive his teeth are!), so was a bit like a child in a sweet shop! We tested all the weird and wonderful flavours – Red Velvet, Gingerbread, Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Blueberry … and then settled on plain frozen yogurt heaped with biscuits. chocolate, and fruit.
It’s interesting trying to grade dates at this early stage in the Challenge, as I have very little to compare the dates to. Unwittingly, Henley Boy set the bar for a 10/10 date … one where I really fancied my date, and conversation flowed easily and comfortably, but also with a clear spark. Obviously my date with HB was pretty basic – we just went to a bar for drinks, but I guess (at least where I was concerned) the date didn’t need bells and whistles, because I really liked him, and was fascinated by our conversation.
As the Burlesque Dancer proved the other day, sometimes you need the bells and whistles to rescue the date! Otherwise it becomes like my date with ‘Normal Fish’, and I didn’t set myself this challenge just to go on thirty bog-standard pub dates.
Interestingly on my date with Model Brother, it was the the ‘bells and whistles aspect’ which fell flat! I’d been really excited about visiting the Shard, but the building didn’t live up to my expectations!
I had a really fun evening, but more because of the banter, rather than what we were doing on the date. Obviously the only other ‘good’ date I’ve had so far on this Challenge was Number Two with The One with the Sign, so in reviewing the date, and working out a score, it’s Date Two that I’ve found myself comparing this Date to.
I think both dates were good in different ways. I wouldn’t say either Towts or the Model Brother were unattractive, but equally I didn’t fancy either of them at first sight. Towts was really interesting, with vaults of stories and ideas which made the date really interesting. However at times I remember thinking he was probably a bit too ‘deep’ for me! My conversation with Model Brother was more banter-filled, and he reminded me more of some of my friends. I had a really entertaining evening with him, and he was easy to get on with, but our conversation was more banter than interesting stories. Though arguably that was my doing, as after so many dates in such a short time, I’m getting a bit bored of telling stories about myself, and kept deflecting any general questions he asked! Model Brother is definitely someone I would meet up with again, and over dinner I remember thinking that I would like to set him up with my little sister.
We met .. at the foot of the Shard
I wore – a white fifties prom-style dress with large black polka dots, and black ballet pumps
He wore – a blue checked shirt, and dark blue denim shorts
He drank – beer and Long Island Iced Teas, I drank – Pimms & Lemonage, and Rose spritzers
We ate – fresh pasta with king prawns, pesto and cream spinach, frozen yoghurt
The date lasted – about five hours
The date ended – when we both had to get trains out of Central London.
We talked about … tennis, squash, ‘racketlon’, creative writing,his recent job interview
Marks out of 10 – taking everything into consideration, between 7.5 and 8 …. 7.75? Model Brother did text me on my train home asking what the rules were on second dates, so I clearly didn’t insult him too badly with the Rylan Clark comment!
Next scheduled date … Next Tuesday, a Comedy Show with a man who I have no nickname for just yet!!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx