On the evening of July 23rd 2013, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge introduced the newborn royal baby to the world on the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. Where was I? On Date Number 5 of my 30 Date Challenge!
Now, the first thing that I want to make clear is that whilst I’ve called him ‘The One with the Good Sense of Humour’, that isn’t meant to be a polite brush off! And the Good Sense of Humour genuinely wasn’t his only redeeming feature! If anything, ‘GSOH” was so nice and normal that it’s rather difficult to give him a nickname based on a first impression. And so seeing as he chose a really funny stand-up comedy show as the setting for our date, I figured the GSOH nickname was rather fitting!
GSOH and I don’t have any mutual friends (that we know of!). He was referred to me via the Ski Bunny, a friend who I met during my second ski season in Whistler, Canada. To date, the Ski Bunny is my most successful referee. This time next week I have a second date orchestrated by her – one scheduled with the Fake Pimpernel, who is also a friend of a friend of the Ski Bunny! And if the Fake Pimpernel is anywhere near as nice and interesting as GSOH then Ski Bunny has done very well, despite never having met either guy!
So GSOH is a friend of a friend of my friend.
Having realised that blind dates are more fun when they’re properly blind, I resisted the urge to try to find him on Facebook and went into the date completely blind. All I knew was that he was probably a former ski seasonnaire (as his friend knew the Ski Bunny from another ski season) and that he would be wearing grey jeans, and a black polo shirt, and standing in the centre of King’s Cross station.
I’m not gonna lie, I was slightly apprehensive approaching a random stranger under the station departure boards and asking if I had the right first name! It’s not exactly my standard commuter behaviour, and as his clothing description was fairly neutral, I was worried more than one guy might be wearing the same combination!
Luckily I guessed right first time, and after a quick introduction, we headed off in search of a roof-top bar. London is still mid-heatwave, and every time you step indoors and away from the breeze, the heat engulfs you. And so, the idea of a rooftop cocktail bar was extremely appealing, though once we’d scaled the stairs to the top of Big Chill, we found all the seats were taken, and the outdoor shed cocktail bar was closing down. We settled inside instead, chatting casually about travel, ski seasons and living abroad.
GSOH had chosen Adam Buxton’s warm-up show for the Edinburgh Festival at the Invisible Dot as the venue for our date. After last week’s date at the Reading Fringe Festival Burlesque performance, I couldn’t help feeling that I’m in the middle of my own mini fringe festival, with all these cultural dates!
After one drink we headed to the venue, but the previous act was still packing up and the audience were waiting on the street outside, so we headed down the road to a more traditional pub (which didn’t do either Rose or Pimms, had a traditional Billiards table, and a stuffed ram’s head wearing a fez hanging on the wall!
We collected our drinks and headed outside to sit on the kerb of the quiet side street. The combination of the weather and outdoor drinking made it feel like a summer holiday, and as we sat chatting about my blog and the challenge, we could have been in any European city.
I was relieved to find out that the Ski Bunny’s friend had already told GSOH about the blog, and sent him the link. When I get on well with a date, I want them to know about it, so I don’t feel like I’m writing it behind their back. When the date is less than perfect, I hope they know nothing about it, so I know I can write honestly about the evening and not have to face the issue of them reading just how unimpressed I was!
GSOH admitted to being initially put off when he had heard about the blog element of the challenge, but then to talking himself around to the idea. He said he’d only read a few paragraphs of the blog, but had then stopped, not wanting to read anymore until he had met me. I explained about the Henley Boy, and my reason for starting the challenge, and then I told him some of the stories of peoples’ reactions so far to the blog. As I write this post, the blog has been live for two and a half weeks, and has received 9500 views. I told GSOH about the email I got from my friend’s mum, telling me about her sex life, and the way the Henley Boy conspiracy theories were going viral and international!
After a second drink we walked back to the Invisible Dot, a tiny venue – barely more than a simple room – tucked in a side street, a stone’s throw from King’s Cross. The limited seating was already close to full when we arrived, and for a moment it looked as though we would either be standing at the back, or sitting separately in the audience! But the unique trait of stand-up comedy is that no one ever wants to sit right at the very front, because everybody is scared of being picked on! And so the only two seats still available in the tiny stalls, also happened to be two of the best seats in the house!
GSOH reassured me that Adam Buxton isn’t the type of comic to take the mickey out of the audience, and that we’d be safe in the front row, so we settled into our prime seats, and waited for the show.
Kernal Panic is a heavily technology-based show. The show runs off Buxton’s MacBook, and (after an initial hitch where he had to restart the computer!) is a slick mix of music, video clips, photos and animation.
Buxton hand-picked hilarious interchanges from music video comments on YouTube, presenting them with funny accents and commentary. He showed us his 4 year-old daughter’s favourite interactive book (complete with video-taped endorsement from her and hilarious outtakes filmed whilst trying to make the endorsement) and ridiculed the awful American ‘Scottish’ narration of the book, which sounded almost Eastern European. He told us about his earrache, investigated online health advice clinics, and some rather odd health queries, and drew recent Radiohead and David Bowie videos under the spotlight.
The comedy was fresh, intelligent, and lighthearted. Elements were very subtle, you had to pay attention to the laptop desktop, otherwise you missed discreet jokes, and his manner was likeable and self-effacing I felt quite privileged to be watching his Edinburgh Festival warm-up, especially from the front-row (even if Adam did throw half a bottle of water over me in his attempt to cool down the overheating crowd, rockstar-style!) I was really glad GSOH picked such a good date venue – we laughed until both our faces were hurting, and at the end of the show, Adam happily welcomed us up on stage to take photos with him.
All in all, I had a really great date. The entertainment was top-knotch, and GSOH was really good company. Whilst GSOH wasn’t unattractive, he wasn’t my type of guy. I’m quite a tall, well-built girl. I’m not fat – I’m a size 12, but equally, I’d never describe myself as skinny! Whilst he was taller than me, GSOH was really quite slender, and probably weighs less than me – something I don’t really look for in a man! However, he was such an interesting, fun guy, and really easy to talk to. Conversation flowed really easily, and we both laughed a lot.
I would set GSOH up with a friend in a heartbeat, and had a really entertaining evening. Once again, this is the kind of date this challenge was designed for. A date to remind me just how much fun it can be to get to know a complete stranger, and how many cool different things you can go out and do on a First Date.
I jokingly told one of my later dates, when he asked, that all dates who score over an 8 or over are invited to my 30th birthday party in October. GSOH definitely secured himself an invite – what a fun night!
We met – in the centre of King’s Cross Station.
I wore – a black and white polka dot dress, turquoise blazer, and flip flops
He wore – a black polo shirt and grey jeans
I drank – Pimms & Lemonade, and Diet Coke
He drank – Corona
We talked about – cycling, travelling, snowboarding, Madrid, the French Alps, my blog and the challenge, his new house, interviewing house mates, cock-blocking,
The date lasted – 3 hours
The date ended – because my journey home was gonna be close to two hours to get home, and the show ended at half eleven
Marks out of ten? A comfortable 8 – really fun date, my favourite setting so far.
Next date? Speed dating tomorrow, and then a date with a guy off POF that I’m really dreading on Thursday!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx