I’m Ten Dates into Thirty, and if there’s a lesson I’ve learned in the first third of this challenge, it’s that Friday night dates after a week of serial dating and speed-dating probably aren’t a great idea. Last week I gave myself 4/10 for my date with The School Crush, and this week I set out on my date with Mr Twenty40 feeling absolutely knackered! My late night on Tuesday doing two dates in one with The Fake Pimpernel had left me tired all week – mainly because after returning home from London at 1.30am, I then stayed up for another hour and a half making sure the blog post was up as soon as possible!
Anyway, the date tonight didn’t start out on the best foot …
Soon after I set myself this challenge I posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone had a friend who might want to go to the Twenty20 cricket with me. It had actually been something Henley Boy and I had discussed during our brief ‘courtship’. I haven’t been to a game in years, and would have booked tickets at some point this summer anyway, so it just made sense to combine a trip with the dating challenge.
‘Holy’, a friend I play sport with replied quickly to say she had a friend who would be keen for a trip to the cricket. A day later Mr Twenty40 emailed me to ask if I fancied a trip to the Oval the following month. We scheduled in the date, and as it approached, despite Holy being open with me that Mr Twenty40 (T40) wasn’t the type of guy I normally fancied, I got excited about the cricket game, and the entertainment value of a Twenty20 match. I actually played cricket up until I finished uni, and haven’t been to the Oval since I was a child, when I supported Surrey, so it seemed the perfect summer setting for a date.
And then last night, while I was out with The Attic Mouse, I got a text message from T40 saying there had been a mistake, and it wasn’t actually a Twenty20 match. Instead, the game tonight was a 40 Over game. For those of you who don’t know much about cricket, it’s a completely different type of game. A Twenty20 game is a floodlit evening game, with a carnival atmosphere – cheerleaders, and players taking risks. A twenty over game takes perhaps three hours, and so you can head to the ground after work, and see both teams take turns to play.
The 40 over match is literally twice as long, so starts far earlier, and means if you arrive after work, you only see one of the teams batting. The cricket is more subdued, and there’s less risk taking.
It’s a completely different game, and if I’m honest, not what I’d been looking forward to.
It seemed T40 wasn’t overly bothered about the cricket. Considering he had volunteered specifically for the Twenty20 date, he kept suggesting we could go to the pub instead, and when I arrived, he seemed pretty disinterested with it all. I realised quickly that he was a member of the Oval, and a Surrey supporter. So rather than being excited by the novelty of it all, he was bored by his surroundings, and affected by how well his team were playing. Surrey weren’t playing a particularly good game, and he had arrived an hour before me, so by the time I arrived, he was disinterested with the cricket, and more intent on drinking.
Holy had made it clear that T40 wouldn’t be my ideal date, and I realised quickly that I wasn’t his. Before we even met up, he kept calling me ‘mate’ in his texts (something I would suggest any single men reading this blog refrain from doing when texting girls!) He wasn’t at the cricket for the cricket, he was there for the booze. And the little kid in me who hadn’t been at the Oval since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, running around all the players with my autograph book at the ready, was there for the sport rather than a night on the lash.
It was awkward, trying to have a conversation whilst also trying to watch the game.
T40 had brought wine (rose – he did ask) and some scones, clotted cream and strawberries, but had been drinking Cider before I’d arrived, and didn’t want any of the food I appreciated the gesture, but did feel awkward when he didn’t eat anything, and threw most of the food away.
Surrey inevitably lost the game, and T40 suggested we set off. I hadn’t had dinner yet, so asked if he wanted to grab some food before heading home. We jumped on the Tube to head for dinner around Oxford Circus – I had my eye on some sushi restaurants in that area (which ended up being closed by the time we arrived.)
On the Tube, T40 began talking really loudly and awkwardly about other people in the carriage. There was a girl dressed as if she were going out, but carrying a large suitcase. She was sat barely a metre away from us, but as she had headphones in, he began talking loudly about her, wondering why she was so well dressed and what she was doing. Worried she could hear him, I quietly suggested she was dressed smartly to try to get an upgrade on the flight … a comment which prompted him to bitch further, and even more loudly. His commentary of the Tube carriage then moved to a bald man opposite us, the fact one guy’s shirt was far too large for him, and to laugh as a woman tripped up on her way out of the carriage.
The whole experience just made me feel really awkward and embarrassed.
By the time we settled for dinner, in a basic Italian chain just off Oxford Street, conversation was beginning to dry up. He’d made a few jokes I had found more awkward than funny, and seemed in quite a negative mood. Mr T40 ate steak and chips, and I went for king prawn pasta and garlic bread. Whilst T40 did offer to pay for dinner, I felt bad letting him pay, and insisted on splitting the bill because I hadn’t had a particularly enjoyable night. It’s weird, but I realised that one of the indicators of whether I’m enjoying myself is whether I let my date pay for me or not. As if not letting them pay makes it clearer I don’t feel like it’s a real date.
The most awkward bit of this date, was that Mr Twenty40 had to get the same train out of London as I did, so there was no polite end to the date in London. We travelled to Paddington Station together, and then sat making polite conversation on the slow stopper train out of the City for another hour, when all I really wanted to do was curl up in silence on the train seat with an already-read copy of the Evening Standard.
At one point, I have to admit to being more interested by the woman sat opposite me’s conversation on her mobile than I was by the continuous polite conversation … (she was having a really interesting conversation! I think she was a scriptwriter, and had just had a film commissioned …)
With twenty minutes of the journey left, a group of teenagers boarded the train, and proceeded to sing nonsense drinking songs, so loud that most of the sober members of the carriage got up and left. Something that T40 admitted he normally does when drunk!
The last five minutes of the date, I couldn’t hear a word he was saying, over the din of the drunk teens.He got off one station before I did, and the farewell was quick and awkward, to say the least.
The teenagers continued singing and shouting all the way to Reading Station, where to add injury to insult I then caught my flip flop on a kerb and skinned all the toes on one of my feet!
We met … At the Vauxhall Bridge end of the Oval, he came down to meet me outside on the street (and apparently smiled at several solo women before I appeared!)
I wore – a blue summer dress, cardigan and flip flops
He wore – a check shirt, jeans and tweed jacket
I drank – rose, and Diet Coke (standard!) He drank – Cider, rose and old-fashioned lemonade
We talked about – Budapest, Toronto, stag dos, PR, work, cricket, full-contact sports, beating up old ladies in the street (?!), gay cricketers (?!), people on the Tube (?!), Canadian visas
The date lasted – 4 hours
The date ended – when the train arrived at his train station
Marks out of ten … Sorry but purely marking the enjoyment of the date, it’s a 5/10, which is a real shame as I had really high hopes for the Twenty20 game (and now don’t have time to go see one before the season ends). I didn’t get the impression T40 really wanted to be at the cricket, and that affected my enjoyment of the evening.
Next Date – It was meant to be a date with a guy from POF on Sunday, but have decided one POF date is enough and referrals are normally more fun and interesting …. so next date is on Wednesday in Bristol with a referral from Australia!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx