Firstly apologies for this write up (and my last one The Stallion) – if they read a little oddly, I’m publishing them from my iPad rather than my laptop as I’m house-sitting in London for the weekend, and WordPress is way less user friendly on an iPad!
So, today has been a really weird day!
The original plan was Date 22, with a friend of a work colleague. I’ve been in London all weekend, and was at a pop up event last night which I’ll tell you about in a later post, and so I decided to schedule a date for Sunday morning, not possibly appreciating quite how tired and hungover I would be after two big nights out in a row, and two early morning commutes to dates!
The date I had planned for this morning was brunch at Borough Market, followed by a treasure hunt around London, from a website called In The Hidden City, which The One with the Sign had recommended. We were planning on doing the Southwark treasure hunt, where you are sent a series of text messages containing clues, and then every time you text back the correct answer, you are sent the next clue. The final part of the date would be ‘non-Afternoon Tea’ with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme, at the OXO tower brasserie.
However there ended up being two things missing from the date –
1) Borough Market- which wasn’t open today! (Spot the non-Londoner!), and
2) My Date!
‘The No Show’, as he will now be known, texted me five minutes before we were set to meet, to tell me he wouldn’t be coming! Ironically, there have been other dates – for example The Surprise Package– where I genuinely expected my date not to turn up! And yet because this date was a friend of a colleague I get on well with, and had texted a fair bit in the run-up to the date, I never expected him not to turn up!
We had last texted on Thursday, when I had booked a table at the OXO Brasserie, and then I texted this morning to warn him I was running fifteen minutes late. The reply I received was that apparently he had texted on Friday to tell me he’d had to travel away from London this weekend for work and wouldn’t be able to make it (a text I most definitely never received!)
By this point I was already at London Bridge, only to discover the absence of the market!
I found a coffee shop, ordered a Chai Tea Latte (again, all I had with me in London were flip flops or 3-inch heels from the night out! And so I was wearing flip flops in the rain, and freezing!), and decided to turn to social media.
Could I find a replacement date in a few short hours, using Tinder, Twitter, and Facebook?
The short answer is No!
However, I did come perilously close! One guy who I matched up with on Tinder had second thoughts after saying he couldn’t make it, and then agreed to come and meet me at the OXO tower, about three hours after we’d begun talking, and maybe five minutes after I had thrown in the towel, and cancelled the booking!
To be honest, I couldn’t have picked a worse day to try and do a treasure hunt, so at least that was some saving grace! After a really nice final week of summer, autumn had truly descended and it was freezing and raining for most if the day. I trudged through the puddles, hungover and tired, and begrudging the No Show for denying me a restorative lie-in!
By the time the Tinder replacement offered to come and meet me, I had lost all enthusiasm for a date, and knew I’d be rubbish company! I decided to give up and go ‘home” to my friend’s flat, complete with the new coat I’d had to buy on my aimless travels around London, because I was so cold in my summer dress and flip flops!
However, I did flirt with the idea of having a quick nap and then arranging to meet the Experiment Volunteer that evening for dinner … Only to later realise he was an hour outside of London. He may however feature in a date later this week, so my ‘Experiment’ wasn’t completely fruitless!
It’s amazing how easy Tinder makes it to locate local singles, and strike up quick communication with someone who’s attracted to you. The success of the app, particularly in London, means there’s a seemingly endless range of options, even if you restrict the selection criteria to as close as just one mile.
So whilst I failed to find someone who was keen (and alert enough – most guys who weren’t busy seemed to be hanging from the night before!) to meet up at the drop of a hat, I was still left with future possibilities, and a guy who probably would have met me if I’d been more sprightly after three hours trawling the net for last minute dates!
If I learned one thing today, it’s how absolutely appalling my iPhone battery is! After spending the morning searching for a date on Facebook, Twitter @30Dates, DoingSomething and on Tinder, I barely had 20% battery life left! In fact even if I had arranged to meet the guy from Tinder, my phone would have probably died before he made it into London!
I returned to Clapham, and the kingsize bed and down duvet I had unnecessarily left for my No Show date. As I settled back down to sleep, my phone rang with an unknown number – ‘The Army Boy’ – a date organised by a friend from university.
We chatted briefly, and I fell asleep for a few hours, only to be woken by another call from an unknown number – ‘The Christian’, searched for by Threads after my article ‘The Search for a Christian‘.
And then began a series of texts from another ‘army boy’ – a guy I had met on Tinder earlier in the week, and a mutual friend of the friend I had gone to Disappearing Dining Club last night.
He knew about the challenge, and having worked out we would be unable to find a workable night before I turn 30 to meet up, he suggested a Skype date that evening.
I’d actually been trying to set up a Skype date since I first began this challenge. I have a lot of friends in Australia reading the blog, and so a number of them had wanted to introduce me to their friends as part of the challenge, and Skype had seemed the sensible way. I had suggested organising a date where we both ate the same food and drank the same drinks, to properly share the same meal, however I never managed to schedule any of those dates in.
But tonight I actually managed to have a Skype date, and after spending all morning trying to use the Internet to find a replacement date, actually ended up using the net to ‘have’ a date itself!
I’m not going to count it as Number 22, as I feel that would be cheating a little bit! However, for ease, I will give him a blog name – The Skype Date seems appropriate given the circumstances! It was essentially a visual phone conversation, though you might all be surprised to know what I wore for my almost-Date Twenty-Two!
I’d taken my makeup off before my nap, and was wearing my pyjamas and a baggy jumper I’d borrowed from my friend’s husband’s wardrobe! I toyed with the idea of putting my make-up back on, but am pretty comfortable without it, and figured at least that way he’d be seeing the real me! I did warn him of my current attire, and my decision not to reapply my make-up, and he simply replied to tell me he wouldn’t be wearing any either!
We chatted about the No Show, and my random day in London, and then I told him about the Challenge and the blog, and he asked if I was going to write-up the Skype date, and told me I could use his photo if I did! So I took a screen shot which has ended up being really flattering of him and awful of me as I’m mid-laugh!! (And obviously make-up-less, though it is proof I ‘went’ on a date in my pyjamas!!)
It was actually a really good way of getting to know someone before properly meeting him.
Obviously Tinder does come with the additional feature of identifying mutual Facebook friends, which can help with referencing. However if you meet on a different website, or don’t happen to have mutual friends, there can always be a worry that someone you meet online isn’t necessarily who or what they seem (something I’m extremely careful of at the moment, as I trialled CouchSurfing to find potential dates in New York and Los Angeles). However Skype is an easy tool to use to reassure yourself that someone is actually the person they have conveyed over their Internet profile.
If you’re feeling nervous about meeting up with someone you’ve met online, I would definitely recommend Skype as a stepping stone to meeting up in person, as sometimes it’s actually easier to talk to someone face to face than it is on the phone, and it should help put your mind at ease a bit, and make you feel, when you go on a first date, that you’re not actually meeting the other person for the first time. It also means that when you do ‘meet’ for the first time, you are doing so from the comfort of your own home (or in my situation, my friend’s home!) and so you can curl up on the sofa while you chat, and not (necessarily!) have to worry about what you’re wearing … Hence the pyjamas!
I had a really interesting evening chatting to The Skype Date, and I would definitely ‘meet’ him again, if we can ever find an appropriate slot in our diaries!
Again I won’t grade the ‘date’ as it seems unfair to compare what was essentially a glorified phone conversation against some of the weird and wonderful dates which I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy on this challenges however I did find The Skype Date very easy to get on with and interesting, and didn’t find the set-up as awkward as one might expect.
So … A No Show, an online Experiment which almost worked, and then an impromptu online date to end my day – plus two chats with future dates, including the Threads ‘competition winner’. What an exhausting, crazy day of my challenge! But by now, shouldn’t I be used to exhausting craziness?!
Just three weeks remain of my dating challenge, with 9 more dates to go!
Next date? Possibly Tuesday or Wednesday with today’s willing Experiment Volunteer!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx