I meet her at a speed dating event. After a 3 month dating hiatus, I’m finally ready to throw my knickers back into the ring. Well, maybe not throw. Place gently and then linger awkwardly on the sidelines in case I change my mind and need to whip them back out again. Once bitten, twice shy. Or in my case, thrice bitten, I’ve contracted rabies and need to be quarantined.
It turns out, I’m a little rusty. Before the event starts she sits down at my table. She’s so pretty I do that thing where I keep having to look away otherwise I know I’ll end up staring.
“Have you been to one of these things before?” she asks.
“Yes, last year,” I nod at the table.
“And did you enjoy it?”
“Very much,” I inform her earlobe.
Half an hour later we’re on our official date. We only get two and a half minutes, which feels absurdly short. It’s going to take me that long to relax enough to bloody look at her, let alone come up with something witty and winning to say.
“So what do you do?” I ask, wincing at the banal predictability of the question.
“I work in market research.”
“My sister works in market research!”
“Oh, whereabouts? I might know her.”
“Shit, I can’t remember. Big place. Has an American office?”
I know I should move on but by now it’s a point of pride, of principle. I will remember where my sister works, conversational norms be damned!
“I don’t know. Maybe? On second thoughts, no.”
“Oh well, never mind, so what do you do?”
“WAIT. I THINK I’VE GOT IT. I THINK IT’S…..”
“Okay, I don’t work there.”
“No wait, that was her last place.”
“TIMES UP! EVERYONE MOVE TABLES,”
“Bye then!” I wave brightly, wondering if I should spit in her face for good measure.
At the end of the night I see her at the bar talking to someone else. Gutted. When I submit my matches a few days later I don’t match with her. Oh well, I think, you win some you lose some. But then on impulse I decide to take a risk and message her anyway. Who knows, maybe she’ll be flattered.
“Hey, hope you had fun at the speed dating. I know we didn’t match, but I’m trying to convince myself it takes more than two and half minutes to appreciate my charms ;)” I write.
Her reply comes a day later:
“That’s so weird. Not wanting to start a conspiracy theory or anything here, but you were literally my only match. So glad you messaged!”
And that’s how it starts: a chat, a spark, an earlobe, an administrative cock up and a risk that paid off. Looks like I can leave my knickers in the ring for a little while longer.