One thing I love about living in London is how many brilliant options there are for dates.
Forget Odeons packed full of sweaty, shrieking teenagers and flabby, flat-packed pizza chains. Forget googling ‘great date ideas Trull’ before giving up and taking your date to the same Indian you went to every Friday with your ex. Forget having to schlep out to the nearest town to be able to have a snog without half the village seeing and having a middle-class meltdown. In London, the world is your oyster and oysters are the food of love. This is the place where young lovers gorge.
Thankfully, the linguist has an appetite to rival my own. We start low key for our second date: a night in a street food market where we drink a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and end up necking on a rooftop. Then a boat, dinner – and a film that we miss because we’re so busy talking we’ve barely finished our starters by the time the trailers are rolling.
Van Gogh next, where I ignore the audio instructions and end up listening to a description of a wheat field whilst staring at a wall. “I did something,” I say churlishly and she laughs: “I did wonder who would need instructions for something so simple,” she grins, “turns out it’s you.”
For our fifth date she gets us tickets to a play staged in a beguiling Victorian music hall. The watercolour frescoes and soft, crumbling limbs of the building sing of nostalgia and the anticipation of a thousand theatre-goers past. It’s a theatrical seduction. Then a sing-a-long version of Moulin Rouge where we scream like drunk cats and get novelty top hats to throw in the air for when Satine spirals from the heavens.
Rocketman, a Midsummer Night’s Dream, sparkling wine tastings under a floral pergola: the city’s finest offerings can’t sate our lust for the good life. Or maybe we can’t sate our lust for each other.
The food, oh god, the food. Shakespeare opined, “If music be the food of love, play on.” Bollocks to that – food is the food of love. We eat smoked trout and horseradish cream; butter-poached chicken with fragrant morels; pulled goat flatbreads with coconut and chilli stardust; a fat camembert with honeyed soldiers; smashed n’duja on toast; spiced soft shell crab tacos; pizza with a whole burrata shivering in the middle like a woman on the brink of an orgasm.
We eat chocolate for breakfast. We drink champagne in the bath. We meet up before separate nights out for no other reason than we want a snog. We make love. Once, twice, thrice – in a single night.
It’s a heady, orgiastic, rapturous, ravishing, ruinously expensive few weeks that flogs my senses into dumbfounded submission and spits me into bed at night like smashed brains on toast. Will it last? Who cares. This is the stuff dreams are made of.