I recently broke up with my partner of seven years. Maybe it’s that famous seven year itch that people talk about. I’ve only ever dated one man so I didn’t have a lot to compare to when I plunged head first into the male dating pool. I actually had no idea where to begin. The good old fashioned days of meeting someone in work or through a friend or god forbid in the local pub have been replaced by the world of mobile app dating. It’s cheaper, it fits in your hand and you don’t need to leave the couch. It all sounds very convenient.
After some investigation I signed up to Tinder. A mobile app with a logo of a red flame which I assume means to ignite some kind of fire. Tinder streams pictures from your Facebook account and allows you to write a short sales pitch or ‘About Me’ section. You swipe right if you like the picture and left if you don’t. If you swipe enough pictures you will eventually find a match with someone else who decided they liked your picture too. Now you can live happily ever after.
I ended up matching with a guy in the next town from me. We swapped a few exhilarating messages like ‘Hi how are you?’ and ‘Where do you live?’ Clearly he had much more going on in his life because he took ages to reply. I however was nimble of fingers and fired off quick responses which probably made me look clingy and needy, which let’s be honest is not terribly attractive. One thing I noticed when I joined the world of singles was that I could literally say and do anything I liked without having to think what my partner would say. Sometimes when you are in a relationship for so long you move from being two people to being one person and your individual voice tends to become muffled. Tinder apparently also has the side effect of giving you the ability to speak again. I wonder if the developers of it know that.
After a few days of chatting back and forth I took the plunge and proposed that we meet. Actually with my brazen new voice I suggested to my Tinder Man that he make me dinner and I’d call in on the way home from work to sample his culinary delights. I figured I had nothing to lose. The worst that could happen is he would say no in which case Tinder also has your back there with a handy BLOCK option. It’s the equivalent of ignoring someone when you are in a real relationship. As luck would have it he said yes and we arranged for him to pick me up at the train station.
The day arrived and I headed to my train via the off licence for some beers and wine and made my way to my date. He picked me up at the station as arranged in the lashings of rain and we chatted aimlessly on the drive back to his house. He seemed nice enough and that’s always a good start and I’ll talk to anyone really. He opened the door to the house and two excited dogs came barreling towards him. They also someone managed to recognize me as a close friend and welcomed me by jumping all over me. I don’t dislike dogs but these things seemed to literally shed their entire fur coat and leave it on my suit trousers. To be fair he did notice and promptly secured the hounds in the laundry room.
At this point I produced my ‘thanks for agreeing to make me dinner in your house even though I kind of forced it on you’ gifts of wine and beer. He had mentioned he drank Coors so I gave them to him and asked for a corkscrew for my Chablis. “I don’t drink wine” was the response. Marvelous for him I thought but I’ll still take the opener thanks because I love a glass of wine myself. I was a little confused to be honest. Who doesn’t own a corkscrew? And for that matter, not to appear to stereotype people but what gay man doesn’t own a corkscrew?
Not to be defeated at the first hurdle I quickly switched into MacGyver mode and came up with a plan. Having watched a YouTube video where a man opened a bottle of wine with his shoe I was certain that should be my next move. So much to Tinder Man’s bewilderment I took off my shoe stuck the bottle of wine in it and leaned out his back door into the rain and started hammering it off the wall. Five minutes later I am happy to report that I was now the proud owner of a wet sock and a perfectly intact cork still in the bottle. YouTube had lied to me. But believe it or not here is the link to the video.
At that point I’m sure Tinder Man thought I was for the birds and was wondering why in hell he let me into his house. Yet he was obviously still somewhat amused by my antics and suggested using the end of a spoon to push the cork into the bottle instead. I wasn’t going to ask if he owned a spoon so passed the bottle to him with an ‘off you go’ nod. He swiftly rammed the spoon into the top of the bottle and low and behold the cork popped. Funnily enough the same time the cork went in the wine came flooding out all over him. I suppose all that hammering on the wall with my shoe was to blame for that. To say he was less than impressed was an understatement. There was a flash of anger followed by a storming off to change his shirt. I had a quick swig out of the bottle while he was gone.
A more composed Tinder Man returned and busied himself checking the dinner in the oven. I stood idly by holding my bottle of wine wondering if he owned a wine glass at all. So to quell my curiosity sure I went ahead and asked him out straight. “I don’t drink wine” was the response. “So no wine glass then” I said with a half a smile. My wine eventually made it into a tumbler and we sat down to dinner. I was thinking to myself either he is very bad at entertaining guests or I’m really high maintenance. After a couple of false starts we actually had quite a nice evening with not a single lull in conversation, although we did talk about bailing hay for about twenty minutes. I’m not sure what surprised me more, the fact that it was interesting or the fact that it was two gay guys talking about it. Not a single mention of Britney Spears all night. Apparently men who like men can still be manly men. Who knew?
After dinner he dropped me back to my train and said he would like to see me again. Sure why not I thought that was a bit of a laugh and not too bad for my first date as part of the land of singles. In keeping with being a man, I got a few texts the next day and then never heard from him again. I can only assume he moved country because I was a wonderful date. I even sent him a link to the YouTube video of the man opening a bottle of wine with his shoe. That was just to prove I wasn’t crazy. I guess he had already made up his mind that I was.