We were in a restaurant. I put the menu on the table in front of me, and leaned forward to read it. As I did so, I rested my hands on my elbows.
Him: “You’ve crossed your arms. You must be feeling uncomfortable”.
Me: “I’m fine. I’m just reading the menu.”.
Him: “But you wouldn’t cross your arms unless you were feeling uncomfortable. I’ve studied body language*. Everything you do means something.”
Me: “Yes, it means that it’s comfy for me to have my arms like this, while I’m reading the menu”.
Him: “But you wouldn’t have done it unless you were feeling uncomfortable”.
Me: “I’m fine, really”.
Him: “Are you feeling uncomfortable?”
Me: “Now I am”.
And so it continued. He kept commenting on my body language and facial expressions—despite me repeatedly asking him not to—until I ended the date, forty minutes after it started.
*This isn’t the first time someone’s commented on my body language; I once lost a job because of it. Perhaps it’s me, after all.
We found each other on some dating site. Turned out we both loved music, so we batted some emails back and forth before he suggested a drink.
Saturday night found me in a bar, staring at my watch. I was on time. I’m always on time. He was late. Really late.
He finally arrived, sweaty and unapologetic. As he slid into the seat opposite me, he said he had to tell me something:
“You know, I’ve never been on a date with someone with kids before. I always knock back the single mothers straight away. I’ve no interest in kids, I don’t even like kids. But your picture was really nice so I thought I’d make an exception for you.”
Ah! Sound the Date-Killer Klaxon; turns out I’m on a date with King Herod.
It was never going to work. I’m a package deal; I come with two kids who are the centre of my universe. I’m never going to date someone who hates the idea of children and being a step-dad. (I made that mistake with another ex, that’s a story for another time.)
In 1998, I was looking for a room to rent in Birmingham. The local paper led me to a house owned by Ben, where he lived with his mate Marcus. They were rather handsome chaps, and I was utterly charmed by both of them. They gave me a tour of the house, then they went off and chatted for a while.
Ben: “Well, Marcus and I would love you to move in, if you want.”
Me: “Oh, that’s great!”
Ben: “Yeah, we reckon you’d be the perfect housemate.”
Me: *starting to preen and puff* “That’s so lovely, thanks!”
Ben: “So, Marcus and I had one rule: we didn’t want to live with anyone that either of us fancied, as that would spoil the house dynamic. And then you came along…”
Me: *rapidly deflating* “Oh?”
Ben: “…and obviously neither of us find you attractive, so welcome to the house!”
It is dark and lonely in the pit of mortification, I can tell you.