THE WINNING LINES: Tales from my dating days #18

It was a wintery, blustery day. We’d been for a long walk through the country park. chatting happily. Rather a promising first date, I thought, topped off with a hot chocolate in the cafe.

He grabbed the bill as it arrived:

Him: “Do you want to see me again?”

Me: “Sure! I had a lovely time”.

Him: “Are you sure you want to see me again?”

Me: “Yes, I just said I did”.

Him: “I don’t want to put you on the spot here, but you’re definitely sure that you want to see me again?”

Me: (getting less sure by the second) “Errr, yeah”.

Him: “Well, in that case, I would be delighted to pay for your hot chocolate”.

Me: “What?”

Him: “Well, I wasn’t going to offer to pay for it if you’re not going to see me again.”

Me: “I’ll pay for my own hot chocolate, it’s fine.”

Him: “I’ll buy it for you if you’re going to see me again”.

Me: “I’d really rather just get it myself, thanks.”

Him: “No, no, no, I insist. My treat.”

Me: “No, really.”

In the end, I let him buy me the bloody hot chocolate. But he never called me again (and I was somewhat relived).

Beware, Weary Traveller

I’ve learned to be suspicious when there’s an empty seat on a packed train. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way.

It was a Monday morning, and I am not a morning person. Befuddled from sleep, and desperate for a bit more rest, I was chuffed when I boarded the Victoria Line and spotted a spare seat.

I slipped into it triumphantly.

My joy was short-lived, however, when I noticed the smell. So strong—rancid, meaty, curdling the air around it—that I thought I might puke. I looked around for the source of it, then realised, with some horror, that it came from my neighbour.

And then, he rested his head on my shoulder.

This was not good. I’m quite socially awkward at the best of times and I don’t like being touched by people I don’t know. So, I had a stranger’s head on my shoulder, so close I could smell his hair. I was feeling a little faint. Surely, there had to be a good reason for him to be doing this? Ah, he had his hand in his pocket. He was having trouble reaching into his pocket, so he’d stretched himself out and that’s why his head was on my shoulder. Perhaps.

But he was spending quite a long time reaching into his pocket. And his head was still on my shoulder. And his hand was moving pretty rhythmically in his pocket. And… oh… oh god…

Yes, he was cuddled up to me while he had a wank on a crowded train.

So, what did I do? Did I shout at him? Did I leap up and move carriages? Did I hit him with my bag?

No. No, I did not. I did none of those things.

Instead, I sat where I was and pretended that this thing wasn’t happening. Because I am very good at pretending that unpleasant things aren’t happening.

And, besides, I had a seat.