After leaving my home and job and moving to a new town, within a month I had unpacked most of my boxes and settled in. But I was miles away from my friends and in need of a social life, pronto! I joined several Meetup groups and on a whim, decided to sign up to Bumble.
I really dislike the superficiality of judging people only by a few photos and had never used Tinder or the like before, but Bumble seemed like a good way to challenge myself to start up some conversations. A few dates would be a great way to check out some pubs and activities in my new hometown – and maybe make some new friends along the way. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I didn’t have the time or the energy.
Many chances passed by. I failed to meet the 24-hour deadline to message on many occasions – who has that much spare time? Lots of matches disappeared straight after messaging – which I thought was just me. But after a minor crisis about my photos, a quick scan of the internet quickly revealed that this phenomenon was common – phew!
I declined anyone who only had one photo, no bio, any semi-naked photos of themselves, lots of drunken group photos, and any photos posing in front of a mirror reflecting a scruffy or dirty bedroom or bathroom (top tip, guys: remember that mirrors don’t just reflect your lovely face, but also the room behind you) – and got chatting to the very few people that remained.
It turns out that Bumble does not stop creepy sexual messages. And that people are as flaky as any other app. One minute, there. The next…gone!
But soon, a first date was arranged for a Sunday afternoon. Seafront walk and pub – perfect! I like ‘walk and talk’ first dates because they require no effort, so you are both relaxed. If it’s not going so well, you can point things out to each other, eat ice cream, and part company politely after a while; and if there is a connection then it provides great subtle flirting opportunities such as touching someone’s arm to stop them and admire the view.
You can thank me later, people.
On the Saturday night I injured my right shoulder so badly I ended up in A&E and left several hours later with my arm in a sling, in excruciating pain and unable to lift my arm more than two inches away from my body. No, I hadn’t touched a drop! And yes, I am right-handed. Oops.
Great first impression for a date, right?!
The next day, I decided that turning up to a first date in a sling was a degree of ridiculousness that even I couldn’t carry off, but without support, my arm was horribly painful. So half an hour before the date, I went on an emergency dash to Boots for codeine-based painkillers, got stuck in a queue and arrived at the agreed meeting point 10 minutes late, slightly sweaty and very stressed, and a little bit light-headed from the pain – and the handful of codeine I had just necked.
I am SO good at dating. Shoulda just worn the sling. The dating gods had done everything they could to get things off to a bad start – so this one seemed doomed to failure.
But it wasn’t. We talked…and talked…and talked some more. And found more and more in common, to a level that was just getting weird. This was basically me, in (very pleasing) male form. Six hours had passed in a flash. And he walked me home – going miles out of his way to do so. What a gent.
There was a (one-armed, very painful) hug, but there was no kiss. I was really disappointed. Maybe the dating gods had been right after all?
Or maybe, just maybe, they had a big surprise in store….
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