Music: Starry Eyed Surprise - Oakenfold
I was now a couple of months into my new job and I had been sent to work in Manchester during the week. I was still in touch with everyone from my old job, especially one of the contractors, Ian, who’d been helping out there for the last few months on a project that I’d been involved in. We’d clicked from day one, and were it not for the fact that he was married and and a bit fugly then I would have really fancied him, as we got on absolutely brilliantly and had the same daft sense of humour. Even though I’d only known him a few months when it was my last day working together we both got a bit upset. It’s not often that you feel such a strong connection with someone, even as just a colleague.
Anyway, I’d been keeping Ian up to date with my comedic love life and tales of Mr. Sugar Allergy and the like and he found all my antics absolutely hilarious. I think he must have taken pity on me as he mentioned that he had a friend which (and I quote):
“You would get on with brilliantly. He’s a great guy. He loves sport and is really witty – a fantastic laugh. You and Chris will get on great.”
Now obviously I was both curious and dubious. Curious as Ian wouldn’t try and set me up with someone that was an idiot or had serial killing tendancies, and the fact that they were friends was like meeting up with someone who comes with a recommendation from a trusted source. A gold star almost. Friends of friends is supposed to be a great way to meet people, right? I was dubious though, as like most men Ian didn't have a clue about what makes another man attractive to a woman, and which men are handsome and which men have a face like a bag of spanners.
Therefore I demanded to see a photo.
And I admit, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Ian sent me a link to a website showing photos of competitors in various half marathons and charity road races as his friend Chris apparently took part in these events quite regularly. All I had to do was type in Chris’s name and lo and behold, pictures galore. I liked what I saw. Chris was obviously very fit and looked after himself. His body was nice and toned and his face hadn’t exactly been beaten with the ugly stick either. He was a couple of years older than me (but at 29 this didn’t make him ancient), had a good job working in IT and came with a glowing recommendation.
Hmm, what to do? I told Ian that I’d think about it, and spent a couple of days musing as to whether it would make me a bit of a saddo to go on a blind date as I’d never done it before. Whilst I was fannying around Ian kept pestering me to find out if he could get all Cilla on my ass and I think he must have got a little bit too excited about buying a wedding hat, as midway through a rather dull Wednesday afternoon I got the following email from him:
You women are rubbish. Why do you over think everything? It’s too late now anyway, as I’ve sent Chris your email address along with a glowing report. Expect an email from him VERY SOON! :-)
After Ian dropped me in it, I disappeared off into a mind-numbing meeting for a couple of hours and forgot all about it. Therefore when I got back to my desk and checked my inbox I was quite surprised but secretly very pleased to see an email from Chris waiting for me.
It had been there for about an hour, so I figured that I wouldn’t appear to be too much of a desperado if I replied to it straight away, so I did.
What followed was a flurry of emails back and forth every day for the next week in which Chris and I started to get to know each other pretty well. He was a very witty bloke and we seemed to have quite a lot in common, and whilst we weren’t exactly flirty over email it didn't bother me as we hadn’t met yet. I’m glad that Ian threw me in at the deep end and set us up, as despite my initial worries about becoming a resident of Loserdom by being set up in this way at least it meant that if Chris and I didn’t get on then I’d have saved myself all the effort of having to shave my legs and worry about what to wear. But we did click, and I was getting all giddy.
I emailed Chris a couple of photos of me (just so he could reassure himself that I wasn't a deformed moonpig), and after a couple more days Chris finally suggested that we go on a date. (Hurrah!). Irritatingly though, he asked me to choose where we went. Man, I hate it when blokes do this. Maybe they think they’re being thoughtful and/or considerate about what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go and in some cases I’m sure that they are. I bet that’s what they tell women anyway. However, what I really think is going on is either much smarter than that or just plain lazy.
When he lets you pick where to go on your first date, I think it either means:
• Let’s see where she suggests. It’ll be a good indication of where she likes to go out and I can see if we like to go to similar places.
• I really can’t be arsed thinking where we should go. If I let her decide then I can always pretend I was being thoughtful by letting her pick, and if it’s shit then it’s not my fault.
I’d tend to lean more towards the latter in most cases. I think for a first date, I’d much prefer it if a bloke actually had a few suggestions of venues so the girl could pick where they’d like to go. Or, (brace yourselves) just choose somewhere. Radical.
Anyway, as Chris and I had a similar taste in music and I wanted to impress him I decided upon meeting at The Elbow Room in town for a few drinks and some games of pool. I’m pretty handy with a pool cue (but only for the purpose for which it is intended I hasten to add) and The Elbow Room itself is a great bar. Laid back hip-hop meets funk meets indie meets big American Pool tables, dimmed lights and a relaxed atmosphere.
Perfect for a midweek date...