I guess the title for this post is pretty self-explanatory: another day, another terrible, terrible I-couldn’t-even-call-it-a-date.
For those thinking “oh no, not another male bashing post”, well, I’m sorry. I can’t help it that I have a vagina and put myself in situations with men who behave like morons. It’s not a reflection of all men on the planet, but it’s definitely still relevant.
If you want a post where I’m singing the praise of remarkable men, I’ll just bore you to death with tales of my older brother, who as a child danced with me to Beauty and the Beast, knowing full well he’d be forced to play Belle. Or, I could mention my good friend Arny, who when told 8 years ago that I “only” see him as a friend, accepted my feelings without pressuring, punishing or eliminating me from his life; embracing me as a person without ever crossing boundaries.
I could even write about my needed-now-more-than-ever male work allies, who’ve understood and acted on what it means to make a woman feel heard, respected and comfortable in the work place. These are the men who never speak over, dismiss or degrade their female peers by making lewd comments, sexist remarks and at worst, going as far as to cross physical boundaries and say “What? I’m only human!” Sorry to say, but spanning my twelve years of work experience I’ve only had a positive male-work experience within the last one and a half. Yikes.
So yes, I can acknowledge that wonderful men do exist, but unfortunately this post isn’t “Chelsea’s Top 20 Favourite Men on Planet Earth”. This is “F*&k Me or Get Out”; I suggest you keep reading.
After my whole “ghosted” experience, I felt less inclined to be open when chatting to guys online. It made sense to keep to the point and not invest too much in the form of selfies, lengthy texts, daily updates and so on. A friend of mine made a good point, that in this unique dating-app culture we’re in, people are lonely and happy to use a temporary “comfort blanket”. In other words, whilst swipers may be happy to share their lives for just a few days, that’s not to say the person they’re speaking with isn’t disposable; filling a hole open part-time only.
For me, this theory made sense. By the time I was ready to meet *Jimmy, I knew not whether I liked him or didn’t. I had no preformed opinion and felt neither excited or nervous. I was neutral; made less effort, ditched the curling tongs; wore a sports bra – you get the gist.
It was a good first date. Possibly the best first I’ve ever had with someone I’d met online.
We went for cocktails in Kings Cross and we had chemistry. In other words, we held a strong superficial attraction. Jimmy was really nice looking: good build, fair height, strong jawline; smelled like a field of white lilies dusted with coconut shavings and vanilla musk snowflakes – yummy. He was in no way shy and arrived to the date guns blazing: very flirty, arguably cocky and very tactile. In fact, Jimmy was the sort of man I’d kept myself away from in recent years. I knew he’d be troublesome.
And even in that knowing, I decided to ignore the signs anyway. “Treat yourself”, I thought. After a series of turbulent relationships with an aftermath of solitary confinement and holy water blessings, I decided to finally “surrender to the moment”. I sat close to Jimmy and giggled and flirted and let outsiders believe we were a honey-mooned couple: fake it ’til you make it they say. I didn’t quiz Jimmy, or share too much about myself. Instead, I let myself enjoy him in that moment, accepting it for what it was.
We spent a couple of hours sitting very closely together, having a laugh and *deep breath* kissing. There I was, the Sister Mary Clarence of the dating app world, letting. Herself. Go.
By the time our second came ’round, Jimmy convinced me to visit his house which was may I add, in the middle of nowhere. Now I knowww what you’re thinking – you’re thinking “whyyyy did you GO?” Well, I don’t have an answer for that. I guess I was bored, naive, curious; excited. I had no intention of sleeping with the guy; he’d offered to make me dinner (but I did wax my bikini line JUST in case).
My body, my choice, right?
Jimmy picked me up from a far out location – a station I’d never been before – on the opposite side of London. He arrived in a black, shiny BMW, wearing slippers and a tracksuit. Cool as ever. Literally.
The first thing he did to cause offense (after arriving at his three bedroom, two bathroom, semi-detached house), was ‘shush’ me during a program. After finally convincing him to play one of my favourite ever shows (Haters Back Off, Netflix), he shortly switched it off and put on First Dates (Ch4), instead.
Now call me crazy, but I thought when you watch a film or movie at home, it isn’t a crime to speak while it’s on, especially when what you say relates to the content. During one of the scenes, where this painfully optimistic girl dips a fluffy marshmallow into a tub of hot chocolate and says”Mmmmm, SWIRL!!” before shoving it in to the mouth of a stranger, I made the mistake of saying “Wow! Don’t you think her date looks uncomfortable?!”
At this point, my own, epic fail of a date (who happened to be sitting alone on a rotating circular swivel couch), held up a finger, shushed me and said “Please don’t talk, I’m trying to watch”. I wish I’d seized the moment by grabbing a sword and bolting out the door true ninja-style but alas, I just smiled and said “you know, you could always press pause or rewind…”.
Leading up to this event, Jimmy’d actually raised other red flags. In a previous phone call, he’d said that he often stops fancying girls after seeing them naked. As a size 12, with large boobs, cellulite and stretch marks – I convinced myself that I’d misheard. Ding! Winner of the Biggest Fucking Idiot Award goes to me.
After expressing the desire to make “a fresh, light dinner”, Jimmy shoved two breaded chicken goujons in to the oven and halved a potato latke. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to food, but I think the romance truly ended when he muttered: “These are going off tomorrow, I need to get rid of them”.
I cheered up a great deal after being fed. In fact, I actually felt a slight thrill being at this attractive mans house. There I was, being wined (watered) and dined by a universal mystery; Jimmy even invited me to sit with him on the swivel sofa! I accepted, and it wasn’t long before he and I were kissing again: fluffy tracksuits rubbing, sweaty palms patting. As enjoyable as our escapade was, I decided that kissing and caressing were more than enough. I straightened up, smiled and slightly moved away.
Poor, horrible Jimmy.
Have you ever seen someone stare at a moving London underground train? When their eyes dart manically from carriage to carriage? Based on what I could only perceive as a pent up simmering rage, Jimmy’s eyes started flickering across my face – no seriously, he was so enraged he couldn’t keep his eyeballs still – they were going wild with anger. It was a bit like watching a horror film actually. I wondered if he would transform from a tall, tanned “attractive” being, into a limbless, slimy amphibian.
After foaming at the mouth for what felt like two minutes, Jimmy began to spew poisonous venom:
- “What do you mean you’re not going to fuck me?”
- “I’m not going to spend time getting to know a girl who isn’t even going to be my girlfriend”.
- “So, what? You’d sleep with your ex-boyfriend but won’t sleep with me?” [Just to further enhance the absurdity of this comment – I’d been in a two year relationship with a person I’d known for six. This was my second ever meeting with Jimmy].
- “I don’t want to sleep with you anymore anyway. I’m over it. Do you see where I’m coming from? I’m so pissed off”. Aaannd my personal favourite:
- “You just won’t fuck me today, so you can convince your friends that you’re not a slag tomorrow”.
Suddenly the guy who wasn’t interested in saying more than five words to me had become very, very vocal. My response? “Right…this is awkward…I’m calling an Uber”.
As I entered his address into the app (which I even more awkwardly had to ask for), Jimmy was frantically pacing the room with both hands on his head. I could see he wanted nothing more than for me to get the fuck out. I decided to wait outside.
I put my feet in my trainers and saw Jimmy, truly repulsed by my presence. He walked toward me like a nightclub bouncer, in a bizarre attempt to usher me out. I had no time to tie my shoelaces or pull the back over my heel, so I just shuffled out the door. When Jimmy saw my laces still untied, he snorted with gratification.
Jimmy then slammed the door, literally the second I stepped both feet out. I was in the middle of nowhere, pitch black and my Uber hadn’t arrived. It was all good, I was safer in the dark cold space than the evil clutches of Jimmy’s swivel couch!
I can’t lie – if this had happened to me a year ago, I would’ve been in tears; traumatized. When I called my mum on the journey home we laughed about it, I guess we too have been desensitized.
You know, in my previous post about ghosting – I questioned my level of physical openness. The guy who semi-ghosted me said he didn’t believe I was “into him” and that I was “difficult to read”. I wondered if I should have been more tactile with him on our first date. Maybe I should have subtly tapped his arm, or sat closer to him; made an excuse to feel his fabric linen.
Jimmy’s reaction was so hostile and dramatic, I began to question myself AGAIN: Should I have slept with him? Was it outrageous of me to accept dinner with no intention of actually sleeping with the culinary master-chef? Am I the one with the problem?
Being in somebody else’s home, I realised that my body is MY home; anyone who isn’t invited is an intruder. Anyone who makes me feel unsafe gets locked out.
When I’d arrived at Jimmys house that day, he seemed agitated: he gave little eye contact; asked barely any questions. In hindsight, I think he believed his superficial attributes entitled an easy lay.
But what if I had slept with Jimmy? Succumbed to the pressure, caved in; tried to placate him in an attempt to win points – would he have chucked me out the moment we were finished? Would we have had the same ending, just with myself feeling used and humiliated?
I then wondered how many girls he’d brought back to his lair. How many girls had been chucked out the door in the cold, shoelaces scraping concrete.
When two people like each other enough and, know they like each other enough, sex is surely on the cards, right? Is the rush or delay really important? Do people use fleeting physical intimacy to fill the gap of emotions lost?
A few weeks after my “date”, I heard a plea on the radio – a mans voice – seeking any kind of information on his missing daughter, Grace Millane. Grace, a 22 year old British graduate had traveled to Auckland, NZ on a gap year, and been murdered by a male she’d met on Tinder. The dire news made me sick.
Whilst I can’t blame online dating apps for such unthinkable outcomes, perhaps there should be both a vetting and ratings system. Users should be able to leave public feedback regarding their feelings of comfort and safety.
I reported Jimmy on Hinge, simply for the fact I felt unnerved and unsafe. Frustratingly, I wasn’t able to leave a comment stating my reasons why. I also blamed myself for doing something remotely risky and spontaneous when the truth is, women should be able to live freely, without fear.