The First Rules Date

So, Friday night was date night.

The Rules has a series of suggestions for what to do pre-date: 

  1. To relieve anxiety, go to the gym, get a manicure, or take a long, hot bubble bath.

Apparently Rules girls don’t have jobs. I spent the day toiling away at my desk. Well, most of the day anyway – much of the afternoon was spent watching the tennis.

  1. Buy a new shirt of bottle of perfume. Get a makeover. Treat yourself.

I’ve only had two makeovers in my life. One was when I was fourteen and went to Glamour Shots in the local mall (I came out looking like an underage hooker) and one was a freebie when I was in college (I came out looking like an of-age hooker). So I passed on the makeover. I did, however, treat myself to a Twix.

  1. Take a nap. If you’re the type who gets drowsy at 10 p.m., a good nap will keep you going.

Right. Again, the whole having-a-job thing got slightly in the way. I AM the type to get drowsy at around 10 p.m. but most of the time I just rely on Jack Daniels and Diet Coke to see me through.

My pre-date routine went something like this: plan to leave work at 6pm to go home and get ready, leaving me plenty of time to get to the restaurant for 8. Get swayed into watching Wimbledon in the boardroom and drinking the office wine, then am briefly sidetracked by a friend in the pub next door. Leave at 6:45. Encounter tube delays. Run into my flat, change into an extremely small black dress, whack on some eyeliner, smoke a cigarette on the balcony, and run out the door. I realize almost immediately that I am, in fact, dressed a little bit like a hooker (no makeover necessary, apparently). Jump on an extremely cramped and muggy tube and manage to arrive at the scary posh restaurant only 6 minutes late.

The man on the door looks at me knowingly and says, “I think I know the gentleman you’re looking for. Let me show you downstairs.” Sat at the bar is a man who doesn’t look much like the photo of Latin Banker my friend sent me, but I figure if the scary maitre de says so, it must be him. I approach him gingerly. “Latin Banker?” I say. “No,” he says. The maitre de and I are both extremely embarrassed, especially when we turn around and see Latin Banker waving at us from the corner. So, a fine start.

I imagined him to be a sort of swarthy, moneyed lothario type (which is pretty much the antithesis of my usual type – the unemployed hipster) but it turns out Latin Banker is neither particularly Latin nor terribly Bankerish. He is, in fact, a lovely Oxbridge guy who happens to work in finance. And he’s cute.

I try my best to follow The Rules on how to act on a first date, namely to “show up, relax, pretend you’re an actress making a cameo appearance in a movie.” Now, I LOVE this advice but I’m still not entirely sure how to put it into action. I did manage to show up, and I was pretty relaxed (especially after my second dirty martini) but I haven’t quite figured out how to pretend to be an actress making a cameo appearance. Instead, I felt like me making a real-life appearance at a somewhat intimidating posh bar trying not to make an ass out of myself (which I largely managed, except when I dropped a piece of fried squid down the front of my hooker dress).

I did manage to follow Rule 4 ( “Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date) and Rule 11 (“Always End the Date First). 

I was pretty anxious about Rule 4 because I’m normally an insistent splitter-of-bills, but when the bill came it felt fairly natural to make a vague gesture towards my bag and then immediately concede when he said he was going to pay. Also, if I had had to split the bill with him I would still be in the restaurant kitchen washing dishes. I will say that I was glad at that point for having worn the hooker dress as I felt less guilty about him picking up the pretty massive tab (I know, I know – a psychologist could have a field day with that one).

Rule 11 was also fairly easy despite being completely opposite to what I’d normally do (which would be to stick around and drink the place dry before making a drunken pass at him). And my brain cells were certainly happy to be spared the usual Friday Night Massacre. The plan of a swift and graceful exit was mildly scuppered when I realized the tube had shut and we had to embark on a 25 minute Journey to the Centre of the Universe looking for a cab. I’d momentarily forgotten that it’s nigh-on impossible to make a quick and graceful exit in London on a Friday night unless you’ve managed to stash a jetpack in your bag.

But all in all, a fairly rousing success. He was funny and chatty and clever and the evening was not at all awkward or boring. And there is something strangely comforting about knowing that it’s all in his hands now. The Rules of course forbids me from contacting him in any way so I just have to wait and see what he does next. I’m starting to vaguely understand the way that followers of organized religion feel – you follow a set of rules, behave a certain way, and at the end of the day you shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, it’s all up to him.”

And yes, I do realize I just compared Latin Banker to God but you know what I’m trying to say.

Date with the Kiwi on Monday.

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