The Night Before

 So! Friday night:

The Kiwi took absolutely ages to let me know the plan for the night but obviously I couldn’t suggest anything or prompt him on it. Finally, at around 4:00, he emailed to say we should meet at 7:30 and go to this little French bistro he knew. Perfect.

I went for a drink with coworkers after work and then headed over to meet him (on a street corner, bizarrely). I have to say, I was much more nervous for Kiwi than I was Latin Banker – there was a definite sense of anticipation and raised hopes involved.

He came straight over and shook my hand, which seemed a little formal (but I actually found it preferable to the obligatory double-cheek-kiss, which I always end up awkwardly bungling). He’s cute in a strong-jawed, Guy Smiley sort of way and he is enormously tall. I don’t bandy this word around freely, but I would describe him as strapping. He was clearly nervous, which was kind of endearing.

We sit down at the bar and I force him to choose the wine, which he did happily and well (though I have absolutely no palate so it could have been Mad Dog 20/20 for all I know). When we polished off the first bottle, a table opens up and he suggests dinner. A second bottle of wine and some food is ordered (again, by him). Conversation flows nicely. He has a fantastic, slightly left-of-centre sense of humour and has done loads of interesting things. Finally, at 11:15, the place closed and we’re (politely) chucked out after he pays the bill.

“Man,” I think, “this is going so well! And I am being so good! And I’m really not all that drunk considering the amount of alcohol I’ve had. Thank god I ate that entire cheese board.”

And then he throws a slight spanner in the works. We’re standing outside the bar, I’m gearing up for my whole “It’s been a lovely evening but I have a big day tomorrow” speech, and then he says, “Do you want to go for another drink?”

“Errrr…” Now, The Rules say that I should always be the one to end the date and that I can’t suggest extending the night, but what to do if he’s the one doing the extension suggesting? Deep down, I know that I should say no thank you and leave him slavering on the pavement while I float gracefully away, but I have consumed well over a bottle of wine at this point and my Rule-playing faculties are slightly stunted. Also, I like him. “Okay,” I say.

We then embark on a magical mystery tour that takes us to a heavy metal bar in Soho (my choice) and then a place in Shoreditch I have long referred to as The Worst Bar in London (again, my choice). “We’re having such a good time!” I think. “He’s so funny and lovely! Surely the date extension can be forgiven.”

Finally, far too late, I tell him I’m going home. He holds my hand while he walks me to my door and then… he delivers what will go down in my own personal history as one of the worst goodnight kisses I have ever had. My heart sinks just thinking about it.

I walked through the door kicking myself for having tainted the experiment and feeling utterly deflated. Here’s this fantastic guy who’s gentlemanly and clever and witty and then… it’s all scuppered by a single bad kiss.

So I do what any normal, sensible woman who’s trying to change her ways does at 3am after having consumed half of London’s alcohol supply and suffered through the crushing disappointment of a terrible kiss:

I texted B.

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