Scott should have listened to his fellow tweeps and just moved on earlier … Next!
To those who tweeted me after last week’s column, saying that I should’ve given up earlier on Mister Med: too damn right. We called it a day soon after that morning coffee, knowing that he wasn’t prepared to put some time aside from his hectic schedule to see me on a regular basis. He wasn’t the worst guy in the world, but I wasn’t in the mood to be a once-monthly boyfriend. So, in true Scottie style, NEXT!
That said, I should’ve known that next one wasn’t going to go well. Going by the initial messages exchanged, he was a sweet guy from a small village in the north of Ireland and hadn’t many friends in the capital. I knew before we met up that he was “between jobs,” but I wasn’t going to hold that against him. He was the same age as me, and I understood how frustrating that transition can be.
We met up on Dublin’s busy O’Connell Street and after exchanging pleasantries quickly decided where to go for coffee. He wasn’t really dressed for a date, but rather for a lazy Sunday where you’d order pizza before watching the X Factor results. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t expect a Bond-style tuxedo when meeting me for the first time, but a (t-)shirt and jeans wouldn’t go astray to make a decent impression. Regardless, the smile on my face became strained within minutes as I could tell the conversation wasn’t going to go smoothly. He was either very nervous or totally unused to social interaction. I was soon to figure out why.
As we walked to grab a coffee, I asked him about where in the capital he was living and where he was from. They were tried and tested questions, designed to get to know someone, but it was still taking a while to warm this character up. When we got to the café, though, I pointed at the cakes in the display window and asked if he wanted something to eat. And then it came:
He miaowed. Like something from a deranged animé cartoon, he couldn’t put his excitement for nibbles into words, so he miaowed. I burst out laughing, not really knowing how else to react to a feline impersonator. And it didn’t happen just once; he made the sound every time he tried to show that he was excited, confused or any time someone normally say “oh wow” or something similar. There were even variations; from the excited cry at the prospect of a bit of carrot cake to what sounded almost like a purr when he described his hometown. Ironically, I never asked if he had a cat.
He didn’t work, which meant that while talking about work may have been a sensitive issue, he had a lot of free time on his hands. So naturally, the question ‘what do you do in your spare time?‘ was fairly appropriate, I thought. I regretted asking.
Comic books. Comic books and video games.
In fairness to him, he immediately cringed with embarrassment after realising that he wasn’t making the most attractive of first-date impressions. I laughed and quickly put him at ease by admitting to my childhood obsession with Sonic the Hedgehog comics and games. We talked about the X-Men and Marvel movies, but he lost me when he mentioned characters and storylines that didn’t take place in the movies. Then, it got worse; he mentioned Pokémon. Now, I’m sorry, but certain geeky things are still kind of cool; X-Men, Avengers, even Harry Potter gets into the category of things you can let a guy be into. Pokémon is for children, plain and simple.
We took a little walk around the city, and ended up in a strange little café for a cup of tea. We talked more about games and what he did in university. He wanted to work in science, but in recessionary Ireland there wasn’t much out there for him. I asked if he thought about moving to somewhere like the UK or the US, but he said he was “too much of a homebird,” and would miss Ireland almost as soon as he’d leave. I had to feel sorry for him for that brief moment, as I completely empathised.
Eventually, the date came to an end as I made my excuses to catch the bus to work, a topic which I never brought up and he never asked about. As I paid for the first coffee, he paid for the tea, so I can’t fault him for that. I said thanks and that we’d both be in touch soon.
Yet not a word – or a miaow – has been exchanged since.
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick