Scottie assesses his rules of dating, at least one of which brands him a prude on the gay scene, and how it took a megadate to break almost all of them.
Having built up a bit of experience from the past few years, I’ve drawn up a list of guidelines and rules to go by when dating. Don’t do dinner on the first date; it’s too serious and heavy. Don’t mention ex-boyfriends. Ever. Don’t sleep with him on the first date (that one apparently makes me a prude in the gay world). The list goes on like that, and these guidelines adapt to each different situation. Recently however, almost all of those rules I’ve learned were broken in one first date. Then again, it wasn’t really a date. It was a megadate.
I arrange to meet up with my date outside of the city, in a coastal town that still retains its old Anglo-Irish heritage, lost in a time when Dublin was still the second city of the British Empire. It’s quaint, like something you’d accidentally come across while driving through Cornwall or maybe Devon. I haven’t been here for months if not years, so already I’m feeling like this date is something of an adventure.
My date meets me at the train station, and I’m surprised that he doesn’t look much like his profile picture. It’s not like he photoshopped his head onto Chris Evans’ body (the hot American one, not the British one) but he’s still different to how I expected him to be. Experienced in the lottery of first impressions, I keep a brave face and an upbeat tone, wondering how on earth this was going to turn out. Thankfully, he’s just as chatty to me in real life as he had been online, so all hope was not lost just yet.
We sat down in the garden area of a nearby café, slowly filling up with locals dropping by for brunch. We both do the same kind of thing, so we dive straight into talk about projects past and present, which company we’ve had good and bad experiences with, who we both know in different offices and so on. As he talks about work, he’s clearly as passionate about what he does, so I quickly find myself hanging onto his every word. He has my undivided attention as he talks about trips to Africa and Asia for work, and somehow drops his musical talents into the conversation. Music and media, I think to myself; double points.
While the coffee and brunch soon disappeared, the conversation seemed to be in no way ready to dry up. It was a sunny, albeit cold day, so he suggested that we take a trip to the nearby harbour town. As we walked along the coast, the day was beginning to feel like a real holiday. The company was great, and the views were spectacular. We sat down by the lighthouse at the end of the pier, looking at the boats in the bay and the ferries on their way to Wales, and talked about even more; family, travel, work (again), music and more. Not a single moment was strained or awkward, it all flowed easily. We didn’t even mind acknowledging how simple it had been so far, laughing and joking about the hang-ups people (i.e. we!) suffer from online dating.
At that point, I should have kept to my first rule of dating, and kept the day brief. Instead, I agreed to getting some dinner with him, and that was when something else clicked. Looking straight at him for the first time across the dinner table – conversation still in full steady flow – I was actually taken aback by how cute he was. Fair enough, his profile pic online made him out to look a little more rugged than he appeared before me, but he was still very handsome. At no point did I want the night to stop. I wanted to talk to him for the entire night; finding out more about him and swapping stories.
Reluctantly, we called it a night and he offered to drive me home. As we drove through the city to get to my side of the bay (Dublin Bay resembles a ‘C’ shape) we were still dying to find out more about each other. I’ve genuinely never been to intrigued or fascinated about anyone, and the feeling seemed to be pretty mutual. He was handsome, kind, very chatty, ambitious and seemingly genuine. If there was anything about him that wasn’t as nice, I still wanted to find out more. Needless to say, once he drove me home, we wasted no time in arranging to meet up again.
There has been a kiss or two, as well…!
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick