Don’t hate the player…

It’s universally acknowledged that I am lousy at pulling. But what some may not know is that I am even worse at dating. I don’t know the rules, rubbish at reading signs, and to be honest I’d rather just get drunk. There are so many opportunities to meet new people in London, despite what others might say, but the long and short of it is that I’m lazy or if I do make the effort, the girl in question turns out to be 17 (don’t ask).

I always hate Valentine’s Day – it’s nothing more than a fake plastic commercial exercise on how to make money from scaring men: a fantastical annual PR stunt by the card manufacturers; like they have done with Uncles Day and Aunty-on-your-dad’s-side-twice-removed Day. In the future whilst we are all fighting huge branded robotic ants for control of the last drops of oil, our descendants will look back and laugh at what a materialistic life we have lead before being carried off to be impregnated by Queen Ant. And for what reason? Because people are idiots. And men are the worst because they are scared of women. Ask any bloke what he really thinks of Valentine’s Day and he’ll tell you, if he’s honest, that he hates making an effort – and because he isn’t on the pull anymore, he hates it even more (guys only begrudgingly make any effort when they are courting). If it was up to us, Valentine’s Day would be a fry-up in the morning, telly and then an early night. It’s the cards I can’t stand – they are just a drain on our already dilapidated forestry. Fair enough buying presents that are practical (an XBOX360 would be ideal) but a card with a poem written by Purple Ronnie?

For this inane reason, and for this reason alone, our Wednesday night five-a-side football was cancelled. Having been single for up to a year after coming out of a long term relationship I decided to go out and have a pop. I couldn’t bear to be on my own, sat eating a Pot Noodle, playing Pro Evo, it’s depressing enough as it is, without it being on the most ‘fake romantic day of the year’.

I met a girl when the Old Street Old Boys (the guys who I play football with) had our Christmas do. We went to London’s equivalent of Queen’s Hall. Sticky floor? Check! Sweaty cushioned walls? Check! Old lady gyrating furiously and thrusting her crotch in our direction? Check! (And still giving me nightmares to this day). As you can tell it was hardly the height of sophistication, but we didn’t care, after all we’d just finished playing football and were all smelly, I had my Chinese afro from the sweat and we were all stupidly drunk from the dehydration. There are no better nights.

I somehow managed to get this girl’s number and texted her a few times after but never really thought anything of it – she was my portal to other girls as far as I was concerned (I CAN put that – and yes, she’ll read it too). When Valentine’s Day came up I thought, on the off-chance, I’ll see what she was up to – after all, ‘what did I have to lose’ would be the adult way of looking at it but in reality I had my pride, ego and self esteem (and the 10p wasted on the text message) on the line.

She replied saying she had nothing planned and asked whether I would fancy going to this place with her. OK, it was a Salsa class. I’m not scared to admit it. But I’d like to refer to it as some sort of Gangsta dance club from now on – actually it sounds even worse: Salsa will have to do.

I’m crap at dancing, and my pseudo-indie pointing is the best shape I can throw. But London’s about trying new things – so what the hell. I went out for a drink with her, made sure I was a bit wasted before going and making a tit of myself. Secretly, I also thought that even if I didn’t like her – at least at that sort of place there’d be a load of girls and it’d be like those Amazon women living in the jungle who use to kidnap men to impregnate them and then send them back to Greece (I watched it in Hercules once), but with Salsa dancing. How wrong I was…

Upon our arrival I was greeted by a deluge of well-oiled men all having the same idea as me but being able to dance. She was an intermediate but asked if I wanted to do the beginners’ class. When a girl asks a guy if he wants to do something less difficult than what she’s doing there is no evaluation process – we are automatically configured to say, ‘No thanks. Bring me the hard stuff.’ I did do a class of step aerobics once, so how hard could it be?

Oh, how I regret not paying attention to those James Nesbit/Yellow Pages adverts.

I ended up messing it up for her and each person I partnered with and because there were more boys than girls I was either stood on my own or getting propositioned by guys. I proceeded to get drunk on my own at the bar watching her dance like the bit in the new(ish) Romeo and Juliet where Leo’s watching Clare Dane’s floating around. She looked gorgeous, almost fairy-like, completely in contrast to the clumsy part of a drunken stupor that I had found myself in. I spent the rest of the night on the sidelines: bored and steadily more drunk.

Despite this, she was keen on meeting up again and made me watch that Hugh Grant film, Music and Lyrics, with her the following Friday. I hate dating. But at least the rumours at work about me being gay can be put to rest. And my dad can stop awkwardly asking me about girls and stuff just to make sure I won’t be bringing Rupert or Sam home to meet the parents…

This article originally appeared here:


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