Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Chapter 2: To beard or not to beard
Shortly after Gordon, I came across Chris, who not only looked the part (decent photos, no nakedness or silly bathroom selfies) but whose profile seemed honest and interesting, plus he was a Pearl Jam fan! (yeah, yeah ok I’ve contradicted myself on the music thing). The banter between us was extremely pleasant, he appeared to be well educated (meaning he did nt spk in txt spk lyk hi how r u Im gr8 ta wot u up 2), he had photographic evidence of having partaken in “Movember” (charity supporter) and one of him holding his pink chubby nephew (kind nature). Naturally I was slightly put off by the whole Gordon incident, and being a “newbie” I was loathe to give him my phone number in case of similar vomit-inducing outburst of feelings. Our emailing went back and forth for about 3 weeks before he asked if I would like to meet him, and I nervously, but somewhat excitedly, agreed. This meant naturally swapping phone numbers, and one day out of the blue, he called! Eeeek this was new territory! Speaking to the guy with whom you’ve been messaging is NOT the same as messaging – it puts a whole new light on things. Suddenly he’s a real person, with a voice, and a BODY at the end of the ‘phone! Oh God, my stomach was churning.
I think I spoke to Chris on the ‘phone about 3 times before we met; and in fact the last time I spoke to him was the day before we were due to meet. In hindsight, I perhaps should have heeded the warning that was literally shouting at me down the ‘phone that Friday evening. Chris had gone to the pub straight from work with friends, and was calling me from outside Tesco, getting beer supplies to take home after the pub had closed….
Saturday arrived. Date day! The plan was to get the bus into the nearest metropolis from the village where I lived, and our date was all booked for 1pm. The bus was due to leave at 12.10pm. At 12.03pm I got a text from Chris “Hey. Sorry, I’ve slept in, gonna be late”!
Hmmmmm. Quick decision. Do I get on the bus and then have to wait around for him to get the train from the city where HE lived? Or get the next bus (in 2 hours). I was all fired up and ready for the date, so texted back, fairly nonchalantly something along the lines of “Ok no problemo, let me know when you’ll be in”.
Ping! Text back “Right I’m jumping in the shower; should be there by 2 at the latest”.
Ok, this wasn’t too bad. That gave me an hour to do a wee bit of shopping. All good!
1.45pm. Ping! Text: “Hey, so sorry, I fell asleep again! Oops silly me. Jumping in shower right now, will text you from the station in about 20 mins”.
Hmmm… okaaaay. It happens, plus, he’s keeping me informed so he must be a decent guy! Will wander round shops for another 30 mins or so… then he’ll be here.
2.30pm. Ping! Text: “Hey, I’m at the station but I’ve just missed the train. The next one isn’t for 40 mins. So sorry! Be there soon x”
F*&^%ake! My feet were now sore after traipsing round the shops for an hour and a half. Sod it. I’m going to the pub.
3.10pm Ping! Text: “I’m on the train – I’ll be there in half an hour! Can you meet me off the train? I don’t know my way about…”
Still in the pub. I order another Gin and Tonic. Then another.
3.45pm. I’ve now been waiting for my date for nearly 3 hours. Get to the train station and see a man on the other side of the barrier having a heated debate with the guard about a lost ticket. He looks sort of like Chris, but a shorter, fatter, scruffier version, with a full beard reminiscent of Mr Twit from Roald Dahl’s infamous novel. As he ambled towards me, wearing a purple v-neck jumper sporting a large greasy stain on the front, underneath a heavy duffle-coat which did nothing to hide his beer belly, suddenly I knew where I had seen him before. He was the short hairy one from The Hangover.
Taking a deep breath I remembered that we should not judge people by their appearances, and ok he might have put a few old photos on his profile, but he seemed like a nice guy. Terrible sense of time-keeping, but what the hell. No-one’s perfect! Off we go to the nearest pub, as all plans of doing anything cultural are way past bothering with, and we sit down. Chris is noticeably more, how should I say, “theatrical” and “demonstrative” with his gestures than I had realised during our ‘phone chats. It was only when he stood up to move outside for a fag and actually RUFFLED the top of my head that it occurred to me… “He’s fucking drunk!”
Bemused. That is the only word I could describe how I felt during the rest of the date. I was shackled to this bearded drunkard by way of a rural bus timetable, and the next bus wasn’t for another an hour and a half! Christ. Over the course of time, he groped my left boob, took hold of my cheek in between his thumb and forefinger and actually went “coochie coooo!” and knocked a pint of Guinness over the table and the floor. Mortified, I apologised to the bar maid, and actually had to physically man-handle him back to the train station.
Chris texted me the following day apologising for his behaviour and saying he wasn’t sure why he got so drunk so quickly. I replied that perhaps he had never entirely sobered up from his night out before, and it wasn’t really my idea of a good time.
I never saw Chris again. I did, however, date men with beards again, just not purple v-necked jumpers with duffle coats….