(*Image sourced from and credited to poorlydrawnlines.com*)
As part of an in-depth investigation into the wonderfully weird world of Internet Dating, it was inevitable that I would one day actually have to throw myself into the deep end and meet up with one of the guys I'd been messaging through the site.
At this point, I'd like to clarify that I did not meet up with anyone solely for investigatory purposes. I always knew I'd write about them at some point (hello.. package deal!), but I met up with them because I genuinely felt the desire to spend time with them and get to know them better. Please and thank you.
Plenty of Fish date number one was with a personal trainer named Lee. The thought that my date for the evening was a pro at watching the svelte figures of 20-something blondes bending over at all sorts of seductive angles was fairly daunting in itself, not least because I have hips, a Buddha belly, and junk in the trunk, but also because the only time I bend over at all kinds of seductive angles is when I'm chasing a runaway Smartie. Or picking up a biscuit that I dropped.
Having exchanged messages for about four consecutive hours (don't judge, I was hungover in bed), Lee suggested that we meet up the next day. I was fairly keen on the idea, as he seemed as if he had a cracking sense of humour, however I couldn't help but wonder whether his keenness towards meeting me was in fact because he was a closet criminal on the prowl for an easy victim. Just in case he was, I made it clear that our date would remain 'in public' until I said so, and made him meet me, for the very first time, in the middle of Debenhams. Let's not beat around the bush folks, I am one hell of a cheap date.
As I turned around to an awkward tap on the shoulder from the man himself, it became instantly evident that Lee's photos, particularly height wise, had been fairly deceiving. He was at least two whole inches shorter than me, and whilst I hate to sound shallow, I didn't feel at all attracted to him on a physical level. Additionally, when he greeted me with 'iiiiiiiiiiiite babes', I burst out laughing at him, convinced that he was messing around. He wasn't.
Once I felt more confident that he wasn't a criminal, we took an ambient stroll along the seafront. We talked, a lot, and by 'we', I mean 'he'. In fact, I'm certain that I barely got about three words in.
Unluckily for me, I'd already agreed that Lee could drive me home, and after listening to him rattling on all afternoon, we ended back up at his flat where his car was parked. Having informed me that he was 'f*cking desperate for a piss' (is anybody else aroused yet?), he invited me in briefly. Now folks, I'm not the tidiest of people. I fully champion a floordrobe and a bit of domestic chaos, but his flat was like nothing I have ever seen before. There's lived in, and then there's lived in by a used towel carpet, last year's entire wasted food collection, and countless piles of sh*t.
As if the date couldn't get any worse, I was informed, once his front door opened, that I was about to meet Lee's dad. Unfortunately, this information didn't come from Lee his self, but from a loud growl from another room that shouted something along the lines of 'S-OOOOON! WHERE THE F*CK HAVE YOU BEEN?!' For four terrifying seconds, I was convinced that I'd suddenly walked into the set of Jurassic Park, and as I heard the pounding footsteps of father-in-law-never-to-be coming towards me in the hallway, I was almost tempted to run into the bathroom screaming and weep profusely until it was all over. Instead, I offered my best 'don't look uncomfortable, don't look uncomfortable' expression at the dino-man and uttered the most timid hello of my life.
'HELL-OOOOO!' he bellowed, 'f*ck me son, your new bird has a bangin' rack!'
I swiftly declined Lee's offer for a second date.