After the pregnancy prank from Pop Idolizer, but before I made the somewhat questionable decision to give things another go with her (with painful results), I did make one good decision: I gave online dating another try. By that time it had been over a year since I'd left the dating website and I'd spent a fair bit of that year hoping that my occasional hook-ups with Pop Idolizer would develop into something more, but at that point it looked very much like they wouldn't and so I decided that it was high time to broaden my dating horizons again.
I got off to a promising start - within a couple of weeks I had three first dates arranged in the space of four days. In my early online dating days I would have felt unsure as to whether this was "OK" but now it seemed like this was how most other people were doing it - and it did feel exciting! I like the process of picking codenames for people I've dated (it seems like this is an important part of blogging!) so lets call them Call 999, Sparkle Motion and Positive Energy.
I met Call 999 at a bar and the date got off to a very average start. We had a bit in common but not a lot. Our chatting was continuous but not riveting. I was beginning to wonder whether this date would end up being classed a success or a failure. As it turned out, somebody else made the decision for me. Some random guy grabbed my date's handbag and ran out of the bar. I didn't even see it happen but the bar staff were after him like a shot (maybe it's a common problem there!) and by the time my date and I got outside the bar they were coming back with her bag, which the thief had thrown aside, but without her phone, which he'd escaped with.
I lent her my phone so that she could report her phone stolen. Her insurance claim required that a report be filed with the police, so we walked to the nearest police station and I waited while she provided them with the details. Then we went our separate ways - our date hadn't been going nearly well enough to survive that. She said something vague about calling me but I remember thinking that this seemed unlikely while she didn't have a phone!
The next evening I met Sparkle Motion at a (different) bar. More than anything else, I remember that date for its demonstration of my insecurities. Before meeting we'd exchanged photos and she'd looked kind of nice-looking. It turned out that she was much better-looking in person. This should have been a good thing, right? But my mind went into the whole "she's out of my league" mentality again. Not only did her eyes and smile sparkle - so did her energy for life and living it to the full. I just thought "there's no way I can keep up with this woman - she works harder than I do, she plays harder than I do, I don't know how she fits it all in!" Of course, I made some attempt to seem interesting enough to warrant a second date, but not surprisingly I failed!
I think of my first date with Positive Energy as one of my best first dates ever. The ironic thing is that I remember her in a very similar way to Sparkle Motion - good-looking with a real zest for life - but somehow this didn't intimidate me with her. I felt an early connection with her. She seemed quite unconventional and I liked that about her. Rather than meeting after work in a flashy bar, she wanted to meet on a Saturday afternoon in my local Pizza Hut! Her philosophy: why spend more when you can have just as much fun for less? And it really was fun - we chatted away about all kinds of things. It sounded like she spent her life doing various zany activities and not worrying about whether anyone thought her unusual. I used to feel that way once - what happened to that side of me?
We went out into town to bars but both just drank water. She didn't drink alcohol but that didn't seem to hold her back in the slightest, and I wasn't much of a drinker either (in recent years I've effectively quit completely.) We ended up dancing in a nightclub until after midnight, by which time our first date must have been going for nine or ten hours! Just one problem though: nothing non-platonic had occurred between us.
Actually, after the date, it turned out that there was another problem. Her profile had said that she lived in the same city as me; then she'd said that she spent part of her week in a different city several hours away; eventually it turned out that she actually lived there and was only in the process of possibly moving here. This also meant that she wasn't available to meet me again for several weeks. This was a big disappointment, but the date had been so great in many ways that I still wanted to see her again.
Four weeks later we finally had our second "date" and again went to a nightclub. This time I wanted to find out whether she actually saw me as more than a friend. Maybe I should have just tried to kiss her but instead I chose rather a weak substitute: I said "What would you do if I kissed you right now?" I like to think I would have then kissed her if her facial expression had looked enthusiastic, but instead she looked shocked and darted away, then acted as if it hadn't happened. OK - I think I had my answer. After that night we stayed in touch occasionally but something was never quite the same. We never met up again.