Welcome to 29 Dates, where we explore the weird, wild, and sometimes wonderful world of dating. Look out for a new story every day this month.
We went for a drink and crashed out of a bar quiz. He was a musician with a rich northern UK accent and a look of Mick Jagger; a curious mix of arrogance and chronic insecurity.
Stories were exchanged. He ordered Guinness and dipped his nose in it to make me laugh, which I did.
Around midnight we headed back to his with a bottle of red and sat smoking in his kitchen for a while longer. I caught him sheepishly glancing at my tits a couple of times.
I wanted numbing, anonymous sex. He didn't...
It was an awkward transition to the bedroom — a yawn, a half-arsed suggestion of a film until the door was shut and he kissed me so fucking perfectly I almost lost my nerve. I wanted numbing, anonymous sex. I wanted him to fuck me like he hated me. "But I don’t," he said, and I rolled my eyes and onto his bed.
After he came and I was done trying, he reached over under the covers to gently put his arms around me.
"What do you think you’re doing?" I snapped. He explained that since he’d been inside me moments before, he presumed it would be okay to touch me now.
I told him that he presumed wrong and shuffled to the edge of the bed like a sulking child. Then he asked, "Why are you so cold?" and I pretended to be asleep because I didn’t know.
The next day, and for months afterwards, his words rang in my ears, warning me of something I couldn’t quite see.
I see it all now.
Long after our first encounter I realized that, by the time we met, the beginnings of an insurmountable depression had already crept under the first layer of skin. Over the next couple of years we dated for short periods, but though I warmed up to him, I still hated myself. Eventually, the depression ingested me and it was him who grew cold, so I called it off.
Still, I like to think of him. And when I think of him that first night, on my first online date, I feel quite thankful to have met him — a stranger who, even when I wanted him to, refused to hate me and who tried, albeit failingly, to warm me up.