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.
He was 25, a guitarist (although not, to my knowledge, of any particular skill or renown) and French. Let's call him Gustave.
Heartbroken from a tumultuous relationship crashing down around me, I had (in retrospect, VERY misguidedly) been working my way through the friends of my best friend's boyfriend, picking up a free cocktail here, an STI there...
Gustave, who asked me out following a mild flirtation over a soggy cigarette at a house party, was good-looking and charismatic. Was my luck about to change?
A flurry of upbeat, witty texts preceded our date yet when I arrived at the designated location, a museum, he greeted me with an almost accusatory: "You dressed up."
I was wearing my world-weary first date outfit of that era: a belted black sweater dress and brown leather knee-highs. Perhaps Gustave, significantly shorter than I remembered, was threatened by the modest heel of my boots?
Nevertheless he rallied.
After several warm-up drinks he whisked me off to a strikingly sterile Italian restaurant...and told me in no uncertain terms that he had fallen in love with me.
After several warm-up drinks he whisked me off to a strikingly sterile Italian restaurant where, over a pesto e pomodoro, he grabbed both my (probably quite sticky) hands and with Gallic exuberance told me in no uncertain terms that he had fallen in love with me.
Doubtful yet optimistic, I went along for the ride.
We swept along the riverside hand in hand, Gustave poetically, urgently, declaring his affection between frantic kisses until we arrived on Tower Bridge. Illuminated against the night sky, seemingly fuelled by adoration, Gustave the musician began to sing a capella. Songs by Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, even Paolo Nutini, drifted down the Thames until, thirsty from his vocal exertions, he was keen to locate another bar.
It was past midnight by this point and decidedly chilly so with a much-boosted ego and early onset hypothermia, I decided to call it a night.
I never heard from him again. Naturellement.