Welcome to 29 Dates, where we explore the weird, wild and sometimes wonderful world of dating - one date at a time.
Bob* was one of two internet dates I’ve ever been on.
He was my usual type: long brown hair, a sizeable beard and decent taste in music.
He seemed unwittingly normal, even a little bland. He worked an office job at an insurance firm, asked questions about my day and regularly wore the colour grey.
Ordinarily I would have swerved Bob because of his inability to nudge our chat beyond the realms of small talk into something that actually resembled conversation. But it had been a while so when he asked if I wanted to go for a drink, I said yes.
Bob then surprised me by insisting that he was a "real gentleman" and knew how to "treat a lady". It was the kind of chat that usually sends my eyes rolling out of their sockets but I was so bowled over by this sudden semblance of a personality that I allowed him to continue.
'I always bring a gift with me on a first date,' he told me.
"I always bring a gift with me on a first date," he added, upping the cringe factor significantly.
I laughed, and said: "Whatever you do, don’t bring flowers."
A few days later we met in a pub – a dingy local boozer where ruddy-faced old men lined the bar, clutching pints of ale.
He looked exactly like he did in his pictures, and his conversation was exactly the same as it was over text.
After a drink, he produced a small black box.
"I know you said you didn’t want any flowers," he said, gingerly handing it over.
Bemused, I opened the box to find a velvet pouch inside. I tipped the pouch onto my hand and out popped a pink glass butt plug with a glittering daisy on the end.
I’ve got to hand it to Bob. For one so plain, this was a bold move that I certainly hadn’t predicted. Sadly, he didn’t own it and proceeded to go beetroot before insisting I put it back in the box immediately.
"That was for you to open in private!" he hissed, before downing his pint and heading for the exit.
I was still sitting there, pouch in one hand, butt plug in the other, my mouth wide open.
I never heard from Bob again but years later, his gift is still on the shelf in my bedroom. I laugh every time it catches the light.
*Name has been changed