I should've guessed he wasn't the one the minute he said he listened to Nickelback. It was the afternoon before the date and our texting was getting intense. "Voluntarily?" I fired back, confident that no self-respecting adult would confess to enjoying the tortured vocals of Avril Lavigne’s ex-husband. "Of course. Why?" came the reply.
Never mind, I thought. Not everyone has good taste. It doesn’t make him a bad person. The conversation moved on and I forgot our musical misstep, buoyed by anticipation of what the evening might bring.
Later, as I was getting ready to go out, a text arrived from my best friend. "What are you doing tonight?" I told her I had a date. "Oooh, send a pic!" she urged. I chose the photo that he looked the best in (and, therefore, me) and sent it over.
She replied immediately. "Hahahahaha omg I’ve been talking to the same guy!"
I felt myself wilt. My best friend is extremely beautiful and over the years I had grown accustomed to her always being the Batman to my Robin. It no longer bothered me. But how cruel of the relationship gods to pit us against one another online, too.
How cruel of the relationship gods to pit me and my best friend against one another.
My phone buzzed again. "I got a weird vibe from him though," she continued. "Kind of stalkery. Are you sure about meeting him?"
I scrolled through our conversation. Nickelback notwithstanding, nothing screamed "PSYCHO!!!" and besides, it was too late to cancel.
"He seems alright to me," I replied. "I think it’s fine."
"Okay," she said. "Text me when you get home. Have fun!"
Sitting in the pub, I chuckled at her concern. There was nothing off about this man; he was simply very, very dull. Too polite to leave, I stayed, and drank. At some point I decided it would be hilarious to mention my best friend. I showed him a picture of us together.
"Oh yeah," he said. "You’ve both got that photo on your profile."
If alarm bells were ringing, I was too drunk to hear them. We left the bar and went for sushi; afterwards he insisted on walking me home. On my doorstep — despite the obvious lack of chemistry — he stuck his tongue down my throat, proving that some men really will try anything. When he came up for air I wriggled free, went inside and passed out alone on my bed.
Two days after the date, my best friend called.
"That guy you went out with keeps texting. He wants to go for a drink. Won’t take no for an answer."
"What did you say?" I asked.
"I said, 'No chance, you’ve been out with my best mate'.
"He said, 'Yeah...but it was you I wanted all along'."