I Wish I'd Swiped Left
Faith Morris has arrived for her date, but talking with Alice whilst getting ready hasn't helped her nerves. Why didn't she swipe left and dismiss the idea?
As I wait outside the door, I wonder how I agreed to a date with a stranger, especially when I know I swiped his image towards the left. My hand hovers on the handle, as my legs appear to lose the ability to respond to my brain’s direction, and I toy with jumping on board the approaching 246 bus and returning to the safety of home. Why did I suggest dinner? With the knots in my stomach, I won’t be able to swallow anything. The whole thing is ludicrous.
I blame Alice. She talked me into it. I needed to ‘get out and live a little’, apparently. Unfortunately, in the fifteen years since my last first date, a lot has changed. What happened to the days of chat up lines and approaches in pubs?
“Be brave, Faith Morris,” Alice said, leaving me at the corner. “I will wait in the car. Text if you need rescuing.”
Oh, god, what if I need to flee through the bathroom window? Is that something people actually do? Not that it matters. I couldn’t fit through any window with my thighs, so it’s not worth worrying about. If only I hadn’t agreed to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and be spontaneous. Lounging on the sofa, cuddling the cat, eating a family-sized bar of dairy milk is my preference right now.
To get this far has been down to luck, as deciding on an outfit was a nightmare.
“You need your tight suck-it-all-in Bridget Jones giant pants, which will be amazing at hiding those wobbly bits and giving you a sleeker line,” said Alice.
So I liberate them, spend an age wriggling into them and tucking everything in, before another thought occurred.
“But,” I reply, “Hypothetically, what if a miracle happens and we get along and I go back to his place, won’t these big pants kill the moment? What if, during the height of passion, he pauses because a barrier of giant elastic proportions stopped access? Perhaps I should opt for something smaller.”
“A thong, that’s smaller.” Alice replied.
Now, I will admit that my bottom is pert, so a thong could be brilliant considering they provide quick accessibility and are sexier, but then….
“Of course, if I’m not as streamlined in my dress, will I reach the point of entering the bedroom? Also, won’t he think I am strange if I spend most of the time pulling the little strip of material out of my bum crack because it’s annoying?”
“Minis, maxis, shorts, all-in-one bodysuit?”
Now Alice could list every knicker-style in existence, but apart from the bodysuit, the others, although okay when viewed from the back, from the front would resemble an exploded bag of marshmallows that had accidentally been squished together. An image that is neither sexy nor attractive, and as for the bodysuit, well.
“As a woman in her fifties, Alice, the desire to pee occurs more often than normal. I would spend 15 minutes per hour in the ladies, unbuttoning, peeing and then re-buttoning the thing up. The guy would assume I had abandoned him and disappear on me.”
In the end, I opted for a simple black A-line dress, big knickers, off-white bra (I know it states we are supposed to buy a new one every six months, but I haven’t got around to it) and flat shoes.
“I’ll relax more if I’m comfortable,” I said, justifying my reasoning. She shook her head.
“Okay, when I spray, go. Tonight, Faith, you’re going to be…”
“Why do we do this?” I reply as she squirts and I step into the mist. Alice is sabotaging my outfit as the droplets settle on the material like a can of soda has exploded and landed in the wrong direction.
Great, let’s add some snot into the mix. Maybe a little cat hair will complete the ensemble.
“Are you not excited? There could be sex on the menu tonight. How long has it been?”
Yes, we are friends without secrets.
“It’s only been four years,” I respond.
“Jesus, you need to get laid before it all shrivels up and dies,” Alice replied.
Of course, she’s all loved up, so would say that, wouldn’t she?
“Now, what am I doing with your hair?” As she prods, pulls and preens, I decide I may as well be honest with her.
“Okay, so getting intimate is exciting, but after so long, it is also terrifying. In my head lurks a Hollywood love scene with a beautiful seduction. You know the one where he says the right romantic words, and I crumble and succumb to mind-blowing sex, which leaves me satisfied beyond reason. But I live in bloody Basildon, where there will be lots of embarrassing fumbles before he nips to the bathroom, which does allow me time to strip (and if he doesn’t disappear, I am up the creek with these knickers on) and hide under the covers. Heaven forbid, I put him off before anything begins and seeing my cellulite, stretch marks or sagging bits with the lights on will do that.”
“Imagine if he comes out of the bathroom wearing Y-fronts?” she chuckled.
Of course, Alice is correct. You learn a vast amount about a man by his underwear. Y-fronts are a guaranteed turn off. If they wear those, then run, run and keep on running because he lives with his mother and she buys his clothes.
It’s the same with thongs, jockstraps or a mankini. Boxer shorts are a little more acceptable, but could hide disappointment within. (I don’t care what anyone says, size does matter). Now, if he’s in trunks, then yes, please. They give a girl an idea of what’s in store and are incredibly sexy.
When another loud snigger erupted, I glared. You wouldn’t think Alice was a middle-aged menopausal woman.
“Pants aside, what should I expect in bed these days? I am clueless,” I inquired.
“Well, he will climb on top, and get straight down to business. But never ask if it is in, as that might infer smallness, which is unacceptable. You could reach down and help it find the right direction, offering an idea of what’s in store and preparing you for it. Do you want him to wear a condom?”
“Oh, god. I can’t do this. I’m cancelling.” I reach for my phone, but Alice has moved it out of arm’s length.
“No, you’re having dinner and enjoying yourself. Besides, you look incredible, so it would be a shame to hide away.”
She’s just saying that, as it’s the most fun she’s had in ages.
I enter Antonio’s, the listed building that was a public house until the recession forced its closure and they converted it into a pizzeria restaurant. I suppose the low ceiling, intricate wood panelling and small windows add a certain romantic charm alongside the darkness and candles, although why I agreed to have dinner here, I am unsure. Spaghetti and pizza are not elegant items to eat. How many times will my napkin retreat towards my chin as I battle to remove the sauce? Still, it's too late to change the venue now.
As the waiter checks the reservations and retrieves a menu from beside the till, I glance around and notice the place appears deserted. Have I the correct time or has he stood me up?
“If you follow me, please,” the voice says and, with the modest background tones of Whitney and the pungent odour of garlic in the air, we deviate through to the rear where I spot we are not alone.
Two male specimens sit, nervously glaring at the walkway, each hoping they are the recipient of the jackpot and not the booby prize. Regardless of the low light, one is exquisite. He’s a ‘very nice thank you, yes please, wouldn’t chuck him out of bed’ type, while the other isn’t. I rack my brain to remember what my date looks like, but can’t. Would it be rude to check on my phone?
I cross my fingers, paste on my best smile, and follow, praying that fate is in a good mood and will steer the server towards the left…