When I think of my worst ever dating experience, several memories flash in my mind like a highlight reel. There was the time a guy announced his infertility before the starter had even arrived, the guy who showed me the 12 inch designer blade he had in his glove compartment, the guy who asked me for petrol money after dropping me home... but when I think of THE worst experience ever, there can only be one.
So I'm a single mother. I don't exactly think that's a bonus feature when dating. So when I got back on trusty ship HMS Tinder, I decided to keep that "minor" detail to myself.
I matched with a handsome guy a few years my junior; let's call him Mr. P. I meet Mr. P and he's everything I imagined, right down to the cute Texan accent. OK girl, as Ru Paul would say, "Don't fuck it up." We went on three dates and I can honestly say he was the most gentlemanly guy I'd come across in a long time. We seemed to get along well and I definitely fancied him.
Every date we went on I planned to tell him about my kids, but it just never came up... I felt more and more awkward each time.
Fourth date is organised, my mum is the designated babysitter and I've managed to scrape myself together to look passably attractive after a hard day of child rearing (having an alter ego is exhausting, FYI). I go to leave and my mother is positively arresting me before I reach the door. Yes, I look down and my baby pink bag has a large blob of human excrement on it. I have a mini heart attack and quickly deposit my belongings into another bag.
I curse my potty training toddler for trying to use my handbag to wipe his arse! It isn't the first time he's attempted to shit on the sly and I just imagine how the night would have went if I had never noticed! I cringe at the idea. How would I have explained it? Would I just have had to throw the whole bag away? Out the window? Blame the cat that he already knows I don't have? Thank goodness for mothers; that was a seriously close call. I skip out the door. Successful date four. Date five is arranged before I even get home.
At this point, I know I have to tell the guy; he's even asking about my New Years Eve plans. He needs to know what he's getting himself into. Time to say goodbye to Mindy the childless bachelorette.
Date five, Korean restaurant. It still doesn't come up. I find myself getting tongue tied. After a few shots of Korean rice wine I muster up the courage to ask him "If he's seen anything on social media" (which we still haven't added each other on) to which he replies that he hasn't. Come on, he must have stalked me? (I was mildly affronted by this, I practically knew the names of his entire family—Thanks, Facebook.).
Date six is set for Saturday. We are going to a Christmas Market (how quaint). My mum has the kids for a week so I invite a friend over for Friday to show him the splendours of my home town. I can't wait to tell him about the handsome Mr. P, who actually seems to like me as a person (yes, we've only kissed).
Friday night arrives and I squeeze myself into a Black Friday steal from Zara. A low backed black dress, I look the business. I kind of wish Mr. P. would see me tonight, looking my best. (Moral of this story be careful what you wish for)
Me and my friend hit the town; we drink in the taxi so by the time we reach the bar, we are already fairly tipsy. Shots of Sambucca follow and from there on in, everything becomes hazy. I Whatssap Mr. P. and next thing I know he's picking me and my friend up. Then we are in my flat. Then my bedroom.
Next thing I know, it's morning, and I feel like ten anvils have dropped on my head. I smell like an explosion in a Sambucca factory and wearing the magnificent Zara backless creation. Alone.
Snatches of the night before run through my head. I find my friend, who is passed out on the sofa.
"Wake up! What the fuck happened last night?"
"Huh? I can't remember. Mr. P. was here, he picked us up because we couldn't get a taxi."
"Fuck. Shit. OK. OMG, did I tell him about the kids? Why is he gone?"
"I can't remember, honestly. I was so wasted!"
I look around the house. The highchair, the potty, the kids' toys. He must have figured it out.
I look at my phone; no texts from him. He must have literally fled my house like Speedy Gonzales in the middle of the night.
I call him. I need to know what happened. Did we sleep together?
"What happened? I can't remember."
"You were really drunk and you were being really forceful, something bad could have happened."
"No, of course not."
"I take it we aren't going out today."
"I need some time. Give me a week."
"Did I say something? I'm really, really sorry"
Ru Paul would have been disappointed; I totally fucked it up. I don't even drink that often. I'm teetotal 90% of the time; the woman he met last night was actually my second alter ego — Mary the Maniac.
He must have known about the kids. Why didn't he say anything about it? Did he think I was married?
We text later in the day and he says he forgives me, that I was drunk and he gets it. He will pick me up later and we can chill or something; he's too tired to go anyway. I still feel a knot of unease. I don't remember a thing.
Then at 4 PM, he suddenly comes down with "food poisoning" and we have to reschedule. He could have been more creative at least.
The weekend passes in a self-pitying, hungover blur and I'm surprised to hear from Mr. P. on Monday, arranging a date for Friday. So, he's forgiven me after all! Yet something seems off about his texts... he's not as keen. I don't bombard him, I feel it's best to keep my distance and only reply when I hear from him. I text Thursday just to confirm Friday as I'm planning a trip to London in the daytime.
He sends a vague response back about "letting me know on the night, and if not we can do something on Saturday." Friday night comes and at 11 I text him saying "I guess tonight isn't happening then?" Followed by a picture of Regent Street Christmas lights.
Safe to say I was ghosted. I never heard from the perfect Mr. P again. I will never know what happened that night. Did he find out about the kids and run screaming to his car — fumbling with his keys as if he were being chased by the reaper himself? Did I flash my unshaven lady garden at him as if it was as beautiful as Kew Gardens? Did I tell him loved him and wanted to get married in a drunken slur? Or was he just not that into me in the first place? The secret lies with him...