I walked into Little Bat, a trendy cocktail bar, absolutely shaking. I’d already wandered around for ten minutes in Highbury and Islington, attempting to feign a fashionably late entrance yet all it had achieved was an increased trepidation for the torture I called a first date.
An edgy bleached blonde bartender ushered me into a dimly lit bar.
“I’m waiting for someone…Ethan?” My voice quivered like a sixteen-year-old using fake ID.
“He’s already here, follow me.”
I was led over to the most attractive specimen I’d ever had the pleasure to behold: light brown hair, an olive complexion and a jawline that could cut glass. Surely no-one this beautiful could be found on Tinder? Why on earth was he on a date with me?
Despite being a feminist, something about cocktails makes me adhere to gender binaries; he ordered an old fashioned and whatever I picked was pink, ostentatious and came in a tall curvy glass.
After the initial interview-like questions we settled into a more relaxed debate about politics and the state of the world. You know, those light topics you broach with someone you barely know.
Thank god he was a leftie, it meant the date could go on for a bit longer.
He picked up the bill and mentioned he’d lost his debit card so could only use Apple pay before mentioning I could get the next ones. I always go dutch on a date and that seemed fair so why did it leave me feeling a bit uncomfortable? Maybe I was overreacting.
Before I knew it we started challenging each other to a Nintendo 64 video game off. Apparently he knew a bar with a Nintendo, but it was a bit of a walk, would I mind?
We left the bar and his face lit up, he suggested we Boris bike it there. Oh no.
I had horrific flashbacks to a Berlin holiday where an old German man yelled at me from his car as I veered into the pavement, narrowly escaping with my life.
I made a face so he suggested he cycled and I sit on the back. Was this romantic or wildly intimate for someone I had just met? I guess we’d find out.
Before I know it his rear was parked up against my face and I was holding onto his waist for dear life. We flew through the streets of London at what felt like the speed of light.
This is the part where I ought to have played the romantic lead. Instead I was whimpering and shrieking “I’m going to die” while he panted and grunted, his body moved and sweated as he brought us to our destination.
He got off the bike and I tried to get my leg over – this is the most forward date I’ve ever been on.
After going inside, I bought us a round of drinks before annihilating him on Street Fighter. He subsequently reminded me that the next two rounds were on me- was I being a hypocrite or was this guy taking the piss a bit?
We ended with a promise to see each other again and agreed that kayaking with a subsequent round of bowling would be the only way of matching our first date. Hopefully next time I don’t have to pick up a £35 bar tab.