Image description: The text “Dates of Our Lives” on a pink and purple background
Many moons ago, I had matched with dear Billy but we didn’t meet up because he was off to work on a vineyard over summer. Rah! He asked to meet up when he returned and I agreed before promptly forgetting all about him. I’m a cold hearted bitch it would appear. Anywho, he returned and messaged me. I admit, I had to scroll back in order to reacquaint myself with him and our conversations. And so finally, like two star crossed lovers we met on neutral ground: Turf Tavern.
It didn’t get off to the best start. I was early for once and then suddenly late when I couldn’t locate poor Billy in the pub. I eventually found him in the dim glow of Turf’s outside lamps. The issue was that, whilst he did look like his profile, his profile was shockingly average, and Oxford is full of middle class, average looking white men. It’s a curse.
I sat down, and with a slight sheen of panic sweat, struck up the conversation. Suddenly, just by accident, over his shoulder I made eye contact with Lucy from college. Lucy and I had an understanding, in that we didn’t understand one another. I would say, in classic chick flick style, she was my nemesis in all things romantic. She stole my men (well she made moves on the ones I had daydreams about in my head), she could flirt, I can’t because I think my hair isn’t long enough to flick, she’s disgustingly pretty and cool to boot.
My instant reaction? Apart form handcuffing Billy to the chair or putting a blindfold on him, I wasn’t sure how to keep him focussed. I moved slightly so as not to be seen by her, hoping we could fly under the radar. I didn’t fancy imitating a wild animal-David Attenborough scene, with me, the frightened prey being observed by Lucy, either a very hungry/horny hunter, or a maybe a snarky David Attenborough.
It was all going well, but then Lucy got up to leave and headed straight for me. A smirk appearing. All was fake smiles and high pitched voices. We “caught up”, I was caught by surprise, Billy seemed caught up in his pint. The awkwardness drenched us like an April monsoon and then Lucy struck up an umbrella to fend off the downpour, winked with a “have fun you two” glint in her eye, I like to think. It could well have been a seductive wink, I was almost seduced. That bit was confusing.
Despite this, we were back in the swing of it. We were deep into a debate about the extent to which Bee Movie can be considered a critique on capitalism when it in itself is a commercial and consumerist item (take that Lucy), and then I heard a familiar voice. It was shouting. It was shouting at me.
Like a shot guinea fowl (I imagine) I reeled around in terror. And then Cate, my friend’s girlfriend appeared. Potentially drunk, she engulfed me in a bear hug, which is impressive as someone who is only 5ft tall. She asked who this was and why I hadn’t brought him round to house parties etc earlier. I think there was some stroking of poor Billy’s arm and maybe even a tap on the nose. From this point there are gaps. I tried to quietly explain this was a first date. Cate had apparently lost her hearing and asked me to repeat myself before exclaiming: “Ooooooh! First date! How exciting, oh wow. Are you having a good time? Is he nice? Ooooh let me know how it goes”. She had it appeared transformed herself into a low budget Paddy McGuiness from Take Me Out. I was scarlet. Billy was fuschia. I almost pushed her into a plant pot but luckily she was pulled away by some other friends and they sat down the table over. Unfortunately, it allowed her to make faces at me all evening and gesture wildly.
Well, that was all a bit embarrassing I thought. And then , just to complete the night. A friend’s friend appeared magically and asked how I was etc etc. I made that face, you know the one girls, and with that she retreated slowly.
I was exhausted. Billy thought I was a massive hack. I was beginning to think I might be too. I wasn’t even drunk, my account was empty and I was now, quite cold.
Anyway the night ended. I cycled off home to my snug bed, replaying the interactions.
The following morning at brunch, it turns out that there hadn’t needed to be anyone else from college at Turf that fateful evening as Lucy had spoken to all and sundry and a pros and cons list for Billy had bee constructed. Oh how we do love a small college.
For a more in depth chat I asked my friend Seb out for coffee and as I’m telling him the tale, who do we see outside High Street post office? But Billy himself.
I messaged him after, asking to see him again and explaining who Seb was, just in case. You never know. When I look in the mirror I reckon I’m fairly irresistible. His reply?
“I think you seem a bit high maintenance for me, sorry. See you around”
Oh how the mighty do fall. And so, from my briefest of stints as a pretend BNOC, I can tell you, unlike with Bill Clinton, power does nothing for your romantic life.
Image credit: Amina Lounas