Image description: The text “Dates of our lives” on a pink and purple background
I’m sorry. This is embarrassing, even for me. I don’t want to have to admit this to you all but truth will out and so forth. It’s my duty, this is what you signed up for. And who am I to deny you your rights?
This one is from the vault, I have to my shame not been on a date this past week. I bet your eyebrows shot up to read that but it’s true. This isn’t for wont of trying though. I’ve been swiping, I’ve bumped into strangers at Tesco and memorised their initials only to spam them with unreciprocated Oxloves. I’ve tried house parties and friends of friends but no one seems to be taking the bait. And, you must understand, this isn’t for me. This is for all of you, to brighten your day and let you know that even though you got a low 3rd on that last essay and you’re being threatened with rustication suspension, things could be worse. You could’ve dated some of the people I have.
And so, I’ve blown off the dust, and swept away the cobwebs. I’d like you now to cast your minds back to summer. It was hot, I was sweaty. Punting was in overdrive, the ice creams were in high demand and Teddy had just popped up on Tinder.
Name: Teddy F*****r
Hair colour: Dark brown buzz cut
Eye colour: Dreamy orbs
College: St ****
We chatted for a bit over message and organised to meet up. I forgot the first time, so full was my social calendar (binge watching Sex/Life on Netflix in a blanket and pjs with some biscuits). But, undeterred he suggested going over one another’s house. I was not prepared for this. I looked like a sprouting potato. But then, I did feel guilty for having stood him up, so I agreed.
And yes, no doubt alarm bells are sounding. You’re thinking, “but Poppy, what about stranger danger?” and to that I reply, “you’ve clearly never seen a rom com, I would recommend Serendiptiy, now go and educate yourself you fool!”.
I manically ran around putting on some real, but comfy clothes and detangling the birds nest my hair had become. I wiped the chocolate from around my mouth and just as I finished switching the fairy lights on for added ambience, the doorbell rang.
And there he was, with a selection of beers and ciders to accompany the white wine I had in the fridge. And then…
No we did in fact not get down and dirty. Instead we watched Blood Diamond, the violent one where Leo Dicaprio plays a South African diamond smuggler. Not the peak of romance, but he said he was into films and for those who have heard that line before, it does so often mean “I’ve seen Pulp Fiction twice”, and having actually seen Pulp Fiction twice I couldn’t bring myself to watch it a third but this time with a pompous commentary over the top and the little factoids of “did you know Tarantino is obsessed with feet?”.
So we instead opted for Leo ( I <3 U Leo). He told me his childhood trauma. I gulped the wine.
He told me about his life plans, there weren’t really any to speak of. Travelling was vaguely mentioned. I gulped some more wine. He told me about the college drama which I wasn’t interested in. I drained my glass. A dull silence settled.
Then he asked if I had any weed. I replied with the negative. Since my housemates had yet to arrive there were in fact no exciting substances in the house at all. The wine was only a fluke since I’d recently cooked a chicken risotto. Hardcore I know. (For the recipe stay tuned and check out the Food & Drink section). He asked if I wanted to get some and replied that he could if he wanted. Unfortunately his normal guy had taken the night off to watch Eastenders or something. He was glum for a while. Someone had just been macheted to death in the film which didn’t help. Then he perked up, delved into his wallet and brought out a small baggy.
“Fancy some ket?” He asked.
“I’m alright thanks” I replied and swigged from my glass. I vaguely wondered what time Tesco closed and would I need to do an emergency vino trip.
He said he was fine if I was and put the unopened baggy back into his wallet, tapping it for safety. A true gentleman I thought.
I nipped to the toilet, having at this point consumed a considerable amount of liquid and whilst breaking the seal heard some Richter scale level, glass-shattering sneezing.
I retuned to the living room and asked if all was well. “Hayfever” came the reply. Odd I thought…
He continued to tell me about his (ex) girlfriend who he had broken up with a week (1 week!!!) prior and that he still loved her/this often happened/they’d get back together/ she was so beautiful/only she knew him as he truly was etc etc
I had now run out of wine.
The time came. My A Level in Drama was about to pay off: I staged a massive yawn. He took the hint.
On his way out he asked me not to tell his girlfriend. I explained I didn’t know her and she was apparently in Leeds which was, I emphasised, quite far away from Oxford. That didn’t cheer him up at all. He pressed his point some more and I said yes just to get rid of him at which point he started to sob quietly. As he turned from the door, a lone streetlight illuminated a single tear which slowly and wobblingly made its way down his cheek. He sniffed heavily, thrust his hands into his pockets and trudged away.
I collapsed on the sofa. Leo had died in the film. My patience had died with him. The empty packet of Digestives was more exciting company than Teddy had been. I felt deflated. Teddy was clearly emotionally attached whereas I remained a piece of slimy driftwood floating through a sea of relationship angst. I cleared up. As I reached for my laptop I noticed a dust all over it. Strange I thought, and then the sniffing made sense…
The names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this work have been altered to protect the identities of those involved. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.