Picture the scene; he and I wear the same shy smiles. We exchange fleeting, nervous glances now and then, before our eyes fall to our laps once more. This is a classic “start of a first date” situation; we are tense, excited, our minds dancing with questions for this stranger sitting before us.
It had finally arrived: the Tinder Date. Despite having never clapped eyes on one another in real life, what can only be described as my “Tinder Breakthrough” and I were sat at the same table at an ice cream parlour on Byres Road. We decided against the typical restaurant date; as stated in my first column, Floraidh Clement does not do restaurant dates – it’s all part of being the owner of a double chin which tends to make an appearance in culinary situations (“do I order the wrap? Or is that just…asking for trouble?”) Instead, we opted for the cute, casual, cosmopolitan choice of an ice cream parlour, after we bond during our first conversation on Tinder over our mutual appreciation of German culture.
And it is all a terrible disaster.
Let’s start at the first encounter. It began with the initial confusion of identifying who we were actually meant to be meeting; there’s a good few minutes of hopeful standing around until we realise that we are, in fact, around 4ft away from one another. The romantic atmosphere is already literally dampened by a rain shower, meaning my carefully coiffed curls are flattened upon arrival and the best chat I have to offer once we acknowledge one another is “y’know how crap it is when your socks get wet through your shoes?” which he doesn’t look particularly bowled over by.
But this does not bother me, as once we enter our dating venue it soon enough it becomes clear that his chat is nothing worth quipping in a love poem, either. After the first few minutes of timid small talk, ranging from the dismal weather to favourite ice cream flavours, he is fiercely insistent that he pays for my Irn Bru sorbet. I try to reason with him – I’m a modern woman and I’ll pay my own way, thanks very much – but his face crumples so quickly, I eventually give into this, ahem, twenty two year old man’s childish sulks. So far, so bad.
It doesn’t improve. Not quite seeming to register what a dark hole he is quite cheerily digging himself, my Tinder date admits that most of what he said in our previous conversations was lies. So he doesn’t like Germany, he isn’t a Disclosure fan and wasn’t backing a Yes vote in the recent independence referendum? He chuckles again. “Let’s just focus on the present, eh?”
If I wholeheartedly focused on the present as suggested I would end up scooping my sorbet out and flicking it in his face, but no matter; in the spirit of being a go-getter, I see if I can go get some kind of interesting or funny conversation out of my date. I keep the conversation light hearted; I ask him which films he’s enjoyed recently, what music he’s REALLY into (apparently not Disclosure – hmph), if he actually likes Viper, that sort of “I’m giving you a big opportunity to dazzle me – don’t waste it” discussion.
“Is this an interview or something? Also – your lipstick has smudged. Why do you wear it? Doesn’t seem worth it to me” he responds at one point. So, I’m sure you’ll see why I was feeling particularly dazzle-free after that comment.
A few snarky comments and failed conversation starters later, we reach the end of the date. Our smiles are forced. Our fleeting glances are not nervous – more contemptuous. Our eyes fall onto our laps as this is where we indiscreetly hide our phones and text our friends desperate “rescue me” messages. We are thoroughly unexcited by the thought of having to spend another second in one another’s company. Our minds are clearly asking the same questions now, although hopeful and heartfelt they are not.
“Why did we choose an ice cream parlour on the coldest possible day?” “What the hell am I doing here?” “When is it acceptable to make my excuses and leave?”
But to address the more pressing question posed in my last column, was it “like at first swipe” after all? Well, it was more “we’re not booking a mini break to Paris any time soon, this was wildly awkward and you’re a bit of an arsehole but cheers for the sorbet” kind of swipe; it turns out people are not all what they seem on Tinder profiles. Still, it’s great if you like sorbet, not so much if it’s bought for you by somebody who’s just as cold.
[Floraidh Clement – @FloraidhCC]