Two things are notably unusual about last week’s date. Firstly, I am in a restaurant, and I despise all restaurant dates as a general rule. Secondly, I am on a date with a female.
“But Floraidh!” I hear you cry, taking a break from the essays you are quite strangely attempting to begin early. “We thought you were straight?”
And hey, you wouldn’t be wrong; that’s how I’ve identified so far in my twenty years, although I hope we can all acknowledge the fluidity of sexuality. But have you ever seen a girl? Oh, I think they’re all so bloody gorgeous. I love their soft skin and lips and hips and the way their skirts swish around their thighs. I love their voices and laughter and their delicate wrists and the way they talk to all strangers in the loos in nightclubs as though they are, in fact, old childhood friends. I might identify as straight but I’m not blind, either; I can and do sincerely appreciate the beauty of women.
Anyway, I’ve decided to appreciate women so much that I am currently eating spaghetti in front of one I’ve never met before, who will only be referred to as Hot Girl from the Internet. But how do the date dynamics change in a girl/girl scenario?
Clearly not that much in terms of the fact that I am incredibly nervous beforehand – it might not be guy I’m meeting, but that fact has made me no more laid back and serene. I anxiously preened and curled my hair, glared contemptuously in the mirror when it went more “hipster mop” than “Marilyn” and tried on no less than six outfits before leaving the door. Despite being fairly sure the date would not end with some kind of romance on the horizon, I can’t help but feel that familiar pressure to dazzle.
And indeed Hot Girl from the Internet did look a little dazzled. Her first words to me were none other than “Oh my god, that lipstick! Is it MAC? You need to show me once we’re inside, I’m fascinated.”
With those words, the atmosphere is already more relaxed than any other date I’ve been on. Gone are my worries about the legend of my double chin making an unwanted appearance as I eat, same goes for the concern that my date might genuinely think that the especially dazzling lipstick is meant to be on my front teeth (kindly, she lets me know on the several occasions this happens). Yet, although it’s clear we share many similar interests and love nothing more than a good giggle at our own jokes, I still don’t feel any kind of romantic pull.
But this doesn’t detract from how much fun I’m having, or how much I’d like to hang out again. When you get on like a house on fire with your date, it’s a still a feeling equal to your pal paying for your messy bomb, or finding an incredible dress that you’ll definitely pull in. It’s the quietly wonderful sensation that something or somebody is going to bring a little light into your life (or maybe it’s more that bright white light that blinds you whilst you’re chundering in the loos post-messy bomb, but maybe that’s just me…)
Moving on, the dilemma of “who pays?” on a standard heterosexual first date is one pretty well documented. In my experience, the guy has always insisted he picks up the tab despite my best pleas, whereas here, we look to each other and the answer seems pretty simple. “Obviously we’ll split the bill equally” she says matter-of-factly, pulling out her purse. “We’ll both probably be hung over from these cocktails, this is only fair.”
So what did I learn? Well, I definitely still quietly dream of being whisked away to Verona – or some place with pizza, at the very least – by a dude. Although she was undeniably super cool and I’ve met somebody I’d definitely like to go for pasta and cocktails with again, I was still missing the stubble to brush my cheek on as we hug goodbye. But one thing I’m not missing out on is warm female companionship, shared enthusiasm for cocktails on a weeknight and for someone to split the bill instead of insisting they pay with startling force.
A boy ruining my lipstick may be pretty hot, but nothing comes close to a girl telling me she’s actually in love with it and needs it in that exact shade, stat – that I know for certain.
[Floraidh Clement – @FloraidhCC]