If at first you don’t succeed.

I am at a loss.

OkCupid seemed to be where some nice men where hiding. Bearded men, with jobs, who liked Arrested Development and Aimee Mann.

I met R outside The Blue Lion in Holborn. He was fifteen minutes late and as I’d been early I waited outside. I discovered the pub was closed for a private party. It was cold. We’d not exchanged phone numbers and I was about to leave as he arrived.

He had a pleasant face, was well spoken and polite but if I’m very honest a little dull. I wouldn’t have stayed for more than one drink but I was thrown by the surroundings. We accidentally found ourselves in an old man’s pub, in Wales, in 1978. The place was filled with Rugby fans and there were plates of boiled, unshelled prawns on the bar. I asked for mulled wine as I was trying to thaw out. They microwaved it in the glass, which was then too hot to touch, let alone to throw back swiftly to steady nerves.

People around us were having Sunday lunch and as each dish arrived from the back-room, the barman shouted it’s contents. “CHICKEN?” “BEEF?”

Once the novelty had waned we moved to another pub where I could acquire something drinkable. As we walked, R made a swipe for my hand and missed but the second attempt was more successful. He clutched my limp palm and ignored my puzzled gaze.

When we arrived at the second pub I began to make my excuses and after a further drink we walked to the station. I kept my hands in my pockets.

We parted company inside the barriers of Kings Cross Station, ducking a first kiss he caught my cheek. I patted his shoulder and tried to pull away.

He wouldn’t let go.

A second attempt made the corner of my lips as I began to jerk my head awkwardly to the side, pushing him away with a pained expression. After a few moments of struggling, he let go. “Oh. Ok.”, he muttered.

I turned on my heel and walked briskly down the escalator. Having had the tube journey to process what had happened I sobbed all the way along Brixton high street and up Brixton hill, too embarrassed to get the bus.

My mother has kindly offered to chaperone me in future.

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