I do date here. Not with any real hope of it leading to anything but because if I don’t it seems like a cop out. And I rather like the ritual of dressing up – and you really can dress up here & look totally congruous, as opposed to London, where if I turned up to the Lansdowne or the Engineer in a cocktail frock, my date would run a mile.
This brings me to Friday night’s date. Blind, of course, as I am still signed up to my on-line dating service. I arranged to meet him at Soho House. Really, truly, comprehensively lazy of me: it’s a mere two blocks from my front door. Thing is the date called, catching me on the hop and, as I’ve just moved to this bit of town, I can never think of bars in which to meet. I just blurted SH out as a last resort.
He had only had a couple of pictures posted, and his main profile picture was him in Wayfarers, a leather cowboy hat and a gingham shirt. He was 38, had dark auburn hair, stubble and reminded me a bit of Damien Hirst (in a good way). His emails were quite funny, he knew England well and there was enough to risk a drink.
When I arrived I couldn’t find him.
There was however a middle aged man with stringy wavy pale ginger hair, a crap suit and a skew-whiff tie loosely knotted around his neck in the manner of a sales manager after a few after-work drinks. Yup, that was my date. He was so far from what I was expecting that I just plumped myself down, flustered. I’ve been on a lot of blind dates and he is the first on either side of the Atlantic that has been so markedly different from his images.
In my head I was meeting a downtown type (from his photos, & because his profile said that’s where he liked to hang). In reality he was an Uptown type who liked slumming it Downtown. Not the same thing At All. He wasn’t unpleasant, just rather brayingly entitled, reeking of trust fund-ery*, and it grated.
As I sat, I noticed he had both a large glass of red wine and what I thought was a glass of water in front of him. It turned out to be vodka. In under an hour he put away two double vodkas and the wine. Even by lax English drinking standards, I think that’s excessive. By American standards that makes him an alcoholic.
I was supposed to be meeting JK there at 745 for supper before the movies but I could tell that he was the type who would just end up trying to join us, and I’m too English/repressed to successfuly wriggle out of that. So I started to get my stuff together, expecting him to call for the check. He just sat and sat. As he was quite trad, I presumed he was waiting for me to leave, so he could call for the check and then leave himself.
I said goodbye, planning to go to the loo, and then sneak back in again. Peeking through the glass wall ten minutes later, I was horrified to see him that he had moved seats to face the room, was ordering more drinks and settling in for the night. What a feckin cheek: it’s a private member’s club – as my guest he must have known he was expected to leave with me, but he was so bloody entitled he just decided to stay, spread out on the banquette like the King of the World whilst he had the opportunity. Sabotaging my evening. Grr.
Shan’t be seeing him again.
*I’m not engaged in hunting down a meal ticket, now or for life, so this is not a plus in my book.