Elaine is a “professional — okay, “semi-professional” academic who is 32 years old. She says: “I’m covered in tattoos but I consider makeup to be a personal hazard. I have glasses that I really should wear more often, but they never come out on the first date. Unless I’m going out with a nerd, in which case, glasses are on.”
She is “a storyteller, a runner and a running-shoe collector, a voracious reader, and a lover of well-made whiskies, country music, inauthentic Chinese food, and Sex and the City — and not ashamed of it” and says her friends would describe her as “warm, engaging, and funny.” “I have a fairly colourful dating history behind me, and likely in front of me,” she says.
I’d been single for about four months when I met Banji through online dating. I would like to point out that I’m very particular about the people I meet online. They must demonstrate excellent grammar and spelling, original thoughts, and make me laugh via text message. I’m also looking for someone with a long list of competencies, and intellectual conversation buffered by self-deprecating jokes.
Banji had a great smile and appeared to be very handsome. He was well-travelled and had a hilarious list of interests. He emailed me that he was “humbly suggesting meeting for coffee and/or pints.” In very “online dating” fashion, we met at a public place, with multiple witnesses if things went sideways. When everything checked out, we walked to a pizza place. He was as handsome as in his photos, very charming, quick to smile, and the banter was fluid. We talked a lot about work and travel. Our work crosses over in many ways, and he’s been very successful as an artist, which was a turn-on. I was genuinely interested in his travel stories, and he was a good storyteller.
We talked about online dating and how it’s weird and funny and horrifying all at the same time. We had two bottles of alcohol between us. The connection was evident enough that when I went to the washroom to text my girlfriend about how the date was amazing, and that she didn’t need to call me at our prearranged time to bail me out. At the same time, the waiter came over to Banji and said “You know, sir, I think it’s going very well!” and clapped him on the back.
Banji took my hand when we exited the restaurant. Usually, I’m not a hand-holder, but the fact that we were both so comfortable with it, and that it seemed so natural, made me suffer a slight cardiac event — in a good way. We went strolling and then he kissed me, prefacing it with “I can’t believe I’m kissing someone who has some of my favourite poetry tattooed on her.” And he did the hand-on-the-side-of-the-face kiss. You know what I mean. I was totally disarmed. He could have asked me to join a cult with him at that moment and I probably would have said yes.
We ended up at his place, where we watched TV and had tea. Tea! This guy was something. He asked me to stay the night, but I declined. I had work the next morning, and my poor cat was probably starving. He walked me out at 4 a.m., and I ended up taking an expensive uber ride back to my place. I woke up later to a text from him asking when he could see me again. Not a bad start!
That date was the best date of my life. However, it all ended a few weeks later when we met for a quick coffee, and as we were mid-conversation, he pulled out a bracelet. I’m all for romantic gestures, but ? I was thoroughly confused when he handed it to me. “I found it in my sheets,” he said. “It must have fallen off and you didn’t notice. . . ” As these words fell out of his mouth, I think the error registered. I was torn between laughing out loud and feeling completely played and crushed. It took me a good few seconds to say “I’m not the owner of this bracelet.” There was no recovering from his fumble, and after I left my money for the coffee we were having, he said he had to get back to work.
That was the end of a romance that would have been awesome.