The Channel 4 program ‘First dates’ has taught me that every good first date must include four things.
- The guy must pretend to be polite, gentlemanly and “not like other guys”
- You must be amazed when you find out that your date is geographically convenient for you.
Omg! You’re from Essex, I’m from Essex! How mad is that!
Not that mad really, it was information they had when they decided to put you together. Not coincidence, not “mental” and certainly not fate. Grow up.
- To be a good date, or at least one that I enjoy watching, it must involve an awkward silence.
- At the end when she says she wants to be friends, the male must pretend he is completely happy with this and would rather make friendship bracelets together than see her naked. He’ll usually agree that there “wasn’t really a spark anyway” before going home for a cry.
So, could I unintentionally fit all of these lessons into one train journey?
*spoiler alert* – Yes I could.
I am on a train home from London to Bristol and at Bath Spa the platform is full of twits who want to board. More annoyingly, the people I can see specifically want to get on to my carriage. I already anticipate that the empty seat next to me will soon be occupied by some numpty who thinks he or she has just as much right to sit down as us hard-core Carriage C fans who were fans of the carriage before it became popular.
If, when I got home, someone were to ask me how my journey was, I would say “it was quite smooth, and the travel between Chippenham and Bristol was alright, but I preferred the earlier stuff – before everyone jumped on the bandwagon.”
I look around the carriage hoping to make eye contact with someone so that we can share a knowing look that says “look at these twerps”. I look towards the bloke in the bank of seats on the other side of the train as me. He is also occupying the window seat with an empty seat beside him so I think he must be equally annoyed by the imminent unwanted company. But despite a millisecond of eye contact, he doesn’t react at all and now I hate him. I imagine he has a stupid modern name like “Tyler” and tells people he doesn’t agree with eating meat.
Then the late-comers to the party start flooding the carriage like big stupid locusts with laptops.
One locust though is approaching and her choice of available seats is rapidly decreasing. She’s the most beautiful locust I’ve ever seen and I start to think that she will fit in well with carriage C. She has that kind of indescribable Carriage C vibe, unlike my nemesis opposite.
She gets closer and it now seems like a straight choice out of sitting next to me, or the probably vegan prick. I briefly consider brushing the seat to make sure that it’s free of crumbs and other passenger debris in order to make it look the more attractive choice, but it’s too late. She’s about to make her decision.
She chose me!! Have that Tyler! You arrogant millennial twit. I cast a glance in his direction and he’s pretending that he hasn’t even noticed.
A minute later she starts to plug her laptop into the power outlet beneath our seats and I immediately jump at the chance to tell her: “Oh, just so you know, I’m getting off at the next stop” – I do this to be polite, but more so that she will think that I’m the kind of person who is polite. And I mentally tick off the first box that makes this a bonefide first date.
“Oh don’t worry, me too, I’m just on my way home to Bristol.”
“You live in Bristol? Me too! How long have you lived there?”
“I was born in Bristol, always lived there apart from a few years at uni in Southampton”
“You went to Southampton uni?”
“No, but the rest of it! How weird”
So, being pleased that I’d got my second tick out of four, I went straight in for tick three with a full ten minutes of silence.
She’s on on her laptop… excel I think but I can’t be sure. It crosses my mind to say “bloody spreadsheets eh? Absolute nightmare!” I instead decide to extend the silence.
As we arrive into Temple Meads station she shoves the laptop into her bag and briefly apologizes for delaying my exit from the train, to which I half laugh and reply “don’t worry, I’d be the same” – I’m still not sure what I meant by that.
She gets up to try to join the stream of carriage c passengers leaving the train and is let out by none other than Tyler – pretending to be a gentleman!
If only I can catch up with her and use the spreadsheet observation that I’d kept up my sleeve earlier… She might say “I know right! Since it’s fate that we both live in Bristol, shall we go for a drink?”
But as another bloke pushes out from his seat in front of me I feel the chance slipping away. I can just about see the back of Tylers stupid millennial head and wish I had something to hand to throw at it.
I leave the train and sure enough she has disappeared into the locust crowd.
“Oh well” I think to myself, “There wasn’t really much of a spark anyway.”