I was just reading Dating Is Hell (rather funny) and was reminiscing about an Internet date of a few months ago that was so shockingly awful that I still shudder when I think about it. “Journo” had sent me an email on a site I was playing on at the time, and when I checked out her profile she seemed quite nice… smart, funny, a bit of a non-conformist – and “petite”. Well, her photo was taken from about 200 meters away – up a mountain, looking wistfully out into the distance – but she seemed okay, so I thought I might as well email her back.
Second email from her, and she was asking for a date… now, I don’t generally invest weeks of my time in writing (been there, done that, and can’t be arsed any more) but at that time I was taken aback at the speed of her moves. Wow – this woman had spunk. (Well, that’s what Grandma used to say, although generally about tomatoes if the truth be told. I never really worked that one out.) So we arranged to meet in a pub behind Piccadilly Circus station, and then go on for a bite to eat in Soho.
I was on time, but only just, when she texted me to say “I’m near the window. Trust me, you’ll know it’s me”. Okay, sounded relatively normal, I thought, just mildly worried as to what would make her stand out from the crowd to such an extent. Believe me, though – she wasn’t kidding. As I walked in I saw her – enormous shock of the frizziest bright red hair you’ve ever seen, face so white it was dazzling, a very, very strange hat (kind of like as trilby, but definitely not a trilby) and BIG. I’m not talking a little overweight, I’m talking f*cking huge. And this was the woman who described herself as “petite”!
“Well, I’m here now” I thought to myself, and went to the bar to get a couple of glasses of wine. And then, with a strange churning sensation in my stomach, went to sit down. We talked – or rather she talked – for a while, but every few sentences she let out a shrill maniacal laugh that stopped everyone in the pub in their tracks. And, presumably because she was nervous, she was sweating profusely, mainly around her forehead and eyes. So profusely, in fact, that every once in a while she’d run her finger along her head and flick the droplets she collected onto the floor.
I was getting increasingly closer to bolting for the exit when she said “I think this is going well. Don’t you think so?” At that point I’d really had enough. “Look” I said, “It’s been really… interesting. But the truth is, I’m going to call it a night.”
“WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, CALL IT A NIGHT”?
“Errrrr… look, it’s just not working for me… nothing to do with you… errrr…” (Well, what was I meant to say… “You’re f*cking enormous, you’re sweating buckets, I’m bored senseless and I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than sit here another minute”?)
With that, she got hold of me by the jacket, and started shaking me for all she was worth. In the pub. With everyone watching. To cut a long story short, she started texting as I walked to my car, then phoning. Each text, and each call, was becoming more abusive, and by the time I got home I had 4 or 5 emails. This went on ALL night until, in the morning, I called her. “Right, listen to me, because I’m only going to say this once. If I get ONE more call, ONE more text or ONE more email, I won’t speak to you about it again, I’ll just report you to the police. And I’ll show them everything you’ve written. NOW F*CK OFF.”
I didn’t hear from her again. I imagine she's in a mental institution, somewhere very, very secure, by now.