First dates are all about chatting, right? Getting to know the other person, finding out what makes them tick, and carrying on any talks you may have had by technological means. Sometimes, that’s just not how it goes, much as you might not anticipate it to.
Myself and Fionn (he’s Irish, it’s a pretty popular name back home, get over it) had met on Plenty of Fish. He was from Athlone, meaning he lived almost 100 km away from my Dublin home. Somehow, we still found each other in the sea of potential suitors. Blame it on a night out in Dublin with his friends that miraculously ended up in the hotel a mere mile from my front door.
We had been talking for three weeks before deciding that maybe we’d like to meet up, and in those three weeks, we had gotten on famously. In the style of my 16-year-old cousin, we stayed up till the early hours texting each other, and spent the working day sharing photos of our exploits on Snapchat.
When we did meet, I almost expected things to continue in the manner to which I’d grown accustomed. That we would naturally take our lively, easy conversation from the online age to life in the real world, it would be an easy transition, and some day soon who knew what would happen.
But they didn’t. For starters, the ever reliable public transport ensured he was almost an hour later than we planned to meet. I’m a stickler for timekeeping, so I hadn’t just arrived on time, I was also about 15 minutes early. I don’t believe in cut off points, but by the time I’d been sitting there for around 45 minutes I was pretty much set to go home. When Fionn finally DID arrive, he sat on the bench opposite me in the coffee shop we’d chosen to meet in, and sipped his tea quietly. Mutely wouldn’t be too far wrong to describe it either.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I tried everything I could to get a few words out of the lad. I asked him how the train journey from Athlone was (“yeah fine”), what he planned to do that evening when we’d finished meeting (“dunno, Fifa”), how his dog was (“he’s good.”) I always prided myself on being able to drag a conversation out of anyone. This time, I had failed. Fionn was having none of me, and the confident, chatty man I’d been speaking to for near a month was replaced with a shy, awkward mess. He barely spoke to even order coffee (“I don’t come here a lot, just get me whatever you have”).
He did say one thing though, and boy did he say it a lot. “This is just so awkward, isn’t it?” If this experience taught me any one thing, it was this: sometimes it’s not always going to be like you expect it to be. And when that happens, you just have to keep on swimming.
Atleast this week’s Straight White Boy has something to say.