There is an old adage that a man must pay on a first date and although times are changing, my current post travelling moth stable of a purse takes quite kindly to this outdated anti-feminist piece of gold. Having said this, sitting there all night while the bar bill stacks up without even a flinch, takes some Anna Smith style shiny brass balls, that I am just not in receipt of. In light of this I decided to text a tinder date I had arranged for a Monday night with the following:
He replies (the action of which actually surprises me) and says that ‘he would never expect a lady to pay on a first date.’ I suspect this is part sincere generosity, part gauging whether I am giving him the very elaborate and blunt brush off. I reply, ‘well that sounds lovely if you’re sure! See you tonight.’
I know what you’re thinking, ‘Jesus woman, how poor are you that you can’t even afford two pints?’ Well, this was the issue you see. This chap wanted to go to a speakeasy cocktail bar, where you have to call a phone down an alleyway and ask to enter, so someone can open a secret door to let you in. However much you think the drinks costs in there – double it.
Seven thirty rolls around and conveniently, after a bullshit day of interviews, (one of which I never even got to as I got woefully lost in the countryside – don’t ask) I was just about ready to rip the tits off a cocktail. I decided I would dress super nice and wear heels, since this poor schmuck was just about to get robbed, he may as well be looking at a hot burglar. I get there and hes sat down at a booth table. He is a good looking guy, nice shirt, smells nice, doesn’t immediately come off as a maniac. I’ll chalk that up to a win. He orders an Old Fashioned and I’m drinking Long Island Ice Teas (the largest, strongest, cheapest drink).
I find out he owns his own restaurant in Bath. As in, the city that is approximately 12 miles from Bristol, where we are now. To this end, during our chat an alarm goes off on his phone.
Me: Is that the alarm for your last train?
Horatio: Oh shit,yeah
Me: You should go!
Horatio: I don’t want to go I’m having a really good time.
Me: How are you going to get home then?
Horatio: Oh I’ll get a taxi.
‘Alright charlie big potatoes’ I think, and order another Long Island.
We get kicked out of the cocktail place at about midnight and Horatio pays the bar bill. He has his back to me but through some quick calculations I wince, that had to be £120 minimum. Staring at him I think: ‘I didn’t realise you were so tall when you were sat down…I don’t think I want to date you.’ Poor bastard – written him off with one scan of his back.
I go to say my goodbyes and Horatio insists he walks me home. It is honestly about 2 degrees outside, pitch black and the taxi rank he said he is going to is in the opposite direction of my house. He seems nice enough and walking home with him puts me at far less risk of being attacked than going it alone. I reckon I could take him or at least use him as some sort of lanky human shield – so I agree.
When we arrive at my door 35 minutes later with numb hands and faces that not even the obscene amount we’d drunk could take the edge off, I start to realise, he may have done this as a ploy to get an invite inside. Not the first ‘missed train’ counter move I’ve experienced on the chess board of my knickers and it most certainly won’t be the last. I stare him dead in the eyes and without even thinking the words fall out of my mouth.
“You can come inside to wait for your taxi, but I’m not going to fuck you”
“Ok” he says quietly, and walks off into the night.
That’s the last time I’ll be seeing that walking cash machine, I think, and quietly close the door.