Before coming out the thought of dates lasting anymore than one night absolutely baffled me. My standard dating pattern was going for drinks (and getting inevitably smashed), bringing them back to my place and then punting them out the door as soon as the sun was up. The idea that I would want to spend a whole day with someone I had never met before just made no sense to me, so how then did I end up going on a 24 hour date?
Let me set the scene for you…
You’re sat at 26 years old having just had your heart broken by a girl for the first time ever, you’ve never felt heartbreak like it, she’s on your mind 24/7 and everything reminds you of her. The clubs and bars are shut so you can’t go with the standard “get under someone else to get over them” mantra, so you turn to the wonder that is Tinder.
You’re sat on a Saturday night, half cut from drinking with your dad and you match with a girl; she’s funny. In your drunken state you’re more bold than usual, you exchange numbers the same night and stay up all night texting. The next day you look at your new match and suddenly realise you aren’t actually that attracted to them (cheers beer goggles) but she’s funny and flirty and you’re attention starved, and a small piece of you knows it’s wrong but they’re filling a wee bit of the hole your ex left. You keep chatting.
The more you chat, the more you realise you’re pretty compatible with this girl, so you decide to be less vain and put aside the idea that someone isn’t “your type”. She tells you you’re pretty and funny, and it makes you feel a bit less alone, less broken. She asks to FaceTime and you agree. She’s easy to talk to and there are no awkward silences, she makes you laugh till you cry and for those couple of hours you aren’t sad or heart broken. She asks you on a date and you’re hesitant, a part of you knows deep down the attraction isn’t there but it’s so nice to feel something other than pain. You agree to go on the date but remind her that you aren’t ready for anything serious. She promises you she feels the same, you hang up and feel excited. It’s the first date since the split and you start getting excited at the possibility of meeting new people.
She asks you to come to Newcastle, it’s two and half hours away from you but you say yes anyway because you’re desperate for a distraction from the heartbreak. She plans a pretty amazing day for the two of you and you agree to stay the night because chances are she probably won’t murder you. So there you are, tickets are bought and you’re on your way to the train station to spend the night with a girl you’ve never met. At this point you still aren’t out to your parents yet and despite travel now being legal again your dad still firmly believes you shouldn’t be leaving the country, so you have to sneak away. Your parents are away for the night, there’s no chance they’ll catch you out, you’ll be down and back up again before they even realise you’ve left the house.
The sneaking around adds an element of thrill to the date, as you sit on the train the adrenaline builds (partly from sneaking around, partly from the fact you might get murdered at this strangers house). The train pulls in, you scout the platform for her but can’t see her. When your phone pings you see a message saying “I can see you” but when you look up the only person you can see looking at you is a middle aged man. You’re about to hop right back onto the train to Scotland when you spot her; she’s got the biggest smile across her face and is waving nervously at you. Relief washes through you when you realise you aren’t being trafficked. Now that the panic has gone, you realise you’re desperate for the toilet, so naturally the first words you say to your date are “I’m fucking bursting on a pee”, your candour makes her laugh and you relax more. You find the toilets, and go about your business but when you go to put your (super adorable and completely not childish) back pack on you accidentally smash the toilet roll holder off the cubicle. You spend the next ten minutes desperately trying to fix it because you’ve never been a vandal and you’re not about to start now, worried that your date will think you’re taking a shit you decide the best thing to do is take the toilet roll holder with you and hand it in to an attendant. So you emerge from the toilets, toilet roll holder in hand and proceed to try convince your date that you are in fact not insane.
Once the holder is safely with an attendant and your conscience is clear, you realise you now actually have to speak to your date about something non toilet related and naturally the first thing your 4ft 11 ass thinks to say is “you’re shorter than I imagined” (pretty fucking bold of you to be honest). She laughs in disbelief that you would possibly use a short joke as your conversation starter when she is in fact 7 inches taller than you. She likes your cheeky side and the two of you slip into a natural conversation. The two of you find a bar to grab some food and drinks, suddenly you remember that in England they’re allowed to do “two for one” cocktails (something banned in your alcoholic home country) so of course you order four drinks at a time. Your date’s from Newcastle after all she’s going to love a drink just as much as you.
Somewhere around the eighth drink she tells you she got you a present, she slides a bag across the table, you open it to find a fake Newcastle passport with spaces to put pictures and write memories of your trip. It simultaneously makes you melt and cringe at the same time, whilst insanely thoughtful you are acutely aware this is not something a casual date would do. You hide your guilt with a sarcastic comment that suggests you aren’t wanting to be serious without actually saying the words (because who wants to be upfront about their feelings). Eventually the two of you are pretty tipsy and decide to head back to hers, this is your last chance to escape before you’re trapped in a stranger’s house, the alcohol has numbed you slightly and she’s giving off good vibes so you fully commit to spending the night.
You get to her house and after the grand tour she goes to make the two of you a drink, you’re joking around, taking the piss out of each other. You get a bit brave with the jokes (perhaps take the cheek too far) she looks shocked at your comment and proceeds to throw a soaking wet dishcloth at your face whilst wielding a knife at you. As the cloth peels off your face you have a moment of panic where you think she might actually be unstable. You’re a bit shell shocked at having been slapped in the face with a wet cloth, she looks pretty shocked at what she’s just done too, you stare bewildered at each other and then burst into fits of laughter. For the first time you forget about boundaries and wanting to make sure things are casual and start to just enjoy yourself. She grabs the drinks and a blanket and you settle in to watch a film.
You haven’t been close to anyone since your ex and you suddenly find yourself craving physical affection, she scoots closer to you and pulls you into a hug, it feels nice to be held again. When the film ends things start to escalate, she kisses you, it’s a good kiss but it leaves you feeling a bit empty because it’s not the lips you want against yours. A pang of longing for your ex creeps in, reminding you just how badly you haven’t moved on, you push it aside as your date leads you upstairs. Suddenly, you’re as nervous as you were the first time you slept with a girl. You realise how inexperienced you really are, you start over thinking everything and can’t focus. She’s pretty, but you realise you aren’t attracted to her, you aren’t sure what to do, you’re enjoying it but can’t get out of your head, so you decide to shut your eyes and think of your ex (because yes, you are a truly terrible person). After, you feel guilty. Your date has no idea of course, she’s smiling at you with that post sex glow. You smile back wondering how in the fuck you let it go this far. You go to sleep and decide to deal with the guilt later.
The next day you wake up refreshed, you remind yourself you both agreed it was casual, you haven’t done anything wrong (absolute lie, you 100% are in the wrong). The sun is shining and she takes you to the beach for breakfast, its soothing hearing the waves crash against the beach. She turns to you and starts quizzing you on your love languages, when you have no idea what this is she passes you a love languages test. Your results aren’t compatible with hers, she tells you you would need to change to satisfy her love language needs, the tiniest of red flags pops up in your head and for once in your life you acknowledge it. You tell her love languages doesn’t seem very casual, she laughs and tells you it was just for fun. She starts to tell you she thinks she’s demi-sexual and needs a romantic connection before she can be physical with someone. Internally you’re thinking “shit” because you slept together the night before but you definitely don’t want a romantic connection, you have no idea what to respond. You’re about to say that you think you’ll head home now, it’s clear she’s wanting something more than you’re willing to give and it would be unfair to lead her on. But then she mentions the goats…
She tells you she’s booked a city farm where you can pet the goats, your love for goats wins out over your guilt and the two of you set off to the farm. On the way you realise that the two of you really are compatible, there’s never an awkward moment, you spend every minute laughing. You think that maybe you’ll be able to forget your ex and start something with her. The farm is a dream and for the next couple hours your ex doesn’t cross your mind once, you feel at peace for the briefest of times. You go back to hers for dinner, realising that actually you’re having fun and don’t want to leave.
Back at hers your phone goes, it’s your parents. They ask what you’ve been up to, you say just chilling at home, they ask you to go check the post, you tell them none has arrived and silently pray that when you get home this will be true. Your date starts laughing and your parents wonder what the noise is, you tell them its just kids outside, they seem suspicious but don’t question it further. When you get off the phone you’re sweating, you feel like a teenager again, sneaking around behind your parent’s backs. The adrenaline makes you feel alive again, makes you feel something other than numb. By the time it comes to leave you’re on a high, you say your goodbyes convinced that maybe this will go somewhere after all.
On the train home, you open the DVD case she gave you (old school romance at its finest) inside is a postcard of Newcastle with a note from her about how much she enjoyed the weekend. Your high comes crashing down, she’s the sweetest most romantic person you’ve ever met and you’ve completely led her on. You aren’t remotely over your ex, you’re still broken, you’re nowhere near ready to commit to someone else. You check the time and realise you’ve spent a full twenty four hours with this girl, you don’t regret it, it’s been fun but you start to realise that you’ve played with someone else’s emotions.
I could have wrote this post in two ways; I could’ve told you all she was too much, too forward, and too keen or I could’ve told you I was selfish, and toxic. Both are true. She was too much, she crossed boundaries that were set from day one, she messaged me too much and pushed the idea of a relationship far too soon. But I also didn’t call her out on it, I knew she wanted more than I was willing to give, I knew I was only continuing to speak to her because I hated the thought of being alone. I wanted the attention, I liked how much she liked me. No one ever really likes admitting that they’re the problem, I guess none of us like to view ourselves in a negative way, but sometimes you just have to take a wee look in the mirror and admit that actually you’re a bit of a fucking arsehole (because aren’t we all sometimes?) I ended things when I got home, I was honest and said that I wasn’t over my ex, she understood, she said she had been lying too and that she was looking for something serious. We both admitted our mistakes and now have a great friendship.