Monday, 27 July 2009

Hospitality Man - a tale of woe.

I'm really not sure where to start. Friday seems a long time ago and I have had a weekend of friends and godchildren to try and forget the hideousness of the big date(thank the lord). However a promise is a promise, so I shall relive the experience of the last of the cybermen for your edification.

Friday morning saw me rather frantically getting ready for my much anticipated date. You know what it is like when you are in a rush? Suddenly there are a million and one things to do, none of which are things you actually want to do. Somehow, in between client phone calls, I dug up some clean clothes and found my makeup which I remembered to apply. I even located my hairbrush and was in the car and on my way in good time.

I looked ok, as good as I could hope for and as I drove to our meeting place my stomach churned queasily at the prospect ahead of me. Was this going to be another disaster or, more frightening still, somebody sane and normal and interested? I really wasn't sure which prospect made me more nervous.

I arrived a little early and headed for the pub to find that it was closed. Oops. Crossing my fingers that I hadn't made a hideous error and suggested a meeting place that wouldn't open at all, I waited outside the front door. There was no sign of HM (hospitality man) but I found myself scanning the faces of everyone who passed by wondering if they might be him. Absorbed in this entertaining pasttime I was pulled out of my reverie by a voice shouting my name from an upstairs window. It was Andy, my friend who runs the pub.

He came downstairs and let me in through the staff door and ensconsed me at the bar. I instantly told him that I was there on a blind date and filled him in on all we knew. He promised to duck out of the way as soon as HM arrived and we moved onto chatting about other things. Soon enough the pub opened for business and early lunch guests started turning up. The bar was still quiet though so I couldn't help but notice when a lone man came up and stood just round the corner of the bar from me.

He wasn't exactly like his photo, but then nobody ever is, so I decided to take the plunge and turning to him said 'Hospitality Man?' in what I would think is a friendly tone. He turned. He stared at me blankly with no recognition whatsover. He turned again and stared at the bar before turning back to look at me once more. I started to feel a blush rise across my face. How mortifying. I had obviously just accosted a stranger and he couldn't work out how to tell me so. Aaaaargh. He turned back to the bar and ordered a drink and I turned back to Andy to wince and carry on our interrupted conversation. But it didn't feel right. I was sure the man next to me was HM. I turned back again and there he was, staring at me. He put out his hand and I, not wanting to be rude, took it. He shook it without speaking then said 'Hospitality Man,'.

I was rather flustered by this and must have had an interesting expression on my face. A combination of relief that I hadn't been mistaken, and horror that I hadn't been mistaken. This was him. The man that had been e mailing nearly non stop all week. He wasn't a horror to look at or anything but neither did my heart go 'pit a pat' or my knees go week. (I wasn't really thinking either of those things would happen but a girl can hope). Still, it was early days and we had both made it to the assignation. Who knew what lay ahead of us? He still seemed incapable of saying anything so I suggested we move from the bar to a table. Since he seemed unable to do anything but stare at this point, I led the way and found a table round the corner where we both sat down. Bear in mind that he still hadn't really said anything other than his name at this point.

Once we sat down, he put out his hand and said once more 'Hospitality Man'. Being British, and unfailingly polite, I shook his hand and introduced myself again. He gazed speechlessly at me and I carefully removed my hand from his grasp. To break the silence I asked whether he had found the pub without any problems. He stared at the wall ahead of him and took several deep breaths. I wondered nervously if asking him if he found the pub was an offensive opening bid. Finally he spoke. "Do you think we can sit outside?" he said. I'm pretty sure he said that anyway. It turned out that he spoke with a south african accent and in a mumbling tone that you would expect from someone wearing ill fitting false teeth. "Certainly" I said. Up we got from our table and went outside and found a new table. Once we had sat down he again proferred his hand. I again took it. He shook it, again. He introduced himself, again.

At this point we have spent five minutes together and I am already feeling desperate. However, this is obviously his first 'blind date' so I decide that I had better try to get the ball rolling and say 'So, this would be your first blind date then'. He looks away from me and stares across the river. He draws a breath, as though he is going to speak and I look at him expectantly. He lets it out. He draws another. Finally he says 'so you have done this before?'. Relieved to have got a complete sentence that didn't involve an introduction out of him, I reply that I have and add that they are always awkward to start with. He starts several sentences but never finishes them. This makes having a conversation quite awkward. I decide to try a new tack. This has the same result.

We are now ten minutes in and I am already wondering whether throwing myself into the river might look desperate. Suddenly HM lurches into action. "Would you" he asks "be a good mother?" WHAT? That's his first question??? Seriously? I answer that I would be ok I supposed but that I didn't long for babies. He offers nothing back himself on this topic but after some more staring and failed sentences he suddenly says: "our eyes are the same colour". I agree that they are similar, though it is difficult to compare them as I don't have a mirror handy. Facetious I know but I couldn't help it. He then seizes the conversation once more and says: "what kind of wedding would you have?" The direction the conversation is going in is a little alarming but at least he is actually talking. Each answer I give involves him sucking my words up like a hoover and, with lips pursed (a personal hatred of mine) he would stare into space. If I asked him a question he simple couldn't answer it. It didn't matter what avenue I tried. Each one ended the same, with an awkward silence which he ignored by staring into space or staring at me in what I can only describe as wonderment.

He then asks why I live in Wales. I answer. Three minutes later, he asks why I live in Wales. I point out that I have just answered this question but he seems to think that it is not the same question if you ask it twice so I answered, again. At this point I have drained my drink and am wondering if it is too early for a triple vodka and tonic but he shows no sign of noticing that I have an empty glass and I am uncertain of how to excuse myself so early in the conversation. Luckily nature comes to my rescue and it starts to rain. I suggest we move back in (he seemed oblivious to the fact that we were getting drenched). As we pass the bar I realise that if I get myself another drink I'll have to stay longer. I decide death by dehydration would be better and we find another table to sit at.

I then struggle to find things to talk about. How was his interview? How long has he been in his last job? How did he like living in South Africa? None of these questions generate answers longer than a sentence so I start running out of gambits all too quickly. Every answer involves him starting into space for a disconcertingly long time, heaving in deep breaths as though he is going to answer, then letting them out without saying another word. Occasionally I try to prompt him but it is useless. He seems oblivious to the awkwardness of the whole thing. Indeed one of the complete sentences he gives me is how amazing it is to meet me and how he is struggling to come to terms with the idea of us. I am now worried.

Even worse, he would suddenly fire a question at me. This would be unrelated to anything else we might be trying to talk about at that moment. An example of this would be when he said to me 'Girl or Boy?' I looked blankly at him. Was this some kind of a test? Was he not sure what I was? which direction my sexual orientation was? I went with the first option and said 'Girl'. For once he wasn't lost for words and said 'Why'. I was bewildered but tried to help out by pointing out that I knew I was a girl because I didn't have the necessary anatomy to make me a boy. Seeing his expression I suddenly realise he was still on the baby / motherhood question and wanted to know which I would like, a girl or a boy.

Vexed I answered that is was a pointless question as you can't control what you get so wishing for one or the other is a sure road to disappointment. At this point I realise I can't keep going for much longer. I make up an appointment with the accountants and explain that I will need to leave.

He looks crestfallen and says that he was hoping to take me out for lunch (possibly on to a registry office afterwards?). I gently point out that I had only agreed to a drink and that I don't have time for lunch. He then eagerly says that he can meet me again on Saturday. Having already told him that I have friends staying for the weekend I am surprised at this. I remind him of the houseguests and he says 'are they not the sort of friends who would like to meet me?'. I firmly squash this and reply that we are going to be busy all weekend and he can't see me at anypoint in the weekend. 'Well' he says, 'when can I see you again?' Resisting the urge to say 'never' I say I will e mail him but that I am VERY busy for the next six years or so, and for the fourth, and hopefully last time, I shake his hand and leave him in the pub. Still staring at the wall and gaping like a fish. He was probably mid sentence but I didn't have the time to stay and find out.

Despite the fact that I had shopping I needed to do in order to feed my friends at the weekend, I fled the town. I arrived home and without further ado wrote my first 'Dear John' e mail. I very much hope that that will be the last I ever see or hear of him. Thinking of him now makes me go 'eeeeurgh' and shudder.

I officially give up on internet dating. Cybermen are all nutters and I can't put myself through this anymore. The Loyal Hound and I will have to grow old together and I shall start wearing purple and hats and banging my stick along the railings. It has to be a better way to live....

Friday, 24 July 2009

Possibly the worst one yet.

I'm alive. He wasn't an axe murderer. However if there was an axe to hand I was tempted to use it. This may have been the worst date yet.

I'm sorry to leave you in suspense but I have friends arriving to stay for the weekend any minute now, so I can't regale you with the story until Monday. I have though managed to e mail off a 'Dear John' to Hospitality Man to explain that I will never again be hospitable with him. I suspect he will cry upon receiving it.....

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

We are meeting, but I suspect he IS a fruitloop.

So, the date is planned. Friday at 12pm at a busy pub that is run by friends of mine. Worth having the amused and curious glances of friends as a small price to pay for not being hacked to pieces with an axe by a deranged fruitloop.

I confess that I am feeling more and more dubious about Hospitality Man's sanity. In the last 24 hours he has become increasingly keen. He has sent me a song (I'm just waiting for the mixtape to arrive) and many, many e mails and skype messages. He is so keen that is putting me off.

That is so typical isn't it. If they are too keen, I run away. If they aren't keen enough I think they aren't interested and, run away. But Hospitality Man really is keen. He e mailed me at THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. I shall give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was working some strange night shift. If he wasn't then I really have picked up a deranged stalker man haven't I?

I thought I might as well meet him. He is going to be in North Wales and has agreed to come slightly closer to me. Considering he has no car so will have to try and use the convoluted and erratic public transport system this is brave of him. My thinking was that if I meet him now then we will find out quickly whether he is a fruitloop, or a sane and wildly attractive man who seems to think I am marvellous. The latter does not come about that often. Well, ever actually.

Precautions will be taken though. I shall notify some particularly sane friends of mine with all the details and line them up to ring me (I wonder if there is a phone signal there?). We are to meet in the middle of the day which is not really a time that I associate with stalkers and murderers so that is a good thing.

The downside of meeting him so soon is that I have not had time to lose the 10lbs (ok, should be 20) that I would like, find clothes to wear, and generally make myself look presentable. Everyone else that I have met has never come back after the first meeting so, assuming he is a nice and normal man, then I should make an effort. Instead I am in a dishevelled state of disrepair that is not fixable in two days. He might run a mile at the site of me (if I haven't run already).

I think this is the moment to point out that I HATE dating. Really hate it. I hate the worrying. Will he like me? Will I like him? What will we talk about? etc etc. I wish that there were more bachelors around here who you just got to know gradually in the pub etc and then things could unfold at a more relaxed pace. Instead I have to go down this crazed strangers route, which is fraught with angst and seasoned with the raising and crushing of hope. Yup. I hate dating. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I am single?

So, any advice on first dates - whether it be what to wear, what to talk about etc etc, it would be VERY welcome. I am a complete novice at this and on the slim (and getting slimmer by the e mail) chance that Hospitality man is actually normal then I would like to avoid messing it up myself and you could help with that.....

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Oh God, I think we might be meeting up....

It turned out to be the nicer of the two potentials who had paid for the sub. That's good isn't it?? Or does it mean he isn't actually nice but finds his victims by paying for three days of internet dating subscription for them?

Anyway, there has been a flurry of e mails and he is obviously deluded since he has decided that I am God's gift to internet dating. Seriously, he has. Hold on and I'll get some of his e mails off the site and put them here so you can judge for yourselves.... Here goes:

He says that I have "a most captivating smile hinting at the nature of your character" and that "Frankly,i'm quite taken aback by the fact that a random decision to join this site has resulted in....well,meeting up with someone like you.." and then "I am truly,truly still coming to grips with the fact that one can get a sense of empathy with someone never met or laid eyes on."

This is good isn't it? Or is it the sign of a deranged person? Aaargh. I don't know.

So what else do you need to know? He is tall (hooray - a man who is taller than me!), he doesn't wear cravats (I had to check), he seems to have a sense of humour, he works in the hospitality industry, he is VERY keen. He has already given me his e mail address, telephone number and skype address and he wants to meet on Friday because he is coming to caernarvon for work.

Should I? Meet him I mean. If I do, at least I get to find out now whether the whole thing is worth pursuing or not. That's a good thing isn't it? Typically he won't have a car so I'll have to drive there and it is about an hour and a quarter for a cup of coffee then the same back. Annoying if he is as disastrous as all the other cybermen.

Advice please. Do I meet up with him or not?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Emergency Poll - feedback needed asap!!!

To subscribe or not to subscribe, That was going to be the question. You see, the last cyber dating hell site that I was on never took my details off the site when I cancelled my membership (after Cravat man and composer man I felt there was no hope left in the world). In the last week or so I have had a couple of e mails from random cyber men who have seen my details and mistaken me for Cindy Crawford crossed with Victoria Wood (easy mistake to make). One of them sounded quite nice, and the other was friendly, so I sent them one of the set (and free) one liners provided by the service to say that my subscription had run out etc etc. I then sat and pondered whether I should reactivate myself (metaphorically and on line).

That was going to be the topic of this fascinating blog entry. I had a whole poll worked out which you - my fascinated readers - would have eagerly filled in. All decision making would then have been taken out of my incapable hands and the resulting chaos would have been your fault. It was a good plan and I do like it when a plan comes together.

Only this one didn't. Just as I started writing this post an e mail dropped into my inbox from one of the cybermen. He has PAID FOR MY ACCOUNT FOR ME!!! Just for three days mind, but still, that's keen isn't it? Or is it, in fact, stalkerish? Am I now obligated to bear his children and wash his socks for evermore? And on an etiquette front, is it rude to use the free sub he has given me to e mail the other cyberman as well?

So, new poll for you.

Is the latest Cyberman a stalker or a gentleman?
Do I have to bear his children for him in return for three days subscription to cyberhell? If not his children, must I give him my e mail address, bank account details and mother's maiden name?
Can I e mail the other cyberman (possibly the nicer one) without being plagued by guilt that cyberman one has enabled it.

Answers asap please. The subscription is running out as I type....

Monday, 6 July 2009

Life is out of my control....

Rubbish holiday. Grrr. Group of people did not mix well and I, as gracious hostess, was horribly distracted and saddened by the totally unexpected death of my Uncle at the beginning of the week.

He had what you could argue is the ideal departure for him. In the middle of a walk, hunting for butterflies, he sat upon a rock and never got up again. This is fine but it is fifteen years earlier than any of us thought he would go. My father said the saddest thing. "I have had a brother for 73 years, and now I don't". Heartbreaking for him and for my Uncle's wife and son.

I didn't come rushing home. There were reasons for it, and I think they were right, but this week is now a maelstorm of trying to cram a week's work into half a day, move flights around and find black clothes to wear for the various services taking place on Thursday and Friday.

I had to cancel a set of flights for work to france and move them to tonight, and I can't claim on the insurance because they want a copy of the death certificate and I can't bring myself to ask for it. It seems so callous.

So forgive my absence from the ether world for a while. I leave for France tonight and am back just for funerals before going away again for work.

I feel as though I never went on holiday. The only reminder is my still packed suitcase sitting in the hall, where I expect it will remain for another ten days, my still damp swimming costume rotting away somewhere at the bottom of it.

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