On a promise of backless shorts
One of the strangest dates I ever went on was with a man who seemed a trifle confused about his own clothing sexuality and completely baffled about any dating protocol whatsoever. Although I knew immediately it was only right to go home, his lunacy drew me in like a magnet and I had to hear more.
We met at Nando’s. I know what you’re thinking; go home, stay away, never date a man who takes you to Nando’s, but my only excuses are that it was cold and wintry outside, I was bored and that he had a fake picture up on his site that made him look like a 27 year old David Beckham in the shower. (Yes, women can be shallow too, get over it.) When I got there either it wasn’t his picture or he’d had something shot in a studio twenty years ago, but I think I’d already accepted that would be the case, so I ordered chicken and settled down for a chat.
When I first realised he wasn’t the man of my dreams was probably when he started splitting the bill before we’d eaten. Now I’m all for equality – I earn my own money and don’t need treating constantly – but if you’ve taken me to Nando’s I’m not flattered if you’re working out the bill before I’ve tasted the olives, if you catch my drift. To add insult to injury, when the bill finally arrived, he practically turned me upside down looking for the change I owed to ensure that he wouldn’t pay a penny more than the ten pounds and eleven pence we both owed equally. Not a good start.
It got worse, but somehow more intriguing. Once I know I’m not going to spend the rest of my life with someone I start to relax and I’m reluctant to let a loony night go until I’ve squeezed every last drop of the madness from it.
The next enticement for me to date him came swiftly after the boundary setting in the paying of bills, when he asked me if he looked younger than his picture and then announced boldly that women found him very attractive. I choked on my chicken and pretended that it was the heat from the peri-peri sauce that had strangled me and not the fact that I was trying not to say that he had a face that looked like a robber’s dog’s older brother. He didn’t need botox; he was more in need of a bloody good iron.
The next sweet nothing followed swiftly on, with the statement that he had seen me getting out of my car and that his car was better than mine. I realised that this was only part of the chat up line and a way of getting me to walk back with him, as he followed it with a winning smile and the epic words “would you like to have a look at my car on the way out?” I’m surprised he wasn’t beset by bevvies of beautiful ladies at every turn, with lines like that.
I began to really enjoy myself. I knew there was more – and I couldn’t have been more right. He uttered the crowning line; the words that separate him from all other dates in the entire universe as he grabbed my hand and whispered, seductively, “I have a pair of backless leather shorts if you’re interested.”
I looked around frantically to see if anyone was listening. Not out of panic – he’d picked tea-time on a Saturday and Nando’s was fully of little crying children and parents with that weekend stressed face – I knew I was safe. I wanted to see if anyone was enjoying this with me, but everyone was busy. He leaned in closer “The ladies love them you know.”
I couldn’t help myself; it was the obvious next sentence and must surely be what you’re thinking too. I whispered back into his face with tears of hilarity in my eyes “Are you sure they were ladies?”
“What,” he shouted, the tension rising in his voice.
“Well,” I explained, “I don’t mean to be funny, but aren’t backless shorts a little bit, you know, erm, gay? Wouldn’t actual ladies prefer frontless ones? What good is your back to women, if you catch my drift?”
I actually saw the pennies dropping as the cogs in his brain began to turn. The perspiration gathered on his brow as he muttered to himself and began working out where he went from here – and, indeed, where he’d probably been before. I’d have paid for the whole meal to see the inner workings of his brain at that moment.
The date ended swiftly after that. He told me that I’d never find a man like him again as I wouldn’t be tamed and I agreed with him. I wished him luck in the next epic adventure in cow hide and we parted. It was only right that as I left I took a look at his car, admired the way the windscreen washers worked beautifully in sync and even cooed over the interior leather on the back seats without a hint of irony crossing my face. He smiled at me sadly, as if I was the nutter who would never find a date as good again and we wished each other well. I hope he bought a pole, I really, really do.