Soooooo here we again, on another lunchtime date.
It’s a lovely sunny day and as I cycle towards my destination, I’m full of the joys of … well, autumn – even if this glorious day is distinctly unseasonal and about as far from a typical dank, autumn day as it’s possible to get.
Today I have the pleasure of passing my lunch hour with yet another potential beau from the dating site, so I roll up at the appointed hour, only to find that he’s already there. Splendid. I like a man who’s punctual.
We agree that it’s far too nice a day to sit in a coffee shop, so we grab a take out and make our way to the park.
He’s a very nice chap, and we pass a pleasant half hour chatting about this and that: where we’re from, where we work and what we do in our free time. He’s polite, intelligent and pleasant company and I learn that he’s a scientist with a gym habit (alas, my pre-baby gym-going days!). He also has a fluorescent yellow cycling bib, which he doesn’t take off.
As far as conversation goes, I’d happily meet him for another coffee but any hopes of romantic compatibility are dashed by one topic of conversation: lunch. He asks what I my usual arrangements are when I’m at work and not meeting potential love matches in the park.
“Well,” I reply, “I usually make my own food and take it in; we don’t have a canteen at work.”
“Ah, yes,” he says, “I usually make my lunch, too: just some rice or pasta with vegetables and a third of cucumber.”
“Oh,” I say, raising an eyebrow. “A third of a cucumber?”
“Yes,” he replies. “It’s just the right quantity.”
“Well, actually, saying a third is not quite accurate. I have half of a third in the morning, and half of a third in the afternoon.”
“I see,” I say.
And I really do see. Now, I’m aware that I have plenty of foibles of my own – and the longer I’m alone, the more I acquire – but I immediately see that he would be driven batty by my slapdash slicing and I would be driven insane by his precision pruning.
His scientific mind is evidenced again not five minutes later when I mention how the little guy has finally learned to blow bubbles, and how we have fun by chasing them round the garden.
He smiles and looks enthusiastic, saying, “Yes! That’s great. You could try different mixtures, to see which dilution works best!”
I smile at him.
He really is a nice guy, and maybe I’m wrong to judge him so swiftly but … I fear he’s not the guy for me. Or maybe I’m not the lady for him. Either way, I’d happily meet him for a friendly coffee but, as previous experience has shown, that’s not really what people on dating sites tend to want, and so he’s consigned to the ‘no’ pile, cucumber and all.
As I cycle back to work, my phone pings. It’s another message from the dating site.
“Hello sweetie pie,” it begins. “You really are beautiful…”
Before these sweet words curdle on the screen, I flick to check the sender’s profile. Scrolling through age, height and eye colour (who cares?), I go directly to ‘About me’.
The profile is short. In fact, ‘Victory3000’ has written just one word: LOL.
And that, I think, as I get back on my bike, really is all I need to know.