I had an extremely heart-warming (and ego-boosting) experience the other night, when I discovered that at least two people quite like reading this, and neither of them are related to me! In light of the knowledge that my fan base is reaching epic proportions I thought I should stop researching railways and vampires and write something on here instead.
About six months ago I told you about some of my friends’ worst first dates. (To summarise for those of you who didn’t read it: there may be plenty of fish in the sea but there’s also plenty of pollution.) So I thought, hey, what if you read that post, ignored my sage advice as per avoiding the D word, and are now going out with someone who seems normal? You probably still go on dates with that normal someone, and I’d be willing to bet that ‘date night’ (one of America’s most annoying exports) is, despite your careful choice of supposedly normal partner, a regular freak fest that makes you question your sanity, your taste in men/women, and your decision to not take your Xbox to prom. You probably yearn for some witty story about dating followed by a sincere, profound, slightly sickening comment about how great love is. Well, imaginary reader, you are in luck.
What with all my trains and vampires, and whatever it is that Boyfriend studies for his much less fun (but much more serious and with better graduate prospects) history degree, ‘quality time’ together was recently reduced to working next to each other rather than in different rooms and occasionally holding hands in between typing. We were basically becoming WALL·E and EVE but less cute and much less likely to save the world, humanity, or anything other than our open documents. So to avoid becoming a relationship robot, I turned to the novel idea of doing something nice together once a week. Genius.
Over the last two weeks we have been out for dinner, dancing (of sorts), and (environmentally aware) ice skating. Promising, right? I could have lifted that itinerary straight out of any modern Hollywood romance with obligatory predictable happy ending, and as a happy ending is what we’re after it certainly seems like a good start. On paper.
We started out with a trip to possibly the most atmospheric restaurant I have ever visited: the Thai Orchid in Falmouth’s old high street. The food is divine and the decor is reminiscent of a really upmarket opium den – in a good way. Now, a dinner date is popular for a reason: it gives you a chance to get to know each other with chewing (or guzzling wine, Bridget Jones style) to fill any awkward pauses and a fixed end point (unless you want your dessert in inverted commas rather than a bowl). But after a fair few years, Boyfriend and I know each other pretty well. I can finish his sentences before he’s opened his mouth and he knows when I’m hungry before I do. So the topic of conversation for our romantic meal was not family, friends, or professions. In terms of suitability for a first date, I think it would have been less risky to bring up religion or politics. We spent an hour talking about World of Warcraft. You’re probably raising your eyebrows and thinking: ‘WoW? Wow.’ And I don’t blame you. And no, I have never played. (I also can’t believe I just made my very first World of Warcraft joke.) Although a shockingly large number of people meet their future spouse on a MMORPG (that’s a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game for those of us who are neither a nerd nor a nerdess) it doesn’t really do it for me. Candlelight? Check. Beautiful man? Check. The intricacies of Alliance vs Horde? No. No, no, no. No. No.
Which brings us on to dancing. When I say ‘dancing’, you’re probably imagining a romantic 50s style affair or perhaps a more modern salsa lesson. No. It was a Christmas party in the student union’s nightclub. Which, again, sounds okay on paper. Boyfriend was wearing a suit for god’s sake, how grimey could it get? Quite a lot of vodka later, the ‘dancing’ in question (from what I can remember) consisted of drunkenly gyrating to Nicki Minaj in a manner which was either deeply seductive or deeply embarrassing. Some guy wiggling past us grinned at Boyfriend and said, “You did well, mate” and I have a nasty feeling he was being sarcastic.
Let’s slide over that and onto ice skating at the Eden Project (see what I did there?). People who believe ice skating is romantic are either A) very good at ice skating or B) an ice skating virgin. Balance being the key to staying upright, for those of us who weren’t brought up on a frozen canal, holding hands becomes positively dangerous. There’s nothing romantic about dragging your beloved down with you. And when you do fall down, there’s also nothing romantic about floundering around on your back with your legs in the air like an upside down tortoise.
The thing is though, I had a really, really good time. Chatting about World of Warcraft over delicious Thai food was not only a genuinely fascinating insight into Boyfriend’s life before he met me, but involved a lot of laughing as well. Dirty dancing to dodgy pop music with your best friend is always funny, but even funnier when you’re in love with them. And the moment where I thought Boyfriend and I were going to fall on the ice, tortoise style, was hilarious and ended with us somehow managing to hold each other up – the perfect relationship metaphor.
A recipe for a happy ending, according to cinema, is a spark of romance, a blend of bizarre activities, and, most importantly, a generous sprinkle of comedy. And whatever else happens, Boyfriend and I always make each other laugh. So what’s the use of a ‘normal’ date? Happily ever after, here I come.
(Sickening, right? Told you.)