Date night jitters, no matter how old or wise I get nothing seems to fix the pre-date nerves. Even when I’m relaxed all day, two hours before and hello! there’s a little Oompa loompa in my stomach.
It’s just no use, I get it ever time. That horrible sick feeling as I watch the time tick down and my mouth turns into a desert. Followed by a complete lack of interest in food even though I know this would be wise, look out stomach here comes some gut churning anxiety all washed down with a trough load of wine! Then there’s the constant trips to the loo every three minutes. Never mind the outfit hell, trying on endless combos, all left in a pile on the bed in desperation. Inevitably I end up wearing a version of the same tried and tested outfit from last time. I want to look a little bit sexy but not too fleshy, casual but well thrown together. It’s all supposed to look so nice and easy, huh, whatever? Heels are a must I think, just enough height to look womanly but not too much that I look slutty. Wedges I find are a great half way house (sorry but no matter how short they are I’m not massaging his ego on the first meeting by wearing flats!).
Extra time in the bathroom spent on the ‘natural’ look make up. Just enough blush to look healthy and glowing but easy on the foundation! Then there’s my own personal horror – the pre date spot. It’s inevitable. How is it I still get these eruptions in my 30s, what’s with that?! Quick run over with the GHDs, a spritz of suitably floral, girly scent under the ear lobes and neck – just enough for a lean in whiff, not a full on assault! And now I’m ready. Arghhhhhh! I feel like a 16 year old again.
Jump in the car and drive like a crazy thing to get to the arranged bar on time (it’s always a bar, my nerves are so bad caffeine just won’t ever cut it!), and suddenly there I am, parked up, bang on time and ready to go in. Except I’m not. Panic hits. I don’t want to go in and meet a stranger and be all chatty and bubbly. I just want to turn the car around and go home and watch telly with a takeaway and a bottle of wine. That would be nice. I can only describe it like dragging yourself towards a much loathed exam, my stomach is now doing crazy flips, I’ve got nothing to say and I’m bordering on being really grumpy.
Then I tell myself to bloody well pull myself together (see I must be single because I talk to myself). Hey it might even be fun? He might be…dare we actually say it out loud…The One…or at least one of The Ones. This thought can actually make me worse as the terror strikes in. I want to meet someone but why, why is this such a painful process? Can’t my friends and my Mother vet them first and then buy me an instant boyfriend off the internet? Someone who’ll love me and my quirky jokes and ways instantly and then I don’t have to do this excruciating getting to know you, soul bearing stuff in public?
I imagine the awkward first chat and settling down to talk face to face, no escape, no distractions, just two people and a hope for some chemistry. Oh shit. So I grab that adrenaline rush and I take a deep breath, haul my arse out of the car, flick my hair (I imagine in a Charlie’s Angels type fashion) and strut into the bar, what the hell… he doesn’t know I’m nervous right? Fake it ’till you make it.
Because you know why I do it? For the same reason that every other woman steps up for the first date with a stranger. Because sometimes, just sometimes, you find a guy who makes you forget your nerves and have a good laugh, who’s good looking and interesting, makes you irrationally happy and is actually really funny too. Someone who you get on so well with that 3 and a half hours can fly by on just two small wines and then the bar staff are asking you to leave the pub because they’re closing.