Exasperdating | Tooth Fairy

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Exasperdating | Tooth Fairy
Age: 42
Height: 5’10
Build: Slim
Hair: Grey
Eyes: Blue

Job: Photographer
Captain Bucky O'Hare - Goes Where No Ordinary Rabbit Would Dare!

Bucky! Captain Bucky O’Hare! Goes Where No Ordinary Rabbit Would Dare!

I hate it when you proffer up a cheek and they go in for a full-on pash. Then, as they try to kiss you, you recoil in slow-motion horror. All that’s missing is a nightmarish cry of ‘noooooo!’ as they lick your face like a dog. Well, that’s exactly what happened on this date. As I said goodbye, this bloke mistook my Continental peck for the real deal.

As for the rendezvous itself, for starters, he looked nothing like his profile pictures. But then I guess I should’ve bargained for that, what with him being a professional photographer. Online he looked like a suave older guy. In reality he was the bizarre love-child of Ken Dodd and Bucky O’Hare – too many teeth, not enough mouth. But credit where credit’s due he was really nicely turned out. Quite a dapper dresser, actually – stripy French top, cream chinos, brogues and a flash of colour courtesy of fuchsia socks.

Okay, so being totally objective, it was one a piece on the pros ’n’ cons front at this point. So what swung things out of his favour? A couple of issues. Number one, he was camper than a row of pink, diamante-encrusted tents at a Liza Minelli-themed jamboree. Number two, he didn’t drink – and I don’t trust people who don’t drink.

Thankfully, because of his job, he had loads of his photos on his iPhone which provided some much-needed conversation. But just when I thought I was out of there, he unleashed that clam-mouth kiss. Horrific. Just horrific.

‘You will be Ex-asp-er-dated!’

The Daleks

The Daleks

The 23rd November. If this date isn’t already highlighted in your diary, stop what you’re doing, grab a big red marker pen and circle it immediately. Reason being, that’s the day you’ll need to stay at home, take the phone off the hook and settle down to watch the box – albeit from behind the sofa.

In case you don’t know, the 23rd November will mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. To celebrate this milestone, the BBC is airing a special episode exactly half a century since the show’s first outing back in 1963.

I noticed today the Beeb announced the daleks will be wheeled out of the props cupboard for this commemorative romp. But it’s not just those malevolent pepper pots that will be making a welcome return to our screens – David Tennant and Billie Piper will resume their roles as the Tenth Doctor and Rose.

All this Whovian hoopla got me thinking about another special date involving David Tennant – only this one is of the romantic variety and happens to include me…

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Exasperdating | Tardis Boy

Age: 28
Height: 6’1”

Build: Toned
Hair: Brown

Eyes: Green
Job: Graphic Designer

The Tardis

The Tardis

Right, I’m going to fess up. I’m a closet geek. I’m a comic book-reading, Sci-fi Channel-loving nerd. And my drug of choice? Doctor Who. I mean, what’s not to like about a 950-year-old alien who flits around the universe in an old phone box?

Now, it’s my love of the dalek-battling Time Lord that kind of inspired this date. Normally, I wouldn’t entertain meeting up with someone who doesn’t live in London (this guy was based in Brighton) but I made an exception on this occasion. Why? Because this fella was the spitting image of David Tennant. So much so, in fact, that when I first met him I was slightly awe-struck and had to repress the urge to ask for an autograph.

Anyhow, once I’d got past the uncanny resemblance – and downed a couple of vodkas – I had a really fun night which included drinks at a jazz bar and then a bit of a snog-ette. The night ended with him catching the very last train home at stupid o’clock in the morning.

The next day I texted him. Nothing. I dropped him another text the following day. Still nothing. I couldn’t believe it. Everything had gone so well but now this guy had gone to ground. Ah well. That’ll teach me to date outside of my London bubble. And besides, what’s David Tennant doing these days, anyway? Oh, hai Matt Smith!

Exasperdating | Giraffe Man

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Exasperdating | Giraffe Man

Age: 35
Height: 6’5”

Build: Giraffe-like
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Blue
Job: Something to do with IT

Giraffe

There are all sorts of taboos in the dating world. Go out with someone too young and you’re branded a dirty old man. Someone too old, and all of a sudden you’re a twink. And then there are those labels like gold digger, sugar daddy and chubby chaser to contend with.

Interestingly, there’s not a phrase for people who are at odds in terms of height. But I really think there ought to be. In fact, I think we should actively encourage the stigmatisation of such unions. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing odder-looking than someone who’s vertically challenged going out with someone at the opposite end of the stature spectrum. I mean, you wouldn’t build a skyscraper right next to a bungalow now, would you?

Maybe it’s just a hang up of mine but I really don’t enjoy having to squint up at someone the whole time. But that’s precisely what happened on this encounter. My date was a cute, deep-voiced Aussie guy who happened to be 6’5”. I’m 5’8” (the national average for a man, I’ll have you know) and so spent most of my time gazing towards the heavens. It got to the point where I made the poor bloke walk in the gutter so I could benefit from the elevation that the kerb provided me.

Shame really, he was a nice-ish guy. But honestly, if I had gone out with him, people would’ve thought we were a freakshow at a circus. And in case you’re feeling sorry for this chap, I forgot to mention that he called me ‘dude’ throughout the evening.

Heatwaves, Bomb Shelters & More Exasperdating

London Riviera

London Riviera

Monsieur P can’t quite believe it. As shock factors go, this is up there alongside Pippa Middleton wearing no knickers to Will and Kate’s wedding. Seriously, he just can’t get over how hot and sunny it is in England.

You only had to see how he turned up at St Pancras a couple of weeks ago to get an insight into his perception of Blighty. Honestly, he stepped off the Eurostar looking like Scott of the Antarctic. The only thing missing was a pair of tennis racket snow shoes strapped to his feet.

He was convinced that it rains/sleets/snows here every day. And to be fair, if he’d arrived this time last year, he’d have had a point. I had tried to explain that now and again we get heatwaves but he dismissed the very idea of the Great British Summer as just another piece of ‘cray-zee rosbif’ whimsy to be filed alongside right hand-drive cars and well-done steaks.

Actually, I’m quite impressed how quickly he’s turned into a bona fide summertime Brit – he’s already lobster-coloured, has developed a liver-threatening taste for Pimm’s and is complaining about the weather being ‘too ‘ot’.

He doesn’t understand parks though. Green space is something Paris is rather short on and so he doesn’t really get Londoners’ obsession with decamping to scorched patches of lawn to show off their milky-white flesh the minute the sun comes out to play.

The look on his face as we wandered through St James Park was a picture – somewhere between bewilderment and disdain as only the French can do. The ice-cream van foxed him a little, too. As did a 99 flake. ‘Zis is not ice-crème, I can assure yooo’.

Anyhow, what with the weather being sub-tropical at the mo, we did a fair bit of walking over the weekend. Highlights included St Paul’s and that manky stretch of beach on the Southbank – AKA the London Riviera – which Monsieur P observed is ‘no Paris Plages’. He’s got a point.

We also stumbled upon a lovely little corner of town down Pimlico way called Smith Square. If you’ve never been there, check it out. It’s home to a wonderful Baroque church called St John’s and a clutch of Georgian townhouses.

Now, one of these houses caught my eye as it had a faded sign painted on the wall. It read ‘public shelters in vaults under pavements in this street’ with an arrow pointing down the steps to what would’ve been the tradesman’s entrance once upon a time. Clearly, during the Blitz, the basements of these homes were used as shelters against Luftwaffe bombs.

Air-raid Shelter

Air-raid Shelter

Take Cover!

Take Cover!

The sign got me thinking… Wouldn’t it be good if London’s WWII air-raid shelters were resurrected as dating shelters? I mean, how brilliant would that be? Instead of having to smile sweetly and feign interest at some deathly-boring story, you could just run for cover when a date wasn’t going very well. I know I could’ve done with a get-out-of-jail-free card like that back when I was serial dating.

Unlike one of my friends who developed the ability to extricate himself from crap dates in one fell swoop (after just one drink he used to say ‘well, it was lovely meeting you but I’m going to go home now’ while shaking them by the hand and disappearing out the door of the bar) I’d always find myself saying ‘oh yes, I’d love another drink’ when really I was wondering whether I’d be able to squeeze enough of my face into my wine glass to drown myself.

Suffice to say a dating shelter would have got me out of a fair few scrapes. I certainly could’ve done with one the day I met the Man-Child

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Exasperdating | Man-Child

 Age: 29 (apparently)
Height: 5’8”
Build: 12-year-old’s
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown
Job: Teacher

School Shorts

School Shorts

This guy was cute in a boy-ish sort of way. No doubt it was down to his gene cocktail – he was British-Mauritian, blessed with baby-smooth skin and floppy dark hair.

So what was the problem? Well, truth be told, I felt like I was babysitting – borderline grooming. For most of the date I was zoning in and out of conversation, more intent on trying to determine if he was shaving yet. In fact, I began to wonder whether he was even over the age of consent. So much so, I thought about asking to see some ID or trying that old trick bouncers do when they ask your date of birth – if you don’t rattle it off quickly enough, there’s no getting past the velvet rope. But no, he assured me he was 29.

Now, it turned out Peter Pan here was a teacher at a primary school (reception class, which was just as well because the thought of this guy trying to control rowdy 16-year-olds was a Grange Hill plotline waiting to happen). And it was at this moment, as he was waxing lyrical about his job, that the penny dropped. This guy had gone into teaching tots because he fundamentally was one. And not just to look at. He struggled to maintain an adult conversation. The minute we stopped talking about wet playtimes and safety scissors he was all at sea.

Basically, I was on a date with a child. And for fear of being branded a paedo, I made my excuses and left. Well, it was a school night, after all.

Exasperdating | Man From Del Monte

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Exasperdaing | Man From Del Monte

Age: 39
Height: 5’10”
Build: Skinny
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown
Job: Lecturer in Renaissance literature

Del Monte

Del Monte

There’s nothing worse than walking into a bar and not being able to spot your date. It often results in what I call ‘meerkating’ – that awful moment when, slightly panic-stricken, your head starts flicking uncontrollably from left to right as you desperately try to root out your beau for the evening. But there was no danger of that with this guy – he stood out like a sore thumb.

He was garbed (yes, ‘garbed’ because ‘wearing’ just wouldn’t be right in this instance) in a white man from Del Monte safari suit complete with panama hat. Granted he wasn’t actually wearing said chapeau but he had one with him nonetheless. Plus his trousers were pulled up to his mid-riff, Simon Cowell-style.

But I guess I knew what I was letting myself in for. He’d mentioned before that he was something of an eccentric. He’d let slip online that he got changed into full black-tie evening wear for dinner each night. But there was something rather House of Elliot-esque about that which I quite liked.

Fundamentally though, an odd-ball is an odd-ball and suffice to say the guy’s conversation was as bizarre as his get-up. He seemed incapable of completing a sentence without feeling the need to insert a punch-line. And, more often than not, said punch-line was a) devoid of comedy and b) followed up with a self-congratulatory pig-snort laugh. After one G&T, I ran for the hills and didn’t look back. The man from Del Monte? I say no.

Zone 2, Frogs & ‘Exasperdating’

New Home

New Home

I’m not quite sure how this happened to me. Last weekend I moved into a new flat. Nothing particularly odd in that per se until you learn that said flat was in – shock horror! – Zone 2.

Anyone who knows me well will agree that this is really out of character. Reason being, for years I’ve been a Southbank-loving, Zone 1-only London boy. And that’s not the end of it. The catalyst for this move to the sticks? A fella. Yep, for the first time in my life I’m – gulp – co-habiting. Part of the co-habiting arrangement was saying au revoir to central London.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

For ages I thought it’d never happen to me – you know, finding someone and having a proper grown-up relationship (I say grown-up – we bonded over Mysterious Cities of Gold and Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers). Suffice to say I was convinced I was going to be one of life’s perma-singletons. And that wasn’t for want of trying…

Back in 2012 I embarked on a dating mission. I figured it’s a numbers game and so went into override, signing up with all the big online dating sites and apps. Let’s just say it wasn’t my most successful endeavour and I kept a log of, well, my dating disasters.

French Frog

French Frog

Now that I’m (almost) in the smug married camp, I think the time has come to share my nightmarish tales and hopefully give some hope to any single people out there who are looking for ‘the one’. Trust me when I say, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. Who, in my case actually happened to be a frog. I had to move to France to find him.

So, here’s the first instalment of ‘Exasperdating’. Enjoy.

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Exasperdating | Micro Boy

Age: 26
Height: 5’7” (allegedly)
Build: Bit porky
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue
Job: Something to do with government policy

I don’t do Sunday-night dates as a rule. The prospect of work the next day is bad enough, without a potential date from hell to contend with. Plus, there’s the Antiques Roadshow to consider. Don’t judge – it’s my thing. Anyhow, Micro Boy was really eager to meet up. I’d already had to cancel a couple of times, so I thought I’d break with convention and grant the poor guy a Sunday audience.

Chatting online he seemed right up my street – cute, intelligent and with a good job in White Hall. He loved the fact I was up-to-speed on current affairs and watched Question Time (apparently, finding a gay who knows the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as opposed to Kylie’s third album is quite a mean feat). So, everything was looking good. Until I met him…

The little liar – and do I mean little. Five foot seven? In what country? The People’s Republic of Lilliput? Seriously, I half expected him to totter over singing ‘we represent the lollipop guild’ a la the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz. Now, I’m hardly what you’d describe as tall but I felt like the Jolly Green Giant next to him.

His deceit didn’t do him any favours. When he asked what I’d like to drink, I asked for an orange juice – the dating equivalent of poking someone in the eye. As for how I extricated myself from my hook up with Micro Boy, I told him, ‘I’m really sorry. I’ve got to go home now. To iron a shirt.’ Ouch.