It happened a few weeks back, just a chance meeting, and then we decided to meet for drinks the next day. I spent the morning in my usual pre-date panic, figuring out what to wear, how to do my hair, my make-up, building myself up into a state of very unattractive anxiety that I can usually hide from people who don’t know me that well. Thankfully, my housemate can spot my panic a mile off. She helped me look presentable, and bolstered my forever-wonky confidence.
By the time I was finished getting ready, I felt nervous, but much better about the whole thing. She wished me good luck, and just as I was about to walk out the door, my phone buzzed. My date had changed his mind.
I’m going to be honest, it was better to know then than to be sat in a bar waiting, or like that last one who just got up and left, but still. It stung.
I made a joke about it to my housemate, who truly looked as disappointed as I felt, and I sat back down in the kitchen with her. She then told me it wasn’t that there was anything wrong with me, that she knew lots of other women it happened to, and that it was probably just that he had bottled it.
“Uh-huh.” I smiled disbelievingly, then shrugged. “Boys smell anyway. He was probably a douchebag.”
“He was a douchebag,” she told me firmly. “That isn’t the behaviour of a decent person.”
I couldn’t argue with her logic. All said and done, someone who cancels ten minutes before a date is probably not someone I’d want to be in a relationship with, anyway. Especially without giving any reason or apology. I looked at the message again.
“Come on,” She said, standing up. “We’re going out for lunch.”
I was already a little more dressed up than I would usually be, but she went upstairs and got ready, and we went out into the city together. She took me to a cute little shop with a café under it, and we ogled all the pretty things we’d love to fill our little cottage with. We talked about interior design, and jellyfish, and painting, and then we went downstairs and had lunch.
We sat in this pretty little space and talked about food. I’ve been trying to get her to do a cooking channel on YouTube with me for a while now, and we discussed that and what we could do to make it as fun and interesting as possible. We chose a name and a theme, and all the different video ideas we had for it. (Watch this space, guys! It’s happening soon!)
As we sat there eating and chatting, she got a message from two of her other friends to say they were in a nearby pub. I know one of them, but only knew of the other, and she asked if I wanted to go join them.
So, then there were four ladies, drinking in a cute little pub around a fireplace. I say four, but I should mention it was technically five, as I also got to meet Pico the Dog, who was gorgeous and snuggly and let me scratch under her chin at regular intervals. We talked about shitty dates, shittier men, and then loads of funny and positive things that reminded me no matter what, I still have so much going for me. I am, and will always be, in a much better place than I was two years ago.
After a few drinks and lots of dry humour we parted ways, and my housemate took me to a huge vintage shop in the city centre. We wandered around for ages, investigating weird little trinkets and curiosities, laughing at ugly jewellery, trying on all the hats, and just generally having a blast. We talked about the possibility of me attempting to salvage my long-dead stand-up act, and how I could get the ball rolling for that again.
We went around a few other shops, and then headed home. I wouldn’t have swapped that afternoon for anything, especially not awkward drinks with some guys who I luckily found out early had no semblance of courtesy.
It reminded me a lot of a night just before New Year, when my housemate had a few friends over for drinks. I was dealing with a guy who I liked way more than he liked me (as is always the way of things with me) and despite all that, I remember having a small half hour with my housemate and one of her friends, where we discussed breasts and all their varying shapes and sizes. That was my favourite part of the whole night, because it was genuine and fun, and I was with people who valued me.
And this? This was the best date I’ve ever been on in my life, because friendship is the best kind of companionship there is.