It's Britney Bitch

I recently was invited out for dinner with a chap that I met on a night out. On a night out being key here, I was shocked at the suggestion after he witnessed me over enthusiastically dancing to Britney's 'Work Bitch' after a few too many ciders at a mutual friends house the preceding Saturday.  He'd definitely already seen me at my worst (sweaty, cider sodden, dancing and singing poorly declaring none other than 'It's Britney Bitch!') and yet there I stood hating the inanimate object that is my mirror, faffing over what to wear and how to wear my hair. The hatred didn't stop there, I'd also developed two stubborn teenage spots on the side of my face that no amount of mineral powder could even start to try and disguise. It's like they knew.

He recommended a pizza restaurant close to where he lives (pizza restaurant for a pizza face, it's like he knew.) It was one of those Hipster places that you're allowed to call Hipster (although I don't like to generalise), they were selling all different types of beers and ales with names like Hip Hoppy and Ale Assault. Already I knew I was in over my head when he laughed at me as  I pretended to review the selection written on the blackboard, only to choose a Thatchers and black.

We sat down in a corner window seat, surrounded by a few other pairs who seemed a lot more comfortable in their choice of both attire and company. I began the conversation with an apology for my cocky and overconfident behavior he was accustomed to the previous Saturday. He smiled and said 'it's fine, you were funny.'

He said I was funny. And there I sat, stone baked pizza sober, only two sips into a cider and black panicking that I now had to be funny. But there were no friends to show off in front of and no Britney Spears to encourage me, I immediately felt the pressure to try and be funny and immediately became very aware of  the  awkward mannerism I possess when in the company of those I don't know all to well. And that is when I make jokes, I mumble them. Now, this may be because I don't want everyone to hear because it may not be laugh-worthy, but in this case the immense pressure I put on myself to be funny at that particular moment, made my already quiet voice quieter.

After a the third 'sorry one more time, I missed that again,' I gave up all hope and smiled a desperately apologetic smile as I told him not to worry about it because it wasn't really that funny. We both then turned our heads to gaze out the window, envying passersby who weren't experiencing the first date clumsiness  that we were. Something in common I suppose...

We ordered our Pizza which thankfully came out quite quickly, the attention could now shift on to the food rather than how unfunny I was on a weeknight.

Again because I am bad at paying attention to things when in my own head, I let him choose the pizza. I soon realised this error as the pizza was placed in front of us - the devil re-spawned as food - decorating the pizza pallet like hell fire - jalepenos. 

And the blurry conversation was replayed in to my head as I noticed them, dotted around the pizza like mines ready to explode in my mouth. I. don't. do. spicy. foods.

'Do you like spicy food?'

What I should have said:

'No way. I like all foods and I am always keen to try something new but I really can't handle anything spicy, jalepenos for instance, I just can't stand them.'

What I did say:

' Oh sureeee!'

After an awkward exchange of glances with the guy, I  suddenly became very wary of the way I chewed. Especially as I tried to avoid chewing the jalapenos so much that hell would be released from the roof of my mouth. Not only this, it's common for the childhood memory to haunt me when on dinner dates as I reminisce upon the time I was told by a sibling that I resemble that of camel when I when trying to break down food in my mouth. (That sort of comment stays with you for life.) 

When my date-ee asked what I did for a living post mouth-full, I began nodding my head as if to say, I'll answer that after I've finished this super hot and spicy jalapeno infested mouthful,  rolling my eyes as if this and the head nodding would speed up the chewing process, only to give a very thoughtless and empty answer: 'admin,' after chewing like a fucking camel for what felt like half an hour.

'What about you?'

He responded with a very confident and long winded account of his plans for after University, to help out with his Dads company, his previous job roles, his recent job offering to work for the University and perhaps go travelling later on in the year. I was too busy focusing on trying to chew beautifully and not wiping the cement off the two new houses that had built themselves on the side of my face with my napkin to really take in the travelling remark (why does everyone have to go travelling on their own these days?)

I carried on pretending to enjoy the food as he continued the conversation and made my one worded and one syllable answer more and more pathetic. I was beginning to feel a little more relaxed as he took charge of the conversation like a new gen hero but realised this was probably because I'd guzzled down most of my pint in order to wash down the peppers.

Conversation is hard between mouthfuls isn't it? It's fine if you've known the person for a while -they are your partner, they've seen you at your worst, dribbling on a pillow and making questionable noises during sleep, they've seen you eat multiple times before. But when a stranger watches you eat, it's like you forget all the dinner-table courtesy drummed into you as a kid by your parents and grand parents:

'Don't talk with your mouthful...'

 I certainly forgot this when asked a questions by my opposition - answering his obligatory interrogative first date questions, with a mouth full of food and a mind full of anxiety.
And in reverse, I didn't want to ask him questions while he was eating, and I was unsure if it counted as an awkward silence when we were both chewing at the same time?

Pizza was eaten, drinks were drunk, post pizza and pint of thatchers bloat was incoming. So I went to the toilet to top up on mineral powder and reassurance that it wasn't the worst date I 'd been on.

came up stairs, my lips looking less natural than before after a quick tint of Rimmel lipstick. We talked a little more and decided it was time for the bill. Now, if you've ever seen First Dates, you will be familiar that this part is when the dates seal the deal; if you split the bill, you probably won't see each-other again. If one pays, it is known that the couple go to see each other again.

We split the bill, and then we split. I got on a bus and he walked thirty seconds up the road to his house. We didn't speak to each other for a few days and I thought it was probably going to be another fleeting man meeting. But to my surprise, he asked if we could hang out again, this time at a music event we were both interested in as mentioned between mouthfuls on our first date.

So my latest conclusion is, perhaps it's not a great idea to date someone you impressed by being blind Britney drunk one Saturday night, and maybe it is safer to save the dinner dates for when you know the other person a bit better and they know you well enough to understand that you would fib about liking spicy foods just to be polite. (Even better, well enough to know you didn't like spicy foods.)

And also not to abide by the bill splitting rule just because it's something seen on Channel 4. We must remember that we are in the New Gen and it's not necessarily the same as what it is in the movies....or on Channel 4. 

  I met him the following Sunday, we bought each other drinks and danced side by side, enjoying the music and exchanging subtle smiles and content smirks as the music played in the background Occasionally we popped to the smoking area to converse rather than smoke, and it flowed as did the music, and the thatchers. I had a GREAT TIME. 

There - a blog with a more promising ending. That felt good!

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