Written on 13th September 2011.
Coffee Dating by Alyson Dunlop
2 o’clock. Another coffee date. I had imagined the Age of Aquarius to be somewhat more romantic. Nowhere in my wildest dreams had I thought I would ever resort to internet dating. It’s easy to be a sex symbol behind a computer screen. That’s the reality nowadays, for those of us who have become a little bit more set in our ways, a little bit less confident and a little bit more fat. When I was younger I had no idea I’d still be kissing a lot of frogs at my age. The idea of the Handsome Prince had faded some 5 or so years ago, and been replaced by the Reasonably Sane and Funny Bachelor (looks, unimportant), happy-if-you-just-turn-up. The one glorious thing I had discovered about being a 39 year old woman still on the dating scene, was that I had become…a cougar! How wonderful it is to be desired by gorgeous 20-something men!
2.30pm. I realised I had been stood up. How annoying. I was fine with someone deciding we’d be better as friends, but not turning up was just plain rude. I sat with my soya latte, reading a self-help book on relationships, looking out at the gale-force winds I had braved to be here. Humiliated and rejected, I soon found myself wondering how people used to meet in the Good Old Days. Remember? Those days when you spied someone and your eyes met across a crowded room. You’d smile. He’d smile. He’d come over. The book I was reading said this actually still worked. Without a computer? Surely not. Apparently, the book said, if you smile at a man it will lure him and he will come over, completely forgetting that it was you who made the first move! It seemed too easy.
I cast my eye around the room. Oh, there was someone I thought I knew. Thingy. A customer from work. He glanced over. I smiled and waved. He looked bemused, but smiled back, tentatively waving. He hesitated, but after a few moments, placed down his newspaper and rose. He was coming over. That was the point at which I realised, with horror, it wasn’t Thingy from work. It was a complete stranger! How embarrassing, I thought, my face turning 50 shades of scarlet. My eyes fell on the book. Damn you! I thought. I hadn’t even got to the chapter about what to do once your prey had been ensnared. I was on my own.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” I said.
“May I buy you a coffee?” he offered.
“Yes. Thanks,” I blushed.
His eyes sparkled. His smile was warm. “I just saw you sitting over here on your own, and thought you might like some company,” he explained.
Did you? I thought, smiling wryly. He didn’t even realise I’d made the first move. Without a computer.