Waiting for Brian in a bar in Shoreditch, I witnessed the first meeting of a couple who’d clearly never met before. I pretended to be checking Facebook while really eavesdropping, as you do – they’d met on line, of course.
When he went to the bar for her glass of wine, I struck up a conversation. She’s French, a teacher in a London school and it was her first date in three years. I liked her – she was intelligent, funny and her orange cardigan was an exact colour match to her fold-up bike! It couldn’t have been better chosen if she’d used a Pantone lightbox.
Like me, she doesn’t have loads of single female friends, so I gave her my number. “Let’s go speed dating together,” I suggested. “I’ve heard it’s fun.” Brian arrived, less late than usual. “You’ve pulled!” He said.
They’d met on Tinder, and she was wary, following all the bad press. I reassured her with my story of dating my Tinder boyfriend for eight months. I was perfectly happy. Anyway, they got on fine and she texted me later to say hi.
Brian and I didn’t meet on line – there was no such thing in those days. A green flashing blob on a computer screen fascinated us all back then but real people met in pubs, clubs or, like us, at work. Green blobs aside, he’s recently become a [something important, can’t remember what?] in the Green Party. He’d have got on well with the Tinder boyfriend, actually.
While Brian is changing the world – or Berkshire, at least – I’m starting to question my own politics. Too wishy-washy. Seeing Suffragette this week reminded me of the firm stance women should take, so I started writing a list of things I want changed over the next decade. Then I got sidetracked by googling suffragette jewellery on eBay for an hour. Feeling shameful about how easily I get distracted from the issues, I emailed the council with my list of priorities.
My dinner with Brian was not a date. He has a lovely wife. But if it had been a date there might not have been a second one, as dessert was not included. We laughed about this. I haven’t heard from him since and hope he got home safely. His last attempt at leaving London saw him fall asleep on the train and arrive in Oxford at 2am, way further than his required stop. Rather than sleep on the station platform as he’s done previously, he wandered around a park, meeting up with a gang of teenagers who, for the sake of this story, let’s assume were over 18. They offered to share their vodka and red bull with him, which he merrily accepted, and together they watched dawn break, heralding the arrival of the first London-bound train to take him back home.
Brian is clever, a corporate accountant turned software company director. His memory is sharper than mine and, over our gourmet burgers, he reminded me of how I once cleaned my car windscreen with hairspray. That was powerful stuff in the 80s!! The glass shone and sparkled beautifully but no one could see a bloody thing out of it. It made us laugh a lot.
So my driving was a nightmare even then. I can only apologise profusely to one of my favourite people for reversing into him this week. (No, I’m not saying who it was.) I think he likes me enough not to sue, but I’m behaving myself just in case. (And I do mean him… not his car!)
David Bowie was in my cassette player around the time I met Brian. He was on the turntable frequently when I had one, in my CD player when I reversed this week and he’s playing on Spotify now. He says, “Get off the phone, I gotta… Hey man, I gotta straighten my face; this mellow thighed chick just put my spine out of place.” An appropriate song this week in more ways than one. Really hoping I haven’t put anyone’s spine out of place… (Sorry!!)
You won’t find me on Tinder now, but you will find me here: @WeekendWitch.