First dates. In all honesty I am not a font of knowledge when it comes to this area of romance. You may well have guessed as much seeing as I met my husband in Year 7 at secondary school. However, we did go through a long winded on/off stage whereby I went to university in Exeter and he shared a house with one of our long-suffering friends, Pete (hi Pete). I ended up with my teaching qualification whilst my husband had a good time getting into debt. Debt which was the result of a heap of junk car that literally sucked the pennies from his pockets and a book he had bought at the airport.
‘Book?’ I hear you say? Well, yes. My husband, in his financial wisdom, managed to go into his unplanned overdraft by little over a pound for said book, which he then left to mount up into a ridiculous sum of money. Being more stubborn than my four-year-old who is repeatedly asked to eat some form of nutrition which isn’t beige, he still claims it was worth it because the book was just that good. Kudos to Chris Ryan. Anyhow, the result of these rock star living habits ended up leaving him with a black mark against his name. I tell you it was fun times to discover this little gem when we applied for our first mortgage. I was so angry at the time, I think I really did ask him to ‘kindly remove his genitals’ with a pair of scissors. *
Anyway, it was during this time I went on a few ‘first dates’ which turned into nothing more than weird anecdotes to share with the internet…just like I’m doing now. However, even though the hubby has committed some sinfully stupid monetary decisions, I feel it only right to start with our first date at the local recreation centre, which took place the weekend after we had agreed to ‘go out’.
Pre-date preparation involved shaving one’s hairy bits, checking that my swimming costume fit, only to then yelp at one’s reflection in said swimming costume. This was all closely followed by hyperventilating at my mother who found this more than a little amusing. You must understand, my parents were fairly liberal and didn’t view me dating a boy at fourteen as a cause for concern, more an opportunity to make fun of me. My father wasn’t waiting by the front door with his shot gun, ready to lay down the law. He was more likely to be there to shake future hubby’s hand and offer him a glass of wine over some rustic French bread and cheese.
Now, as previously mentioned, I lived miles away from civilisation so needed to have a lift to get anywhere within reach of another human being. It was therefore down to my mother to taxi me over to our date in the family car, a Renault 25 which frequently scared the living beejesus out of everyone. Her less than five-foot height had you believing the monstrosity was driving all by itself. Upon arrival, I instantly saw the husband nervously waiting outside of the front doors, looking just as petrified as I was.
“Why mother?! Why the hell do boys and girls insist on doing this to one another?!” I gulped whilst I momentarily considered telling her to drive on and avoid the whole situation altogether. She merely cackled with glee, told me she would see me in a couple of hours, before zooming off, looking like a real-life version of Edna Mould.
“Alright?” My date asked, then smiled nervously whilst I muttered obscenities under my breath. I love my mother but there are times when she causes my eyes to roll so far back, I’m in danger of blacking out altogether. For example, when we go shopping and I realise far too late that she’s wondered off without telling me. In such situations, I’ve usually been walking around talking to myself for an embarrassing length of time, consequently making me look like a crazy person.
“Yep,” fourteen-year-old me eventually replied, sounding just as anxious as him and with far too many teeth on show. “You?”
“Yeah,” he responded before gesturing for me to lead the way. As you can tell, the conversation was already off to a good start.
Now, give the boy his due, he paid for my entry, was beyond polite and behaved in such a way his mother would no doubt be very proud of him. However, this did not set my nerves to rest in the slightest, in fact it only made me feel more nauseous. I wasn’t used to him being polite with me. I was used to him pinching my backside up and down the stairs of the Nichol’s building, throwing himself on top of me in front of an entire classroom of people and gifting me with a twig on Valentine’s Day because I said cards were a waste of paper. And now, dressed in nothing but my swimming costume, one made for functionality rather than fashion, I was about to face the boy who was trying his level best to be charming and…’nice’.
Once in the vicinity of the pool, with an atmospheric temperature which rivalled the surface of the sun, we both tried our very best to avoid looking at one another’s unmentionables. Board shorts hadn’t quite caught on in the fashion stakes, so he was wearing nothing more than a pair of nut huggers, whilst I was wearing fitted Lycra over a pair of breasts which easily rivalled those of both my best friends’ combined. What can I say? I come from a family of naturally busty females. Perhaps they were meant to be an evolutionary physical advancement, to have my very own set of airbags and flotation devices. From personal experience, I can tell you they are far from accommodating. Especially when trying on zipless dresses, which become firmly stuck and have you gasping for air because you are seriously considering having to go out onto the shop floor to ask the assistant to cut you out.
Now the hubby was quite a physically fit boy back then, being that he went to army cadets, swam twice a week and cycled everywhere. That bod is still there, somewhere, but like me, who used to be a size 8 and a nice C-cup, it’s hiding under a little comfort spread. However, whereas I was the same colour as Edward Cullen from Twilight and literally glow in the dark, he had been gifted with a naturally Mediterranean complexion. I am still cursed with such skin, almost to the point whereby I should come with a health warning during summer months when I venture to bare my legs. It would read something along the lines of ‘people with sensitive vision may wish to avert their eyes or wear a pair of sunglasses.’
The next hour was spent on opposite sides of the pool, wondering what the hell to do or say next, only to then talk about mindless crap when we finally managed to have enough courage to be within a one metre distance of one another. After which, we went to the overpriced café of tasteless tea, stale flapjacks and confectionary that had such a mark-up, you would need to sell off body parts to actually afford them. My husband, being the gentleman that he is, bought me a packet of cheesy crisps which tasted how vomits smells, then waited beside me until Mum came to pick me up. Not that he could see my mother for she was still hidden behind the dashboard. She was one inch away from needing a periscope to see out of the windscreen.
It wasn’t a bad date. It was a typical fourteen-year-old date, full of awkwardness and too much skin on show. In fact, intimacy didn’t really hit us until Valentine’s Day when he bought me Romeo and Juliet. Arguably, this was the film responsible for practically every teenage girl beginning an imaginary affair with Leonardo Di Caprio. Not the actor himself, but his character, Romeo, or maybe both. Truth be told, I was never that enamoured with Romeo when reading Shakespeare’s play, he clearly lacked common sense and was somewhat fickle. I’m more of a Benedict kind of a gal, hence why I married my husband, aka, my sparring partner.
Back to Valentine’s Day when my husband finally made his move in the form of an awkward arm around my shoulders, to which I reciprocated by curling up towards his lap. We lay like a couple of puppies until it was time for him to cycle home on his trusty steed. We even ventured to kiss one another before he disappeared into the darkness. There was no tongue though. That train wreck didn’t occur until a good few months later. I would go into it in more detail, for it was truly hilarious. However, I have saved that debacle for a pair of unsuspecting characters in one of my upcoming releases. I’ve planned for their story to hit Amazon towards the end of this year. (That was a good, shameless plug, was it not?!)
I have more tales of first dates to share with you, not all of them mine, but I fear I have waffled on for much too long already. My next blog will come at the end of the month when I am dangerously close to turning thirty plus a few years extra.
*Just so you know, I did read this to my poor hubby and asked for his permission to publish this blog. I’m not that bad a wife!
Thanks for reading and remember to check out my new release, Learning Italian, on Amazon Unlimited.