Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

My date with Mike, who I met online, ranks up there with worst ever

Catherine Townsend - Sleeping Around

With my rather erratic love live, it's not often that I have a date that ranks up there with worst ever. But my dinner with Mike, the 41-year-old producer I met online, is a definite candidate.

Mike and I had already met once for coffee, which we all know is really a visual lie-detector test to ensure that we hadn't been sent a picture of someone 10 years ago before they gained 20 stone and started wearing an eyepatch.

He was actually better looking in the flesh than online, with lovely blue eyes and a nice smile. And he really was 6ft tall, though I've long accepted that men exaggerate height and income, while women subtract years and inches from profiles. I didn't have a "thunderbolt moment", but he was fun and made me laugh.

Besides, I need a distraction. I know that my Friends with Benefits arrangement with Ross isn't going anywhere - we are proper friends, with great chemistry, who occasionally end up in bed together after a night out, rather than Shag Buddies who meet primarily for sex. But though he's great fun, Ross is uncomfortable with me talking about my feelings, and doesn't really share his own.

Meanwhile, Mike claimed to be "in touch with his feminine side" because he had two daughters. In preparation for our second date, I got a full waxing and was wearing my "lucky" fishnet stockings under a black cocktail dress. Midway through the appetisers, things started to go terribly wrong after I politely asked how long he had been living in his current flat.

"About six months," he said, looking down. "Of course, my wife got the house in the divorce. She cleaned me out, took the kids, she even took our pets from me. I bought the dogs, and she didn't even like them. I'm asking you, as a woman, why did she have to take the dogs?"

He began to well up, and then, just as the waiter arrived to explain our main courses in detail, the dam burst and tears started rolling down his cheeks. I had no idea what to do. I told Mike that I'd read that men and women both have an emotional side; it's just that boys aren't given permission to express it. I gave him a hug, while he pulled himself together and dabbed at his eyes with his napkin.

"You know, you're exactly the kind of girl who would make my ex-wife really jealous. She's at a party right now. I don't suppose you want to come with me?" I was totally appalled, and told him so. Then, inexplicably, he tried to kiss me at the table.

If he was hoping for a sympathy shag he was out of luck; my libido deflated when he whipped out photos of his golden retrievers. I made my excuses and left. By the time I got to Ross's door, I was emotionally drained, and very horny. We barely made it to the bedroom, and the sex was so frantic I didn't even get my clothes off. At that moment, I didn't feel the need to define the boundaries of our relationship, or worry about the future.

"Do you want to talk about what happened tonight?" he asked me afterwards.

I smiled. "Actually, can we just drink beer and watch football for now?"

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