The Date with the Joker

  • Date: 19.08.2015
  • Venue: Central & Co; The Cocktail Trading Company
  • Participant: The Joker

Another one sourced from Bumble. In half of the photos she looked hot. In the other half she resembled Heath Ledger’s Joker: very pale, verging on white, make-up, big blood red lipstick that elongated her mouth, and wild (although dark) hair. Still, it was enough for me to swipe right. A match. An ensuing conversation. I was on a recruitment drive, so reciprocated. She was responsive, and offered hints of the carefree attitude someone of her twenty two years ought to possess.

As the conversation developed it emerged that she was American.

“You’re American??”

“Yeah, of course I am. Is that a problem?”

“No, no, not at all. I love Americans.”

Fantastic, I thought. Luckily she didn’t seem to take offence to my preceding derogatory comments on her nationality. I’d previously questioned her spelling of buses with a double ‘s’ in the middle; upon research I informed her that busses was more common in the USA, adding no one wanted to use American English. “Screw that, everyone wants to be us” she said. I interpreted ‘us’ as an abbreviation of the United States, not as her including herself as a citizen.

“No one wants to be American” I had concluded. Apologies, I felt the detail was necessary.

So we arranged a date. We agreed on central, so I went with my current favourite venue(s): Central & Co, with the potential to head downstairs to The Cocktail Trading Company, a ‘pop-up’, with darker lighting and a more necking-conducive atmosphere.

I was exactly on time for a change; she was running late. It was busy, and I didn’t have a reservation, but they sat me at the bar and soon found me a table.

She was running late, so I sat there with my cider, possibly looking like I’d been stood up. I messaged her asking if she wanted me to get her a drink. She said yes. But then I decided against it. Hopefully I’d be ready to order another by the time she arrived, giving me a head start.

She messaged again:

“Sorry. I think I’m 5 minutes away. I’m wearing a leather jacket and red lipstick, just to help you out.”

Oh no, I’m dating the joker tonight… whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stranger…

“I’m wearing a navy suit and tie.” I unhelpfully replied. Well, you’ve seen photos of what I look like, and I hope I’ve seen photos of what you look like…

When she eventually arrived her appearance was somewhere between normal and the joker. I was quite relieved. It could have been a lot worse. She struck a diminutive figure as she approached, and I almost put my back out when bending over to greet her with a kiss. I could definitely throw this one about. Judging by her size this one drink head start certainly wasn’t going to be enough to keep up with her intoxication levels.

She spoke a lot. And apologised after almost every sentence for doing so. “I’m sorry, I told myself I wasn’t going to ramble on about that, as you’ll probably think I’m a weirdo.” Don’t worry, it doesn’t bother me, it’s not as if this is ultimately going anywhere.

She was like a miniature ruby wax. She was from Atlanta, Georgia.

“Oh cool. You had the Olympics back in ’96.”

“Yeah. Did you research that?”

No. I hadn’t actually bothered to prepare for this date. I usually look up a few interesting facts about where they’re from. This I just remembered. I was eleven at the time. You were just three…

She spoke about her brother quite a lot. Probably too much. Still, it’s not as if this is ultimately going anywhere…

She was happy to move onto wine, so I suggested getting a bottle, that way I could plough through it at a faster pace. As I was looking down the wine list the waitress suggested a bottle. “That’s the one I was going to go for.” I said with a hint of surprise.

“It’s a very popular bottle.” She replied, which was basically a code for “there are two bottles of Sauvignon on the list and, judging by the fact your eyes are fixed on the top third of the page, it’s unlikely you’re willing to go for the Marlborough one.”

So she sipped whilst I ploughed. As we got towards the bottom of the bottle, and just as I was about to take the lion’s share of the remainders, the waitress unhelpfully decanted it into the Joker’s glass. You’re disrupting my plan.

We / I needed another bottle. She was already getting quite loose and said she didn’t want to drink too much more. I suggested we get another bottle and I would drink most of it. Luckily she was happy with this and didn’t think it was too weird.

“Could we get another bottle of the Chilean Sauvignon please?” Because I’m obviously not going for the Marlborough one.

After this second bottle was dispatched, largely by me, I suggested heading down for some cocktails. Well, cocktail for her. I’d be sticking with a midrange Sauvignon.

She spent quite a long time choosing a cocktail – too long in my opinion – and, irritatingly, the waiter was fairly slow in coming back to us. And then when she eventually chose, and the cocktail came, she didn’t like it. To be fair it did taste entirely of alcohol. Never mind. I offered to drink it and she could get another. When the waiter came back he saw me with both drinks, which may have looked a little odd. He guessed she didn’t like it. Are they all bloody psychics here? They offered to replace it for free. This was great news, as I figured I’d probably be picking up this bill.

We probably outstayed our welcome as they started clearing up around us. And I hadn’t even got round to attempting any necking.

We headed to Oxford Circus tube. Just before we went through the barriers I thought I’d throw it out there. Well what’s the worst that can happen, it’s not as if this is ultimately going anywhere…

“You can come back to mine if you want?”

We hadn’t even necked. I was fully expecting to be instantly rebuffed.

“Really?” She timidly responded, as if I was doing her a favour, as if the choice was entirely mine, as if I didn’t actually want her to… I could barely suppress the laughter that was enrapturing my entire being. Here was the carefree attitude I had hoped for…

After a small debate we agreed to go back to her place. It was central and she lived alone. She had a small apartment, with a kitchen and combined living and bedroom. She offered me a drink. Excellent. I hope you have wine. “Water? Or a cup of tea?” she asked.

“No. I’m alright thanks.”

We did a bit of necking on the sofa. Then – and this was probably my only opportunity to physically be able to do this – I picked her up and chucked her on the bed.” I couldn’t suppress the laughter any more.

Afterwards I immediately got up to straighten out my suit for tomorrow. “Are you leaving already?” she timidly inquired. “No, I just don’t want my suit to get creased.” I’m not going anywhere. Yet.

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