My god, I’ve had another flashback. This time to my university days, way back in 2007. Having all these flashbacks to unsuccessful dates is making me feel self-conscious. I’ve been undateable most of my adult life. If I carry on at this rate, I’ll do a Bridget Jones and be found in my flat, all alone, eaten by Alsatians.
So, I’ve been chatting away to this guy on gaydar. God, I’m showing my age. The days before Grindr entered the gay scene and took promiscuity to a whole new level. His name is Michael and after a fortnight of making small talk, I suggest we meet for a date. He comes over all shy and says he gets nervous of dates. I feel like giving his face a slap. Man up, I go to type but I keep the words inside my head.
He tells me his friends are throwing him a birthday bash in the village, a small bar-cum-dance floor in Soho, for you non-gay readers. He invites me along. Alarm bells should have started ringing at this point, but being the hopeless romantic that I am, I think, f*** it, I’ll go! It should take the nerves out of the first date, I reasoned.
But, as I won’t know anyone, I decide I must take a friend. Cue my university partner in crime and best friend, Thwack. Not her real name but one I coined for her on the first day our eyes met in our history of English lecture.
She’s a little unsure at first but after a gentle arm twisting, literally, (she brings out my viscous side), I persuade her. We decide to get on the night bus which takes us straight into Soho. An eventful bus ride, which still haunts us to this day.
We jump on the 207 on a dark winter’s night and opt to sit upstairs on the double decker beast. A decision we still regret to this day. As we journey through Southall and then Ealing, we are joined on the upper deck by people who I will describe as undesirable. Think Jeremy Kyle participants and you’ll be half way there. They are very loud and like to swear. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like to have a good swear as much as the next person, but they took swearing to a whole new level of Tourette’s.
As they get louder and their Tourette’s seems to get uncontrollable, our eyes widen with fear. We don’t say a word. We don’t have to. We look at each other and I know we are thinking the exact same thing. Are we going to make it to Soho alive? Nervous laughter soon kicks in which whips us into even more of a frenzy. We are holding onto each other’s hands for dear life.
As I see the bus pull into Tottenham Court Road, I jump up from my seat quicker than a fat kid whose had McDonald’s waved in front of his face. I feel like performing fellatio on the bus driver, to show my gratitude for surviving the bus ride alive.
We literally can’t get off the 207 quick enough and before you can say drag queen, we are inside the village, large vodkas in hand. Michael comes to introduce himself. My god, he wasn’t lying about being shy. We have a little dance, share a little lingering kiss and then me and Thwack decide we want another vodka. I kiss Michael and tell him, I’ll be back. Just call me Arnie!
Now, I’m not even joking you, we can’t have been gone more than five minutes, but as we turn around, Michael is nowhere to be seen. For those of you who have frequented the village, you’ll know there’s not many places to hide. We scoured the place, toilets, dance floor, smoking area. He had done a f***ing Houdini on us and vanished…
To be continued…
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Mark David Woollard graduated from Brunel University, West London in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and Journalism. Since then, he has written for many publications as a freelance writer. He has been ‘The Undateable Gay’ for The Gay UK magazine since 2015 where he documents his unsuccessful dating life. He wrote an opinion column for the national Student Times, discussing LGBT issues.
He also writes educational pieces for ‘Massage World’ magazine, giving advice to Reflexologists about treating certain ailments. He authored a novella in 2013 entitled ‘The Fun and Frolics of FIFI a L’Orange’, the crazy adventures of a drag queen.
And is currently working on a series of LGBT books for children and a collection of flash fiction.
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.