UninTindered Consequences: Act II

Arriving at the bar early, I request a table on the terrace.
“There’s a £25 per person minimum spend,” the waitress said. “Which is equivalent to about two drinks each.”
“Ok,” I say, thinking that I’ll ask Freddy when he arrives what he thinks as it’s so much more pleasant on the terrace than inside. Settling down next to the seated bronze Churchill statue, I wait. A couple of minutes later I spot Freddy arriving: he’s sporting a beard – maybe in an effort to look older – and the toff uniform of brown cords, long sleeved shirt, houndstooth jacket and knitted tie. He looks sweet. His face lights up when he spots me.
We greet each other. He sits next to me – a good sign.
“So are you French or Spanish or…”
“Neither,” he says, looking confused. “Why did you think…”
“It’s the first thing on your profile: French/ Spanish.”
“Is it?” He looks puzzled. And about 16.
“Show you,” I say, opening Tinder on my phone, “Look, here: French/ Spanish. Doctor.”
“Oh, I see. Sorry. I’m from North Yorkshire: I just like the Mediterranean. Lived in Paris for 18 months and Spain for a bit. Sorry.”
“Oh. Ok. What sort of doctor are you?” I start again – seems uncontroversial.
“Well I’m just training at the moment,” he says. “So I’m doing orthopaedics at the moment and then next week it’s A & E at a different hospital which I’m a bit nervous about.” He pushes a clump of bright blond hair out of his eyes.
Of course, I think. He’s 26. He’s just starting out.
“What do you think you want to specialise in?” I ask.
“Maybe orthopaedics,” he says. “The people are really happy when they get their new parts.”
Trying to push my own Orthopaedics experience at the wig department during chemo to the back of my mind, I smile. Will he notice I’m wearing a wig, I wonder. Sometimes it gets itchy and I fiddle with it. Must try not to.
“So, you must like younger boys?” He says.
“Sometimes,” I say, resisting the impulse to say “actually you are a bit old for me.”
“Good. I like older women. I always have a more relaxed time with them.” Cue Cheeky schoolboy smile.
We chat. Time passes. Conversation flows easily. We order a second drink: I have another Clementine Churchill Champagne cocktail: champagne and some other things, I forget. He tells me he was in the cathedral school choir and then got a choral scholarship to Uppingham. He is adorable. He tells me about his horse and his four cats and flying planes. We seem to have plenty to talk about and suddenly it is 8pm and he has to go.
Freddy asks for and pays the bill (phew, good sign etc). We get up. He puts his arm round me and says “we must do this again.”
“I would like that,” I say.
Leaving the bar via the loo – of course, I sit on the sofa in the hallway to wait for Freddy. He sits next to me and then I don’t know how it happens but we are in a teenage-style embrace, snogging, and I break away from him – this is not appropriate behaviour – get to my feet and head for the exit.
“I’m not a teenager,” I say.
“I’m terribly, awfully sorry,” Freddy says, almost running to keep up with me as we head towards Baker Street.
“I don’t normally behave like that,” I say, ie that is my usual behaviour.
“I’m sure you don’t,” Freddy says.
Argh, I have to put this in my blog, I think. My family are going to read it. I realise that the assumed protective factors of scars all over my body, a fake boob which is half a melon sewn to my front, a cheap acrylic wig and so on crumble away when faced with the smallest amount of male attention and flattery. We say goodbye at the station and I jump on the tube. Must try harder, I think. Must put self away and so on. And yet, at the same time, I am smiling inside. We had a great time. I’m sure that he likes me, I think as the tube train rattles along the track.

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