“So, um, well, this is our third date,” I say to MediaChap as we sit in the Iranian/ Turkish restaurant. We’ve taken a side-street off the Edgware Road and ended up in this place because there’s wine.
“Yes, it is,” MediaChap says, taking my hand. The restaurant is dark. Next to us there is a table of middle aged Arab men who smile at me. It’s nice to be among my people.
Cutting a felafel in half, smearing the inside of the pitta with houmous, I push the felafel into the bottom of the pouch and stuff some tabbouleh on top of it.
“So, I guess, I was wondering whether, um, I mean…are we, I mean, do you want me not to go on dates with other people?” I say, then stuff the little sandwich into my mouth and wash it down with the Turkish red wine.
MediaChap’s blue eyes widen in surprise. “Well, of course I’d prefer it if you didn’t go on dates with other people,” he says. “Although, I understand if you feel you need to – I mean my job situation is a bit uncertain at the moment and financially things are in a bit of a muddle, due to things that I won’t bore you with. This year was meant to be the year that I focused on work, you see. And then I met you.”
“Well, obviously you’ll be more attractive to me if you are working,” I say, taking another pitta pocket, smearing baba ganoush inside it, pushing a slice of halloumi in and some more tabbouleh.
“So I might need to go away for work. Over the last few years I’ve travelled abroad for work a fair bit,” he says, pulling a leg off his quail.
“And when you’re abroad…”
“Look: I really like spending time with you, I think you’re amazing,” he says, stroking my hand. “There’s something unique about you. I think we have a great time together.”
“Me too,” I say, sipping my wine.
“Will you be OK if I go away? I feel bad about going: with your health and stuff,” he says, looking concerned.
“Look: I have my other things,” I say. “My office, my writing, the gym, the fluffy monster, my family. Don’t worry about me.”
“I can’t tell you not to see other boys,” he says. “But I don’t want to know any details.”
“Sounds good,” I say…
Had better go: am having dinner in a minute before the play…