My heart sinks as I look at my reflection in the mirror… “why the fuck do you look so shit?” I scold myself, as I wipe away the eyeliner that had escaped my eyes. I stick my face under the hand dryer in a lame attempt to warm up my bright red Rudolph nose. “Right, game face on bitch, you’ve got this.. if all else fails, just scare him”
If you missed Part I, catch up here.
I’d developed a bit of an obsession with sweet ‘karak’ tea in Qatar, and the smooth bastard located the Chapatti and Karak branch in Knightsbridge and suggested meeting there for tea.
In the days running up to our meeting, we continued chatting over LinkedIn. I quite liked that we hadn’t exchanged numbers yet. Weirdly, I was really looking forward to meeting this gora (White guy).
A few nights before we met, he sent me what he described as a “kind of a gay selfie” he’d taken after a drink.. Fuck right off Harry, that is so not you!! I thought, as I sat down to analyse every last pixel of this grayscale image that had landed in my Linkey inbox. Harry not only looked good, he looked extremely fucking hot. I’m talking Bradley Cooper type hotness – who by the way looks very much like our Bollywood hunk Hritek Roshan, don’t you think?! Yum! Anyway, where the hell was the posh boy with the grandad flattened hair?! The evidence in whole before me suggested that Harry was a nice guy – so naturally he ought to have a face like Shrek. My lawyer brain simply couldn’t handle the mind fuck and so I convinced myself that he’d look nothing like that in person. I mean really, what was this a Disney princess movie?!
I warned Harry before we met that I was directionally challenged, so I would try to leave early to allow myself sufficient time to get lost. He said that he was staying close to the station and if I wanted, I could meet him there and we could walk down together. Hmm… I immediately became suspicious and my imagination started running wild. Maybe all the charm was an act and he was in fact a serial killer!! How would I escape? Would my death stare be enough to scare him? Would that flying kick I was so convinced that I was capable of actually materialise?! I wasn’t sure a karak tea was worth dying over, so I said I’d meet him directly at the tea shop, just in case that flying kick of mine failed me.
On the morning of our meeting, it suddenly occurred to me – was this a date or was it two professionals simply meeting for a tea and a chat? The lines were slightly blurred so I decided to dress safe, and wear a black casual dress that didn’t shout ‘too much effort’. As if the same thoughts were going through his head, by 3pm I started receiving several messages – “so, is this a date then?” said the first. I laughed. Well, at least he was being honest and not playing it cool like I was. “I guess so?” I replied. “How am I allowed to greet you?” he enquired. I wondered why he asked, was it because I was Muslim and he was afraid I’d slap him if he went in for a kiss, hug or handshake? Or did he think my dad would be following me with an axe? I sent him a Youtube video of an Indian touching the feet of an elder person and said that was my preferred way of being greeted. He laughed and pointed out that he was my senior. Instead, he told me that he planned to go in for a single kiss to the cheek.. Why was he sounding nervous? I was convinced that it was because he looked like Shrek in real life. I didn’t mind though, Shrek had kind of grown on me.
It was a bitterly cold December night. I parked my car at the station and headed towards the train. I wasn’t at all nervous about meeting Harry, dates didn’t phase me. I was more worried about getting lost and being late. As I came out of the station, I turned on my Google Maps and as expected, started walking in the wrong direction for 7-8 minutes before I realised that the ETA to my destination had increased by several minutes. The cold was getting to me. I could feel that my nose was starting to resemble that of Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer. My eyes were watering, and I could feel that I was starting to look a real mess. I hoped he was running late so I could fix myself up before he arrived.
I eventually found the location and made my way in. I had barely caught my breath before the waitress pointed me towards a table with a big smile. How did she know who I was here to see? Of course she knew. The other guests were all Arabs. Harry stood out like a sore thumb. With a blurred vision I approached him as he stood up to greet me, a kiss on the cheek, just as he had planned. “Wow, you’re tall” are the only words that came out of my usually jabbering mouth. He awkwardly thanked me. My head was exploding with internal chatter: no really, how is he so tall? Why does he NOT look like Shrek? Are his lips thinner than mine?! Is that Black he is wearing? Fuck fuck fuck, why do I look like shit?! Is my nose still red? Yes, those lips are definitely thinner than mine. Wait.. did my frozen heart just skip a beat? His eyes… oh his fucking eyes..
I excused myself quicker than a man switching off the porno when his wife walks in. I headed straight for the ladies. I locked myself in and let out a laugh. I looked a real mess, had the damage been done? I started thinking of an action plan as I washed the germs off my hands that I had no doubt picked up on the train. I internally barked orders to myself: Right, eyes and nose. Fix those eyes and warm up your nose. Don’t take too long or he’ll think you’re taking a dump! Once I had managed to release my head from under the hand dryer, I readjusted my poker face. As I made my way out, I was prepared. I would unleash the fiery Leo at the first sign of arrogance and have him running for the hills.
As I walked back eyeing him up suspiciously, Harry looked at me, and said “look, I’m just going to admit, you’ve got me all nervous”. Oh. Well I’m glad he can’t hear my internal chatter. “Just the way I like it” I grinned, making myself comfortable.
“So what does your dad do?” was his opening question. I mean really, who asks that kind of a question on a first date… unless you’re a Brown aunty?! I answered with a straight face, trying not to laugh. He was clearly very nervous. He’d ask a question and cross his arms. Jaw tightly locked, his lips would compress. I watched in fascination as his paper thin lips vanished altogether. He displayed classic signs of defensiveness and anxiety… but why was this beautiful creature so anxious?
He had a Dunchenne smile, one that conveyed a sense of sincerity. His eyes were intense and this made me nervous. This feeling was almost alien to me. I was aware that I had begun fidgeting with my hair, but I hoped that my poker face was still in play.
As our sweet karak tea arrived, he eased up a little. We talked about a lot of random things. He mentioned in passing that his retired parents had sold up and lived on a boat. I instinctively felt a little sad for them. I imagined an elderly couple struggling to pay their bills so felt they would sell their moderately sized house and downgrade to a ‘Rosy and Jim’ type boat. I hoped that they had decent showering facilities at least, as hygiene was important.
The topic moved on to alcohol. I told him that growing up I didn’t drink for religious reasons, but as an adult it was out of choice. I was a bit of rule-breaker, so would take sips of alcohol here and there. I soon realised that it was bitter and disgusting and I was quite okay not drinking. Harry tentatively suggested that we go for a drink, and if I wanted, I could take a sip of his drink. Walking into a bar or pub was no longer a problem for me. I’d been plenty of times, and quite happily sat down with a diet coke or red bull, so I agreed.
With eyes widened like a 5 year old in a candy shop, I walked through Knightsbridge eyeing up every shop window for its Christmas display. Harry on the other hand focused on finding a suitable pub or bar. I probably ought to have been a little more focused on this handsome creature, but heck, I loved Christmas and everything about it! Harry I’m afraid, would have to wait until I’d had my moment.
We soon arrived at a pub. Oh boy, it looked grimy. Standing outside, I started wondering if I still had my anti-bacterial cleaning wipes in my bag. As though he had read my mind, deciding the place was not suitable, Harry said “no, I wouldn’t do that to you”. God definitely created this man on a Sunday. Instead, we went for a long walk and he eventually walked me to the station where we hugged and parted ways..
As far as first dates go… I think that would pass as kind of okay… right?
Would I see him again? Would I break my maximum 3 dates rule? Or would this all go tits up? Stay tuned to find out what happened next..
The Accidental Lawyer