‘I don’t watch Bollywood’ he says casually, as we approach the traffic lights at the Redbridge roundabout. ‘But… the only way I could be convinced, is with a blowjob’ he adds, with a hint of mischief. My insular cortex registers my immediate disgust, and my upper lip begins to curl in response to the mental image of his miniscule, circumcised penis. Almost immediately, I’m distracted by the sun. Streaming golden through the windscreen, the soft rays of sunlight land gently upon his heavily discoloured teeth. A wave of nausea washes over me, as I realise that the yellow biofilm of dental plaque making sweet love to his chisel-shaped front teeth, resembles one of Britain’s favourite cinema snacks – Butterkist sweet popcorn.
‘…and what exactly did you think he would want from you, if not a shag?!’ screams the mean girl living in my head. ‘Seriously woman?! Who the fuck goes on a road trip for a first date with a stranger from Tinder?!’ she demands. Oh. Shit… I think, as the penny finally drops that I could be in trouble… is it too late to jump out of the moving vehicle?
It’s not long after Harry’s first departure (see here), and I’m running low on oxytocin. I’m back on dating apps, but quite frankly, it’s a shit storm. This time, Muzmatch, the ‘halal’ dating app for Muslims seems to be the worst offender. Amongst Britain’s finest, I find: my married neighbour, falsely claiming to be a single man looking for a wife; 61-year-old bucktooth Bilal fantasising of giving me ‘the champagne lifestyle’; another neighbour claiming to have won the sperm race 15 years later than he actually did; and, of course, the various ‘pious’ men with usernames such as Bismillah (in the name of God) that are more interested in knowing the size of my bra than completing ‘half their deen’. Now, I’m not saying that every man on Muzmatch should have been swallowed, but if these men are the prize at the end of the race, you’ll find me walking backwards.
Fed up with Muzmatch, I join Tinder. Let’s just say, it’s somewhat different. I’m fascinated and terrified in equal measure by the bluntness of the bios. Here, you’ll find everything from 50 Shades of Daddy Doms to Booty-Call Benjamins. As I battle my way through the sea of STDs, I stumble upon a seemingly ordinary profile. I pause. I hesitate. I swipe right.
It’s a match. ‘Great, another Brown boy, just what we need’ says the mean girl in my head. Adam is quick off the mark and before I know it, I’ve spent over an hour chatting with him about a Route 66 road trip across the US. ‘It’s 2am, I should sleep’ I finally say, as my eyes begin to strain. ‘Sure. Would you like to meet for a coffee soon?’ he responds. ‘For the love of God – please no coffee dates. I’m so bored of them’ I whine. ‘What would you prefer?’ he enquires. ‘I don’t know. Something fun. Adventurous! A crazy road trip with a stranger! Omg Imagine being stuck on a road trip with someone you don’t like!’ I say, suddenly bursting with crazy ideas.
‘A road trip??? Are you sure? I’ll do it – but where?’ he shoots back. ‘Ooh, an adventurous Brown man – I like! I don’t know where. Not too far out. One night away max, in separate rooms of course’ I clarify, before he gets ideas. ‘How about New Forest? they have a really nice spa hotel’ he suggests. I quickly google search the hotel and I’m sold. ‘Cool, next week?’ I suggest, refusing to back down. ‘Sure’ he replies. ‘Oh, and before you go – here’s the deal. I don’t want to know much about you before we meet. I’m not even going to tell you my name. Let’s make this adventure fully weird!’ I say, as I exit the app for the night.
Over the next few days, Adam insists on a videocall before securing a booking. He’s convinced that I’m catfishing him. Oh, she’s no catfish, she’s just a stupid woman with a death wish mutters the mean girl in my head. ‘No. It’s going to kill the adventure’ I say firmly, refusing to entertain a videocall. Instead, I book my hotel room and tell him that I’m going with or without him. ‘Ok… can I at least have your name so I can ensure the rooms are next to each other?’ he says. I give in, knowing that what he really wants to do is call the hotel to see if I’ve made a reservation, and maybe even run a check on LinkedIn.
It’s Friday morning and I’m all packed and ready to go. As I make my way to our meeting point, I wonder which of my close friends should know about this adventure – you know, just in case he’s a serial killer. I scroll through my WhatsApp list, and quickly realise that they’ll all kill me, so I decide to tell them when I get back… if I get back.
Last warning. This is NOT how we want to die says the voice of reason in my head. Too late, I whisper, as his car pulls up outside my local Costa Coffee shop. He is on the phone as he steps out of his car. OMG he’s a human trafficker, he’s on the phone to finalise the deal! What will they pay for me? I wonder. Shut up will you and let me assess the situation barks the mean girl in my head. ‘Hi’ he whispers, as he opens the boot of his car for me. I place my overnight bag in the boot and step away whilst he finishes up his call. He is at least 5 inches shorter than his claimed 5’11 height – I’m definitely taller than him. My internal Jackie Chan comes to life as I examine his body for weak points. Meh. He’s built like a teaspoon says the mean girl. Let’s dislocate his joints with a round kick to his left knee she volunteers again. Maybe even an elbow strike to his… ‘sorry about that – why don’t you sit in the car and let me grab you a latte. Medium, extra hot yeah?’ he says, interrupting my internal discussions. ‘Oh. Erm… yes, thank you, five sweeteners, please’ I say, quickly shutting down the plan to cause grievous bodily harm.
‘So, tell me, is this the weirdest date you’ve been on?’ I ask, settling in for the three-hour drive. ‘No’ he says, piquing my interest. I raise an eyebrow, to which he responds: ‘so the weirdest one was where I matched a Pakistani lady at 3pm, she messaged me straight away to ask if I wanted to come over to her house. I was there by 4pm, we had sex, and we never spoke again’. I shudder. ‘That’s grim’ I say. ‘Yeah, I know. I wouldn’t do that again though’ he says, clearing fibbing. ‘So, you love Salman Khan and Bollywood?’ he asks. ‘Absolutely’ I beam. Before long, he’s talking about blowjobs again, I assume, trying to figure out if he’ll be getting lucky tonight. ‘Well, I don’t know about a blowjob, but I’d happily slice off your penis and shove it down your gob if you annoy me’ I say, straight-faced, whilst staring at his popcorn teeth. ‘Ooh, you’re a violent one’ he says, as he lets out a nervous laugh.
Having checked into our respective rooms, we head out to a local Italian place for lunch. No longer fixated on blowjobs, he doesn’t seem to be the worst company I’ve had – even if he does chew like a rodent, offers the mean girl in my head. He tells me about his family, his work in finance and talks about wanting to get married to a ‘decent’ Brown girl. ‘Nothing like the woman I once met for a date. She ordered a bottle of Champagne after having a bad day at work – clearly had no Islamic values! You don’t drink do you?’ he asks. I place my cutlery down and pick up my napkin, slowly blotting my paper-thin lips. ‘No… though, I’d say your 4pm shag doesn’t sound very Islamic either’ I point out, in a measured tone. ‘Fair enough, good point’ he says, changing the topic swiftly.
‘So, do you have savings?’ he asks. I look momentarily confused. ‘It’s so important to have savings and be financially careful’ he continues. I laugh, ‘Erm… don’t tell me you’re a Guju? All that money talk!’ I say, somewhat uncomfortable discussing my finances with a stranger. ‘Yeah – what about you?’ he asks. ‘Punjabi – we have big hearts and spend freely’ I say, no doubt, giving him palpitations.
As we finish our meals, the waitress brings the bill and places it in front of him. I notice him shift uncomfortably as she asks whether he needs the card machine. ‘Yes please’ I say, cutting through the awkward silence and reaching for the bill. ‘You drove, so I’ll get this’ I say, as I politely smile at the waitress. ‘You sure?’ he asks, no doubt hoping I won’t change my mind.
‘So, what next?’ he asks, as we leave the restaurant. ‘Did you bring a bikini? Maybe we can hit the jacuzzi?’. ‘Bikini…’ I laugh… ‘No’. ‘Oh, that’s a shame…’ he says. ‘Maybe you can wear my t-shirt… or if you’d prefer, we can take a walk in the forest?’ he says, as an afterthought.
Well, you called this an adventure, didn’t you? Taunts the mean girl in my head. What’s it going to be then? Murdered in a forest in the middle of nowhere or sitting in jacuzzi with his dirt, oil and microscopic particles waiting to assault your open pores??
What would I choose? Stay tuned to find out.
Until next time…
The Accidental Lawyer