1.55 P.M. I am sat in Brian’s car, parked outside the garden centre, awaiting my new date, Derek.
It was my idea for the date to be at the garden centre. A decision that I am now regretting as Derek is a gardener and I struggle with growing watercress.
To secure the date I did tell a small white lie. In my email I told him that I was mad about flowers and plants. The truth is I am useless at gardening and kill off plants as opposed to growing them.
Brian has kindly offered to drop me off and collect me later. He says he worries about me meeting strange men off the Internet in garden centres.
Every so often Brian likes to give me his views on how I should approach life. He enjoys being a father figure to me, as well as my landlord and my ’emotional rock’.
Today’s lecture is all about self-control. He is urging me to have some self-control on this first date and not get carried away with my emotions.
According to him, his wife Patricia possessed a good level of self-control for many months after they started courting.
I promise Brian that I won’t get carried away. I remind him of the following points:
• I am a thirty-something single mother of three kids and not some lovesick teenager.
• The date is at a garden centre and not some nightclub. It’s an alcohol free date – what could happen over a latte and a tray of bulbs?
• I have very high standards when it comes to first dates.
• I am in full control of my emotions.
Brian turns to look out of his window and I can hear him muttering something.
1.58 P.M. Check my first date outfit.
In the end (after 5 clothing changes) I opted for a classic white shirt, a pair of smart blue jeans and some black ballet pumps.
Check my ‘natural looking but heavily made up’ makeup using my diamanté compact mirror.
My red hair looks sleek, shiny and neat. There is not a strand out-of-place.
1.59 P.M. Douse myself with perfume in the car which sends Brian into a huge wheezy coughing fit.
2.01 P.M. Greet Derek outside the Garden Centre .
Enter shock mode – in the dating app photo Derek looked handsome, in real life he is stunning!
Stand with mouth open and shake my head in amazement at the beautiful sight of Derek.
My dating app has come up trumps this time. The expensive subscription fee that sent me overdrawn was worth it.
Marvel at the size of his spade like hands and stare into his dazzling blue eyes.
Love his date outfit, blue and white checked shirt, jeans and smart boots.
Get heady rush from his spicy aftershave.
2.03 P.M. Head for café inside garden centre. Derek doesn’t say much as we stand in the queue.
I order a latte and he orders an espresso.
2.05 P.M. Find table and sit down opposite each other. Silence. Wonder whether Derek is shy?
2.10 P.M. Still staring at each other in silence.
2.20 P.M. He doesn’t talk much.
In view of his amazing looks I make the decision to ignore his lack of conversation making abilities.
Continue to gaze into his dazzling blue eyes.
2.31 P.M. Pay for coffee and wander into the Houseplants section of the garden centre.
2.33 P.M. We are both stood looking at some plants.
I am struggling to think of something intelligent to say. My gardening lie is coming back to haunt me.
All I can manage is a finger point and “colourful!”
Try to remember the name of at least one plant for when we are making couple small talk.
2.35 P.M. Wander into the Trees and Plants section.
Derek remains silent and takes hold of my hand. My body is tingling with excitement. In all my years on this planet I have never walked hand in hand around a garden centre with someone so handsome.
We look like a beautiful couple who share an interest in flowers and stuff but don’t need to talk to each other.
Decide that conversation on a date is overrated and unnecessary.
2.37 P.M. Things develop further by some ornamental trees. After staring at the trees we turn to look at each other. I find myself wanting to kiss him.
We embrace and engage in a kiss on the lips. I am rewarded with an added extra – he runs his large hands through my hair.
I am so glad I practiced kissing the back of my hand before this date.
Derek’s kissing technique is amazing. Gentle and sensual.
Much better than my ex-partner Rob’s ‘washing machine mouth’ kissing approach.
2.39 P.M. Wander into the Ornaments, Pots & Water Features.
Point at some terracotta pots with patterns on them.
Try to think of something intelligent to say about the plants inside them. Words fail me. Give up and enjoy another long kiss with Derek.
As we both surface for air my mind runs through the benefits of marrying someone who doesn’t say much:
1. He will never nag me about the state of the house.
2. He will not bore me with his views on current affairs.
3. He will just concentrate on looking good for me.
4. I can do the talking for the both of us.
2.43 P.M. Get carried away with the idea of having a beautiful and silent husband who enjoys kissing me.
I am now kissing Derek so much that I am starting to feel dizzy, due to a lack of oxygen.
2.44 P.M. Feel hot, flushed and a bit wobbly on my feet. Derek is making me feel like I am a teenager again. I am losing control.
2.45 P.M. Find a bench to sit on, near a large water feature. When Derek is looking the other way I stick my face into the spray from the water feature to cool down.
Wonder how my makeup is doing. Derek hasn’t commented on it. Assume that it survived the kissing and water feature spray.
2.56 P.M. Try to start stimulating conversation with Derek.
“So Derek do you enjoy gardening?”
“Do you live locally?”
“Do you go out much on an evening?”
2.59 P.M. Give up talking. Derek is clearly a man of few words.
Consider the fact that Derek might be only good for one thing.
3.10 P.M. Suggest we get another drink as my lips feel numb after all that kissing.
3.15 P.M. Sit in silence with our respective coffees.
3.17 P.M. Derek speaks. He says “you’re gorgeous!”
In shock at hearing him speak I accidentally tip my coffee cup into my lap.
3.20 P.M. The coffee clean up operation involves a miserable woman from behind the counter and some cloths.
Stare in horror at massive wet patch on the front of my jeans.
3.22 P.M. Phone bleeps. It’s a loving text from Matilda. She hates me for making her spend time with her father and is annoyed he won’t buy her a leather mini skirt.
3.25 P.M. Receive text from Rob (ex-partner) to say that Harry (our son) fell into a tropical fish tank after messing about in his tropical fish shop. Harry’s fine but Rob’s girlfriend has had to go lie down in a darkened room.
3. 27 P.M. Go back into garden centre with huge wet patch on jeans.
Derek’s lack of conversation plays on my mind. Make several attempts to have conversation with Derek. He seems content with just grinning at me and saying ‘yea’.
I am not sure I can date someone who doesn’t talk much or have a laugh with me.
Decide to enjoy what time I have left with Derek. His hands go a bit crazy in my hair.
4.00 P.M. Stagger out of garden centre looking flushed, dishevelled and modelling a bird’s nest hair style plus a large wet patch on my jeans.
Get into Brian’s car and wave goodbye to Derek for the final time.
Turn to smile at Brian, whilst reaching for my phone to text my best mate Shaz.
Brian takes one look at me and groans loudly.
Text to Shaz:
‘Derek is hot to look at but doesn’t say much. He’s a good kisser and that’s it. I want conversation. I won’t be taking things further. Thoughts?”
Text reply from Shaz:
‘Give him my mobile number. He sounds like my perfect man’