To explain how I came away from a first date with Mr Bingo, a guy who made a rap video about sending abusive postcards to strangers feeling like it was pretty nice and normal, I’ll give you a bit of context…..
My First Date
My first ever online date was two years ago. I’d swiped right for his bobble hats, bicycle and love for Berlin. And my original plan, as I had a spare ticket, was to invite him along to a four-hour-long documentary film about the oppression of women in Islam.
When I told my housemate what we were doing she looked at me like I was totally unhinged.
She’d been on a couple of online dates herself and knew that my somewhat naive confidence was about to be obliterated by stomach-churning pre-date nerves… so she absolutely insisted we just go for a good old fashioned drink.
She was so right.
Despite being overly cool about the whole thing during the week leading up to it, about two hours before our date I found myself in the kitchen doing spinnies with a bottle of prosecco, almost keeled over with nausea and very tempted to send a cancellation text.
The Not-So-Great Escape
I came home from that date with a thirty-two page NHS booklet containing a test for autism, signed by the nurse himself and with my ‘results’ clearly referenced in large font on the front page – a classic souvenir you might say.
And apparently I’m 21% autistic for those who are curious.
It was a perfectly pleasant evening (autism test aside), but when I was walking behind him into a final bar, instead of just saying I’m done now I need to go home, I had a moment of panic….
When he wasn’t looking, I literally sprinted into a taxi to avoid what I thought would be an awkward goodbye.
I’m fully aware of how evil this is and I guess we can all agree it’s a pretty accurate score.
THE DESIGNER VAGINA DATE
Then there was another “I’ve got a spare ticket” scenario which I did actually go ahead with…
I took somebody to see You’ve Changed; a one woman soliloquy about her transition from a man to a woman.
We had front row seats to watch this beautiful transgender woman, Katie O’Donnell, get naked for a good fifteen minutes and wiggle about on stage, showcasing her perfect breasts and designer vagina – which I think is essentially an inverted penis.
I guess it’s no surprise I didn’t get a second date.
Dating 101 in reverse
I’ve only put a handful of other creatures through the bizarre and sometimes agonising experience, but the rest have been relatively ‘normal’ in terms of activities. My behaviour, however, usually leaves friends in physical pain from cringing.
There has never been a single occasion where I haven’t done an awkward kiss-hug-curtsy greeting, split my dress past the bum crack, knocked an entire table of glasses over, dribbled down my chin or spat my drink on them laughing.
I’ve been known to share somebody’s entire previous year’s Valentine’s Day photo album on Facebook, which his ex-girlfriend and at least one of our 80 mutual friends must have seen.
Then recently a new guy joined our team from another department and I remembered I’d seen him on the dating apps a while ago. I dug out screenshot I’d taken of his profile – a close up of his face which took up the entire screen of my Samsung s7 – and just as I was showing it to one of my Tier One Colleagues, he walked behind me and saw it. I had to have an extremely awkward lunchtime conversation explaining why I’d had a photo of him on my phone for EIGHTEEN MONTHS.
And finally, more recently, after not hearing from a guy for less than twenty-four hours, which is perfectly acceptable, he messaged to ask how my weekend was. Within a nanosecond, I text my friends saying “yesssss, he’s just messaged me saying how was your weekend!!!“.
Except I didn’t send it to my friends did I, I sent it to him.
Have a Good Time
Anyway, apart from saying “eggs are like chicken periods“, which is a pretty gross thing to say on a first date, especially when you’re both eating eggs…I managed to behave myself for Mr Bingo.
Sat waiting for him at the bar at Caravan, near London Bridge, I was barely able to pick up my Good Morning Gin due to the pre-date shakes.
I had planned on keeping with our dress like a tosser theme by wearing my floor length gold sequin gown, which tends to provoke pantomime-style “it’s behind you” heckles from strangers, but given the thirty degrees heat, I opted for a pretty little frock.
He rocked up on his bicycle, dressed perfectly tossery in his Hawaiin shorts, ankle socks and a T-shirt that said “HAVE A GOOD TIME”. All positive and summery, I loved it. And actually… we did have a good time.
The real life experience with Mr Bingo was quite different to what I’d expected. His Hate Mail postcards contain a lot of swear words and his on-stage presence at Tedx Liverpool was very hyped and fast-paced. The real life version is much more calm and I don’t think he said the F word once.
Bingo doesn’t put himself through the torture of online dating; he meets plenty of people in real life and also receives applications via email and social media from odd people like me. I was intrigued to learn more about his journey to becoming an Artist, Speaker and Twat,
He basically gets paid to tour the world to talk about doing what he loves, and the rest of his time is spent actually doing what he loves.
I felt inspired.
So engrossed in conversation, we took a good forty-five minutes before even checking out the menu. We meandered through a series of deep and interesting topics with plenty of splashes of silliness; from making your career something you love, to the law of attraction, to marriage, to atheism, anti-theism and religion, to books and our mutual love for solo wandering. It turns out we actually have loads in common and quite a few similar views on life stuff.
A very interesting character and actually, just a really lovely human…..I’ll definitely be dialling up Bingo next time I’m in the capital.
Another Hero duly added to the list.