My recent bloglessness can be diagnosed as having two principle causes…
The first being a common ailment of the First World – WiFi has been down at Villa Radulj, and the second was rather unexpected….I went and got myself a Holidate.
So, for the past four days I’ve been playing a lead role in my very own Mljet romantic comedy.
If I ever do get my Elizabeth Gilbert moment and my adventures make it to the big screen, I think I ought to be portrayed by an actress who sews together traits of Rebel Wilson and Greta Gerwig.
The cinematography would show the whole experience through my eyes; a dreamy blend of vivid close-ups, scattered over a sunset-sparkling, rose-tinted haze. The soundtrack; mellifluous Dalmatian folk music, a few Pink Martini classics and repeated beats from Ocean Drive by The Lighthouse Family. And, quite oddly, the audio-description setting would be on, providing an unnecessary narration of our every move.
So….we’d matched on Bumble about seven months prior when I was in London for work. He wasn’t my usual type. He’s blonde-haired, blue-eyed, stereotypically good looking, and muscled up. I can’t pretend that wasn’t at least part of the appeal but it was the Amy Winehouse fancy dress costume and the witty one liner that really reeled me in.
The perfect combination of clever, creative and absolute tosser.
He was shortly off to New Zealand to see his brother, then spend two months travelling around South East Asia, and although I may have insinuated it slightly, I didn’t actually live in London. So, with a mutual aversion to smalltalk, we stayed in touch with nothing more than an exchange of sporadic bantz.
It’s hard to present your true self on social media and dating sites, you have just a few photos and a bit of text to put your #salespitch out there and more often than not it doesn’t show the real you. Since I started writing my blog, which I guess shows a few of my more inconspicuous facets, his interest ramped up a level, the conversations deepened, and the next minute we’re upgrading to phone calls.
If fate doesn’t make you laugh, you just don’t get the joke
I have been in long term relationships more or less constantly from the age of fifteen to thirty-two. A lot of people got dating out of their systems in their teens or early twenties, but that wasn’t what I wanted then, and I think it’s only now in my thirties I can handle it.
So when I’d told him I was in Croatia and he flippantly replied “I might join you”… I equally flippantly accepted.
I’m fifty shades darker than my photos, my hair is albino white and I can’t even attempt to put more than a few flicks of mascara on or I look like I’m melting. I can’t book in for a MAC makeover or stick stupid false eyelashes on, I have nothing but a worn out pair of flip flops and some creased dresses to wear. But after a week lost in thought and tonnes of meditation on self-love, this is the most accepting of me I’ve ever been.
So even if he was expecting Vanessa Paradis and got Vanessa Feltz, I didn’t actually care.
He was making his way from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik, catching the ferry to Sobra then hiring a scooter to drive to Kozarica. It’s a little bit more effort for a first date than jumping on the tube or catching an uber.
Meanwhile I was enjoying a sunrise hike over the hills, an early morning swim around the marina and a lazy day at the beach – plenty of time to get my head around the most surreal first date I’ve ever been on.
I headed back to Villa Radulj to get myself ready.
I put on a white strappy summer dress which nicely accentuated my neon orange glow, pinned my hair up in loose holiday curls and plonked myself on the terrace, sipping a glass of wine awaiting his arrival….
The revs of his scooter engine could be heard as he raced down the hills into Kozarica and a few stomach swirls of pre-date nausea kicked in on autopilot.
The initial ten seconds of a first date wring any droplets of confidence you have from your gut like a piece of cloth being slowly pressed between the cylinders of a mangle. But after those first few excruciating seconds, you realise they’re just another dot on the planet and actually, they probably feel just as nervous as you.
Scenes from Take Me Out flittered in and out of my mind’s eye. I’d left my light on and somehow made it to the final round. He’d picked me. I was giddy with excitement and nerves. Paddy McGuinness held our hands in the air and waved us off on our trip to the Isle of Fernando. The cameras were rolling…..
…..and there he was…..
….dressed head to toe in black, taking off his scooter helmet, flicking back his luxuriant wavy blonde hair and walking towards me.