I turned up for the date on time, walked in the pub, saw him chatting to a group of blokes (frankly, it was hard to miss him) and then made my first mistake. What possessed me to greet him with a handshake? This small gesture revealed to the assembled crowd we were perfect strangers on a blind date, so when we sat down, you could see the guys' bar stools on the verge of toppling Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa-like in order to earwig on our fascinating conversation. I resolved to ignore them.
The conversation was easy from the start: amusing, witty, welcome bits of banter. Fat chap was an architect, currently working for a charity (notice this is the second time I've gone for the do-gooder type) and with ex wife baggage all worked through and over. He also talked about his kids with great affection and humour; another plus point. So far, so good. He'd particularly liked my profile because among my interests I'd put that I write a bit. Sounding familiar? And by the way, he had half written children's book...
It was going well though, and he suggested dinner. Fine by me - food is generally the recompense for crap situations, but in this case I really wanted to prolong the evening. As you can imagine, he had a
When pudding came, he said he had something important to tell me. Gulp! Although he had had his own architect's practice, he had in fact been declared bankrupt two years ago and had narrowly missed serving a prison sentence. It seems he and the Inland Revenue failed to agree on one or two teensy weensy - so miniscule you'd have to look for them with a microscope (which they did) - accounting issues. So! Intelligent, cultured, funny, an excellent conversationalist but fat, fundamentally broke and a semi felon. Great. There was a moment's deflation there, but you know me - Pollyanna's doppelganger - I rallied!
But an honest semi-felon! After all, he'd owned up! What a marvellous guy! I wondered if burkhas came in one size fits all and could I possibly find a Barbie version in pink?
When it came to the bill, he insisted he pay, and I let him, planning to return the favour if possible. I couldn't help myself; I really liked him.
By the time I got home there was an effusive email waiting for me inviting me to dinner at his house. Followers, I accepted.