I brought the large glass of red wine to my lips and took a big swig. He told another joke, clapped his hands together and smiled.
He didn’t smile at me though, he smiled at my sister. In actual fact, this 25-year-old finance worker wasn’t even aware of my presence; he didn’t know or suspect that the girl drinking on her lonesome at the neighbouring table (me), was in actual fact, the elder sister of his date.
That’s right – my first online date and it wasn’t even mine! I was lurking/stalking and living vicariously through my 20-year-old sibling. Well that and making sure that this man, who she’d met on ‘Match’, wasn’t a modern-day Peter Sutcliffe.
I’d been stealthy in my subterfuge; quickly securing a seat close enough to launch a speedy intervention, and far enough that he wouldn’t notice our facial similarities. I used my copy of The Daily Telegraph as cover, and peered out from behind its pages as subtly as an MI5 undercover agent.
I had the visuals covered and – with all these gesticulations and tipping-of-heads-backward-laughing scenes – it all looked as though it was going swimmingly. In fact during the operation, I was corresponding via mobile phone with my elder sister and my texts read: “God, they’re engrossed and I’m tired.” “It honestly looks like the best first date.”
However, as it turned out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Though I had my visuals covered, I hadn’t had time to set up my audio, and with no bugging, I misread my sister’s genial expressions as enjoyment; not as over-compensation for awkwardness – which they were.
We had arranged for me to come in at 8 p.m for a pre-arranged supper, but so convinced was I that she was having a whale of a time, I left them to it. Afterall, if she wasn’t enjoying herself, then surely she would check her phone to see where I was? In normal circumstances she would have done, but her date had expressed early on his disdain for mobiles at the table…so she didn’t.
I went to pay my bill and leave them to it, (after all my elder sister had replied saying: “I think you can leave them…Give it til half past and text her and go”, and I had) when my sister jumped up and cried: “Oh! There’s my sister! It was lovely to meet you, but I must go for supper now.”
She would tell me the rest of her woeful tale on the journey home.
All in all not the best first date, hopefully mine next week will be more successful.