DATING DIARY: COFFEE SHOPS

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye” H Jackson Brown

I sat in the coffee shop trying to finish a novel. It was one of those coffee shops where each square metre is utilized, ie – I’m sitting far too close to the couple next to me and I can’t concentrate on one god damn word in the book I’m reading. But I find myself more enthralled by the scene being played out in front of me. So it’s ok.

The young woman, mirrored that of an Arabian princess, she had the luck of long black hair combined with striking features. The man, perhaps twenty years her senior, might have used a whole tin of Dax Wax that morning to mould his balding hair into a tiny little pony tail. Each hair slickly held in place. I was intrigued by the match. And thought the same as I did when Kate Moss started dating Pete Doherty. What the fuck was she doing?

I sat trying to concentrate on my book.

I started to curse the lack of space in the café as I could hear the man fluffing his male feathers at the table…“When I walk into the room.. I know I am the best! I look around and I think. Yes.. everyone is beneath me!”. It was a declaration of ‘I love myself’ from a position of arrogance. “Now! I must go for a cigarette” I heard him announce. And he got up and left the table.

An uncomfortable silence filled the air as I tried to appear as if I was lost deep in words. I looked up from my page and the girl smiled at me. I smiled back and before I knew it the words… “Sorry but… punching above his weight isn’t he?” fell out of my mouth. Really. Not. My place.

She started to laugh. “My friend thinks I should date ugly men.”

She got her phone out of her purse and showed me a picture of a half naked man, his ripped torso taking up most of the frame. “This is my ex. He was gorgeous but I could never trust him. He was a dancer and always cheating on me… so I thought I’d try… well you know. We just split up.”

Oh. So it was about control? “Oh”. I replied.

“He’s fit don’t you think?” she asked. “Yeah.. he’s good looking” I shrugged. Impressed. At the torso. “Obviously took a lot of work to cultivate that” I acknowledged.

Her date came back to the table, and she shoved her phone quickly back into her purse. We shared a smirk. “Hi, Becki” I introduced myself to her date, now feeling quite guilty.

“Hello! I am Antonio!” he said “Nice to meet you!” he smiled a wide smile.. his yellow teeth glimmering through. He looked from me to the girl. To me. ‘It’s not all about looks Becki don’t be so shallow’ I scolded myself picking up my book – recognising my cue.

I reflected back to a time I had a date with a guy… “I went to Richard Branson’s rooftop gardens last night” he had uttered in conversation “As soon as I got there I thought woah – these girls are out of my league!!!!” he’d laughed.

“Excuse me?” I had replied… “you think… I’m in your league?” I had half mocked.

I had left pondering what being in his league and out of theirs actually meant. A situation which sent him into stumbling blocks and me into a confused mental state of ‘why do we have to have league tables? What does this league table mean? Why do we have to play these weird league games? I suppose this is what the mating game is all about right…’…

I looked back at the Arabian princess as I gathered my things. I wondered whether it was naïve, and perhaps contradictory to assume that potential mates should be “accepted any way they are”. And attraction… well it is also very personal.

“Er…so you want to come back to mine for some…. ?” I could hear him hurriedly asking her. And I left hoping that she would soon meet a fitting match.

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