For anyone not exactly loving Valentine's Day, let's ALL BATHE in the misery of a bad date that I went on, this special day of love exactly one year ago.
Rory was a guy I'd been dating since September, when we'd snogged at a festival, having been 'friends who flirt' for a number of years. (Ah the sketchy rhetoric of modern romance – all ifs, ishes and inverted commas.)
The snog led to several rendezvous back in London. Including the one that is about to unfold.
I'm waiting in an olde-worlde pub near Farringdon, wearing a leather pencil skirt; the plan is to meet him and then go to see a comedy gig (Note: my idea; my credit card booking).
He arrives and it's good news – I still fancy him (it's been a few weeks). I stand to greet him, looking, I think, sexy but also cute – the cashmere jumper adding a homely spin to the leather. Sexy, I think, and I'm pretending I don't know it. We kiss – just a peck – on the lips and I like it. I also like the fact that his outfit is not too 'fashion', something he has fallen down on before.
It's my round. I ask him what he'd like before bending down to give him a better kiss than before. I'm really getting into this date. I'm really liking him. Yes! Then he says it: "Can we just keep this friendly?".
At this point, when I'm still doing my sexy leather skirt body-rewind after the lingering sexy kiss, the leather skirt suddenly feels wildly out of place. I am wearing a leather skirt, we are flirting, we are kissing, we are not "friendly". Not how he means it anyway. It is also – doh! – Valentine's Day. I am humiliated. It's like when somebody tells you to stop showing off. Or tells you to keep your voice down. I actually want to hurt him.
But the deal is that at all times in modern dating you have to remain calm and cool.
Well, no. Sod that. Not now. Not you. I'm wearing a leather skirt! I bought us tickets to a gig! It's Valentine's Day, you moron!
I sit down, drinkless, then realise – because I am not stupid – that a glass of alcohol would definitely help at this point. Going to the bar will also give me a vital minute to compose myself, gather my thoughts, adjust the irate leather skirt. I know that even though I haven't uttered a word to Rory, my face has already said too much.
"So why did you carry on seeing me?" I ask.
"I was hedging my bets."
Happy Valentine's Day, folks.