We all know that there are rules around dating... but does anyone have the faintest clue what they actually are? I only ask because I have no idea what I'm doing.
Yesterday I went on a second date with Good On Paper Guy. Yes, a second date, despite the fact that I didn't really want to go on the first one. You may assume that when we met for drinks the first time, my reservations were cast aside and the sparks flew. You would be wrong. The date was perfectly nice, but I still didn't fancy him. The reason I went out with him a second time was that he was persistent, and I'm too polite to say no. Having attempted to avoid the situation with a variety of transparent excuses, I eventually bumped into him in the pub on Friday night, where he said "So are you going to let me take you out again?" and I found myself saying "What about lunch?"
Lunch was undeniably lovely. We went to a Michelin starred restaurant and sat outside in the sunshine drinking wine and eating amazing food. He was sweet and entertaining and interesting, and refused to let me pay my share despite the fact the bill came to more than £70. (In fact, there's a good rule for men to look out for - if I'm insistent about paying my share, it's because I don't plan to see you again and don't want to take advantage.) The trouble is, what if he asks me out again? What can I say? Ending a relationship is one thing, but admitting you don't even want to see how things might progress seems really cruel. On the other hand, I'd really rather that I didn't end up marrying him out of politeness.
In other news, Future Husband returned from his holiday with a beautiful framed print he had bought me in an antique shop, and we spent a happy afternoon kissing like teenagers. Meanwhile, we absolutely failed to discuss any elements of what's going on between us, which is odd because we talk about everything, all the time. To further complicate matters, I've spent so much time being indoctrinated by elements of The Rules that I have now developed a phobia of texting or calling a man, even if I have known that man for more than two decades. If you think that sounds mad, it gets worse: I haven't even read The Rules, somehow I've just learned them via osmosis. My loved-up friends think I'm mental, but if a potential date is going to disappear off the face of the earth (as seems to happen to single friends, male and female, with alarming regularity), I'd much rather that he didn't realise I was interested in the first place. Of course if you're genuinely not interested, men will behave like perfect gentlemen, with regular, witty texts and expensive lunches.
If dating is a game, does anyone happen to know how one would go about winning it?