Dating in Dublin …and sometimes elsewhere!

Sometimes I have really bad judgement. Ok, it’s not sometimes, it’s most of the time.

Take this guy I met online, for example. Seemed a nice enough guy, we had some interesting chats, he likes the same stuff I do, same books, same games and TV shows (plus the guy was hot!). He was going away on long vacations, so we decided to go for a date.

He asked if I was into Thai food (I am) and if I was free on Saturday (I was). So it was a deal, he was going to show me this little but wonderful restaurant in Ballsbridge and we would have a great time. Perfect, maybe I would even get to actually kiss someone, finally. Or more. But I wasn’t counting on it. I’d say European men are different, but I may be wrong. I don’t know every nationality yet. Yet.

So we agreed to meet and I was hoping to get lucky. All our conversations were loaded with innuendo, a charming repartee I was hoping would translate as sexual tension in the live version.

The restaurant was a short walk from the DART in Lansdowne Road. Always loved Ballsbridge, such a fancy neighborhood. I’m not fancy at all, but the architecture is just wonderful to my eyes.  There was no rain that day and the winds were calm, so my flowy dark purple dress was not flying all over. I felt hot and irresistible.

When I approached the place I didn’t see him in front, but given the cold, I decided to wait inside. I then realized this was no small Thai restaurant. It was big and fancy, and completely full. At least I was dressed for it.

Someone called me and I looked. It was him, guy from internet. Took me a moment to realize it was him, because the person standing there was NOTHING like the picture. Did he use his college pics on his profile? Well, the hair was the same. But even the face was different. I wonder if people use photoshop for random online dating profile photos these days…

“Hi… John?” (let’s say his name was John, for the sake of nome calling him guy from the internet all the time)

“Hey, how are you? We have a reservation, they’ll call us in a minute.” Nice, a guy who actually can plan ahead. Not too bad, even if he doesn’t look like the picture. He’s good looking, just not the guy on the pic.

We sat at the bar and I noted to him how busy it was and how loud as well. It was a fancy, but not the sort of couple’s place, and given the holidays, you could see that half of the tables were filled with groups doing end of the year work things. Not sure if people here do Secret Santa as well, but that’s a guaranteed way of ruining the meal for everyone else in a restaurant, with the noise and everything.

We got the menus and he gave me some tips. Apparently, he was friends with the owner and had been there several times. So I’m not the first date he takes there, huh. That was my first thought. I was going to voice it, but then again, why ruin it so early in the night?

So far, so good. He gave me some ideas of nice dishes he had tried, we ordered a bottle of wine and in a few minutes our table was ready. We sat, and started removing our coats. Here in Dublin you need at least two of them, sometimes more. Once we were properly sitting I noticed what he had on: a company shirt. A black shirt, with his company’s logo embroidered on the pocket. A work shirt? Seriously? I dressed up for this? These small things really get me worked up. At least put on a shirt that doesn’t look like your work uniform, come on. I never wear dresses, I don’t go to work like this, I went into the trouble of even wearing heels for this. I expect the other person to make a similar effort. Call me superficial if you want, but if you invite me to a fancy restaurant, dress for the occasion. Men, take note. If you’re going on a date right after work and can’t stop at home to change, take a fresh shirt with you, some nice shoes, show that you care. You’re supposed to make a good first impression, and a man that knows which clothes are appropriate to each occasion goes a long way.

I had to say something. I could not go through the whole night without asking. So I did.

“You have shirts from your company.” I pointed at the logo.

“Yeah, isn’t it amazing? They gave us a lot of shirts a while ago, so I hardly ever have to buy clothes. Such a money saver.”

Saving money is a great idea. I am very careful with my finances, because one: I hate being in debt, and two: I hate owing people money. But I buy my own clothes, even if my company would give me some, I don’t want to be a walking billboard. Especially on a date.

I may be sounding like a complete idiot to some people out there.

Anyway, so I continued from there: “I take it you’re very proud of working there.” It’s a good thing that people love their work, I like it. Spin to the positive. I learned this at work.

“No, it’s just a job you know? They pay me a lot of money, I obviously like this part. But I don’t like it, but it’s hard to find someone with my expertise, so they’ll pay as much as I ask. Not a lot of people in Dublin who can code like me.”

Trying hard not to judge, let’s move on.

“That’s nice. What do you do in your spare time, if you’re not into your job?”

“Well, I travel a lot.”

Now we were getting somewhere. The guy liked to travel, liked to explore. And so did I. We already knew we had stuff in common, but it was normal stuff: books, TV shows, etc. When it comes to travel you have two basic types: the traveller and the tourist. I could not bear to date another tourist. My last serious boyfriend was one of those and that made things really difficult.

“Cool, I love travelling too. I once went to Greece for the Olympics…”

“Oh, I’ve been to so many incredible places it’s hard to pick. Every year I go to a small beach near <name of a city in Laos>, where I end up every New Year’s eve.”

He kept on describing the beach, and how everything there was so incredibly cheap that some of his friends moved there for an early retirement. And how he had found the most amazing places. And how all his friends always commented on how he was the best at finding amazing places. And how he was always very well regarded by everyone there as one of the most adventurous guys, because he would take a small boat into the sea no matter what. And how there he was considered very good looking, because he was blonde and had green eyes, and there were so many women from the region who were always after him, and still he was here with me in Dublin. Wasn’t that lucky?

Then it dawned on me. He was a topper. I was out on a date with a topper. Not matter how I tried, I could not get a word edgewise.

A topper, if you’re unfamiliar, and have never read any Dilbert comics, is someone who, no matter what you say, has done it better than you. He’ll top you.

Boss - Dilbert, meet Topper. He's amazing. No matter what you say about yourself, he'll top it. Dilbert - How are you? Topper - I can't go first. It ruins my system.

So there, none of this came out when we were talking online. Not the slightest impression of Topper-related behavior. And I have dealt with this before, I have been through my share of toppers in life. You think I’d be able to recognize one.

There was no stopping the guy. Whenever I could say something, I was rudely interrupted by his story, which was way better than mine, of course. Way more dangerous, and way more absurd. At some point I was sure he would end up telling me he had tea with the Queen in a wet bar in Bora Bora.

By the half of the first wine bottle I knew I’d need to drink more to endure the night. The food was delicious and the restaurant was amazing, and the loud noise actually ended up helping not have to pay attention the whole time. At some point, I just start talking and pretended I didn’t know he hadn’t finished saying something yet.

When the meal was over, after dessert and everything (can’t say no to dessert, no matter the situation), I offered vehemently to split the bill. He refused and wouldn’t even let me look at the bill. Said I “could get it next time”. Exactly what I was afraid of. I hate to owe people money, and this kind of situation just eats into my brain until I settle it.

For me it was obvious that nothing was EVER happening. For him, the date seemed like a very successful endeavour. So he leaned in to see if anything would happen. Oh, dude, so not happening… I said I had an early meeting and needed to go home, and that, hey, it was nice, maybe we’ll do it again. Slowly increased the space between us until I was out of range of his lips. I’m not that desperate. Can you imagine this guy in bed, trying to outdo you? You had an orgasm? That’s nothing, I once made a girl reach three orgasms. At the same time. Oh, the nightmare…

He said he’d walk with me up to a point because he was meeting with friends. Yes, make it clear that, if I won’t take you home with me, you’ve got better things to do. I just wanted to get away from there.

The worst part is that he’s still going after me all the time. He either is really unaware of how bad it was or thinks that he may win me over through sheer exhaustion. And the worst worst part is that the other day I was so bored at home that I actually considered calling him.

But then I found a bottle of wine and some popcorn and all was under control again.

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