Sunday, November 21, 2004

Looking for love on the Trade & Exchange?

I'm going to tell you about a blind date I went on. It was years ago, well before my boy was even a newly-minted immigrant.

There was this friend-of-a-friend, quite a bit younger than me, who was keen to meet someone. I wasn't averse to meeting someone nice either, although putting an ad in the local buy'n'sell newspaper wasn't how I'd hoped to do that. She wore me down though, claiming she was far too shy to advertise alone - too shy, in fact, to even ring up and place an ad at all.

This was possibly one of those times when I could have said "No".

I agreed to put in an ad for both of us, in the Trade & Exchange. The request was for two attractive men aged between 25 and 35 to meet two attractive women in the same age group. There was other stuff of course, to suggest that we were also highly intelligent, interesting and more than slightly sexy.

My friend was hoping for replies from men in their twenties, and - despite the fact that I was about 34 - so was I (this preference comes from experience - men my age seemed to let themselves go and get boring). I was a little disappointed that all the younger men who rang to leave messages, asked for my young friend; the men who wanted to talk to me were in their forties.

Eventually I called someone back, only because he had a nice voice. I don't remember his name, so I'll call him Lonely of Featherston. I let it pass when he told me he was single because his wife of twelve years had run off with another bloke. Then a little alarm bell went off when he mentioned that he liked Celine Dion. I silently chided myself for being so shallow. We talked further - he made leather jeans for a hobby, which he sold to friends. A strange hobby, I thought, but once again I let it go.

My friend had already selected a candidate to meet with at the pub the following Friday, so I took a gamble and arranged to meet Lonely of Featherston at the same time and place. That's when he said he hoped I didn't mind all-over tattoos, and that I would be able to identify him by his shirt with the large red dragon logo on it. By this time I felt I couldn't really back out without seeming rude (now I'm older I realise it's okay to be rude if you really need to).

I met him at the pub on the Friday. He was a skinny white guy in his late thirties, wearing leather-covered jeans and a shiny shirt with the promised dragon design. I lasted five minutes before I made a really feeble excuse and left the table.

Now, if it had turned out that he looked like Samantha's boyfriend from Sex and the City, I probably would've stuck around - at least until he brought up Celine Dion again.

p.s. My friend's blind date ended up meeting and falling into unrequited love with our mutual friend.

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