She wrote good mails, did Gemma. She amused me for her lack of textese and tales of her Polish roommate, who stole crisps that didn't belong to her and fiddled with herself openly.
I agreed to meet her, fearing this one could turn into something.
There's 'how wrong can a man be?' and then there was Gemma.
She was late, I was stood outside Tower Records like a spare prick before someone who could, might, be her roved into view. It wasn't her. The pattern repeated itself until she was in front of my face while I was busy composing a Plan B text message, and we headed for Dakota.
She was drinking vodka and white and I was on the pints. This was before the days where I learned a pre-date sup was the way to go, so I was nervous, sweating and dying for a piss.
I left the drinks at the table and headed for the jacks, composed myself and walked back to the table affecting some sort of stupid swagger.
She had half her drink gone in the two minutes it took me to unzip, unleash and unwind.
Fair enough, I figured, she's nervous too. We chatted inanely about weddings and the Polish twat, who liked to masturbate furiously in the presense of hot leg wax.
(No, me neither.)
I was waiting for the ice to break. And waiting. And waiting. I got her in another drink even though I was only half-way through my pint, and waited. Nothing.
As happens with these things, when uncomfortable I try to switch on the funny, but no funny would come. Just her half-smirks and eye rolling, like she couldn't wait to be thrust in the face with a brick.
Christ, I thought, I'll have to get drunk. I'll have to get royally drunk.
The bar again. Me buying the drinks, again. A chaser for me. A 'cunt cocktail' for her.
She had showed up without a jacket, wearing a dark top and trousers that seemed not to allow for a purse or even a Laser card. She was one of those, not even an offer of a gargle for me.
We talked about her family, her dog, her job, her exes, her experiences online. When I reciprocated, the eye-rolling and the distance-into-looking. Bitch.
Four pints and a whiskey in I'd had enough. I pretended my phone was vibrating.
"Sorry, I have to take this."
I turned away but made sure she could still hear me.
"You're what, Ollie.... Sorry, I can't... You're breaking up. OK I have you now.
"So, you're on a fucking disastrous date and you want me to come and save you? Let me think for a sec... Right. See you in twelve minutes at the appointed place."
I ended the call.
"I'm sorry about this. I have to go."
"I know. I heard. Bit of a cunt, aren't you?"
"I try to be. Enjoy your drink. Here's a tenner."
And I went to meet the lads in Mulligans.