I had this idea for a second book called “25 Dates Before 25” where I would go on… you guessed it, 25 dates before my 25th birthday.
This idea came to me early December 2016. My birthday is 19th February. So I didn’t have long.
But what happened was… SPOILER ALERT: right at the beginning I met someone and fell in love. What are the odds?! Is this a frickin’ rom-com?! I mean it could’ve been if I’d gone through with the project whilst being in denial about my feelings for 2 months. I would’ve had to perform some kind of grand gesture to win him back (which would inevitably take place on my birthday because there’s always an event at the end of a rom-com that the whole film is leading up to). And then a year later the book will be published dedicated to him.
When I met Dan I told him about the book idea and that he could be one of the dates but he’d have to wait 2 months if we were going to date properly. Well…
As you can tell, I didn’t go through with writing this book. I ditched the book idea and pursued love! BUT I did actually start writing it. And I’d completely forgotten about this until the other day when I found the word doc. The thing I find incredible is that I briefly wrote about Dan and it’s so fucking adorable I can’t.
So here it is. I changed/omitted lots of names/details for obvious privacy reasons.
25 Dates Before 25
This is getting ridiculous now. I’m starting to think there’s actually something wrong with me. And I really dislike that cliché of a broken hearted woman crying to her friends saying, “what’s wrong with me? No-one will ever love me!” because obviously that’s bollocks. But I can’t help but think it right now. Throughout all my single ups and downs, shenanigans, heartbreaks and adventures, this is the most hopeless I’ve felt.
I met Jim at a gig and at first thought he was gay (this tends to be a pattern in the guys I fancy, either I think they’re gay or they are gay). I thought Jim was gay because I was introduced to him by my friend Martin who is gay and I just assumed they were together. The three of us chatted a lot that evening steadily getting more drunk and at one point I privately said to Martin, “so you and Jim eh?” and he looked at me completely shocked and said, “what? No! Jim is straight”. Interesting.
So I immediately turned my attention to Jim who is suddenly attractive to me and started flirting. Please don’t ask me how I “started flirting”, I’m not entirely sure either but I think it involves eye contact, some physical touch and giving someone your undivided attention. We kissed, he came back to mine, we didn’t have sex but it was a great evening and I definitely caught some feels. At this point I’d like to remind myself that Jim did mention that evening that he wasn’t looking for anything serious at the moment and wasn’t interested in dating. Obviously I didn’t listen to him because I pursued. Idiot, Hannah.
And so began our short-lived 2 week romance which involved texting constantly, sending each others voice notes, hanging out a bunch, kissing, going to a comedy show together and staying for drinks until it was officially his birthday at midnight, and another sleepover. So despite him saying he didn’t want a relationship, I was getting heavy vibes that he was into me and because I was into him and when you like someone you’re blind to logic I didn’t process what he was saying about relationships. And then came the text. A big long essay about how he doesn’t want anything and he’s sorry for leading me on and hopes that we can be friends.
Thank you Jim, it did clear things up. Until you started texting me constantly again and flirting. And because I have no self-control I’m texting and flirting back. This is where I need friends who will literally snatch my phone out of my hands please. It’s not even specifically about Jim anymore; it’s the pattern. He is the third guy in 6 months to express his “feelings” to me via text-essay. Do I not deserve face-to-face honesty? But more importantly, why are all these men rejecting me?! Okay I just realised how whiney that sounds but this is genuinely how I’m feeling. I’m not hurt by Jim, I barely knew him, I’ll get over it. I just feel hopeless.
I’ve been single since I was 19 years old. The last 5 years I’ve spent in a flurry of situationships. Not relationships. Situationships. The situations vary from casually dating/sleeping together until one of us or both of us get bored to the odd date or one-night stand to catching feels and getting rejected. I’ve pretty much experienced every dating scenario other than a serious relationship. And here’s the thing. I’m terrified that I’m going to blink and another 5 years of situationships with go by and the next thing I know I’m going to be 30 and I won’t have been in a serious relationship since I was a teenager. What if it just never happens for me? I hate to be all Sex and the City and Bridget Jones-esque but this is what is occupying my mind right now.
And so I’ve decided to do something about it. I turn 25 in 2 months time and I’m going to go on 25 dates with 25 different people before my 25th birthday. Not in an attempt to find “the one” exactly, but in an attempt to take dating more seriously, meet some new people and get out of my comfort zone. And maybe somewhere along the way I’ll “find myself” or whatever.
I turn 25 on the 19th February 2017 so I have 8 weeks to fit in 25 dates. I doubt I’ll be going on many dates over Christmas and New Years but let’s just call it 8 weeks for ease. That’s 56 days. That means going on a date every 2.24 days. Yikes. I’m not even sure where I’m going to find these men yet. Online dating has never really agreed with me in the same way that someone might say that olives have never really agreed with them. Not me, I love olives. But I don’t love online dating. I’m going to try and find these 25 dates myself and get my friends to set me up with their friends. On the 1st February if I’m struggling I’ll download Tinder. Fine.
Date 1: was it actually a business meeting?
Name: Matt Wallis
Age: 27ish I think
How did we meet: same gig where I met Jim
Date activity: Drinks
Remember how I thought Jim was gay for most of the evening? Well until I found out he was straight my attention was elsewhere. I got flirting with Mr. Lawyer Man and I thought we were getting on quite well. Although he was mostly asking me questions about my job and my business and who represented me and if I needed a lawyer but if that isn’t flirting I don’t know what is! When everyone was leaving he asked for my details and I said, “for a date or so you can be my lawyer?”. “To be your lawyer”, he said. So I gave him my business email and skipped off. No, literally I skipped down the street.
A couple of days later I get an email from him saying that he’d love to meet up to chat more about “my business”. But instead of suggesting a coffee or lunch which is a normal time to have a meeting with a lawyer, he suggested drinks and to meet outside his office at 7:30pm. That is not business hours. 7:30pm is social hours for sure. So, is this a date? I’ve no idea, probably not. But I have to get through 25 of these so I will damn well count it as one! Even if he was completely unaware we were on a date.
So I met Matt in the heart of Soho outside his fancy lawyer offices. We took a long walk round to this pub because he wanted to smoke first. Instant deal breaker for me. May as well have just left there and then. But I stayed because we had business to talk about. We go to this insanely busy pub, he gets a gin & tonic and I get a pint of lager. Because fuck gender roles. We then stand outside in the cold getting squashed up against the wall by some other people. Super pleasant experience. We then switch things up and go to this bar in the downstairs of a swanky hotel. We get a sofa and a table and order some cocktails. Generally not the type of place that I like to go to on dates but I was very grateful for it after being in the cold outside that pub and might as well have a taste of the lawyer lifestyle when you get the chance. We talked about… business.
He asked me a lot of questions about what I do and how my management works until he came to the conclusion that I didn’t need a lawyer. Cool. Sometimes I really hate talking about my job. I love my job. But I like talking about other things. So I kept trying to steer the conversation and also find out more about him. All I knew about him was that he’s a lawyer. So I asked questions about that and now I realise as I’m typing this that maybe he’s the same as me and doesn’t like talking about his job. Whoops. It was interesting though. Then I tried to get him to talk about himself in other ways but the most I got out of him was that he liked “travel, friends, music and food”. Me too, Matt, me too! There was some light in his eyes when I asked what music he liked and he said very firmly that punk music was the best genre ever and he promised to send me some links.
True to his word, Matt emailed me the next day with links to some songs. One of them was Buzzcocks – Never Fallen in Love With Someone, which is one of my favourite songs! So points there. We had a short back and forth over email and then he said:
“Also, when I have time, I’ll let you know what I think of your poetry ;)”
I’m sorry what? I think I stared at this for a full 10 minutes because I wasn’t sure I read it right. My poetry? I don’t write poetry. Also, when did we talk about poetry? I only had 2 drinks I wasn’t drunk. Also, a winky face! I haven’t replied and I am still very confused.
If I need a lawyer one day, I’ll shoot him an email.
How did we meet: mutual friends
Date activity: various
I’m not counting this as Date 2 because we haven’t actually been on a date. But he’s significant so I have to talk about it. The thing about the moment you decide to embark on an experiment in dating, you meet someone and fall for them a little bit. Or maybe a lot.
Name: Tim Hautekiet
How did we meet: through YouTube 5 years ago, used to date
Date activity: coffee and film
Name: Jake Falk
Occupation: creative marketing
How did we meet: at an industry party over a year ago, used to date
Date activity: dinner and drinks
And that is where my second book ends. [I included the friend-date with Tim because we’re exes and could’ve been interesting to write about, not because it was an actual date].
Date 2 with Jake is what changed the game. We used to date and we decided to meet up for a catch up dinner and I thought “great, I can count this as one of my dates!” But soon into the meal he mentioned his girlfriend. So not a date. But as we were friends I told him about the book idea and my Daniel dilemma. And he just said, “don’t write that book, write a different book”. And that was it. I just needed someone to say it out-loud and give me permission to quit this project I’d started. After he said that I felt this immediate sense of relief like I wasn’t battling with my feelings anymore. I got home and told Dan I wasn’t writing the book anymore.
I hope you enjoyed this ridiculously long blog post, I just thought I’d share this seeing as it will never get published.