We’re brave like Vikings in this new dating world.
Brave enough to put six photos out into the world for all the eligible singletons (and friends peering over shoulders) to see.
Brave enough to make the first move: a shy “hey” or an outright invitation to bed, half-hidden in a joke moulded from scraps of information gleaned from reading and re-reading a four line bio.
Brave enough to empty our bank accounts on five pound forty pints and lip-numblingly cool rooftop cocktails, buying Battersea brunches and Shoreditch street feasts, tickets to pop-up exhibitions and crazier golf rounds as spontaneous evenings spiral towards second dates. Brave enough to put it on the credit card, close our eyes and think of the reward points, knowing we’ll be eating beans on toast til payday.
Brave enough to lean in for a kiss, steal a last glance back as they slide into an Uber, slip a soft invitation for late night tea into the air as the bell clangs for last orders.
Brave enough to book dinner reservations two weeks in advance; extend invites to parties full of friends she hasn’t met yet; fend off questions from those same friends about when ‘seeing someone’ fades into ‘couple’ status; book flights and hotel rooms and gig tickets and while away client meetings fervently texting him under the table.
But at some point we become cowards.
We falter when we question our commitment to or interest in continuing forwards. We aren’t brave enough to speak or call or hug or text or even risk bumping into them on the 8.14 tube we know they always take to work because we took it too, tumbling into each other around a germ-ridden pole after three hours’ sleep and a few sips of that promised tea.
Shields are up and silence holds as the ending begins, pierced only by the heavy beep of a painstakingly polite message from the one who can’t bear not to know: “Still fancy seeing that exhibition on Thursday?”. “Want to go on a second a date, be friends or not speak again?”. “Hey, so shall we rearrange again or should I be taking the hint that you’d rather not see me again?”
Why can’t we be bravest at the end, safely enveloped in the knowledge that we’ll never see them again?