Once upon a time I went on dates.
I’ve always struggled with word date. It sounds so formal, and formality and I don’t mix. Let’s just go with – once upon a time I went for dinner with men who made me laugh, were vaguely attractive and were willing to pick up the bill.
One of these vaguely attractive men was a work colleague and, despite all the warnings not to mix business with pleasure, I agreed to go to dinner with him.
It was a great dinner, nothing stiff (if you pardon the pun) or formal and snoozy. He had arranged for us to go to a Jamie Oliver joint in Clapham where you cook your own dinner under instruction from a chef infinitely more skilled than you, then sit down in a group to eat it together and coo over your creations.
Up on the menu that night was veggie risotto, nothing too strenuous.
By some miracle, all went smoothly in the kitchen. In went the onions, the stock, mountains of Parmesan bla bla bla. It tasted pretty good and I felt proud that I had proved myself as a domestic goddess. Wife material? Yeah, pretty much. First date tick.
My date and I ate, we laughed, we ate some more, and then we left to walk to a nearby pub. Back then I bothered to wear heels out, so off I sashayed, feeling like superwoman.
All was going so well, until I was suddenly doubled over in pain, clinging to a bus stop sign, feeling as though a crossbow had been fired through my stomach. I’m gonna put it out there, I have IBS. I use the abbreviated version rather than the full title, because it avoids me having to say bowel. Well, there you go, I said it. Everybody, worldwide web, I have irritable bowel syndrome.
Now, on a date, that’s not something you want to be talking about. But, the pain was so unbearable that I couldn’t even stand straight to walk. There was no hiding something was very wrong.
In those moments, the only thing to do is let out a fart. Like a HUGE fart. Don’t worry, I didn’t…at that moment anyway.
My date, as caring as he was, didn’t really help the situation, when he turned around ON OUR FIRST DATE and asked, “Do you need a poo? Is it trapped wind?”
“Trapped wind?!” I replied, absolutely horrified. “Of course not!”
What on earth was he suggesting? That the perfect woman who had slipped on red stilettos to cook dinner that night was a woman who (in whispered voice)…farts? Implausible!
Instead I told him I had been bitten and needed to go and check it out, in the pub loo. It was the middle of winter and the most plausible thing I could come up with was an insect bite. Way to go, you loser.
I wouldn’t say I sprinted to the pub toilet exactly, but it was definitely running-for-the-bus-and-don’t-want-people-to-think-you’re-running speed.
I don’t need to go into detail about what happened in that toilet, but I can tell you I was fine by the time I came out. The top button of my impossibly skinny jeans did however remain firmly undone for the rest of the night.
As for risotto, I now know the only safe place to eat it is on the toilet.
The saddest part of this windy affair, is that wasn’t the worst first date I ever had. In fact, far from it. Speaks volumes really, doesn’t it?