First Date with Surprise Twinkle

April 3, 2012 § 49 Comments

From yesterday’s Times, as promised!:

It turns out I was not cursed but impatient.  Completely unexpectedly, a man I met at a work dinner contacted me saying how much he had enjoyed meeting me and how he wanted to again.  That buoyed me up a bit for sure. I replied – briefly but friendly – then heard nothing for a few days and I was somewhat cast down.  But – miracles! – he did in fact contact me again and after several nice communications, we met.  Call it a date.

Cool place; sun streaming in.  I wasn’t late but Surprise Twinkle was waiting for me.  He looked very beautiful.  I couldn’t help thinking of the wonderful comedian, Miranda, and how, whenever in her series she spots a good-looking man, she always turns and pulls an hilarious OMG! face.  I only just managed to stop myself doing the same.

He was a sweetheart, even gave me a small present of virtually no monetary value, but a present nonetheless.  I was touched.  We sat and chatted easily, asking each other questions, doing the biographicals.  A far cry from Long Shot.  ST was engaging and normal.  But all the while I was thinking, this cannot be!  Why me?  He must have a girlfriend (or boyfriend?) and, if not, then wonderful women hitting on him all the time.  Later, when I was alone again and the woman in M&S, said “Sorry to keep you waiting,” I apologised to her for being on my mobile.  “No worries, Love, it might have been George Clooney.”  And I thought, Clooney, pah, not a patch!

The parting shot was no more definite than, See you when you’re next in town, only friendlier than that somehow.  It was enough to give me some hope that we might arrange to get together again, but not so friendly as to let me suppose it was a certainty.  I texted him a while later to thank him.  He replied instantly and positively and we continued texting over the course of an hour.  But since then, nothing.

I am left wondering: what was that all about?  Did he make that effort to track me down and travel to see me just because he wants a friend?  Perhaps a drink is just a drink?  But surely, when it is two (I think) single people, that drink is a little more loaded than a beer, say, with my (very happily married) accountant.



§ 49 Responses to First Date with Surprise Twinkle

  • Redbookish says:

    Oooooooo, holding my thumbs for you. And crossing my fingers (makes it difficult to type). Enjoy the feeling.

  • Lizzie says:

    Yep, just enjoy! No impatience, no thinking far too ahead of yourself, just enjoy the delicious ‘does he’ – doesn’t he’ ponderings.
    Easier said than done of course, but promise me you’ll try your hardest!

  • rosie says:

    Sounds like the perfect date, here’s to Date II. Long Shot, who?!

  • Barry says:

    It’s SPRING…..lovely post, I’m so pleased to enjoyed the moment…..more to come I feel .

  • Elle says:

    Delighted for you P, I hope it continues. He sounds lovely.

  • Cindy says:

    It sounded wonderful, however I wouldn’t worry too much about the lack of contact since your texting. I think men also go through with the “will I, won’t I” argument with themselves that women have. You know, when you agonise over whether you should contact him or not, how soon is too soon and all that rubbish. He is probably just trying to play it cool, like you are.

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    I am going to be the devil’s advocate… it could just mean that he is reviewing his options – maybe he has 2-3 women on the go and is trying to decide which one to go for. Or maybe, after the second date he decided not to take it any further. Let me tell you about my recent experience. You may remember that I met someone through a dating website, in February. Although I did not find him remotely attractive, I found him easy to talk to, friendly, we spent a pleasant evening chatting. After that I had a week away, then he did, then it was difficult to find an evening because we are both busy. In the end it was 4-5 weeks before we met again. Well unfortunately the second time we met I found him a bore. Whilst the first time we had seemed to have so many opinions in common, the second time he was just spurting out endless platitudes that seemed plucked out of the Daily Mail. It put me off totally. I was quite bored. Add to that, it took him so long to find a date he could do, that he came across as simply uninterested – he may have tried to play it cool, but he overshot the mark. Anyway, since that evening, I have not contacted him, nor he me.
    Now I really hope this is not the case for you but it could just be that after the second date, he felt you were not “it”. Yes I understand that a drink is loaded between two single people but after all it’s also a way to have a good look at the other person and decide whether to pursue them further.
    Sorry Plankton, I am only playing the Devil’s advocate, I hope for your sake he is just trying to play it cool.
    Once again, as in the past, my suggestion would be if you have a close friend in common, that someone has a word in his ear/tests the ground or organises a dinner or similar – before he has time to find another girlfriend.

  • EmGee says:

    The delayedTimes posts are a wee bit confusing, as you have already intimated here, that since this ‘first date’ occurred, that there has been more contact and a second date is in the offing (if it hasn’t already happened).

    Anyway, with regards to this post, Wonderful news! Congrats

  • june says:

    Well P he hasnt blown you out, so be positive, spring, well im not sure about tomorrow, but hey ho, is in the air, dare to dream.

    Have really missed the blog,think have fallen out with friend who does not want to be a plankton, she ignored my texts which always p……me off, shes only person i know who does it,and as feeling bit down, re no twinkles and my situation, she chimed in on a general comment i made on facebook and i kind of lost it with her. Was on phone this morning to me very frosty telling me i was a selfish cow basically.i found this a bit off as i have always stood b y her in many crisis shes had, but its never been reciprocated, Sure its because i didnt have blog to moan to, so you have been missed,

    But it got me thinking am i being too tied up in this not getting a man stuff, i used to be someone who did things by myself, went on holiday etc, now i seem to do nothing like that, maybe i should start doing it again, after all unlike her ive no man to hold me back,thats her problem, i go out more than her, partner doesent like it, but perhaps i should do more on my own like i used to. Have tax rebate on way so maybe i should book a break, maybe Paris,

    • Joules says:

      Go for it. Vienna is lovely in the spring. Enjoying being with my sister’s family, even when the kids are screaming and not wanting to go to bed.

      Just being somewhere different and seeing new things is great.

    • Margaux says:

      June go for it !!! This sounds like a corner being turned to me…as I keep saying- if you do what you’ve always done , you’ll always get what you’ve already got …time to do something different!
      How about Venice? or Rome?

  • Catherine says:

    Lovely relaxed tone to this post and I can’t help imagining you looked serene in the light. Hold on to this and don’t think too hard xxcat

  • paolo says:

    Sounds like a good first date. He seemed to hit all the right notes. What a contrast to that man-child Long Shot. I think a second date will happen if he’s physically attracted to you. On a scale of one to ten (weighted for age, of course), what is he? And you? If your rating is equal to or greater than his, the odds are decent I know it’s crass and callow, but he is man, after all, and these are the kinds of calculations we men make. Gentlemen, am I correct?

    • zoe says:

      What is “weighted for age, of course”, Paolo? How would you go about that technically-speaking? Just curious.

      • Elle says:

        “Weighted for age” indeed. That’s a lovely concept which would go down very well on theprivateman website. No wonder some women lie about their age, especially when dating overweight men with no hair who don’t take care of their appeareance. Ironically, they are the ones who have the biggest sense of entitlement. Perhaps this is because they don’t realise how much effort it takes to look good.

        Men like Surprise Twinkle probably do put effort into their appearance, know how much work it takes and appreciates a woman who does the same.

        Some men value intelligence and will give it a greater weight to this than youth as long as the woman takes good care of herself.

      • paolo says:

        Here’s the thing: Men admit how important physical appearance is. For some reason, women won’t. Youth — or, at least, a youthful appearance — figures prominently into attractiveness. A fit, great-looking guy in his fifties will not be as good-looking as a similarly-situated guy in his thirties. (Duh.) The calculation is even more severe for women, who generally age worse than men, due to thinner skin and the consequent greater wrinkling. Also, age “hardens” one’s appearance, and men can accommodate that “hardness” more successfully than women. I can’t believe I’m actually having to explain this to anyone. I thought everyone knew this.

      • zoe says:

        Paolo, my question was a technical one. You argue the case for assessing P’s odds by proposing an objective calculation. You want to add a weighting for age. As it’s a calculation, the value of the weighting is obviously crucial. What then is its value? If a woman is a 8 (for her age) and the man who is ten years younger is a 7 (for his age), how does the weighting go? Should we deduct 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5? In your proposal this would make a difference between success or failure for P. Success in two cases, failure in one. And, what if he is like the man I see at the moment who prefers the looks of an older women, finding younger women a little bland. Would the weighting work in the opposite direction for that subset? And what of P’s twinkle? He is younger than her, but does he like her because of her age or despite her age? Gosh. What are we to do with that unknown? Mmmm…Paolo….not sure your calculation is sounding particularly…er…practical.

      • zoe says:

        And, by the way, Paolo, when you find yourself saying “I thought everyone knew this”, sure as eggs is eggs you’re restating conventional ideology rather than observing empirical fact (a bit like your love calculation).

        I suggest you have a look at the pictures in this:

        The first couple is not relevant, because the woman is significantly younger. But the other two? I know we’ve all been brought up on the notion that women grow old while men grow distinguished, but frankly, it’s tosh.

      • paolo says:


        The precision you are looking for doesn’t exist in such calculations, which are subjective.

        But by way of example, everything else being equal, a 50 year-old woman who is an “8” (for her age) is probably going to be less physically attractive to me (and to most men) than a 30 year-old woman who is “6” (for her age). Of course, after I make that rough calculation, I would hope that I would have the good sense to realize that a man my age has no business being with a 30 year-old woman.

        With respect to “attractiveness symmetry” in couples, it is almost always the case that unless the man is wealthy or powerful or abundantly charismatic in some way, the partners in a couple will be fairly evenly matched in physical appearance.

        It’s true that as we age women generally spend more time making an effort to look good than men. (A lot of men just simply give up). Yet in those cases in which a man invests the same amount of energy in trying to maintain his appearance, he will have a built-in biological advantage (discussed in another post) over a woman. As a bisexual friend of mine once noted, it is not unheard of for a 50 year-old guy to have a nice butt into his 50s, but it is completely unheard of for a woman to have the same. Years of observation have proved his observation correct. In this case, it’s all a matter of the differences in the anatomy of the two sexes.

      • zoe says:

        “it is not unheard of for a 50 year-old guy to have a nice butt into his 50s, but it is completely unheard of for a woman to have the same”.

        Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting these women are role models – far from it. But I can’t let you get away with something so blatantly and so verifiably wrong.

      • paolo says:


        Where do you find this stuff? I found the photo creepy, just plain creepy. These women are clearly exceptional to the Nth degree. One-out-of-ten-thousand. Lots of lipo and plastic surgery probably involved. And a photo of these same women if they were headed in the opposite direction would be less flattering. Take my word for it.

      • zoe says:

        “And a photo of these same women if they were headed in the opposite direction would be less flattering. Take my word for it.”

        There you go again, Paolo. Making blatantly and verifiably incorrect statements. It really is a habit you should try and kick. If you go back to the link and scroll through the individual photos you will find plenty in the “opposite direction”.

        This is ultimately arid. Women generally tend to go softer in the butt than men, yes. Men generally tend to lose their hair more than women, yes. Are we closer to the light?

        None of this is about attraction.

      • RS says:

        Paolo you’re an idiot.

        Men that I come into contact with don’t age nearly as well as women. Look at any online dating site – the men of a certain age look almost uniformly awful and the women for the most part attractive and current. Give me a break.

        As far as women not admitting attractiveness is important, that’s a load of tosh too. I think most of us would happily admit that we consider attractiveness (along with a lot of other non-physical stuff) when we’re deciding whether to go out with someone. There’s been plenty of talk here about that. The missing teeth discussion, anyone? And that was roundly criticized as shallow by male commenters.

  • rosie says:

    “crass and callow, but he is man, after all, and these are the kinds of calculations we men make”

    Which begets the reason for the existence of blogs such as this one.

  • paolo says:


    I’ll take a woman who is fit, eats healthy, takes care of her appearance, and is my age, over a woman who is ten or twenty years younger than I am who doesn’t care about those things. The fact that you read my post (which states the obvious) and concluded that I must be one of those insecure, misogynist pigs over at Privateman is interesting.

    Oh, and by the way, I value intelligence every bit as much as looks. But I would never date an overweight woman who doesn’t exercise or have a healthy diet and who isn’t attractive. Why would I?

    • ToneDeafSinger says:

      mmm where do I stand? I am overweight but look considerably younger than my age. I am intelligent and educated, cycle to work, do pilates, but rarely wear make up. I’m not sure where I stand… on the shelf perhaps? From what you write…

    • june says:

      Then why do you and most other people expect women to. I have lost count of people who tell me im too fussy, too choosey, wont compromise, including close friends, because as a women over 60 who is is good shape for her age, has looked after herself and actually have quite a reasonable butt, i wont have a fat man who looks like quasimodo, wears elderly mens clothes and has elderly men attitudes. It works both ways,on the whole women do take care of themselves better, but it is possible for men to. A friend of mines husband is 66,looks 50, and has taken care of himself. Sadly though that is the exception rather than rule.

      • Margaux says:

        Keep telling you June – there’s a wealth of younger men / older women dating sites out there …

  • MissM says:

    I agree with Paolo that we all prefer attractiveness and that attractiveness is automatically higher in youth, as a generalisation. He does also admit that attractiveness is subjective, that we do factor in other elements, whether that be intelligence, humour or even whether or not an effort is being make to look good and/or lead a healthy lifestyle. It is true that most couples do tend to be at roughly equal levels of attractiveness. I have no problems with what Paolo has written.

    I do have problems with those ageing overweight men who don’t make any effort with their appearance whatsoever and yet somehow still feel entitled to a slim woman many years younger than them. Where does that sense of entitlement come from? Why has reality not hit them and made them realise that you can only get a woman much younger and better looking than you if you have wealth/power/fame to trade for it? Are they looking at American sitcoms where the man is a slob and the wife is young and fit and then think that is a depiction of real life? Do they not have any concept of how unattractive they are? Do they think women don’t care how unattractive they are? This is such a mystery for me.

    • paolo says:

      Oh my, everything you have written, MissM, in that second paragraph is dead-on. Especially the sitcom thing – I’ve been complaining about that for years.

      Any older person – man or woman – who doesn’t take care of his or herself deserves the same in his or her mate. I’ve exercised fastidiously for thirty years and, as a result, I’m at optimal weight. This takes work and discipline, and I respect (and am attracted to) that same commitment in women.

      • EmGee says:

        On the other hand, while I appreciate a man who is into good nutrition and leads an active lifestyle, I abhor narcissistic fitness junkies. I’d rather my guy have a bit of a belly and enjoy a good meal, than someone who lives on protein drinks, lettuce and carrot tops, and spend 3 hours a day in the gym, and 4 hours in front of a mirror evaluating his ‘fitness’.

        On the shallow end, I prefer a man with a head of hair, regardless of whether it is the same shade he was born with, even though I know the odds of a man hanging onto his hair beyond middle age is as slim as a woman staying slim in the hips.

      • MissM says:

        Oh I agree with you EmGee in that I would prefer a man who is carrying some extra weight as a result of enjoying good food, to any person who has to evaluate every morsel they consume, since that does rather suck the fun out of things. Actually in all honesty I prefer guys on the chubby side, for whatever reason I find them more attractive than a thin guys. It is a personal taste thing, along with liking facial hair on men, just put me down as weird.

        But those men with the extra padding should not consider it appropriate to demand that the only women who contact them on a dating site be the very slim ones. Staying in shape does require work and discipline and if you don’t exhibit those qualities yourself you are not likely to attract someone who does have them. Goes back to the idea of not demanding something you yourself cannot offer. Paolo is right that you deserve a partner who only takes the same level of care with their appearance as you do with yours.

        Mind you if they thought it through at all they’d realise that most slim women are constantly on a diet and exercise program, and if they were with such a woman she is just as likely to want to put them on one too. Which is quite possibly not the lifestyle choice they would like to make.

  • june says:

    Miss M id have expected better from you. Most women who are slim are always on diets! . I have never weighed more than just over 7 stone, am just below 5ft and after my hysterectomy i am about 6 and a half stone, i cant increase it, however hard i try. I have never been on a diet in my life ever. i do eat healthy food yes, no fast food, crisps, cakes that kind of thing, but i eat everything else, and drink wine. Spose i have that sort of mentabolism but dont imagine all slim people always on diets, because lots of us are not. I do know others.

    • MissM says:

      Lucky, lucky you and those friends who never need to diet. I still think that saying *most* slim women have to work at it is correct, since as far as I can tell the women who don’t need to put in some effort to maintain a slim figure are the exceptions rather than the norm.

      But I do accept that I could be wrong, and maybe all slim women are just those blessed by nature to have the metabolism that allows them to look good no matter what. If that is the case, the diet and exercise industry is wasting its time trying to get us to do anything, since it is all down to the genes we were born with.

      • EmGee says:

        MissM, I agree that the 40+ woman who doesn’t have to watch her diet is the exception. Maybe not all slim mature women have only their metabolism to thank, but I would wager it’s the majority of them. Everyone else has to watch what we eat, exercise, and accept the fact that our 20 year old bodies are never coming back.

        Why there needs to be diet and exercise ‘industries’ is a bit beyond me though. Programs like Weight Watchers and fitness centers certainly fill a niche, but fad diets, weight loss programs that require you to eat their specially prepared food, and all those gimmicky exercise machines that are sold on tv and the backs of catalogs – well it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

  • Margaux says:

    Paolo – I get what you are trying to say despite your generalisations – but the ‘butt’ statement really took my breathe away. Interestingly – there have been recipients of the ‘Rear of the Year’ Award in their 50s. But no men.

    Here’s last year’s :

    (Zoe – great pix btw! well found!)

  • paolo says:

    Ah, Carol Vorderman – the exception that proves the rule.

    I find the defense of the over-50-year-old female butt in the comments to this post to be quite touching. But, sorry, the immutable laws of nature – more specifically, the structural/anatomical differences between men and women – make it considerably harder for women to maintain a nice butt into their 50s. They might work harder at it than men – in fact, they probably do, in general – but the odds are stacked against them.

    One other thing. A lot of these comments about older men not staying in shape might be particular to the UK. In the US and Scandinavia, I’ve seen a much higher percentage of middle-aged 9and older) men interested in fitness.

    • MissM says:

      Indeed if it is a UK thing it is an Australian thing also. Only to me fitness is not the issue as much as a general complete lack of interest by men in their own presentation, while expecting the best looking woman possible. Maybe it is a generational thing. It will be interesting to see if the young men today who seem to be a tad more image conscious will take that into their forties and beyond.

      I will sum it up this way, most men and women will both tend to lose their looks with age. But while the vast majority of men make no effort to make the most of their appearance, they still tend to want a woman who is young and good looking. Women tend to put a lot of effort into their appearance, and as a result tend to look a lot better than the males of their age. Yet quite often they are passed over by those males who think they deserve and even younger model, despite looking rather like an old boot themselves.

      Disclaimer: this a generalisation and as such there are exceptions. There will be some men who appreciate women their own age. Some women (Michelle Pfeiffer comes to mind) seem to actually look better as they age. There may be some older men who actually put some effort into their own appearance (sadly I don’t know any).

  • EmGee says:

    Paolo, your comment makes me sad. because you obviously believe that maturation is some kind of malady which results in almost unspeakable deformity. The idea that women who no longer fit some unrealistic ideal, which most of us never measured up to anyway, that we ought to accept this fate, allow ourselves to be kicked to the curb, and disregarded, frankly makes me a little ill. Sad, not because your opinion matters that much to me, but because so many others share it.

  • Margaux says:

    Paolo – you can be as touched as you like – I personally don’t know any of my 50 something jeans wearing a la Vorderman friends with the kind of anatomy you describe. I modestly include myself . And if you think I am delusional, at the risk of sounding like Samantha Brick (which will mean more to UK residents currently 😉 lol!) I can assure you it still gets remarked on even at my withered old age! And neither I nor my friends are gym fanatics ‘working our butts off’ …

    But I do know quite a few expanding / saggy posteriors among the gentlemen of my aqcuaintance of a similar age… ( along with their beer bellies ) and no, I don’t need to see them au naturel…the exterior shape says it all…

    I would hazard a guess that your bisexual friend has seen a few male backsides of the gym honed variety – the proverbial ‘buns of steel’ I think they say in the US. Just as a straw poll among my own circle, it is my gay male friends who are more interested in maintaining the body beautiful in middle age than my straight ones.

  • rosie says:

    Or, as an ex boyfriend so charmingly put it: “Women look ugly when they get old.”

    I’ve come to the conclusion that men refuse to look in a mirror once they hit 45. Might try it as it seems to work.

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