The Camp Bristolian
Date of date: 25th February
After chatting on Tinder for about a week, this guy seems like a total dreamboat. He’s good looking, quick with the banter and has an interesting job. He’s not lived in London for too long so asks me out for a drink and suggests I choose the venue. I tell him to meet me at a place called Green Carnation in Soho.
‘Erm, you do realise Green Carnation is a gay and lesbian bar?’ says one of my colleagues after I tell him what I’m doing that night. Well no, I didn’t. I mean I know that Soho is predominantly a gay area yes, but I thought this particular bar was open for all. Apparently not. But I’ve been before and was oblivious, so now I’m totally conscious that this guy has googled the place and either thinks a)I’m having him on and am going to stitch him up while he’s surrounded by a load of hungry men (which in hindsight, he would probably have enjoyed. More of why later), or b) he thinks I’m bi.
So I text him changing the venue, recommended by my colleague who clearly knows Soho better than me.
Meanwhile I get a huge amount of work in from a client, with a short turnaround. I do a quick calculation (I’m shit at maths) and figure I will be about 20 minutes late in meeting him- so I let him know.
I turn up an hour and a half late. Feeling very bad and apologising via text every half an hour until I meet him, he tells me he’s at Be At One in Piccadilly, he clearly didn’t trust my second venue after the first blunder- or he’s been there and drank his hours worth before a change of scenery.
By the time I arrive he’s already made friends with the bar staff and they clap when I sit down. I feel myself blush and apologise prefusely, offering to buy the (my) first drinks, but I see he already has two drinks in front of him so I assume one is for me, I thank him and take it. Turns out it’s happy hour and he had stocked up for himself- what am I like!..
I’m not a snob, but Be At One wouldn’t be my first choice when it comes to cocktails- it’s more of a student wetherspoons pre drink type place isn’t it, so I suggest Archer Street, a much nicer bar where the waitresses break out into song every now and then, plus the cocktails are amaze. So we go there after I down a watered down mojito.
Archer Street means I can also hear his voice and make conversation.. this is when it registers. He’s camp, very, very camp, camper than a row of tents. He sounds a cross between Joe Pasquale and Josie Gibson from Big Brother- you know, the big Bristolian lass who went out with Jon James and lost loads of weight, now looks amazing.
He’s from the Westcountry, as am I, but every time he talks I just take it as comedy value. I have an ex colleague called Joe (now a very successful actor in Broadchurch, little plug there for you Joe, as if you need it) and those who know Joe, knows he is the most Bristolian person in the world, now this date I would say, was more so. I literally wanted to bottle him up and open him whenever I wanted to laugh. Unfortunately, we were on a date and his intentions were far from being bottled up. I was asking him questions just so I could hear him talk.
I found out he was one son out of five sisters, so I asked the question. Yes I’d had a few Tom Collins’ by this point so I figured it was a perfectly normal question: ‘did your parents ever think that you’d have such a female influence that you’d be gay?’ his answer ‘my parents love a gay so they wouldn’t mind’… this makes me think he probably is gay and is on a date with me to test the waters, see if he can be swayed into liking girls. Well after being held waiting at a Be At One for 1.5 hours and being asked loads of questions so I could memorise his accent, probably would turn anyone gay.
So we leave. He tells me I’m his first Tinder date, and now imagine the most Bristolian, camp accent ever.. he says to me:
‘Well I think that went quite well, don’t you love?’
I lol. I say ‘yes, I had the best time’ which isn’t a lie. I had a lot of fun, but I wish he was my gay best straight mate. He then says:
‘Defo do this again maid, text me some dates you’re free’.
With that, we get on our separate tubes at Piccadilly and the odd text was exchanged a week or so after. There was no romance there but I would happily help him find his Mr Right.. if he does indeed swing that way.