Talk about planting some seeds and watching them popping up randomly. I have spent all week scouring dating apps. After Sam, I have remained determined not to let myself become beaten. I deserve a little joy and happiness in my life (Sam even acknowledged that which was pretty big coming from him). I have joined every possible Gay dating app there is in existence. And I have gone to the dark side. I have done it. Yes, I have re-joined Grindr. Most guys seem to be on there nowadays. 😈
I kept reaching the end of my potential matches on Tinder and Bumble. I have swiped through all of the guys in London! I found someone on Hinge and we were possibly going to meet yesterday but despite saying that he would let me know, it never materialised. 💁♂️
However, I sent HF my number on Okcupid the other week for similar reasons that did not materialise. And who should pop up on my WhatsApp?
The universe has spoken! After hours and hours of endless swiping, HF came along. This was my reward for my efforts and hard work.
HF & I arranged to meet at the Alexandra pub in Wimbledon.
First off, I took my colleague DV's advice. On my way to the date and doing what DV does 💡sneaking a cheeky can on the train / walk down. 😉👌
Just because I feel a little nervous on first dates and it is a cheaper way of perking myself up. Guaranteed to make the date better. 😜
On the train, I received a message from HF saying that he would be half an hour late. No problem. I would wait in Wimbledon and maybe pop another cheeky can so that I would not spend too much in the bar later.
I arrived at the bar at 18:30. By 19:15, I was waiting still (although he was updating me on his journey and asked me to buy myself a drink while I was waiting). Oh God, he was so late. I was going to be hammered by the time that he arrived. I hoped that he would not mind. I killed the time by chatting to someone else (Sanjo) on Tinder. Another seed. I felt bad. HF was an hour late, though. So, it was fair play. He had better make up for it.
HF finally arrived and OMG. He is gorgeous. He was wearing a suit and tie. And he has this ridiculous infectious laugh like a hyena or a tinkling water fountain that instantly makes me feel comfortable and at home. Our conversations felt timeless and meandering. Just how I like them. He is 6 months older than me. I told him that I usually date younger guys but he looks a lot younger than his age.
HF is a solicitor. His job is to explain legal jargon to clients who know nothing about legislation. In layman's terms, a barrister is not someone who makes coffee. It is someone who sits in the courtroom and is public-facing. A solicitor is based in an office. A solicitor's job is to advise clients what to do, what documents need to be filled in, what actions and precautions need to be taken. He explained a lot of the ins and outs of his job (which I hope he will expand on and elaborate in more detail as we get to know one another).
His narrative is mainly anecdotal, which I quite like. He has a lot to say. He described himself as an "open book", which was a big plus point for me! I feel unsafe if I detect a hidden agenda. So, I decided to think positive and take him at his word. And every word, I surely did. I noticed that I kept interrupting his flow to ask questions and get him to elaborate on certain points. I felt worried that I might be irritating him by doing so. But I find that this helps to maintain engagement.
We talked about our star signs and our compatibility. When he said that his birthday is in October, I little part of me inside cried a little, thinking that he might be a Scorpio like Avi Taler, JR and Ron. But to my delight, it turns out that he is a Libra. In the past, I have been attracted to Libras. They are harmonious and balanced. They are about beauty and aesthetics (being ruled by Venus). The main example who comes to mind is LV. Of course, I did not mention this to him. The other examples are TR and Holly. HF said that he is attracted to Geminis and that we are compatible because we are both air signs. I self-deprecatingly said that Geminis are a bit of a nutcase. Because we are ruled by Mercury, we can often come across as a little detached and clinical. We also wear masks. I told him about my micro personas that I adapt with different people. A Gemini trait. He asked if I was wearing a mask with him. I might have said that I was (because I wanted to maintain honesty). But that the mask could be removed. He reiterated that this is why I need a Libra in my life. To help balance out my somewhat Black & White / Bipolar extreme tendencies.
HF reminded me that we had first met on Okcupid back in November. This was around the same time that I found Avi Taler on Tinder. Hence the reason that I took a hiatus from dating apps. Again, I did not mention this to him. But he seemed to acknowledge that I was not feeling ready for whatever reason and needed to take some time. I said that it is "better late than never". I told him about my autism. When it comes to emotions and feelings of the heart, I am an extremely slow processor. He said that he thought that there was something "different" about me. He said that autistic people are often incredibly intelligent in some areas while other areas are less developed. I apologised for interrupting his flow to ask questions. I explained that the question-asking helps me to break down everything into minute details. I told him about my insecurities with ambiguity and how much the above helps me. This seemed to be a precursor to the rest of the evening. He said that he likes me a lot. I am different from the other guys that he has met. He said that there is a reason for us meeting and for things to work out. I do not know him well enough to know if this was him or the alcohol talking. But it certainly felt real and authentic. We were both lavishing compliments on one another. The lavishing seemed to flow naturally. Like we had lost our inhibitions towards one another.
We had a moment. After the complimenting flurry (which felt like something out of a rom com), we both became a little flustered and lost for words with one another. We laughed. We were holding hands across the table and smiling into each other's eyes. 😍
He might have felt my gaze a little intense. But that is me: intense. If I find someone attractive, I gaze intently.
[21:08, 15/07/2021] Rory Duffy: It’s good 😍
There was one thing that he said which I should note. He described himself as "self-centred" or "self-involved". He said that 2x during the course of the evening. 1x in the Alexandra. It is nice that he was up-front about it. I think that it is more important to show transparency about our less than proud points as well as espousing our strengths and virtues. Maybe this is not significant but for some reason, it stands out in my head.
Oh why did I drink so much? And why did I not leave when we left the bar? 😩
In this dialogue that I am having with myself, the main outcome is to feel OK about it. 👌
HF invited me back to his house. I remembered that it is not advisable to go back to someone's house on a first date. I recalled what happened with Ansh. There was a danger of one fabulous evening becoming a recapitulation of the other. Me getting drunk and carried away. My date bringing an end to the evening. Anyway, I thought that he needed to pick something up from his house and we were going to go out again. I insisted that I stand outside while he does what he needs to do. To maintain some boundaries. And afterwards, we huddle down in a park. But as the darkness set in, it became more apparent that I would be going to someone's house. There were some mixed plans involving stopping off at his cousin's to get fed and pick up some weed (I think). And going out again afterwards? It was all a little confusing. He asked me if I feel comfortable, I said that I was happy to go with the flow and do whatever. Perhaps this was too docile doormat of me? I had mentioned to him that I have a submissive tendency.
22:09, 15/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Omg moving so fast 🚌
We ended up meeting with his cousin Azma and going to aunt's house.
On the way to his aunt's house, I felt cold as we were stood at the bus stop. We had an intimate embrace. Very similar to the one that I had with Avi Taler on our 3rd meeting. HF is petite, at shoulder height to me. When we met his cousin Azma, there was one point at which she was walking ahead of us. HF & I had another intimate embrace and a little kiss but not a full on snog. We were holding hands quite a bit.
I met all 3 of his cousins. His aunt Sabia was extremely friendly and hospitable. She insisted on feeding me because I looked thin and haggard. She made me eggs with rice. I also met their cats.
HF is not out to his family. So, we could not act amorous towards one another. I took note because it was important for me to respect his family boundaries (as well as respecting my own boundaries). Although the act did nearly slip at one point when I put my arm around him in front of his aunt. I apologised afterwards. He assured me that it was fine. It looked like a friendly gesture. Something that platonic guys do. And nothing more.
It seemed like a lot meeting his family on a 1st date. But I felt happy and comfortable to go along with it. Maybe this is part of his process in getting to know me. Observing how I interact among friends, family and pets? I played my best part of the perfect house guest. People do things in different orders. There is no one set route or standard. And I like to think that I am open-minded.
During the course of the evening, he asked me a few times if I felt comfortable with everything and what I wanted to do. I told him that I struggled a little with ambiguity and that I was happy to do anything. If he wanted to call it a night, I could head home. I did not wish to impose myself on him or his family. Despite how welcoming they were towards me, showing an interest in my music and incessantly asking me about it and lavishing me with praise and compliments.
[23:24, 15/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Omg just had dinner with the aunt and cousins
After leaving his aunt's house, HF, Azma and I went to a secluded park. They had their weed. They were asking me if I wanted anything and brought me out another beer. At this point, I felt like I was an alcoholic compared to HF and his cousin. I noticed that HF was talking more to his cousin than he was talking to me and I began to feel like an outsider, like I had outstayed my welcome. It began to feel like less of a "date" and more like me hanging out with strangers in the neighbourhood. Which is fine. Another new experience. As we were making our way through the pitch black foliage, I felt like I was on an adventure. It was a positive (if not unnerving) feeling.
In the park, the three of us sat on a bench. For the 2nd time, HF described himself as "self-centred" and "self-involved". I was a little drunk. I said to him: "never stop being yourself, because you are beautiful".
He was asking me when we would next meet. I told him that I could meet him on Saturday.
In the end, they managed to see me safely onto a bus back towards Clapham. I asked HF if I should message him or wait for him to message me. Like I did with Rob on 11/09/2019. I struggle with ambiguity. This is why I was determined to ask such a question. It helps me to break things down and understand where I am with another person. He asked me to message him as soon as I am home to let him know that I arrived safely. Another distant echo of Avi Taler.
I managed to get back to Clapham High Street and then take the N155 to Kennington. On my way home, I picked up some pasta and cheese as a little reward for myself. That evening did not go too badly.
When I arrived home, we exchanged the following messages. Yes, I was drunk. I like to express myself visually in messages.
[00:51, 16/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Hey HF I’m home 🏠
We spoke on the phone for 27 minutes. He was telling me a story about his friend and I was trying to get him to focus on what he decides to do about it and how he sure ensure that he feels better. I cannot remember what psychobabble I came out with but I might have thought that it was pretty impressionable. I was trying to show him that I am a caring individual. I said to him that his aunt was sweet. And it was lovely meeting his cousins. But the highlight of the evening was meeting him, of course. At the end of the phone call (this much of what I remember), we were saying how much we liked each other and how we hope to meet again soon. He asked me about Saturday. I explained what I was planning to do. I would be with some friends in Green Park and with my amp. I was not sure what the general plan was in terms of the group in case they decided to do a mini impromptu disco. I sensed that he felt a little disconcerted about not wishing to intrude. Mental note to reassure him that I would rather be with him on Saturday than with my friends. Maybe emphasise that next time that we speak. I hope that we will be able to work something out. At the end of the phone call, I told him to sleep well and we said goodbye.
I felt like I had stayed out a little longer than intended. Whatever. I was enjoying myself. I do not think that it is sensible or healthy to think that I should "pace out" my enjoyment with one person. Because it is never guaranteed that I might meet that person ever again. So why not make the most of it and enjoy myself in the moment?
We did not kiss (not a proper snog anyway). We did other things that I might not otherwise have been advised to do on a 1st date. Like meeting his family and holding hands. Or opening up to one another about our insecurities. There might have been a smidgen of future faking in that moment when we were gazing lovingly at each other and talking about how fortunate it is that we met. But maybe that is necessary and what 1st dates are for? They are like an "overture" in a symphony. All of the main themes come up as a kind of "shop window" snapshot of everything. This is who I am. This is who you are. I feel like I outstayed my welcome but I was enjoying myself with him. Maybe that is the important thing? No point planning gestures or feelings in advance. Just let them happen naturally, I guess. And if I let things progress a bit faster than as expected, that is also OK. Experience has shown that I do tend to let myself become swept away on 1st dates. 😏 🌪 🙈
He was really lovely 😍 I hope that he gets back in touch again.
Ian & Ilyas think that it sounds like a perfect 1st date. They are pleased to hear that. They hope that it is a good match and it works out for both of us.
I hope so ☺️
I was drunk, though (oops) 😅🙈
And I think that he realised. Ah well, it happens. Maybe it is a good thing that he saw that I was relaxing. A lot of it I cannot remember. I hope to see him again so we can chat more diligently in detail. 🤓
Maybe good to not go so crazy with the drink on 1st date so that I can actually remember what happens 🙄💁♂️
He was an hour late, though. And my colleague DV at work advised me she likes to pop a cheeky can on the way to her 1st dates to help her relax. So, all in all, a perfect storm. 🌩
Well, let me see if he gets back. What will my process be for if I do not hear from him by Saturday afternoon?
This could get messy and complicated. It is bad enough that there is a possibility that last night's date and the guy who I kissed last weekend (in Soho Square) might both end up at the same picnic. Now there is the possibility of adding Rob into the equation? 3 guys who I have been involved with. At the same picnic. WOW. How would I explain to Rob if I end up leaving the picnic with HF? I have not thought this one through.
Smart move. Threat averted. 😅
Not sensible to mix pleasure and pleasure. Better to meet each guy separately.
Now all that I need to do is work out if MV is coming to the picnic and whether I should sit with him? I guess that I will know once I know whether or not HF is coming.
Plus, I have other irons in the fire. There is Sanjo on Tinder who is shy and introverted.
Sanjo: But I’m shy and nobody really talks to me. So I don’t go to any of those
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have his reward.
332 Brixton Road
Samaritans, 24 hours, on 116123 or email:
I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.