‘I love first dates,’ said Tom aloud to himself, as he admired his image in the full-length bathroom mirror. He let the towel slip to the floor and naked, stood combing his wet hair. He padded into his bedroom and sat down on the bed. Blow drying his hair with the Supersonic dryer he’d recently purchased on-line. He ensured that every strand was perfectly placed and then sprayed it with setting lacquer and smiled at himself. His hand mirror showed that the back of his head was perfect too. So many men forgot about the back, he thought. His hairdresser always cut it to perfection and for the first time he’d allowed her to tint it lighter so it was almost blond. 

Unlike most men, he liked his figure, turning his body to get the best effect in the mirror. Four visits to the gym kept his six-pack in trim. A daily moisturising regime made his skin glow and weekly tanning on his private sun-bed ensured the correct tone. He was handsome, he thought and at six feet three stood out in any crowd.

He was excited by this evening's prospect; making a mental note to ensure that nothing was left to chance should the date go how he wanted it. He didn’t want smelly socks or dirty boxers spoiling his chance to score. He slipped on the crisp white shirt, just delivered by the cleaners, then the dark pleated trousers and as he picked his linen jacket from the bed he heard the horn blow which announced that his taxi was outside.

‘Here we go,’ he said and closed the door behind him.


‘I hate first dates,’ said Alice to her flatmate Becky, as she searched amongst the debris in the bottom of her wardrobe for something to wear. ‘It’s all the small talk and posturing, it makes me nervous and I say stupid things.’

‘Or you get drunk and blab about rubbish,’ said Becky, for once lifting her eyes from the iPad to look in her friend's direction. Alice picked up a white silk blouse with a red rose pattern on it. It was crumpled and creased from spending several days underneath her discarded clothes. She admitted that she was a little untidy but thought she was no worse than any other twenty-year-old singleton. Standing in front of the mirror she’d borrowed from the flat upstairs, she tried not to look at herself too much.

‘You can’t wear that,’ said Becky before her attention focused back on her screen.

‘It’ll be fine, I’ll just stick it under the mattress whilst I have a shower. Will you sit on it, to flatten out the creases?’ she asked. Becky nodded, her eyes riveted by what was happening on the iPad. She stood whilst Alice slid the garment under the mattress. Becky sat on it without taking her eyes from the screen.  

The shower cascaded over Alice and it gave her time to think. She’d been set up by Sally to have a date with her friend's brother. Sally had said they were made for each other and had lots in common. Alice was beginning to regret that decision now. Although she wanted a boyfriend, she didn’t want to work at it. Dating was work. She turned off the shower and wrapped in a towel stepped, once more into her bedroom. Becky was still engrossed. 

‘Skirt or trousers, what do you think?’ she asked her flatmate.

‘Depends on if they’re clean,’ she chuckled. ‘Try some on let me give you my opinion.’ Alice went again to the wardrobe and pulled pair of denim jeans from a crowded hangar and threw them on the bed.

‘These will do,’ she said and proceeded to pull a brush through her curly dark hair, with some difficulty. Alice busied herself and then suddenly, realising that she would be late if she didn’t get a move on, pulled her clothes on, and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her crumpled blouse and a large grass stain on the left knee of the jeans. 

‘That’ll have to do, let’s hope he’s not too picky.’ Becky just tutted as Alice headed out of the door in a rush, slamming it behind her.


Sitting in the back of the taxi as it sped through the early evening traffic, Tom contemplated the evening ahead. His friend had made all the arrangements through another friend so it truly was a mystery meeting. He wasn’t bothered by that. Tom was well versed in the art of dating and seduction if it felt right. He was almost thirty and one thing he knew was that his date was quite a bit younger than he was which was a bonus. He liked to impress the young ones. He felt very comfortable and always liked to be early for any kind of meeting; lateness was abhorrent to him. 

The traffic was light but there seemed to be the promise of rain. Wet hair would ruin his image and spoil his first impression so he hoped the taxi could drop him close to the entrance of the restaurant. The traffic suddenly became denser as they arrived. The taxi began to slow down, the driver looking for somewhere to stop.

‘Will you drop me at the door please, driver.’

’Sorry sir, but it’s a bit congested there.’ The rain started to spot on the car windows. 

‘I’ll give you an extra ten if you can just double park outside until I get out,’ Tom took his wallet out and pulled out a note. The driver looked at him and nodded so Tom slipped the note across to him. Horns blared as the taxi halted outside and Tom rushed under the canopy to shelter. He composed himself, and glancing at his reflection in the window, stepped inside. 


The bus was late and Alice was freezing, standing alone at the stop. Why did I let them talk me into this, she thought, as she stood shivering in the cold? Then the heavens opened again as the bus finally made an appearance. On her walk to the bus stop the wind had messed up her hair and she’d stepped in a huge puddle which had left her, once white, trainers stained with thick, oily mud. Even the bus splashed her jeans as it stopped to let her on, the driver indifferent to her complaints. She was really late now and began to feel the relief that her date may have not waited for her. 


Tom sat at the table and slowly sipped his gin and tonic. The place was beginning to fill up and he watched couples and singletons arrive, judging each one on their style and clothes. People-watching had always been a favourite sport of his; particularly, measuring other men by his high standards. At the next table, he noticed a man wearing an old leather jacket and torn jeans. He didn’t fit in with the usual crowd that frequented the place and Tom curled his lip at the fact they seem to let common people in now. He would have to look elsewhere to eat for any subsequent dates. The door opened again and his date walked in, Tom smiled and stood up as the waiter pointed his guest in the direction of his table. 


Alice took a deep breath and pushed open the restaurant’s heavy glass door, catching the reflection of her windswept appearance as she walked in. The heat rushed at her and immediately fogged her spectacles. A waiter approached and waited patiently whilst she wiped her lenses on the edge of her blouse. He pointed her in the direction of her date, who beamed at her as she approached him.


Alice talked about her job as a nurse and Tom spoke about his position in high finance. The evening was going well and they both felt relaxed and comfortable in each other’s company. 


Tom called the waiter to order more drinks and, looking across to the table where the old leather jacket now hung on the back of the chair, he noticed the man’s date. He was surprised at her windblown hair and muddy trainers. He laughed and said to his table companion.

‘I could never go out with someone who looked like that.’

‘I would have to agree’, he said and they both laughed. 

August 27, 2020 11:24

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Ray Bailey
22:01 Sep 02, 2020

Great twist ending. I like that Tom is an ass the whole story. There is a tendency to try to redeem a character like that in the end. Thank you for resisting the urge. Well done!


Steve Cripwell
15:33 Sep 08, 2020

Thanks for reading


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