In the first instalment of our shiny new dating series, dating educator, bestselling author and podcaster LaLaLaLetMeExplain finds herself a little more drawn to the gym than usual. Will she land a new workout buddy or is her gym crush set to be a non starter? Is it ever okay to date a man who doesn't know how tampons work? And what do you say to a guy with a foot fetish if your feet are, er, a little less than beautiful?
“Do you feel like we’re wasting our wet pussy years?” Grace asked me after reading an article about post-menopausal dryness. We’re both in our early 40s, single, and not yet perimenopausal, although educating ourselves about what to expect. I’m not in the market for a relationship currently, but I’d like a companion without the emotional commitment of a relationship. I’m about to write my second book and I don’t need the distraction of love.
“Lube exists, I’m not planning to retire my vagina after the menopause” I told her. But it did kind of shake me up and make me wonder whether I should be making more of an effort to find the friend with intimacy benefits that I’m looking for.
I was filling my bottle at the water fountain in my gym. I’d finished my work-out and was about to stretch when a man walked through the doors. If I were ever asked what my type is, I’d just need to show a picture of him. 6ft 3-ish, covered in tattoos, dark curly hair, brown eyes, chiselled jaw, the lot. We locked eyes for a second and I felt a spark. I also felt water pouring over my hand, he’d distracted me so much that I’d overfilled the bottle. I made my way back to the mat while planning my next move. I couldn’t leave now, so I’d have to make a fucking meal of this stretching set.
He positioned himself on a machine close to me, while I put on a stretching show entirely for his benefit. We caught eyes several times, but I also found myself trying not to look at him as much as possible. I didn’t want to make it too obvious that I was feeling the most immense attraction to a man that I’ve felt in a long time. After about thirty minutes I finished and put my trainers on. He then walked straight past me and wandered off out the doors. I wondered if he was trying to get ahead of me so we could cross paths outside, so I hurriedly left. I scanned the café and reception area, looked around the car park a bit, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was gutted.
I went to the gym at 1pm because that’s when he had arrived the day before. I know, totally normal behaviour. He was already there. My stomach flipped when I spotted him on the bench. The way he looked at me told me he was pleased to see me again too. I had a great work-out, full of butterflies and excited nervous energy. After a while I moved to a machine at the back and I’m not sure if he lost sight of me, but I watched with utter devastation as he once again wandered off out the gym doors.
I jumped off the machine and walk-ran out the door. This time I decided that I would wait for 9 minutes (it was 2:21pm and I had a meeting at 3) in a chair in reception that he’d have to walk past if he was leaving. I told myself that if the universe wants this to happen then he’ll come by in the next 9 minutes. I waited 11. I’m thankful to the universe, in hindsight that he didn’t, as I may have come across a little creepy.
Back to the gym at lunchtime again. I’m nothing if not persistent – and my fitness was really reaping the benefits either way. He walked in shortly after. My entire workout was spent anxiously thinking about whether to approach him. He was watching me a lot but not making any moves. Eventually, my work out was done. I started packing up my weights. It was obvious I was leaving. He then made his way to a treadmill by the door.
As I walked towards the treadmill my heart was beating ‘Jump on the machine next to him and ask if he’s single’ was going through my head, but I was getting increasingly nervous. I didn’t need to be, he turned and said: “Are you leaving now?” I replied: “Are you single?” I’d been planning to say it for so long that it was the only thing my brain could find. He said he was. His name is Jayce, he’s 35, works as a gas engineer. We exchanged numbers. I got into my car and screamed with joy.
Jayce and I have been exchanging voice notes on Whatsapp since we met. All surface level so far but I am . Tonight, we arranged to go bowling, then out for dinner. He looked sensational as he strolled over in jeans, a crisp white tee, and fresh trainers. It was all going so well. But then he opened his mouth. I think my date debrief with Grace is the best way to illustrate how the date went down.
Me: “I fancy him LOADS, great convos about Andrew Tate/feminism, funny. Buuut, when I said I have ADHD he said he’d never heard of it, and he later said he thought that women only use one tampon per period as a plug that stays in for 5 days. I think I still want to sleep with him though. We had a steamy kiss in the car, and he asked to see me again.”
Grace: “He sounds like an absolute donut, WTF!”
She had a point, but he was sweet, and hot. I’m giving it a chance, despite the intellectual mismatching, I’m only looking for a casual companion after all.
One week later...
I injured my foot and had my big toenail removed last week. My foot looks gangrenous. Jayce and I had been speaking daily, ramping up the flirting. On the day I lost my toenail we happened to be discussing kinks, and to my horror Jayce said he’s obsessed with feet. Like a big buffoon I replied: “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I literally just had my big toenail removed and it looks horrendous” Jayce said: “Lool, bad timing.” To which I replied: “I’ll be able to get an extension put on before summer!”
That was three days ago, and I haven’t heard from him since. Who the fuck tells their crush they’re getting toenail extensions? I could slap myself. However, the fact that I was willing to overlook him not knowing what ADHD, or periods are, only to get rejected for having no big toenail has become a relished story in the group chat, so every cloud has a silver lining, I guess. The hunt continues.
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