22: Mike, The Hilton Hotel And A Porsche

The Christmas period heralded several new conversations on Badoo and Tinder. Everyone was a bit bored, including me, but largely unavailable because of family commitments over the festive period and because I was out of my usual zone. I had relocated 171 miles south so I was getting some unrealistic options as I really don’t like the one night stand scenario, but as my family live down this way, and as the set ups are supposed to be casual there was potential mileage in any worthwhile encounters. Southern Tinder is interesting. My initial thoughts were that in general it is hotter than Northern Tinder.

Once I arrived, had been absorbed back into the family home and had started to get itchy feet, a couple of potentials hoved into view. Most interestingly, there was Mike – 45, working in London and living not so far from my parents. Describing himself as being ‘in an amicable but jaded relationship’ that he kept up for stability, he was looking for something to keep him sane, and because of his set up there was no chance of it getting too serious. We started chatting the Friday before Christmas. We discussed our past experiences and we discussed our similar attitudes towards casual relationships. It was reassurance for both of us. We wanted the same thing.

This was my first encounter with someone who wasn’t single, separated or divorced. Does it feel wrong? No. Shit happens. Maybe this was a better outcome than any other knee jerk reaction which could have shattered his life, and that of anyone else who was dependant on him. He didn’t give me the details, I don’t even know if he has kids. I didn’t ask, but for all I knew there could be a whole number of issues which means that this is the best option for him and everyone around him. Never be quick to judge when you don’t have the whole story. Like I said, shit happens.

There were several weird coincidences between us, most notably that we both worked (I had, he still did) for the same international firm based in London. We had been there at the same time, but in different offices. The nature of this fact was ironic because in order to excuse myself from the family home on that Christmas Eve morning (the Sunday) when we met, I had lied that I was catching up with someone that I used to work for at this particular firm. I went home feeling less like I was going to slip up in conversation.

I couldn’t see Mike on his pictures on Tinder. Like all my top management material he was very guarded about his identity, always a good sign you are getting someone of a better quality. However, he was also well aware that he wasn’t ‘good looking’. He wasn’t bad looking but he was more on the average side and although he had had a few affairs through Tinder he was used to girls abandoning the conversation once they saw what he looked like.

He shared with me a very private Instagram which had a few holiday photos on it. He wasn’t anywhere near in the same league as my previous guys, the kind of man you wouldn’t glance at in the street who probably had a very nice but average wife, but I had a really good feeling about Mike. And I liked the set up, that he was so far south and that he was obviously a cut above. In many respects he was a lot like Gianluca. He was interesting, educated, intelligent and evidently well off (not why I do this I hasten to add). Once we met, I quickly realised the code I was going to have to work to.

Like Jem we had agreed to meet up for coffee to see if we got on. And like Jem, within a couple of hours we ended up getting a late room deal. I was hooked by his clipped London accent, his intelligent conversation, his presentable and slightly restrained manner. This was the sort of man who went to wine tastings. But he was so different and we got on so well that I couldn’t pass him by. It amuses me when guys suggest coffee and then a couple of hours later you can see him champing at the bit. Even with his restrained middle class attitude you could see he had that ‘child let loose in a sweet shop’ excitement about him. You know when something is going to work.

We’d met at a Doubletree Hilton because decent coffee houses in the area were few and far between. So I suppose the temptation was always going to be there. I think my social nature and laid back attitude disarms men. They come along with average intentions and quickly discover I’m genuine. They relax and like me they know when it’s going to work. It makes it easy for me to know when I’ve found the right one. There is no mistaking it – ever.

Mike found the whole situation amusing. I wasn’t his first, but his other liaisons had fizzled eventually for a variety of usual reasons but mostly because the girls would either want to become legit girlfriends or had been seeing other people and went off to become their girlfriends. Even so, he’d never slept with someone on a first date (Jem said the same thing). I admitted I had. I rationalised to him ‘You know when it’s going to work. And when the point of meeting someone is for sex, there is no point in holding off when you know you have that connection. Start as you mean to go on’. He agreed. If we didn’t take our chance now, it could be well over a month before we met again. We weren’t dating for long term, we didn’t need any more investment than we were already giving it. It was for however long it lasted. As they all are.

The limitation of our meetings would keep things fresh for sure. Mike seems more vanilla but we haven’t had the chance to really get to know each other, which is probably going to be over a long time in small chunks thanks to our logistics. We both agree that casual long term is better because it allows us to get to know each other. One night stands are pointless. We were absolutely singing off the same hymnsheet. These are the guys I love! When we left we got into our respective cars and drove off. He left in a Porsche. I laughed at the circumstances I felt like I’d landed on my feet. Here was the perfect scenario. It was weird, and funny and so different to everyone else I had met so far.

I had one other meet up that week, the morning before – Neil. But I’m saving him for another post which I will link to here once it’s live. This will be my take on one night stands and why they don’t work. And it’s why Mike was such a refreshing breath of fresh air and why I am happy to hang on to him.

At about the time I was moving down South I had struck up two new conversations with guys local to me in the North West  – Lee and John. John, who I met on Badoo, got what I was doing. He said he was looking for a relationship eventually but understood my strategy so I wasn’t entirely sure what he was looking for when we started talking. Our conversation went on for ages, perhaps because I was now away. I suspected I was never going to meet this one. He said he was getting fed up of being on the recieving end of the ‘pump and dump’ strategy so I wondered what the catch was. Why weren’t girls interested in seeing him again? He didn’t seem to know. Our conversation was very vanilla which suggested he was looking for serious long term but we kept messaging and slowly and occasionally we moved into talking about our relationships and experiences. I mentioned about going to Italy in May and he said it would be a great place to spend his birthday which was the same month. His birthday in fact was the same day as my ex’s. These little hints were interesting and suggested that he was testing the water. John was cautious but interesting and we talked constantly and it was a while before we finally gravitated to WhatsApp. I await that first meet.

I spotted Lee on Tinder. Really good looking, separated, 2 kids, the usual story. Our talk was more naughty from the start and didn’t feel like it was going to be one night stand material. That said, and again because I was away, the conversation lingered but had gravitated to Whatsapp pretty fast so I was half expecting something to occur when I got home again. We have to stall until the new year though, he has his kids quite a lot, so I’m ‘on call’, so to speak. More on him, when and if we meet.

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