As I arrive a girl is coming out. She seems to know me.
‘I’ve got a blind date,’ she says. ‘He just called to say he’s here, so I have to go!’
She tells me the back story.
‘This time last year,’ I say, ‘I went on a really good blind date, so… hopefully it’s a lucky time of year!’
I do talk crap sometimes.
‘Aaw yes, hopefully.’
We say an affectionate goodbye – I still have no idea who she is – and I make my way downstairs to the bar. So much for not remembering the significance of today’s date.
Several hours later…
I see him first in a group. We’re introduced and there’s a moment – eye contact, I think they call it – before the crowd separates us.
Later it brings us together.
‘Tristan,’ he says.
‘Hi. That’s an unusual name. I called a character in something I’m writing Tristan but I’ve never met one in real life.’
As opening gambits go, I’m pretty pleased with this one, even if it does raise some awkward questions…
‘You’re a writer?!’ he says.
‘Oh, well, sort of – it’s not my main job but I like to do it on the side.’
‘What sort of thing?’
‘Like… romantic comedy?’
‘Cool, so, what, short stories?’
‘More like vignettes.’
‘But hopefully they’ll turn into something more substantial at some point.’
Just like that, without me having to so much as lift a finger. Wouldn’t that be nice? Speaking of nice…
Tristan moves closer, his eyes still fixed on mine. ‘But you said it wasn’t your main thing. So, what is?’
However original the opener, it always comes back to that inevitable question. And, after we’ve parted company, he having said he’d like to talk more at so-and-so event in a few weeks’ time, that he’d like to read some of my stuff, that ‘we’ll… Facebook’ accompanied by typing gestures – after all that comes the inevitable truth…
‘I like Tristan. Is he single?’
The hostess looks apologetic. ‘He’s got a girlfriend, and she’s one of my best friends so I have to look out for her.’
I like the implication that if the girlfriend wasn’t one of her best friends Tristan would be fair game.
The next day I find myself on said girlfriend’s blog, trying to determine a) how long they’ve been together, and b) (and this is the more challenging part, read: total waste of time) how happy they are. It’s preferable to hanging out on Tristan’s Facebook profile. I hadn’t noticed straightaway on meeting him but now, faced with an album of stills, the resemblance is unmistakeable. Long face, square jaw, good teeth, full lips… everything is the same – eerily so – except the eyes which, instead of a clear bright blue, are dark brown. But that aside, Tristan, well… he’s just another Viable Prospect.