In a summer where I was finding no shortage of dates or online dating app matches with a variety of success, his dating profile pictures were almost too immaculate. His response to my first Bumble message too smooth. His Instagram too curated. He was either a catfish or a douchebag. But seeing as he had his Instagram linked up with his dating profile, I guessed I was going to have to presume it was the second?

Regardless, I entertained his messages and intended to meet up with him, because who says I make bad choices? In our general chit chat on Bumble when I asked what kind of doctor he was – yes one of his profile pics was him in his white coat – his reply was “what kind do you need?”, it was more than a little cheesy but I didn’t hate it.  We planned to meet up before we both went away for weekend trips – him to Arizona, me to Vegas (yes, the Vegas trip I ended up chatting to Penne & Penises on – but that weeks long cold kept that from happening and, him being a doctor in training, he prescribed “lots of rest & plenty of fluids”.

It took me a while to recover from the seemingly never ending cold that impeded my Vegas fun and after a failed attempt to meet up one night, when he kept making our meeting time later and later until, eventually, I valued my sleep way too much to just say “ok” to the next half hour incremental change, finally two weekends later on a gorgeously sunny Saturday I received a speculative “what are you up to tonight?” text from him. And I figured I should just give it up and meet him.

I had actually already sort of made plans with someone else I’d just met on Tinder but Hot Doctor (maybe the easiest nickname we’ve come up with?) did fascinate me & his persistence over the last few weeks didn’t really line up with my initial douchebag presumptions. Plus those pictures… he was dark skinned with the most impossibly well kept beard, a 27 year old body that would melt butter and eyes that looked like they’d pierce your soul. In the best possible way. And this was just from his pictures…

I’d been at the beach all day, a BBQ for a friend going back to Ireland, it was a long day of drinking in the sun so the thought of getting ready to go out didn’t thrill me. Instead I suggested he come round to mine. It was a risky move, and essentially at that point the likelihood of it turning into “just a sex date” was fairly high. But, despite his chiseled good looks, I had no other designs on this meet up – he was training to be a doctor abroad, randomly in the UK, and his summer trip home to Vancouver was ending the very next day.

I also decided to have him over to mine because, I realised afterwards, I was actually intimidated by him. Annoyingly, I was intimidated by how good looking he was & how well put together he seemed. It’s ridiculous to me now – he’s human, he’s obviously not as perfect as he seems & he was obviously attracted to me in some way. So why should I in anyway be nervous to meet him, to go out in public with him?

Without realising it at the time, inviting him over to mine for wine was a way to minimise any embarrassment there might be if he got there & realised “wow, she is not what I was hoping” (although I like to think my pics are an accurate representation of me). Given all the changes I’d made to myself, both physically and emotionally, my confidence crashing and inhibiting my actions wasn’t happening as much, but there’s definitely been a few men I’ve been nervous to meet. He was one of them.

I got home from the beach, shovelled some food in my face and decided I needed a shower, to not only de-sand me but also hopefully sober me up a little. While I was in the shower my phone buzzed with a message from him. In fact, it was a picture. A topless picture. Saying he was getting ready. But the caption barely registered.. The pic was… really not bad to look at. With a Pakistani background, his skin tone was like the most beautiful coffee colour and he obviously took working out seriously.

Emboldened by the sun & the ciders, and clearly in no way sobered up from the food or shower, I decided to send one back. Not front topless but I figured a naked, tanned, toned back could work. Well, it could have worked well if I owned one of those and hadn’t been stood with my back to the sun all day getting some hefty tan lines. It wasn’t the sexy, sun kissed look I was hoping for.

Clearly more affected by the sun and ciders than I realised, I decided to send it anyway…. because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, who says I don’t make good decisions?! I made some comment about how I hoped he liked tan lines because these weren’t about to disappear in the time before he arrived and he replied saying two things: first “wow, you’re an idiot”; but followed up very sweetly with “but damn they’re cute tan lines”.

By the time he arrived I was a little jaded, the day was definitely taking its toll on me and I had to give myself a serious pep talk to look alive when he buzzed to come up. But it’s funny what a beautiful man appearing on your doorstep can do…

To say his pictures were true to real life doesn’t do justice to real life. If possible he was even more attractive. Like some model had just stepped off some photo shoot and ended up at my apartment door. But he was very softly spoken and thoughtful with his words. And, in my judgement, that hadn’t been what I was expecting.

From the get go he had a lot to say, but also a lot to ask. He wanted to know about my upbringing, my travels, moving to Vancouver – we covered a lot of ground while sitting on the balcony as the sun set. But  when I went to top up our wine glasses (cause that’s what I needed after my day of ginger apple cider) he followed me inside and, as I turned back with the replenished glasses, he stood in my way, reached for my face and kissed me.

It was soft and almost enquiring, like he wanted to test the water to see if I was on the same page. It would be fair to say I one hundred percent was, but I also had a glass of wine in each hand. Though that may have been a good thing or I might have ripped his clothes off right then and there.

We went back to the balcony for some more wine but by that point all bets were off and I don’t think either of us doubted where this was going to end up.

There was an intensity in the way he looked at me with those big brown eyes, it was so probing and completely disarming. It disarmed me of my inhibitions entirely, I no longer felt like he might not be interested in someone like me (Instagram’s a terrible thing when you can find what someone’s ex girlfriend looked like), and instead all I really wanted was to in fact get completely, entirely butt naked with him.

So that’s what we did. And it was incredible.

We had a ridiculous amount of fun. Four times actually. In between each we continued the chats from earlier on the balcony. We talked about his thoughts on dating, his failed long distance relationship as a result of his time in the UK and his ambivalence on marriage. We talked about my marriage, my divorce, and forgiveness. We discovered a shared love of the poet Khalil Gibran, who he was shocked to find out I knew of. We talked about some of our favourite quotes of his, and I always remember one of his was “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”. It spoke to me greatly.

We also laughed at how neither of us imagined we’d be having discussions that broad and deep. Knowing that often sex dates can be just that – sex – and you count yourself lucky if the sex is at least good, never mind actually feeling like there’s some connection. But not only had we fit like a glove physically, we had also really clicked personality-wise.

He left just after midnight, after a glorious amount of snuggling that pretty much had both of us asleep. But it was his last night in Vancouver and he had to go home, back to his family house where he was staying while he was back during term holidays. We knew he was leaving the next day and, despite throwing it out there that we could always fit in some afternoon fun before his evening flight, I think we both knew that was unlikely to happen. So we weren’t going to see each other again.

Texting me from the airport the next day, he made mention of making the fact we didn’t get to see each other again up to me in December, when he’d next be home for a holiday. December?! It was June… Jesus that’s a wait. But the thought was nice. He also told me to keep him updated on my tan lines, the subtext of which was clearly – send nudes.

To say I didn’t think we’d stay in touch was an understatement. Knowing it had only been one night and that pretty face of his was hardly going to make life boring for him, I figured he’d have far better things to keep him occupied. And by December, I could be in a relationship…

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