Vancouver isn’t a big place. So I guess it was just a matter of time before one of my other single girlfriends’ and my dating paths crossed. Did I think it would be with a guy whose messages and drunk calling to my girlfriend we’d ridiculed? Unlikely.

At first I didn’t even put the two together. I don’t know why I thought the guy who my girlfriend had been chatting to was called something entirely different. Or maybe it’s because I never use their actual names. Whatever, it was only when he recognised me in my girlfriend’s Snapchat story that he asked how we knew each other and everything fell into place. He was a 28 year old Canadian web developer, recently moved to Vancouver.

Side story – this revelation took place at my birthday night out, in the midst of me getting completely confused when my Irish friend called me from an unknown number to say he would be late. But his first name happened to be the same as that of Teeny Irish Peen, add to that they share an accent, and I was momentarily confused as to when I’d invited the less than well endowed Irishman, who I’d avoided since our last date, to my celebratory drinks… confusion and panic ensued.

Once I worked out my night wasn’t being gatecrashed by an uninvited guy and his pencil penis, I went back to trying to figure out just how far down the dating road my girlfriend and this pretty hot Canadian had gone. Turns out they’d never met and by the sounds of it from her, she had no intention of. So I guess that felt ok? When are they truly seconds? And when are they truly sloppy seconds? You always wonder if he’s only chatting to you because she gave him he brushoff. That in and of itself is a natural cycle of dating but it’s weird to think about it when one of the other females is a friend of yours…

Even if I could get my head round that, the other issue was that in all of the discussions we’d had about him we always commented on the fact he just didn’t come across as that bright. On the flipside, while none of his messages to me had been MENSA worthy, I didn’t get the “thick as two short planks” vibe from him either. And so his nickname of Pretty (But Maybe) Dumb came to be.

Between his unknown mental capability and not really liking the idea of it kind of it still feeling like my girlfriend’s seconds, I phased out the texting and never thought anything else of it. Until, that is, I was walking through the block party on Pride Weekend and we ended up walking right by each other on the street.

He hollered at me to stop, but I was with friends and still didn’t particularly feel like having to decide if he felt like a friend’s castoff. I mean, they never met but mostly because she decided she didn’t want to. And I know different people suit different people but there was a sense of him not being good enough for her so I wasn’t sure how it felt to then step up and be like “I’ll take him!” Add to that the fact that, other than looking pretty cute (which, thankfully, he did in real life) he hadn’t really set my world on fire through texts or consistency or action so did I really want to bother?

We kept walking and while I was explaining to my friends who the hot guy that had just yelled at me in the street was, my phone buzzed with a text. “Where are you going? Why didn’t you stop?!” I replied that I was going to meet other friends and couldn’t stop but would be around the block party all night. He told me we’d be drinking together by the end of the night. And I kinda liked his boldness.

The majority of my night was spent up in a hotel room with friends overlooking the block party from the balcony and when he later texted to see where I was, my friends and I decided we’d invite him up. Within 5 minutes (and a lot of directional text messaging which didn’t help the opinion on his mental strength), I went to collect him and his friend from the lobby.

He was definitely hot and a little more softly spoken than I imagined, which was a pleasant surprise. I’d always wondered how much of a “bro” he would be, he definitely had that North American frat boy look about him which, shame on me, I still find intriguing just because it’s such a goddamn novelty but, thankfully, that wasn’t the vibe I was getting from him.

His friend on the other hand… drunk, belligerent and when pushed as to why he was being an asshole (my friends take no prisoners) insisted that because he worked for a charity he was actually a good guy. Um, that’s not how that works. So after a short 15 minutes with us and before they could finish a drink, I told Pretty (But Maybe) Dumb that he could stay or go, but his friend had to go. He made the decision in less than a second and promptly started to say his goodbyes to his friend while ushering him out the door and closing it behind him. That’s mate solidarity for you, isn’t it?!

We had another few drinks in the hotel room and then decided to venture back down to the throngs of people for the end of the street party. Pretty (But Maybe) Dumb had done a fairly good job of easing in with my friends and making conversation. But he became most animated when one of my (male) friends, while discussing where to go for an afterparty, suggested a strip club. “This will be a great first date story” he told me while enthusiastically high fiving my friend.

I wasn’t entirely sure this was a date. But regardless of that and the fact that his incredibly “bro”-like reaction should have put me off, fast forward 15 minutes and we’re standing in line to see some of Vancouver’s finest pole dancers. I know, I’m always making the good decisions.

I probably glimpsed more naked skin while using the bathroom where it appeared the strippers also got ready before and after their stints on stage than when I was actually sat out in the main room. It turned out Pretty (But Maybe) Dumb, despite his excitement about coming to the strip club, decided to sit with his back to the stage and actually engage in proper conversation with me, which was surprising. Or maybe there was a mirror he could still watch the dances in? But my friends had sat at the table beside us so it was essentially just us, for all intents and purposes on a date, having civilised (albeit slightly drunken) chat at a cosy table for two while the entertainment got progressively more naked on the stage in the middle of the room. If it was a date, it was definitely my most bizarre.

At the end of the night, and by end of the night I do mean when the strip club was closing and they actually turned the lights on (which was a horror show no one should see), my friends had long left and Pretty (But Maybe) Dumb offered to walk me home. It was in the entirely opposite direction to where he lived and I knew that by no means did he intend to leave me at my doorstep.

Over the course of the night he’d definitely grown on me, he was funny and opinionated, was obviously up for spontaneous fun, didn’t mind being thrown in the deep end with my friends and he was definitely pretty in that North American college boy way.

At this point of my dating life, I was always making those “going home together” decisions based on whether I actually saw anything happening with someone, i.e. If I thought there could be a potential for a relationship, I wouldn’t want to jeopordise it by sleeping with someone on the first night. Because isn’t that what society and dating advice tell us? That giving it all away too soon can wreck any chances of a relationship? And not to mention the obvious shame of sleeping with a practical stranger? And and and… Ugh.  Yet I know many people who did exactly that on the first night and it made no difference to the long term success of their ensuing relationships.

But at this stage I was still trying to follow that advice and despite how much he’d pleasantly surprised me over the course of the night, I saw no real potential with him, so sure, the walk home with no departure point seemed like it wouldn’t be the worst idea.

We had fun, he had a great body and was pretty dominant in the bedroom. Though at times it bordered a little on selfish and I’m not really a fan of that. Who is? Add to that his frequent complaints about the stiffness (pun intended) of my mattress, him mentioning me making him breakfast, which I think I just laughed at, and bringing up how he thought my friends had been rude to his friend, by morning I was kinda ready to get him the hell out of my apartment. So around 9am I got out up and started to strip the bedding off the bed. With him still in it. I’ve learnt this is a really great, not at all subtle way of telling a remaining visitor from the night before that time is up.

He left and made a comment about seeing each other again, which I thought was one of those involuntary things people accidentally say because the situation brings it out of them, the proverbial “I’ll call you” with no intention behind it. But he did actually text me a few times after that, all of which I responded to but not with a yes to meet up. I should have just told him I didn’t want to see him again, instead I always made up an excuse. I guess because, and I was right, I figured he’d get pissed off eventually and tell me to fuck off.

Thinking back on it, the two gut feelings I had at the beginning – that it felt too much like a friend’s castoff and he didn’t seem that bright – were probably right. Despite them never meeting and by the night of the block party they weren’t even in touch anymore, there was just something about the fact that there was any history there that I couldn’t get over. Girl code aside, which I truly believe in but wasn’t really relevant in this instance, I just never want to feel like someone you know can say “I could have had him first”. And while he was more softly spoken than I imagined, he still definitely had a bit of a bull in a China shop about him. The sort of guy you’d be worried would somehow end up in fights a lot.

So, although we took a detour via a random night at a Strip club, it was definitely time to trust the gut and decide to no longer allow him to fall into the seconds category or me to fall into the sloppy category.

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