To be honest, I’d had better evenings.
Two hours of stilted conversation over rubbery haddock in lukewarm, milky fish juice at a seafood restaurant somewhere on the Kent coast was, frankly, two hours too much.
My date’s rehearsed soundbites about his job in dental sales made me want to stick a fork in my eye and the frequent awkward silences came as a blessed relief.
As he regaled me with another story about shifting two hundred oral suction pumps to a hygienist in Jaywick, I determined to never swipe right again for a man whose eyebrows join in the middle.
After what felt like a fortnight, he finally downed his espresso dregs, casually paid the extortionate bill and escorted me to his sports car for the drive back to London.
Turns out I wasn’t a sports car kind of a gal. Also turns out stiletto heels and a pencil skirt aren’t the most practical things to wear for climbing into a car that’s two inches off the floor.
Trying to retain my dignity and not flash him an eyeful of my pants, I hunkered down, straddled the gearstick and squished myself into a seat that was so far back it was virtually horizontal.
I buckled up sharpish as Salesboy turned the ignition and put his Italian brogue to the metal. Just another 20 minutes of him talking about gum disease and I’d never have to see him again.
Suddenly, I felt lightheaded and dizzy. It certainly wasn’t his scintillating conversation. I knew exactly what it was. My annual panic attack, arriving, as always, with spectacular timing.
Before long I became short of breath and nauseous. Perhaps if I ignored it, it would go away. I tried my usual coping strategies – reciting the seven times table and quietly singing the words to Dancing Queen – but it was getting worse.
As he raced through the wet night, cornering on two wheels, I lay there sweating, singing Mamma Mia out loud to try and stay conscious
My body had gone into fight-or-flight mode, the blood rushed to my vital organs and my limbs were getting pins and needles. This wasn’t good. I had to get out of the car.
I told my driver I didn’t feel well. The look of confusion on his face soon turned to horror as I added that I probably needed an ambulance. Not expecting the evening to have gone south this quickly, he pulled the car over to the side of the deserted A-road and looked at me with the wide eyes of a stunned goat.
My breathing was tight, I felt like I was having a heart attack and my now completely numb hands had gone into some primordial claw-like grasp.
With the sudden realisation that a mad woman was about to pass out in his Porsche Boxster, Salesboy sped off again into the rain, muttering something about the hospital being only 10 minutes away.
As he raced through the wet night, cornering on two wheels, I lay there sweating, singing Mamma Mia out loud to try and stay conscious. At last I could see the welcoming lights of A&E and the car screeched to a halt outside.
My clumsy lobster claws wouldn’t unbuckle my seatbelt, so in an obvious bid to save his upholstery, Salesboy sprinted round, opened my door and unclipped me, whereupon I rolled out of the car, landed in a puddle and vomited milky regurgitated haddock, in all its fishy glory, all over myself and his Italian brogues.
Soaked to the skin with rain, smelling like the catch of the day and with my hair stuck to my face with vomit, I started crawling on all fours towards A&E.
Seeing this shameful display, Salesboy put a reluctant arm round my waist and dragged me inside, where the woman behind the desk made no attempt to hide her horror at my appearance.
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Within moments I was laying on a hospital bed where a dashing young doctor looked at me pitifully.
As he asked me questions of a personal nature, broadcasting my intimate medical history to the entire room, I looked up to see a shell-shocked dental supplies salesman, who’d probably only gone out for a drink and a quick leg-over, standing at the end of the bed, a bit of haddock stuck to his eyebrow, politely holding the coat of a crazy woman he’d only met a few hours earlier.
As I recovered the next day, I got the obligatory ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ text. I think it’s fair to say that it was something of a joint effort.
Perhaps if he hadn’t been so nauseating, I might not have felt so nauseous. Who knows?
But my advice to budding daters would be to avoid toothpaste salesmen, always wear trousers and never, ever, have the fish.
So, How Did It Go?
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