You travel all the way across town, hover hopefully by the Notting Hill Gate barriers or the door of Costa, and wait.
Fifteen minutes later you give up the ghost, buy a chocolate brownie to go, and trudge despondently home.
You have eaten a LOT of family sized bars of Galaxy since that photo. That guy who looks like Channing Tatum finally replied to their Tinder message and, even though he’s clearly more interested in sending dick pics than becoming their future husband and has the IQ of a cake fork, did I mention he looks like Channing Tatum? That girl who looks like Kelly Brook finally replied to their message and, even though she has the cold, dead eyes of a serial killer and says she believes a reptilian alien race are secretly running the world, did I mention she looks like Kelly Brook? They’re not really a date, they’re Steve from IT who you once shouted at for taking 2 1/2 hours to unsuccessfully adjust your Outlook settings. They’re not really a date, they’re really a 13-year-old girl who, in an attempt to make up for her crushing lack of playground popularity, has taken to stealing strangers’ Facebook photos and creating elaborate online dating profiles called Chad, Oprah and Maud. They took one look at you and realised you were so out of their league that, if you agreed to be their girlfriend, people would forever mentally brand them ‘the ugly one’. They took one look at you and were so blinded by your beauty they fell down the escalators at Waterloo and are currently in intensive care. Your vintage shoes reminded them of their now dead uncle who touched them inappropriately when they were six. They took one look at you, stepped out carelessly into the road and were flattened, Mean Girls-style. Despite your regular online chats they haven’t mentioned the fact they are too scared to leave the house and haven’t done so in 12 years. Despite your regular online chats they haven’t mentioned the fact they have a crippling fear of Cafe Nero due to a traumatising childhood incident involving a milk frother. They are a workaholic and arrived 45 minutes late, by which time you had turned off your phone and gone home. They are not a telemarketer from Hackney called Dave.
One of the most excruciating moments which can happen in a single woman's life is being stood up.
It's the same mortifying feeling as finding yourself in front of a large audience and then realizing your shirt is covered in soy sauce, your fly is open, and that you have a massive zit right in the middle of your forehead. You dress up, you get to eat somewhere you might never have eaten before, and you get to know someone new. If not, in the wise words of Jay-Z, "onto the next one."Women always tell their friends when they are going on a date (unless they are worried that their friends will judge her date).
And good friends always ask the datee post-date how the whole thing went.
Ideally, the datee gets to squeal and gush and rehash the details.
Or the datee gets to recount a horrible evening and share humorous and cringe-worthy details (e.g.
"he actually ate a piece of leftover food from a neighbouring table's plate after the customers left.").
Both of these scenarios are, in their own way, satisfying stories to tell. It's completely embarrassing to have to confess to friends over lunch or drinks, "Well, he didn't actually make it." Sympathetic and pitying glances are thrown your way.
The flow of conversation inevitably floats to why you would be stood up, and every possible insecurity that you have tried to overcome suddenly re-emerges in your psyche, stronger than it ever had been before.