‘When you’re feeling open to love, your heart is more receptive to it, and you attract more guys’, said my friend Gabby. She used to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show, so is very wise. I was telling her about how I had recently joined the ‘social discovery’ app that is Tinder, and had been asked out on more dates in the 12 hours after I downloaded it, than I had in the last 12 months.
Dating in this day and age is a bit tricky. We increasingly spend more and more time on our smart phones – we can order pizza, buy clothes and book our holidays online… so why can’t we find the perfect man at the touch of a button?
With that in mind, I decided to accept an offer of a lunch date from Will. Will is really manly, charming, knows his way around a compliment and looks like he could easily pick up a shelf!
‘You seem to be a bit of a man about town, shall I leave it to you to decide where we go?’ he offered. Immediate panic ensued as I stuttered a few lame obvious suggestions. The pressure of choosing the perfect first date location is harder than actually going on the date. You want to make a good impression without suggesting too much. Most importantly, I feel as if it needs to be out of the Central/SoHo bubble most of us have been accustomed to treating as our own backyard.
Having had girlfriends until a couple of years ago, Will was used to taking control in dating and masterfully told me the time and place before I listed all the restaurants in the Sassy City Guide!
I met Will at The Boathouse along the Stanley promenade just after 1pm. Admittedly it wasn’t somewhere I would have chosen, but this won him points (especially as he had reached far afield to the south side).
On a sunny day, a table on the balcony not only adds a hint of romanticism, but it allows for privacy of sorts, whilst overlooking the bustling waterfront.
‘I’m not going to drink’, I told myself, knowing that Drunk Avey can be an acquired taste. ‘How about a bottle of prosecco?’ Will suggested – and my resolve crumbled instantly. After downing my first glass, my nerves subsided and the conversation flowed – as did the two bottles of bubbles we ended up drinking. The afternoon was perfect, we chatted about people we both knew, places we’d been and I started to imagine how easily he could slot into my life. But dreams of white picket fences were blurred by the patchy service and average food. However, having said that, I would go back and recommend it solely for its unpretentious and unassuming setting. I mean who cares about the fish when the dish of the day is really the one sitting across the table!
‘Do you want to go for a walk around the HKCSM?’ he asked once we’d shared a dessert. I had no idea what he was talking about but I put it down to the daytime drinking. Somehow, walking along the promenade, we started holding hands, and I was so distracted by this development that I hadn’t realised that he had led me towards the Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum!
At the museum I paid no attention to the artefacts, as he kept just close enough to me so that our shoulders were always touching. All the while, I kept wondering if he was actually curious about crime and punishment or if he had a prison fetish… Looking back on it now, I realise that it was a pretty impressive first date activity – it enabled us to interact and we moved onto being tactile with each other.
‘Do you want to have another drink, and then maybe get some dinner?’ he asked. Of course, I accepted. A short cab ride later, I found myself on Kowloon side in a vibrant roof top haunt called Tapagria.
Our city is littered with average Spanish ‘themed’ restaurants but with my “first date” hat on, I liked that Tapagria was (a) not in Central and (b) that its terrace boasts an awesome view of the Hong Kong skyline, where couples can go all doe-eyed on each other next to a stunning backdrop. Over some Patatas Bravas and sangria, Will told me that he was really having a good time getting to know me.
At that very moment, I felt like the day had paused and I was brought back to the setting of The Boathouse, with its scenic surroundings and free flowing prosecco. Then in stark contrast the Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum – an offbeat visit to say the least. Then this… the bright lights of our big city engulfing us on a rooftop bar… I suddenly thought that no matter where you go on a first date, none of it actually matters as long as you have good conversation, a darling of a man and I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a glass of wine or two to loosen you up a little!
‘Come on, let’s top up your glass’, he said, assuredly putting his hand on my arm and beckoning for the waiter. I was officially hooked.