August 7, 2020

The Commuter’s Equivalent of Online Dating

Tomorrow, I’m going to a cider farm with a woman I met on the train. I’d like to say that this isn’t as odd as it sounds, but in all honestly, it is pretty odd. This isn’t the first time I’ve had the pleasure of her company outside of our daily commute; last weekend we went on a double date and had cupcakes and cider on the beach. Accompanied by our respective boyfriends, we’d planned to meet mid afternoon, at a local bakery we both love. We’d made the arrangements the previous day as we travelled home from work and at the time, I remember looking forward to it. Later on though, I wasn’t so sure. It felt a little bit like a blind date.

I don’t have any personal experience with online dating, but I imagine the whole thing to be pretty nerve-wracking. You generally have at least a vague idea as to what your date will look like; albeit a blurry, decade old photograph that bears little or no resemblance to their current physiognomy, but other than that, it’s all a bit of a mystery. In my case though, unlike most members of match.com, I had an additional advantage. Since I’d met this woman in the flesh numerous times, I actually knew what to expect.

Nonetheless, as the day of the double date drew closer, I began to feel a little bit anxious. To begin with, my worries were (reasonably) commonplace – ‘What if it’s awkward? What if run out of things to talk about? – but it wasn’t long before my mind started to run away with itself.  ’What if she’s nothing like I remember? What if our friendship can’t survive outside the confines of the train station?  What if her boyfriend is really, really weird? What if they don’t turn up? What if I don’t even recognise her? What if, during the course of an evening, she has undergone a process of strange, horrifying mutation or contracted some deadly disease?’

‘Maybe I should cancel’, I thought. ‘Yes, this was a mistake. I should definitely cancel.’

But what would I say? I find it difficult enough to cancel plans at the best of times, let alone with someone I barely know. Oh God, what have I got myself into? She’s probably a serial killer. Or a pervert. Or both.

Luckily, my worries were completely unfounded; neither she, nor her boyfriend were serial-killer-pervert-mutants. They weren’t even a little bit weird.