TFBC: The Bubble Boy

Last year I went out on a few dates with George.
I don’t think he really wanted to hurt me.
He definitely didn’t want to make me cry.
Let’s just say… he was lacking culture.

Oh Boy, where do I start.

George interested me in that quintessential yet intangible weird-looking-but-kinda-cute way. It was a strange match, but I was into it – the same way people might get into keeping axolotls as pets. Or shall I say, chameleons? Too far with the puns? Honestly, he even looked a bit amphibious! Power to him, I thought; “interesting” is sometimes the best you can work with, and he was truly harnessing an eclectic look. So just before Valentines Day, we arranged to meet up for a beer in the ironically named Pleasure Gardens.

It was your very standard first date; a bit of chat, not much spark, but enough intrigue to move to a second location. So over more drinks at the Bird, we talked careers, families, politics. Some of his views were a little problematic, but I put it down to him playing devil’s advocate. Realistically, he’d probably just had a few too many bevs. I looked past a number of superficial deal-breakers: a tapestry of terrible high-colour cartoon tattoos, a lot of bad jewellery, a request for me to name him Ash Ketchum if I ever wrote about him (sorry not sorry). He also kept doing this super obvious thing of wistfully staring off into the distance, as if he was an Instagram model and I was capturing some candids for him. Cringe. But I let it slide.

The drunker he got, the stronger his Liverpudlian accent became. It was actually adorable, and softened my judgement. I rationalised that his affected ‘aloofness’ was lame but forgivable, especially on a first date – he was probably just counteracting nerves. Everyone’s allowed a few faux pas, right? Unfortunately, one red flag flew higher than the rest. We had been talking music, having both professed a guilty pleasure for old Does It Offend You, Yeah? bangers. Then out of nowhere, sans segue, he blurted:

“I love ketamine. Like, love it so much. We should do it together on our fourth date.”

Um, ok. There’s a lot to unpack here.
One, the presumption of a second date – let alone a fourth – was immense. Knowing the same 2007 Myspace dance-tracks isn’t love at first sight, George.
Two, the casual introduction of drug-chat was a bold move. Not interested in hearing about your bong shaped like a castle, babe. Not impressed whatsoever.
Three, the incredible assumption that I would be down for sharing a romantic night on horse tranquilisers with him. Had he already fallen down a K-Hole without my knowing?
Look, you can’t fault the guy’s confidence.

After the date, we exchanged general chat and flanter. He sent me selfies that I immediately forwarded to various group chats. All of the bad hats and white pants. John Lennon glasses and ladies’ blouses. Flamboyance and self-expression is one thing, but then there’s literally just dressing badly. I winced at myself. How was this attractive to me?! Why was I still responding?! Look, I think I was probably just thirsty to be honest. And hey, at least my costume wardrobe had just doubled.

For reasons still beyond my comprehension, I went out on a limb and bought us tickets to North East Party House. He cancelled literally an hour before we were due to meet. Serves me right. I was crestfallen, but played it cool. George said he was sick, which I honestly don’t doubt. His pallid complexion was a genuine concern, as was his ‘vegetarian’ diet consisting solely of Dairy Milk and Chimek mac & cheese. I made Seinfeld Bubble Boy jokes at his expense, then took a girlfriend instead. We ended up at a Wembley Downs mansion, in someone’s pantry. I woke up to a camera roll full of Sultana Bran boudoir shots. Nights you’ll never remember or something, right?

Once George had ‘recovered’, we set a second date. At a bar in Mount Lawley, he spent the entirety of a bottle of wine coaching me about my ‘social media engagement’ for this blog. Red wine and red flags, a perfect pairing. Strong notes of arrogance, and a floral bouquet of idiocy. When I dropped him home and turned down his oh-so casual invite inside, he was noticeably miffed. The next day, I received an email from George. I don’t remember asking him to be my agent, but he’d attached a Word doc titled “How to be Insta famous”. Thanks but no thanks, babe. I’d rather drink all the Skinny Me Tea an #influencer can promote than pay for fucking followers. I would literally rather shit myself.

Despite well and truly deciding I wasn’t keen, I had one last catch-up with George. What can I say, curiosity will one day kill this cat haha. In my defence, I’d been for Friday wines with a girlfriend, so I was buoyed up with side-eye delight. I just needed to know if there was a bingo behind the bravado. We met up at Joe’s Juice Joint for an awkward beer, then went back to his. Time to put the intrigue to rest, a final… nail in the coffin, or some other justification. Safe to say it was not a cat-nip experience. Zero bang for my buck. I bailed ASAP.

George and I were all come-down, no high.
I’m just glad I avoided his fourth date poison of choice.
The dress-ups, the antics, the share house… it was all very childish.

George O’Dowd was a Boy, not a man.
But one day he’ll get his Karma Chameleon.
Just give it Time.

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