After half an hour of waiting, I decided I’d had enough (Picture: Getty)
Dating sites in 2001 were nothing like the sophisticated apps of today.
Back then they were the kind of design monstrosity the early internet was famous for – all flashing pop-ups and garish colours.
And it was on one of these very sites that I met Donald*.
Sadly, poor Donald’s photo didn’t do anything to enhance the site’s visual appeal.
He was completely bald and very pale, and looked like Voldemort in running gear, though thankfully he had a nose.
I focused on the positives: Donald was tall, slim and muscular, and in his messages he was smart, funny and articulate.
He was also 28-years-old to my 21 – a plus in my view, as I had a thing for older men. And he was possibly the most active man I’ve ever dated.
Ariane was 21 when she met Donald (Picture: Ariane Sherine)
Every week, he seemed to take part in some triathlon or ultra-marathon.
Apparently the more you exercise, the longer you live, so I assume Donald will live forever – mainly because he’ll be largely bionic as all his joints will be knackered and need replacing.
He had many admirable qualities, but timekeeping turned out not to be one of them.
We had been due to meet at 7pm on a Saturday in The Trinity – the trendiest bar in Harrow, which wasn’t saying much. The minutes ticked by and I gazed at my Nokia 3210, yet Donald failed to get in touch to explain or apologise for his lateness.
So I sat there in a black dress and heels, getting hit on by a drunk man who belched corny chat-up lines in my face.
‘Is your dad a thief? He must be, he stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes.’
I wanted to reply, ‘Yes, my dad is a thief, and he’ll steal your car if you don’t p**s off!’
After half an hour of waiting, I decided I’d had enough. A lack of punctuality is disrespectful; a lack of communication when late is even worse.
I stood up and slung my bag on my shoulder – but at that very moment, Donald ran in, flustered and panting. And I will never forget his excuse.
We parted ways, no doubt mutually relieved (Picture: Ariane Sherine)
‘I’m so sorry I’m late.’ He panted. ‘I would have called to let you know, but I went out dancing last night. My phone was in my back pocket, and I sweated so much from my arse, it stopped working!’
Let’s break this down: Donald’s bum was so slick with perspiration from the dancing (which, we can assume, was characteristically energetic) that he managed to saturate the entire rear of his trousers with arse sweat.
This liquid then seeped into his mobile phone. I mean, phones were pretty crap in 2001, but it would still have taken a lot of liquid to break one to the point where it stopped working.
And it made me wonder, what would it be like to sleep with Donald? To grab his tight buns in the missionary position, only to find my hands covered with a sheen of perspiration and have to secretly wipe them on the sheets.
To know that stroking his back would also be like running my palms down a wet otter, fresh from the sea. Where would I put my hands to avoid this – on my head?
Even oral sex wasn’t safe: I would be forced to watch the beads of sweat glisten on his bald dome if he went down on me.
So my reaction to his confession was, ‘Ew, minging!’.
They say most people decide within minutes whether they want another date with a romantic prospect, but it took seconds for me: Donald had condemned himself with his opening line.
Still, it’s only polite to stick around for at least an hour when you’re on a date. You can’t really say, ‘Sorry, I’m leaving as your sweaty buttock anecdote has grossed me out.’
The ‘ick’ wasn’t a thing then – though it certainly would have been the most appropriate phrase to describe how I felt during our encounter.
So Donald bought me a lemonade, as I am a very cheap date, and we chatted – mostly about exercise, as that was his main passion.
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Much as I was impressed by his stamina, I hate anything active. I recalled to Donald that in PE at school, all the other girls would run round the athletics track, followed by the girl with her leg in a cast, followed by me.
I also admitted that, rather than move my body, I’d prefer to sit in front of the telly like a big sedentary slug, munching a giant bag of Wotsits.
I’m pretty sure that, much as Donald’s sweaty bum had put me off him, this confession put him off me.
He wanted a girlfriend who’d wake up at the crack of dawn to start putting one foot in front of the other, not stopping until sunset. He didn’t want some kind of duvet-loving sloth with a crisp addiction.
And so we parted ways, no doubt mutually relieved. He didn’t ask for a second date, and I wasn’t upset.
Arse sweat may have broken his phone, but it also failed to turn me on.
So, How Did It Go?
My reaction to his confession was, ‘Ew, minging!’