This Saturday, the 10th of September 2011, Guillaume and I will be celebrating our four year anniversary. Are you sitting comfortably? Here is the story of how we met.
In the weeks before I set eyes on Guillaume I had joined a popular dating site in the hope of finding my 'mister right' and maybe a couple if 'mister okay-you'll-do-for-nows' along the way. After wading, knee deep through a lake of forgettable dinners and 'oh-my-god-is-that-the-time?' coffees I considered lowering my standards.
Then one day, whilst browsing through men on the website (just like shopping on-line for food, only sexier) I glimpsed a cutie on a stool. His name was 'Marc' and he was a French hairdresser. We spoke on-line for a while and eventually agreed to meet. I was working at The London Dungeon at the time so as my shift came to an end I got out my clinique bag and made sure every trace of gore, blood, and white base was well and truly shifted. A spritz of aftershave and I was good to go. We had agreed to meet outside Leicester square tube station and get a few drinks in Soho. I was waiting, phone in hand, searching the crowds for my date. I had arrived a little early and he was running a little late. But, this is London after all and the odds of arriving anywhere on time are on a par seeing Elvis, riding dolphins up the Thames.
Ignoring my bizarre analogy for a moment... Tell me, have you had a moment when everything stops? The world falls away and you lose yourself in a moment? As I saw him standing with the crowd waiting to cross the street I had one such moment. I was breathless and entranced. He was the most beautiful human beings alive and now he was walking towards me. Despite the swirling mass of commotion all around us, strangely, it felt for a moment like there was no one else there. Not a soul but us.
When the reverie broke and I recovered my chin and lolling tongue from Tottenham Court Road, we walked. I don't remember those first words exchanged but I do remember thinking how tall he was. I was certainly blathering on as I always do and suggested we go to a place called 'Trash Palace', where we finally sat to talk properly. I found out months later that Guillaume's first thought upon seeing me, was that I was 'very little' and when we sat for drinks he had no idea what I was saying (I was saying a lot!) He just nodded and agreed!
Nervous as hell my mouth just ran and ran barely stoping for breath. Nothing has changed, you can tell I'm nervous if I'm gibbering and on the contrary my silence usually denotes a calm confidence (or a really bad mood). Unlike me, Guillaume was, and is, a quiet sort. He was, and is, beautifully shy. He is without a doubt one of the kindest, sweetest, funniest people I have ever known and straight away I knew it.
'Trash Palace' was our first drink but 'Balans' was where it got interesting. The cocktails were flowing and we were both past trying to make casual conversation. It was just like when I first saw him again, the world had tumbled away and it was just the two of us. At no time did this feel like a one-off-date, rather it felt like the emergence of something completely new. Strangely, it was like 'I' had become 'we' already.
Our first date ended in the moon-lit early hours on a deserted Oxford street. It never felt like an ending, and it's never felt like an ending ever since. It has been, and still is, the best thing to ever happen to me.
Dedicated to Gui
(or Mark as I thought he was on our first date, I'm still not sure why!)