The Textlationship , Part 1 – Approach

This is a story about how Lucy got asked out for the second time over Twitter.  It gets quite interesting.  I think you’ll like it.

Regular readers of this blog will remember the tale of Beardy Al, who got chatting with Lucy on Twitter after she took the piss out of his beard – which, quite frankly, he completely deserved.  Being a glutton for punishment, Al then sent her a private message asking to meet her, and Lucy, who was impressed that he’d asked her out without having seen a photo, and flattered that he was interested in her just for her personality, agreed to a date.

They went out several times, and even kissed (in spite of the beard) but although Al was a lovely guy, in the end it didn’t work out.  Part of the problem was that Al already knew a lot of private and personal things about Lucy, and so had far more information about her than was really healthy or natural for so early on in a relationship.  So now Lucy has resolved not to go on any more dates with guys who follow her on Twitter.  It’s just too messy and complicated.

But then… enter Ben.

Ben and Lucy have been casually connected on Twitter for a while.  His profile is anonymous, so she has no idea what he looks like, how old he is, or anything at all really.  But he seems friendly enough, so occasionally they comment on each other’s tweets, and that’s about it.

Until one day, when Lucy makes an unfortunate joke.  To be fair, she seems to spend much of her time on Twitter inadvertently offending one person or another, so it’s pretty standard for her.  This time, it’s Ben whom she offends, and he gently picks her up on it.  Lucy immediately tweets an apology, and a few moments later Ben sends her a direct message.

Lucy has heard tales of ‘DM sliders’ – guys on Twitter who, uninvited, send Direct Messages to girls they like the look of in the hope of getting a date, or a shag, or whatever.  Lots of girls think these guys are creepy and weird – which to be fair, many of them are.   But just occasionally you get one who isn’t; who appears, at least on the face of it, to be a Good Guy.

And Ben seems to be one of those.  Witty, articulate, and thoughtful, he doesn’t come across as creepy at all.  Nonetheless, Lucy really knows nothing about him, and she’s certain that meeting another guy from Twitter would only get her into trouble, so she’s going to stick to her new rule.

And that is that, until a few days later.  Lucy is abroad on a work trip when Ben pops up again with a polite request.

Lucy takes a look at what Ben has sent over: a sad story about a difficult time in his life.  It’s open, raw, and beautifully written, and Lucy finds herself becoming more interested in this mysterious man.  She’s a sucker for a guy who’s good with words anyway, but Ben’s straightforward honesty is incredibly attractive.   She tells him so, and he replies gratefully.

Lucy may be about to get herself into trouble…

A few days later,  he pops up again.  Lucy’s been chatting with some other people on Twitter about what makes a good dating app profile, and once again Ben wants Lucy’s advice.  This time he asks if she’ll take a look at his own profile and give him some tips about how to improve it and make it more attractive to potential matches.

Lucy agrees to help, and Ben sends her screen grabs of his profile so she can critique it.

And suddenly, there he is, in full technicolour.  No longer is he a mysterious, anonymous stranger; in one fell swoop he has morphed into a real live person.  She can see his name, his age, what he’s written about himself, and four photos.  And – here’s the kicker – he’s attractive!  Not Lucy’s usual type, admittedly, but still… a few years younger, muscular, with a friendly face and a cheeky smile crowned with straight, even teeth.

It’s a good profile.  Lucy offers a couple of minor improvements, but tells him she can’t really understand why he would be struggling to get dates.  Has he really had no luck?

He reveals that actually there is one girl he’s had a couple of dates with.  But it’s very early days, and at this stage he’s not sure if it will go anywhere.  Since Lucy still has no intention of dating anyone who knows about the blog, she wishes him all the best, and goes back to her day.

But then, a few days later, things start to escalate…

Clearly undeterred by her refusal to take the bait so far, Ben messages her again, cheekily hinting at a suggestion that he might take her out for a drink in order to provide her with new material for the blog.  And Lucy, who finds that she has started enjoying their chats, messages him right back.

Because yes, dear reader, Lucy is tempted. In spite of what happened with Al, and in spite of her new rule, she’s attracted to Ben.  He’s intelligent, articulate, and thoughtful. And of course it doesn’t hurt at all that she’s now seen photos, and he’s kinda cute.  Which of course he cottons onto straight away (since the man’s not an idiot).

Lucy, of course, will defend to the grave the argument that it was nothing to do with having seen photos, and everything to do with Ben’s charm and personality. Lucy, of course, is a fucking shit liar.

They chat for ages after this, about dating, about life, about some of the other people they both follow on Twitter, about what they’ve got planned for the rest of the week.  And Ben is responsive, and entertaining, and very lovely.  So although Lucy is still resisting, brick by brick she starts to take down the wall she has built.  Ben registers this, and ups his game.

The wall may be coming down, but Lucy is still not quite ready to agree to a dinner date just yet.  Ben, however, can sense victory is in his sights.  He goes in for the kill.

He just gave her his number!  Lucy doesn’t know what to do.  A charming, intelligent, handsome man wants to take her out to dinner, without even having seen a photograph.  She should say yes!   But she’s pretty certain it would be a disaster, just like it was with Al.  If Ben reads the blog he already knows too much: about her overthinking, and her neuroses, and about Peter and Adam, her Friends-With-Benefits.  Any potential relationship would be doomed from the start.   And what about her anonymity?  What if they meet, and it goes wrong, and then he tells everyone on the internet who she really is?

Or what if they start dating, and it goes well, but Lucy also wants to keep writing the blog, and then Ben reads stories about other dates, and gets jealous, and they get into a fight…

Nope, it’ll never work.  It’s just too risky.

But as fast as she can come up with objections, Ben confidently bats them away.

It’s true, he is very persuasive. And charming, and attractive, and annoyingly likeable.  Lucy suddenly decides she should take a chance. She’s fed up of fuckboys on dating apps, and here, right in front of her is a guy who seems to be everything she’s looking for in a man: intelligent, articulate, educated, funny, fit, and most of all, interested in her.   What, really, does she have to lose?   She decides to be brave…

It’s a moment of enormous bravery. Once she WhatsApps him, that’ll be it.  She’ll have to tell him who she really is, and show him a photograph, and everything will be blown wide open.  It’s pretty terrifying.

Lucy already knows the answer to this. There’s the small matter of the other girl he’s been dating. But everyone dates multiple people at once, and he said it was very early days and he didn’t know if it was going anywhere, so it’s ok, right?  Still worth a shot?

And so Lucy types a message into WhatsApp, takes a deep breath, and hits send.

To find out what happened next, click here.


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Names and some minor details have been changed to protect the innocent. And sometimes the guilty.
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