When I first moved to Amsterdam for work my friend and her Dutch partner in Sydney put me in touch with their friends in Amsterdam – as I had done for them in Australia – to show me about town and get me settled in. Within a few days I received a message from one friend apologising for being extremely busy but that he had passed my number on to another “good friend” of theirs, who “would love to meet” me.
When I came down into the lobby in the glass lift in my hotel, I had no idea what to expect and I hadn’t had time to give it much thought, but I immediately noticed a tall, very handsome man standing in the doorway. He had wavy hair and a very warm, toothy grin. I was quite taken. Although we had not seen pictures of each other or even spoken on the phone, he immediately walked over, introduced himself* as the person I was expecting and took the lead, linking his arm in mine under his umbrella and walking me to an up-and-coming bar on the popular Prinsegracht. It was all, well, rather romantic for a friendly meeting…
After a few glasses of South African wine (that he had selected especially for me) and utterly delightful conversation (he turned out to be a life coach), the maître d’ came over to us and announced that our table was ready. I laughed out loud and immediately protested: “I don’t think you mean for us…”, when my new Dutch friend interjected, “I thought I would surprise you!” That was when I realized that I was on a date – a blind date! But, so far so good, so, I tried to relax with the help of more fruits of the vine.
As dates go – blind or otherwise – it wasn’t so bad at all and it was really turning into one of those nights that you wish didn’t have to end. We moved from the restaurant to walking along the canals, to several bars, including my hotel bar, and then, in the small hours of the morning, the mini bar in my hotel room after everything else had closed. (Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking, stupid decision but I reasoned he was a friend of a friend and, let’s face it, he was so pretty… And, pertinently, I had had more than enough liquid to cloud my judgement). So, yes, there was some kissing but at some point all that wine had to go somewhere so I went to the bathroom.
Nothing in the world could have prepared me for what I was met with when I came back into the room.
My blind date had written my name on the hotel room wall… My name… In permanent marker! “You inspired me!” he declared with a proud grin. I stood staring at the wall in disbelief for what felt like an eternity before I walked over and started frantically rubbing it. It wouldn’t budge. I panicked. Seconds later, as I left the room in search of some chemicals that could remove the fresco from the wall, he called after me, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it!”
When I came back empty-handed he proudly displayed the result of his handy work. He had managed to scrape the permanent marker off the wall, but along with the marker had come the paint and about 5mm of plaster. My blind date had now carved my name on the wall of my hotel room, which had been booked on my company credit card.
What followed was a conversation in which I queried what had possessed him and told him that he had to go down to reception immediately to admit to and pay for the damage. He suggested that I not worry and that we just leave it “and see what happens”.
I flinched and made some observations about his morality, sanity and ability as a life coach.
He suggested that I am a control freak.
I stated that my mother hadn’t raised me to avoid my responsibilities and that, even though I had not met his mother, and now clearly had no desire to, I was sure that his mother hadn’t raised him that way either.
I had sobered up and he wasn’t so pretty anymore.
I ended up paying for the damages in the morning, after a very embarrassing conversation with the incredibly kind and understanding hotel manager (although I got my money back from him after a bit of a battle) and eventually found out that ‘the carver’ was no more than a passing acquaintance of my friends in Sydney…That revelation was shocking but, after what had transpired, not entirely surprising. Either way, no more accidental dating for me and probably no more dates with Michaelangelo wannabes either.
*Cisca is our brave (read: rookie) dater in Amsterdam, who doesn’t always show the best judgement (read: under the influence). She insists that names have been omitted to protect the clearly not-so-innocent and that timelines and some details have been collapsed for dramatic effect (but mostly because she really doesn’t want to put you off all life coaches as she’s sure there are some good ones out there).