1 May 2017

Dating Diaries: Mr Big

We weren’t compatible. At least that much was obvious. In fact, if I wrote a list of things I did and didn’t look for, he’d tick most of the latter...


And reading that back, God, what was the attraction?

Quite simply: everything I shouldn’t like about him, drew me to him.

Before we met, it was apparent he was smart. Witty. Cheeky. Confident. And his photos gave off an arrogant, posh boy vibe. When we talked, our exchanges were quick-fire; I had to be constantly switched-on.

On our first date, I was struck by just how correct my perceptions had been. In real life, he was confident, opinionated and knowledgeable. He was passionate about art, reeling off his favourite artists, his favourite artistic movements. He was wealthy, wearing a Rolex on his wrist. ‘This isn’t my favourite, it’s just the one I wear to work,’ he shrugged.

Of course.

Being predictable, he was a parody of himself, which amused me no end. Happy to flash the cash, happy to boast about his successes. You’ve probably seen him a thousand times, pacing about the square mile with an air of self-importance. Your typical City Boy, and then some. Tailored suit. Sharp leather shoes – by Church’s, probably. Hackett, to him, was average. ‘It’s made in China, the quality isn’t that great’. My friends and I gave him the nickname 'Mr Big.'

He had an answer for everything.

I gave as good as I got. For every sly comment he fired at me – with a smirk and a sip of his Negroni – I offered a sarcastic retort. Our conversational ping-pong was frustrating and addictive. He annoyed the hell out of me, and yet I couldn’t get enough.

When he was rude, I’d berate him for it. Even on our first date there was no pretence. With him I could be outspoken and honest and teasing. At the same time, we had our guards up high, high. It was dizzying.

And when we kissed, it was bold and unapologetic – just like him.

He embodied a lifestyle I would never live. His parents were high-flyers; he was privately educated with an degree in Fine Art, and a Masters in Business. He lived alone in a new-build flat his parents financed – no mortgage. He had caviar for lunch, just because. Bottles of champagne I’d seen in fancy restaurants, behind the glass, were ready and chilling in his fridge. He owned multiple designer watches. Numerous cars. There was a reference to making his way through the wine list at a revered London restaurant with his friend ‘to honour his late father.’

I was never allowed to pay. I was never able to pay, as were his lofty tastes.

Call me shallow, call me sheltered, but he fascinated me. ‘I think you see me as an anthropological curiosity’ he said to me before the end, which, aside from sounding pompous and obnoxious, is true. I’d never met anyone like him.

But I balanced him. Every time he bordered on ridiculous, I’d point it out, tell him to shut up, give him a playful push. Sometimes I couldn’t tell whether his remarks were serious, or if he was pushing me to call him out on them. He seemed to like sounding obnoxious. I would try – in vain – to ground him. I’d tell him he was so incredibly embarrassing, and ‘can you hear yourself?’ but I could tell he didn’t like being on the ground with everyone else.

We got our kicks from each other. We were complete opposites, challenging and frustrating. Somehow the chemistry was just there.

He took me to the beach, once. All things considered, it seemed bizarre of him to take me on a romantic day trip. Between our heated discussions and me mocking his baseball hat (he insisted on wearing it backwards), sometimes I’d forget we were on a date.

But then he’d snap out of his pomposity and look me in the eye, very clearly, and kiss me.

And in that moment, regardless of background, or money, or character – we were completely equal.

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