Adventures in Dating 10: Sugar Mamma Mia.

We arranged to meet at a place in Soho, and she opened up the possibility of going to see a DJ later in the evening. Well, the conversation actually went:

“Have you heard of Eton Messy?”

“No, I haven’t. Where’s that?”

“Hahah, no he’s a DJ,” she replied, “He’s playing a free show in East London, if we randomly wanted to go!”

“Oh! Shows how hip and happening I am these days.” (Spoiler: I most definitely am not.

We meet up on a Friday. The bar we originally planned on was suuuper busy, so we wandered around the even busier streets of Soho on a Friday night until we found somewhere that was less wall-to-wall sweaty strangers. It was a Mexican place, which I was totally on board with as soon as I saw they did a variety of margaritas. We ummed and ahhed about whether or not to get a jug between us, but then decided to be sensible and just go for a glass each, and see where the evening took us.

I have to say, J was a cool girl, I really loved her style. She was dressed pretty minimally – a white t-shirt and a maxi skirt, with a fringe jacket and kitten-heeled boots. Her hair was curly and tied back in a effortlessly cute way. From first digital impressions, I was expecting someone slightly more… hippy-ish. There was a carefree, wayward air about her, and a photo in front of an authentic-looking Buddha statue. Plus, one of her prompts was, “Believe it or not… I don’t like yoga” which, to me, suggested that other people regard her as a hippy, too. She just looked generally wholesome. And she was, she just surprised me with the ‘in-person’ version of how she presented herself.

I learnt that she was born in the UK, but was half American and spent her teens over there. She came back to the UK for university and was currently gearing up to do a PhD in Child Psychology. We had a good time in those inital couple of hours, it was a nice easy time, nothing felt awkward or forced.

I’ve mentioned before how I get more nervous going on dates with other girls than I do with guys, because in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking, “is this a date or are we just two pretty girls hanging out?” But J kept making subtle moves as we spoke – touching my leg, nudging my arm – making me well aware that this was no doubt A Date (as if meeting on a dating app wasn’t proof enough).

I went to the bathroom and when I came back out, J had ordered us both a tequila shot each. Ordering our margaritas earlier in the evening, we bonded over the fact that tequila is the only shot we would happily go near, and she wanted to surprise me. And colour me suprised, doing a tequila shot on a first date is pretty hardcore. Especially when said tequila shots ended up being larger than your average tequila shot. We were pretty taken aback – the waiter had essentially brought over what was two ramikens of tequila. These were probably three times the size of your regular tequila shots.

“These are like, American-sized!” J exclaimed, before we both let them go down the hatch. I may have dribbled a bit, because I am no good at doing regular shots, let alone one the size of a soup bowl. But I’m sure I styled it off well.

Ella makes a face as she contemplates the queer woman's struggle: am I on a date or just hanging out with a pretty girl?
Me, desperately trying to decipher if I’m on a date or just hanging out with a pretty girl. Photo by Sian.

After settling up the bill – and relenting that, yes, we should have gotten a pitcher of margarita rather than several individual (and more expensive) glasses – we decided to continue our evening. We forwent the DJ in East London because 1) I do not like East London (but that’s a story for another time) and 2) some friends of hers sent J a picture of said event and the place was sparse. So instead, I suggested Bar Elba, partly because it’s a great place, but also because it’s near Waterloo station and would make getting the train home at the end of the night much easier (famous last words).

J was very impressed with the decor of the place (if you’ve not been to BAr Elba, it’s a rooftop bar that strewn with fairylights and floral things on every beam and corner. It’s extremely instagrammable). In fact, she was so impressed that when we got to the bar, she told me to “put my money away.

“Are you sure?” I asked her.

“Of course! You’re the one that suggested such a cool place.”

This suited me, it’s always nice to be bought drinks. We found a table and made more chit chit, before my worst nightmare happened and the conversation lulled. Oh no, I thought, have I blown it? Did I put my foot in my mouth? Am I just incredibly boring? I’m not the kind of person that believes every bit of silence needs to be filled with conversation, but on a first date, when you’re getting to know each other and seeing whether you gel, I don’t take silence as a particularly good sign.

Turns out I was completely overthinking it, because she turned to me and said, “I really want to kiss you.

Oh! I was so busy overthinking, that I missed the cues. And so, we kissed, and unliked the other kisses I’ve had during my experiment up until now, there were sparks a-flying.

The evening progressed. We got drunker. We kissed some more. We bonded over our love of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Kissed some more. The bar closed, I suggested another round the corner. At the second bar, J literally shoved my wallet away.

“No, put it away!” she said.

“But you got the last several rounds, let me get this one!” I insisted.

“No, I’m feeling very ‘Sugar Mama’ tonight,” she said and we both laughed.

We were in a basement bar now, and it had a different vibe to the other places we had been that night. It was darker with a more clubby feel, and playing remixes of classic ’90s R&B tunes. J and I danced a little, shouted over the loud music, did another tequila shot (lord, why), and kissed some more. At one point, a woman came over and gave us a bottle of prosecco to share, exclaiming that we were a “perfect lesbian power couple.”

Places in London don’t actually stay open super late, so at around 2am we all got kicked out, and J and I sat on a street corner for a little while and kissed some more, not quite wanting the night to end just yet. But, of course, it had to end eventually. J ordered an Uber home, and me… well. The last train home had long gone, so I was tasked with the awesome adventure that is getting the nighttube down to Morden and then an Uber back home to Surrey. I do this if I miss my last train because an Uber from Morden is half the price than one from central London… and a gal needs to save those pennies.


If it wasn’t obvious, I had a great time on my date with J. It was not only the best date on this experiement so far, but potentially one of my top five best dates ever. Yeah, I said it. After I got over the initial “iS tHiS a DaTe??” awkwardness, everything felt pretty natural and we had a lot of fun.

In honour of our shared love of ABBA, the soundtrack to this date is Honey Honey. And now that we’ve passed the 10 date mark, I’m happy to announce that I’ve compiled all the songs in the experiment so far into a playlist, so you can all experience this rollercoaster of emotions with me, in song form. Enjoy!

more: instagram | twitter | other dates

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