Dating can be a very solitary experience, despite the fact that you're meeting up with another person.Travelling to the date you are alone in your thoughts, every possible scenario whirring around in your head, and nine times out of ten, you end up going home by yourself - okay, maybe eight.
He looks sexy, suave, smart, sophisticated and lots of other s-words. But we're overthinking again, and instead of that, I decide to barely pause for thought at all.
He is the perfect picture of alliteration and hotness. Before my internet connection can quite believe what is happening, I am very directly asking him out for a drink, foregoing my usual "when's good for you? I send the message and then wander over to the other side of the room and pretend I'm not really bothered by how quickly he replies. I walk to our meeting place as calmly as I can manage: it's a warm evening and I don't want to arrive with the tell-tale sweat beads on my forehead and in the dip of my chest that will give away a faster gait.
Yet one must venture out of shallow waters for a more satisfying swim. And so I break every rule I have ever made yet again and initiate contact. My opener is straightforward, with a hint of humour that will hopefully intrigue. I am meeting him in a pub I often select as the initial rendezvous point; it doesn't have a gay clientele but is near enough other places which do.
He may look the part but be as dumb as a packet of chewing gum. I read his profile, which is clever, witty and just what I'm looking for. One must always plan ahead: I don't want to be caught out and eager to bump tongues only for the crowd around us to strongly object.
So slow was my meandering that I am arriving a few minutes late.
I breezily throw open the pub door, almost relieving a skinny girl of her red wine in the process, and make my way to the bar, not looking around to see if he's there already.
I know that he'll have been watching the door, even if he's pretending not to. Going on a date with someone who's not from the UK can be easier when it comes to conversation.
Sure enough, within a few seconds, someone who smells very good is standing by my side. While there may be less common ground, there are enough differences to turn it in a fun fact-finding mission.
I wait to hear my name, and when I do, turn round to see two huge brown eyes staring uncertainly into my blue ones. And by the way he's licking his lips and smiling, he's had more than one. Having never been to Syria, I ask him about his country. He's fairly protective of his homeland, but realistic when it comes to its faults.
He introduces himself, each syllable of his name pronounced with utmost care; he wants me to remember that name. He's dressed fairly simply: a black shirt over dark jeans and a pair of boots. I can tell he has had to defend his birthplace before - parts of his speech feel well-rehearsed and few of my questions surprise him.
On entering the pub, it transpires a documentary is being filmed.