I have been on six first dates in my life.
Date 1: In high school. We arranged to go ice skating and he got nervous and brought one of his friends.
Date 2: Went out with a guy I worked with. He took me to the cinema to see 'Saw IV' when I hadn't seen the previous four films. We did go out for six years, though...
Date 3: Women's intuition told me, "AVOID THIS MAN" but I went on the date, only for him to tell me he'd been in prison for GBH. And he seemed a bit proud of it. When I tried to back off after the date, he phoned me 37 times in one night.
Date 4: I was really nervous and got so drunk that he had to put me on the bus home after an hour. We stayed good friends for nine years.
Date 5: The guy asked me how many people I'd slept with, when the last time I'd had sex was, and who with. Being the person I am, I told him in excruciating detail.
Date six was one year ago today.
A year ago, I went to a friend's house to help sooth her hangover with iced coffee and potato-based snacks. She answered the door on all fours and groaned, "Let's sit on Tinder and judge people." Mike was ginger and bearded and there were animals in his photos. We spoke about Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy and Dylan Moran. He said, "I think we might be soulmates."
Four days later, he came through to Aberdeen on the train and we went to eat at The Adelphi Kitchen. They do a taster tray on a Tuesday so we went for that: Ribs, chicken, pulled pork, onion rings...I ate so much that I could barely speak.
Our date lasted almost six hours. We're the same person, basically. We did a lot of kissin' at the bus stop. I told him about the person I'd been in a relationship with for six years, and the things that had happened to me there. He said it crossed his mind on the way home how much work I could be. There would probably be mental health issues to contend with; anxiety, paranoia (he was right). He decided it was probably worth it.
I went up north to his house for our third date and was presented with a mug that said: "LAUREN'S MUG AT MIKE'S HOUSE". I moved in four months later.
For our first anniversary, we went through to Aberdeen and saw 'Hail, Caesar!' at the Belmont Filmhouse, followed by cocktails at Revolution before, very giddily, heading back round to the Adelphi.
They didn't even get a chance to hand over the menu - we went for the taster tray again*. I had gin with black pepper and strawberry while Mike, one of these annoying people who actually knows things about beer, tried Porter from the beer menu they have on rotate.
You know a restaurant is good when you sit and read out the specials board to one another, almost weeping that you can't try everything. You also know it's a good restaurant when most of the photos you took weren't in focus because you couldn't wait to start eating, photos be damned!
Now I know Mike properly, I understand that being on a date is the worst possible social situation he could be in. I was so busy stuffing pulled pork into my mouth that night, that social etiquette vanished and it's one of the reasons the date was so successful*.
So thank you, Adelphi. You're the reason we made it. We'll be back soon to cry over the specials board.
*I told you I was a bad vegetarian! No meat for the rest of the year after this monstrosity!
** The reason there's nobody else in the restaurant in my photo is because we booked at 5.30pm on a Tuesday. And that was us trying to be cool - we would have been happy to bang on the windows to try and get ribs for breakfast.