I met a mother at the D4 Berkeley. She was a business lady, in corporate attire. At first it was networking, but without a second glance, she had allocated a date for her son. She insisted on I taking her son’s number and made sure that her son Francis was my final date. “You won’t be dating anyone else after my son” she said as she went on to put my number in her phone putting me in as Avril Fanning (using her own surname) instead of my own Avril Mulcahy. “You’ll be my daughter in law in no time”. I was given strict instructions to call the darling Francis straight away and arrange the date. She was best matchmaker I’d ever seen. She was organized and took no dating prisoners.
I rang Francis and he sounded a bit sleepy. But, when he heard word Francis he suddenly perked up. I later found out that his mother is the only one that calls him by his saintly name. His real name is Frank. I blushed and nervously giggled as I asked Frank/Francis out on date. It was all a bit embarrassing coming through his Mammy. However, Frank never questioned it and ultimately said ‘Yes’. I could hear in his voice that even at 34, if the mother says so, he will do it.
The date was set for the zoo. I suppose it was as random as the date or my 40 dates escapade. Filled with exotic animals, the idea was to spend time together while admiring and learning about different animals outside of their natural habitats. The chosen day was a Sunday. Phoenix Park was alive with people. Seriously, it seemed like the place to be. There were queues for everything. The sun was shining brightly, and it seemed like everyone and their neighbour was in The Park and heading to the Zoo. I had to push past the buggies, children, families and so on to get to my date. Frank was waiting with me with a big smile. Date 40 was about to start.
Frank has a big personality. Some people have said that I am a chatterbox. If so, Frank is indeed my match. The conversation was flowing from the word Go and he was leading the chat pack. Frank is born and breed in Dublin. He owns an apartment and drives his prize possession a BMW. He works in insurance; not bowled over by his career, but sees it as way to go from A to B. He is tall and attractive oozing fun.
We passed the red-bottomed monkeys, the tigers, the cats, hippos, the gorillas, the giraffes. The animals kept coming as the stories rolled over. There were families everywhere. Buggies and children were galloping down pathways. Frank was jovial, loved life and you could see he was popular with his mates, as they all rang him to get the latest date stories. He was also a Mammy’s boy. I learned that his mother had dressed him that day for the date and furthermore he still gets his washing done at his home each week.
We posed for pictures and took in the sights and sounds of the Zoo. There was so much happening there, so much to see. However, it seemed that we were too engrossed in conversation to truly appreciate it. After a while, we left and headed to the city to truly relax and yet again eat.
The conversation was always tuned to the highest frequency. We chatted. Frank is a great guy. I suppose like me in search for that special someone. However, he had never really put himself out there in search for her. He spoke about past relationships and even though they were many years ago, and in a way I think he is still stuck back there.
The food was great. The conversation was rich. My company was of a high standard. However, I was beginning to think that I’d had my fill. I had loved my dating life for the last 40 days, the ups and downs, the beautiful people I had met, the new activities and lessons that I learned. It was in the last sip of an Argentine wine, that I made my decision to end my dating tour. Some people were hoping I’d continue to 46 days, however I realized enough was enough. I had set my limit, reached it, and now it was time to walk away. First dates were great. But, they were not second dates. I’d grown attached to some of the dates. I was still in contact with them and carrying a little of them with me everyday. I was getting tired of carrying that extra emotional baggage. Had I met Mr. Right yet? Maybe. Who knows! The tight daily first date schedule was not allowing me get the full potential picture. Is there such a thing as Mr. Right? I haven’t a clue. However, the 40 dates gave me freedom to do what I did best: date ,have loads of adventures, while meeting loads of interesting and entertaining people along the way. I arrived back to my hotel. I skipped past the reception smiling telling them ‘I did it’. I’m finished. I managed to put myself out there for 40 days. I’ve proved that it can be done. It had been an epic journey.
Did I succeed in finding Mr. Right? You will have to wait for the second dates escapades…..but right now I was hanging up my dating shoes and calling it a day.