"How have I never heard of this place?" asked Kellen, as he met Marc at The Laughing Heart.
"Because you live in an isolated social media bubble?" suggested Marc.
"Rude!" retorted Kellen. "Not completely untrue, but rude. It's the location, I guess. I never come this far down Hackney Road."
"It's literally five minutes from Hoxton Street..." laughed Marc.
"I know..." nodded Kellen. "It's just I never come down this way. Sorry I'm a bit late - have you been studying the menu?"
"Yes - it's small sharing plates..." said Marc. "Are you cool with that?"
"Totally..." nodded Kellen. "I like this trend - it means we get to try more things. Anything taking your fancy?"
"I'm relaxed - let's just order a couple of things to start and then we can get some more if we're still hungry..." decided Marc. "As long as we get the asparagus with brown crab then I'm happy. So, how did it go?"
"What are we talking about?" asked Kellen.
"Don't play coy with me..." cautioned Marc. "The date with the Italian guy! Spill it. I want all the details."
"Gio?" confirmed Kellen. "It was okay. I'm not sure that there's much to talk about."
"Don't make this painful..." sighed Marc. "Give me the details or I'll tell the waiter that you're vegan."
"Calm down, public school..." grinned Kellen. "Fine. If you insist - it was a bit of a disaster."
"Excellent!" beamed Marc.
"Why is that excellent!" demanded Kellen.
"Oh, not excellent that you had another date disaster..." clarified Marc. "It's just that date disasters make the best stories. You've been chatting with this guy for so long! What went wrong? What happened?"
"Two months..." sighed Kellen. "We've been chatting online for two months. I met him on Squirt initially, then I upgraded him to WhatsApp."
"I do that..." nodded Marc.
"So, it's been a lot of back-and-forth..." continued Kellen. "The chat has been good, really good. We've sent lots of photos, videos, everything."
"Dick pics?" asked Marc.
"Obviously..." shrugged Kellen. "We've been trying to arrange to meet for ages, but he's always travelling with work so it's been really difficult to make it happen. Finally, last night was the night."
"Monday night date night..." grinned Marc. "Did you have sex?"
"I'm getting to that..." replied Kellen. "I really like this guy, so I didn't want it to be just a basic hook-up - I wanted to see if the connection that we seemed to have online would translate into real-life. I arranged to meet him for a drink at The Glory."
"Good option..." nodded Marc. "Strong. Did he show up?"
"Eventually..." sighed Kellen. "He kept me waiting for ages. He was caught up in a meeting at his office. I was sitting there, drinking, every now and then he would message me to say that he was running late, that he was nearly on his way, that he'd be there soon."
"That's not sexy..." said Marc.
"By the time he got there, I was drunk..." admitted Kellen.
"Drunk?" repeated Marc. "How many pints had you had?"
"Only two..." shrugged Kellen. "But I hadn't had anything to eat, and I guess I was nervous and excited."
"Did he look like his photos?" asked Marc.
"He's gorgeous!" exclaimed Kellen. "He was looking all sorts of delicious in this expensive sharp suit, while I was red in the face and slurring my words."
"Maybe he didn't notice?" suggested Marc. "Maybe he just assumed that you always slur your words?"
"Maybe he just thought I was idiot!" countered Kellen.
"Did he stay for a drink?" asked Marc.
"He walked me home to my flat..." said Kellen.
"Did he stay the night?" asked Marc.
"No..." sighed Kellen. "It was humiliating. We got back to my place, and I just assumed that we'd be having sex. I sort of lunged at him and tried to start kissing him, and he made some sort of excuse and left."
"Oh..." acknowledged Marc. "That's not great. Have you heard from him today?"
"He sent me a WhatsApp this morning..." nodded Kellen. "He asked if I was free to meet him for a coffee on the weekend."
"That sounds promising!" said Marc.
"Coffee?" repeated Kellen. "He wants to meet me for coffee. He thinks I'm a total alcoholic. How am I supposed to have sex with him without a few drinks in me?"
"Easy, Tiger..." grinned Marc. "One step at a time. He sounds like a nice guy - go and have coffee with him, and then see where things go from there."
"Can we get a bottle of wine?" asked Kellen, picking up the wine list. "I definitely need a drink!"
Be part of history
2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City - one of the key milestones in the evolution of LGBTQ Pride and the progress towards LGBTQ Equality.
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