Continuing on with my theme of choosing men with problems, a little story today about a brief dalliance with an actor. He was never going to be the love of my life, was always destined to be a fling, but he did provide me with the greatest first date I’ve ever had, one that I doubt will ever be topped.
We matched on tinder last March. I live in a theatre town, there are always actors everywhere. I’ve had my hair cut next to Dame Judi Dench, drank Tequila with Christopher Ecclestone, seen Sir Ian McKellan’s penis and touched David Tennant’s arse. Side note, Idris, when the fuck are you coming to do a play!? Every new theatre season, tinder is full of young actors here for the next 6 months. I rarely swipe on them, I rarely see them as they are outside my age range. S was different, he was 34, and like a young Idris. I couldn’t believe my luck when we matched! We chatted for a while, swapped numbers and then as per usual, things quickly fizzled. I forgot all about it and him. Until I went to see his play. He was playing the lead….I won’t give it away, would be unfair to reveal his identity, but it was the headline play for that season and he was wonderful in it. Funny, passionate, romantic and played the role in a way I hadn’t seen it interpreted before. I was in, hook, line and sinker. I text him during the interval. Did some research, read the reviews; all great.
He text back about an hour after the show was over and we set a date for the following weekend. Theatre actors are very, very rarely free in the evenings as they have a show every night. So we met on his one day off of the week, it just so happened to be a bank holiday Monday. He had been home for the weekend down in London and was getting the train home. I had plans, watching the Championship play offs, we were to meet after. Now, 50% of the reason this is the best first date of all time is the footy result. My team won. Got promoted. It was a glorious game, we were majestic, triumphant, back in the fucking Premier League. We didn’t need extra time, no penalties, and we beat one of my most hated teams in the world. It was a truly wonderful afternoon. As you can imagine, I was pissed. Pints had been consumed, I was dressed for a date with a football shirt on over the top, but was so proud of the result I refused to take it off. S was also slightly merry. He’s got back earlier than anticipated and had been drinking in the sunshine with mates. I toddled off to meet him in a local pub, one I never usually go to, but one that is very popular with the acting crowd.
I have very little recollection of the evening. There were cocktails, shots, pints. Everybody knew him, he was fun and friendly. Charming, and really into me. I have never been overly keen on PDAs, it takes me weeks to hold hands with a boyfriend, let alone snog in the middle of a packed pub. Maybe it was the drink, maybe it was the football, maybe it was him, but I gave zero fucks that day. It was liberating. I felt sexy as hell, wanted like I never have been before and happier than I’d been in an age. Instead of rushing back to his place, we thought it would be a brilliant idea to stay and do the pub quiz. We managed to recruit some theatre guys to join and had a cracking laugh for the next 2 hours. We stumbled out, grabbed a takeaway pizza and went back to my place. I’d love to say we then had wild, passionate sex. In reality we ate pizza and chicken wings and passed out shortly afterwards. It was glorious, I felt so relaxed in his company, so unbothered about what he thought of me. I’d spent the whole date in my football shirt, refusing to take it off. How utterly fucking refreshing, to not feel judged on what I was wearing, how smart I was, what I did for a living. We just met up and had a spontaneous fun night. I still believe that nothing will ever top it.
What followed were a few months of late night visits and me sneaking into his place at midnight after he’d finished a show. There were more nights out, trust me, actors can drink! He worked til midnight 6 days a week, and then had rehearsals every day for a few hours. As well as being the lead in the first play, he played a part in a second, later in the season. I went to see it with my mum and got a special wink from him halfway through. I felt like a groupie, but I bloody loved it. I’ve never had a more relaxed fling. We were both dating other people, I knew he was leaving in October and there was zero pressure. We occasionally spent a Sunday together, having roast dinners, watching football and spending the day in bed. The sex was incredible. Everything I felt that first night was still the case months later. He made me feel the most wanted and sexy I ever have.
It also gave me a great insight into the wonderful and crazy world of acting. It really isn’t the glamorous life we think it is. Late nights, long days, the lines they have to learn are outrageous. He had been in a popular BBC drama for a while, and would tell me stories of how long those days were too. Many of his circle of friends had addiction problems. He suffered with his own addictions, and enormous depression. He explained that is was difficult spending all his time pretending to be someone else, sometimes multiple people at any one time, and that it would make him forget who he was. That all makes sense to me, can you imagine having to spend over 50% of your day pretending to be someone else? It must be crazy, all whilst learning lines for auditions, or trying to write stuff for your own projects. It’s certainly made me reflect on that choice of career. I always say that my career chose me, I was made to do what I do, and I wonder if this is true about those that choose acting/performing as a career.
The day after the play finished, the actors all had to be out of their accommodation by 10am the next morning. Closing night is a massive event, I don’t think we went to bed until 6am, so to get up, pack and clear the flat by 10 was stressful to say the least. He came to stay with me for a couple of days before I dropped him down at a tube station on the outskirts of London on the Monday, on my way down to work in Kent.
We are still in touch. He will be back one day, to do another season. He’s madly in love with a girl that’s also an actress now, although lockdown has kept them apart. As with most of my exes, we remain friends. I think this is one of the best things about dating me, unless you royally fuck me over, I’ll always be there in some capacity. Mate, confidante, advice giver, anything you need. Dating doesn’t have to be a series of dramas and fall outs, it can be a way of forming wonderful connections with people that you’d never meet otherwise.