Everything seems to be going smoothly enough until one night Brad crashes Myles’s date with the sassy screenwriter, Gina, and breaks the ‘rules’ by making a play for her. Having rumbled their game, Gina plays a game of her own. The resulting mayhem in a hotel toilet unleashes a torrent of emotions that sets all three professional singles on a course headed for a violent outcome none of them could have foreseen.
The Internet Date brilliantly captures the diverse love lives of five people living in London just as the recession really starts to dig its teeth in: men and women confronting their early and advancing middle-age with wit and bad behavior, fear and confusion, compromise and compassion and, just occasionally, a little honesty, which often proves more disastrous than the truth.
For anyone who’s been on an internet date and anyone else who’s wondered what it might be like, The Internet Date fleshes out a new meaning to ‘it’s complicated’.
“You must have lots of women after you with those beautiful blue eyes. It was such a striking photo. Most other men, they’re small in the picture, blurred, hardly ever a close-up where you can see into someone’s eyes.”
“Yes, beautiful…very dark.”
“No, dark brown.”
“No, black,” she insisted.
“Okay, black.” Though a little tiresome, the ping pong almost restored him to his good humour of two hours ago.
“You’re a strange mixture,” Gina remarked, pursuing the same testing line of enquiry.
“Aren’t we all?”
“I don’t think we are. You seem very self-contained, but…I dunno…” She trailed off, took a sip of her wine. “Why did we come here with your friend? He seems a bit gay by the way.”
“Bi, or he was, anyway, so he told me.”
“I didn’t know sexuality could fade.”
“With him, it comes and goes. Like a fashion…Shall I ask him to leave?”
“Well no, I think it’s a bit late now. I don’t mind…don’t worry about it, it’s okay, I just think it’s a bit off. I mean, what do you want?”
“It’s more what I don’t want. If I insist he goes, he might make a scene.”
“And you don’t want a scene.”
“Not with Brad, no, not if I can help it.”
Gina observed him critically for a moment.
“You’re very cool, aren’t you?” She paused, preparing a less flattering observation. “But I don’t get from you that you want anything decisively enough. Maybe in your work, but…”
“Why, just because I might suffer Brad’s company for another hour?”
“Have I offended you?”
Myles gestured a sort of ‘you might have’.
“I don’t mean to. It’s just…maybe I’m looking for someone who needs more. I don’t get from you a sense that you really need anyone. Maybe you’re just looking for a shag, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel the same sometimes, but I’m not in that zone any more. I was, until about a month ago, but I’m trying to…”
“Missed your ‘window’ then, did I?”
“Perhaps…I don’t know.” He liked the way she allowed him a lingering hope, even though her interrogative approach was beginning to dampen his desire. “But it left me feeling…empty. Bit of a cliché, I know, but I’d tried it and, to be honest, I’d rather stay in to watch repeats of Friends with a bowl of Doritos.”
Myles gave a slight laugh and liked her again. Feisty, sophisticated, witty… Brad definitely wasn’t having her.
“So anyway, do you like me?” she asked baldly. “Physically, I mean.”
“Yeah,” she echoed with anaemic emphasis.
“Sorry, should I be drooling when I say I like you?” Myles replied and reached for his drink, almost knocking it over.
“What’s your type, your perfect body type? Name an actress, a pop star.”
“I don’t know.”
“Oh, come on, who?”
“There isn’t anyone. I don’t…”
“Oh, come on.”
Myles shrugged, “Kate Moss?”
“So wouldn’t I be too curvy for you? Because if that’s your type, why would you say you like me?”
“Well for a start I’m not exclusive in my tastes.”
“I think that’s a lie, we all are. It comes out in the end.”
“Gina, I’ve only just met you, I don’t want to think about ‘the end’.”
“Okay, two weeks then. I don’t want two weeks. I just told you. For me it’s one night or one lifetime, but not what you’re looking for. Two months and then…whatever.”
“How do you know I’m looking for ‘two months and then…whatever’?” Myles was almost wishing Brad would return and put an end to the drilling he was being given.
“I just sense it.”
“I think you need to give things a chance, a bit of time…”
“Don’t you trust in your intuition? Don’t you think it’s better we’re honest from the outset?”
“I’m not so sure. Being ‘honest’ can crush the beginnings of something precious.”
“So you’d prefer to wrap your ideal date in secrets, would you?”
“Put it this way, if you strip away any possibility of mystery, where’s the intrigue?”
“You have a point. But I’ve got a feeling you’re more draped in secrets than you are in mystery. I could be wrong, but…”
She was interrupted – by Brad. He was calling Myles’s name all the way from the door where he’d kissed Gina. As if it was an emergency.
Myles sighed, “What’s he up to now? Don’t go, okay?”
“Don’t be long,” she sang sweetly after him.