Decided to take the hairdresser for simple drinks - couldn't trust myself not to thrash her at pool. Anyway, here's what happened:
Weatherman reckons it's going to rain. Text Emma asking her to bring a brolly - don't want my hair getting wet.
We're meeting at the train station in town. I arrive first. iPod's out of battery. Leave one earphone in anyway - make me look hip.
The huge glass ceiling is covered in bird droppings. Constellations start to emerge - it's like staring at the stars.
Hairdresser catwalks into view. Tight jeans hug her motherly thighs and I can just about spy a lacy bra beneath her white blouse. This is going to be some night.
"Just been looking at the pigeon poo," I say, to break the ice.
We both gaze up, pausing silently to absorb the faecal universe. Then Emma starts rustling in her bag. Pulls out two shower caps.
"Couldn't find a brolly so I brought these - thought we could start a new trend!" she explains, giggling at her own silliness.
I promise to wear one after a few drinks - she'll have forgotten by then.
Find a cheap bar. It's quite dark and some of the seats are ripped, but my Corona and her vodka and coke only costs £4.70.
The convo flows immediately. Emma seems happy to answer all my hairdressing questions - stuff like tipping etiquette (they bitch if you don't leave one) and whether she's ever deliberately ruined anyone's hair (once).
My date laughs when I ask if she's going on holiday this year. I'm on fire.
A Chinese guy is selling roses from a bucket. Wave him away. Offer to buy her some nuts instead.
We talk at length about my cat. Emma is genuinely interested in Mildred's depression. Even suggests a few things to cure her dodgy stomach.
In return I enquire about her little boy, Chris. He's staying at his dad's tonight.
"How long have you two been split up?" I quiz.
"Let's not talk about things like that, eh."
"Well, you seem to be making a go of things on your own anyway."
"Yes, I am."
"And I'm coping alright with Mildred."
Two single parents doing the best we can.
After three drinks and a terrible run on the quiz machine (my date didn't know who the Prime Minister was from 1957-63 - idiot) we agree to move on. It's chucking it down outside.
"You got them shower caps, then?" I say.
"Yippee," she yells, reaching into her handbag.
We leg it hand in hand down the road. A bar full of old men stare as we enter their haunt in plastic headwear.
Need the loo. Too pissed to care about washing my hands. Emma looks surprised at my hasty return. Rub each palm against my thighs - a fake hand dry to avert suspicion.
She's just finishing a text.
"Who's that?" I enquire.
"My twin sister," she replies.
Two for the price of one - get in.
We lose track of time chatting about childhood memories, baked beans, toothpaste and how the greenhouse effect is a myth.
Place a nervous hand on her right thigh as we sit in comfortable silence. She reciprocates by resting her head on my left shoulder.
"Bloody hell, it's 12am," she says, suddenly. "I've got to be up for work in the morning."
Pass a homeless busker on our way to the taxi rank. He's trying to play Wonderwall.
"Nah mate - you're doing it all wrong," I interrupt.
With that he hands me the guitar and I illustrate how to go from Dsus4 to A7sus4. Emma is awestruck.
We ask the tramp if he takes requests.
"Like what?" he grumbles.
"Do you know anything by U2?" I reply.
His mucky fingers begin strumming I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Emma starts singing, so I join in.
"That can be OUR song," I tell her as we finally leave the man in peace.
"How apt," she replies, laughing sweetly.
The two of us wait for a taxi outside an old city centre church which was bombed out during the war. It's here we kiss for the first time as raindrops bounce off our shower caps. I sandwich her face between my hands while we snog - girls can't resist that.
"We might as well share a cab, seeing as we live in the same neck of the woods," she says.
"You're just trying to get me back to yours, aren't you?" I tease.
"I couldn't do anything right now even if I was."
Must mean her period - though I thought that was last week when there was no sign of her usual thong during my haircut.
"Why, you on your blob?" I enquire, sceptically.
A black cab rolls up before she can answer.
Twenty minutes later the taxi parks outside her flat. She looks perturbed as I follow her into the street.
"The fare's already extortionate," I explain. "My house is only a 10-minute walk from here."
We exchange a final kiss goodnight against a damp lamppost. Slot my hands in her back pockets - then remember what time of the month it is.
"See you, then," I say, already a couple of strides away.
"Wait, you never told me what the points were?" she shouts.
"You know - in your note asking me out. You said there were minor points about your haircut you'd like to discuss."
"Oh, yeah - so I did. Well, maybe we can discuss them on our second date?"
"Maybe we can."
"Sorry, is that a yes or a no?"
Emma smiles but doesn't reply as she watches me disappear into the night.
Too excited to sleep. Instead I make a cuppa and think through the date. No signs of arthritis or mental illness; she didn't ask to borrow anything; couldn't fault her make-up; and at no point did she request a coupley photo.
In fact, I can't find anything to whinge about at all. Maybe, just maybe, this girl is the one...