I've had some pretty strange dates over the years - but my latest rendezvous with Rapunzel takes the biscuit. There was no dressing up, no holding hands and definitely no awkward kisses. That's because we're both too busy for a real second date right now - so we arranged a virtual one instead. Here's what happened:
"I can't believe you've never used Skype," says Rapunzel.
"I can't believe I'm talking to my computer. The cat's giving me funny looks."
"Well I'll put my webcam on - she'll be able to see me then."
My date suddenly appears, fretting over her lack of make-up. I hadn't noticed. Mildred is less forgiving, bounding off the sofa with a scowl.
"Go on then - switch yours on," orders Rapunzel.
"Haven't got one," I lie.
Feel a bit guilty - but I just want to sit and scratch my balls. Like I would with a real girlfriend.
"What would you normally be doing on a Thursday night?" she enquires.
Shit. Can't tell her the truth. She probably doesn't even know what the 10-minute freeview is. Spin a line about usually having friends round for food. She buys it.
I'm treated to a tour of her apartment, which overlooks Manchester city centre. At one point Rapunzel stumbles and I get an eyeful of cleavage.
"What do you think of the view?" she asks.
"Stunning," I reply.
We relocate to the kitchen to cook dinner. She's doing a Thai red curry. Makes a right mess. Not sure I could marry someone who doesn't wash up as they go along.
Encourage her to add more coconut milk - she pretends not to hear.
Rapunzel cracks open a bottle of white wine as we tuck into our grub. I'm having red with my bangers and mash - or at least that's what I tell her. Sounds more sophisticated than orange and pineapple cordial.
A door slams in the background. Her flatmate's home. The Aussie fella.
"Why have you gone all quiet?" she queries.
"I can't talk while he's listening," I explain. "Too much pressure - it's like weeing at the urinals."
She agrees to call me back when Crocodile Dundee retires to his room. Need a wee anyway. Take my laptop along in case she rings mid-flow.
I'm just finishing up when the call comes.
"What's that noise," she enquires as I flush.
"Nothing - I'm just getting a glass of water."
Challenge my date to a game of online Scrabble. She bursts into the lead with BLADDER. I strike back with TENACITY. An epic 53 minutes later victory is finally secure - she's got no response to my VULVA.
Rapunzel insists on watching Grey's Anatomy but agrees to switch over for Question Time at 10.35pm.
"Can you be quiet please?" I complain. "You can't talk over David Dimbleby."
"Are you being serious?"
"Yes - it's my favourite show."
We spend the next hour in near silence.
"Can I speak now?" she asks when the credits eventually roll.
Reckon I'm in the bad books so I offer to play her a song on guitar. Her smile beams through cyberspace as I strum the opening chords to Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits. She's speechless.
It's almost bed time. We head to the bathroom to brush our teeth. Rapunzel is very methodical. Takes almost three minutes. Mental.
Next she starts moisturising. Bugger this - I'm off to warm the bed.
At last my girl slopes in. I've dreamt about this for weeks - me and her under the sheets. A virtual boner rages beneath my laptop.
Then, out of the blue, Rapunzel presses escape…
"Do you mind if we call it a night?" she says. "I'm knackered."
Bloody hell - it's like we're in a relationship already.
"Ach, I suppose not."
She blows me a kiss. I reply in kind.
"You're not going to describe THAT as awkward in your blog, are you?" I enquire.
"You'll have to wait and see."
A comfortable silence lingers for 10 or 15 seconds.
"Go on then, hang up," teases Rapunzel.
"No, you hang up," I reply.
And she does. Bit rude.
It's almost 1am as I place my laptop on the floor and drift slowly into a dream about...
...well I can't really go into detail - she might be reading.
* Rapunzel and I will be going on a proper second date when we're both a little less busy with work and stuff. In the meantime, read her version of our virtual date here.