Playing the Dating Game: Rachel O'Connor has Been Online Dating for Over a Year - this Week she Meets the Hoarder.

Occasionally I go on second dates with people for the wrong reasons. In these instances, I go on second dates (never thirds) not because I fancy the guy or feel some kind of genuine connection with them – could anyone possibly with all the people they match with online? But because the first date has revealed that they’re going to take me somewhere nice, or I think they may be able to offer useful career advice.

Feel free to judge me.

Initially, I swiped right on the Hoarder because he was handsome if an appalling dresser. There are, I believed, worse personal qualities, a judgement I’d advise all not to repeat because when a thirtysomething man meets you in a favourite bar (which he will then loudly critique in front of its staff) wearing a cravat and bright blue corduroy trousers it only makes you look bad.

It should serve as a giant red flag with ‘I AM VAIN, ATTENTION SEEKING AND DRAMATIC AND WANT EVERYONE TO LOOK AT ME!’ You’re basically dating a Kardashian in fancy dress as Chuck Bass.

Bearing this in mind, agreeing to a second date was something I could only have done for the wrong reasons, and in this instance, it was this: the Hoarder rented a building of historical import that I wanted to see the inside of.

Forgive me, you only usually get inside such buildings on culture night or if they’ve been incorporated into a museum and I’m a nosey bitch, so I took an “in” when I saw it. It would, I felt, be an insight into the kind of life I wanted.

Inevitably, he turned up looking more “stylish” on date number two and after a few drinks asked me back to his place.

Reader, it was horrifying. After the initial climb up a (scarily) narrow flight of stairs he opened the front door of his flat, pointing me towards the bedroom without putting a light on.

“Can you put a light on?” I said, simultaneously refusing to move any further forward and imagining my own gruesome death at the hands of this potential serial killer whose defence team would inevitably use gleeful texts from me to friends proclaiming, “I’m going in!” as part of their case.

He grumbled about this for a few minutes before fumblingly reaching for a switch that through stark relief on an open plan living room and kitchen that could well have supported the serial killer theory.

Empty food cartons littered every surface, filthy pots and pans spilt from the sink onto work surfaces and the sticky, dirty looking floor while a set of (he said) clean crockery and other items that belong in presses lay drying on a large checked blanket in next to the sofa. Beyond this tableau lay the bedroom, its open door showing a floor piled high with clothes and a bed bereft of any linen.

On seeing my face, the Hoarder adopted his own expression of disgust. “See,” he said, “this is why I didn’t want to turn the light on.”

“Um… is that a KitchenAid mixer?”

“Yes, it’s candy apple red.”

The food processor that costs more than some holidays stood surrounded by rotting food and debris, covered in dust and had plainly not been washed since it was last used.

Candy apple red KitchenAid mixers are a most wanted design classic regularly featured in interior design magazines as well as in films about people with perfect home lives. They also be purchased (visited) in Brown Thomas.

“I should go.”

Sometimes you just have to throw things away.


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Playing the Dating Game: Rachel O’Connor has Been Online Dating for Over a Year – this Week she Meets the Hoarder.