The first one.

I first met the idea of writing on a date. Well on the second romantic date of a day in the late 50`s. To be fair I did not know the second date was a date, I was young and naive — very different than the version of me that is writing now. I had had a proper date during that afternoon with a lovely young lady from the Spanish peninsula, visiting London for the first time and not ashamed to be enchanted by it. She had fine taste and was quite interesting and after an exquisite cup of herbal tea we headed to the park where we sat for a while. She smiled more openly, for the ambience for romance was set up, and I, inadvertently looked at her teeth. Then her gum. And that was it for me. I moved the angle of my hips to the sun that was setting and started to talk about the working class, compulsively. I was embarrassed, but the green moss activity on her teeth has made a very serious point to me and I did not kiss her. That pivotal moment served me to develop many other behavioural routines — most notably the Seagull Manoeuvre. 

Second date. A scholar, an academia girl, a logical woman. Angel Tube station, technical conversation, nothing fancy. No obvious clichés, no over-expressed chivalry. Not even alcohol, actually, if I do remember well, a glass of tap water. After walking a few quarters – in a quarter of an hour – the chat’s theme shifted from Architecture to something more personal. I asked about her life and she asked me about love. I then told her about my previous date, many hours earlier. She laughed in coy and asked for more details. And my flakey common sense actually helped me by not letting me express the immense repulsion I felt by the Spanish lady’s dental hygiene, but essentially I said what I’ve just wrote here. Then she said looking in my eyes “you should be a writer” — suddenly smiling more openly…