Gingers & Pearls

*This post first appeared as part of the project.

It is a little known fact that I once (thanks to a brief dalliance) went through a stage where only ginger men took my fancy. It’s a more commonly known fact that I fancy the pants off Ricky Gervais and that men who make me laugh also make my heart do break-dance moves in my chest. Knowing both of these things it was of little surprise when my pal Mike offered up his friend Luke for my Five in Five challenge.

You see Luke is both an unapologetic Fanta pants and also a damn fine (if awkward) comedian…. Yes thank you very much indeedy – I’ll order two!

On doing my research I saw that Luke was indeed, cringe awkward funny (watch what he did to Brynne Edelston here )and seemed to be rather terrified of the female half of the species.

Listing his three greatest fears as women, sharks and elevators I did briefly entertain the thought of a date at the aquarium followed by a drink at Lui Bar (which involves a trip in a rather scary elevator). In fact Luke has my previous date Samuel (you can read about Sam’s date here ) to thank for changing my mind when he casually asked (after hearing about my plans for Luke) if I planned on being mean to all of my dates (or something of that effect).

With plan A no longer suitable due to heightened level of guilt, I needed a plan B. Whilst torturing the lad in extreme was no longer an option; I didn’t want to make it too easy on him. When tasked with entertaining a man afraid of women, there seemed only one solution. To take him to Madame Brussels to meet the incomparable Miss Pearls and learn a thing or two about the fairer sex in the process.

Donning one of my less *cough* modest outfits, I did intentionally set out to make him a little uncomfortable (I need not mention that this particular dress had quite recently garnered me an unsolicited job offer as a lady of the night).

Location set, Miss Pearls primed for out arrival and dress pretty much erm – painted on – it was time to go and see how funny this kid really was.

I was, of course, running a little late. I sent the obligatory “ On my way, if I’m 5 late forgive me” only to be told “ I will hold this against you forever”. I was already laughing. This was a good sign.

Introduced and seated, Luke was about twice as charming and half as awkward as I was expecting. This was of course until his phone started ringing. Answering his call (with my blessing) this was the precise moment where the Madame of the house Miss Pearls decided to come and see how our date was going. Seeing him on the phone she purred like a bemused jaguar “Darling. Get. Off. Your. Phone. You’re on a date” before sauntering off. Prompting Luke to apologise profusely and lose more than a little nerve. All of a sudden he looked a little less confident and lot more like he was expecting to be eaten by a wild animal (or woman) at any minute. Maybe he was.

Already on the back foot, it was then that I decided to strategically name-drop a mutual friend (of the cute blonde female variety) to see just how flustered he could get. Unknown to Luke I’d discovered that he’d had a bit of a party pash with this aforementioned friend so I wanted to see his reaction (sorry Luke!). Low and behold the mention of her name did raise a rather deft shade of pink on my new pals face. He did, however, not disclose a thing, simply saying she was a fun girl. Note: Does not kiss and tell. Gold star ladies, gold star.

Recovering from her obvious offence at Luke’s earlier phone habit Miss Pearls once again came over to chat, casually charming him in the manner that I’ve long become accustomed to (after all, this is the woman who has a chandelier built out the back of her bar for her to swing on if it takes her fancy) and presenting us both with a fancy glass of Tattinger.

As she left us, he stumbled, declaring,  “she’s so cool, she’s someone I’d like, but I just suspect she would hate me” (take a number buddy).

Tests aside, hoops jumped and taunting completed it was time to give the poor guy a break. We settled into a shared jug of Americano and comparative tales of auditions gone wrong… Bonding over awkwardness and less than elegant performances. “I mean, how does a dairy farmer dance? Like this?…” and “I once lost a modelling gig because I was too fit, like what, plus models can’t be fit, like I’m the opposite of skinny right?”

Luke was easy, fun company and yes, even off duty, was funny. He was more charming than he’d ever let on and about half as awkward. I understood why Mike had thought we’d get along.

Normally this would be where I should tell you that the date went so well that sparks flew from our eyes erupting in a passionate mocha ginger fusion of perfection, sadly for your story and happily for us making ripper new mates this did not occur.

I did however not only get to hang out with someone who made my belly pleasantly ache, but also got free tickets to the comedy festival..


You can catch Luke McGregor in ABC Tv’s Utopia or check him on twitter here

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