The summer camping season was over and it was time to find a new camping friend, preferably one who didn’t mind the cold and was keen on winter camping. So I made the decision to go in search of my winter camping princess online, in the dangerous world of internet dating.
I’d marketed myself as a camping ninja who loves camping, who is at home in the outdoors (but not a cave-ninja)… a prince in fact, a camping ninja prince! Great at cooking a variety of dishes with space raiders and with the moves like Jagger.
Once my matchmaker profile was set up, the interest flooded in. An unusual mix of 60 year olds pretending to be only half their years, and supposed celebrity lookalikes who simply, were not, all seemed to have a soft spot for a camping ninja. Fortunately amid the madness, there was one hidden gem - a potential camping princess and eagerly, we arranged a date for Saturday night.
What to wear? I panicked. I wanted to look dazzling, suave like James Bond even, so I went shopping online to buy a new ninja suit. It didn’t take long before I found one that caught my eye. It was a nice looking suit, but the description was a little ambiguous. Smart yet casual, slim fit yet slouch, and classic yet modern. Hmmm…. Surely it was either one or the other?!
Nevertheless, I clicked to add it to my basket. Select size, it prompted. I was half expecting options of small yet large, or medium yet extra-large, but amazingly there was only one size – one size fits all, although perhaps that was worse somehow.
Saturday evening arrived and I rocked up in my one size fits all, smart yet casual, classic yet… (you know the score) new suit. Miraculously it was a perfect fit and was suitable to wear on any occasion and to any venue. Maybe the best way to describe it was as a good egg of suits.
My date looked simply quite stunning. Her sparkly dress was amazing. So sparkly even, that when it caught the light it made twinkles in my eyes. Mesmerized, I told her she looked ‘beautiful yet understated, informal yet business like, perfect yet… perfect yet… yet… no yet’. There was no yet, she looked perfect and that was it, end of. In hindsight perhaps it wasn’t the best chat up line but it seemed to do the trick. We passed through the revolving doors and into the swanky restaurant where the waiter escorted us to our seats.
We discussed all things camping and non-camping related as we ate. Oddly enough, her main preoccupation was focussing on the great gerbil versus hamster debate. Obviously this was a very interesting subject to anyone, but for me, camping was and will always be where it’s at. However in spite of her slight camping aversion, the evening seemed to be going very well.
Our desserts arrived. Then she pulled out a piece of paper from her bag - a list of questions that she would fire away at me. If I passed these, then and only then, would I be allowed to invite her on another date. It was very formal, like being on mastermind and the onslaught of questions began. Number 1: had I ever gone away on a camping trip and forgotten to bring my girlfriend along? ‘I can categorically state that the answer is no’, I replied. Although strictly speaking, it was a complete lie. For there had been 3… no, 4 times in the last year alone that I had left my girlfriend back at home by mistake. I got the feeling that wasn’t the answer she would want to hear though, so I kept that one schtum.
Number 2: would I share my last space raider? How did she know I liked space raiders?! The answer to that one was definitely no! ‘Of course’, I replied through gritted teeth though. I remembered I had written about my love of space raiders on my matchmaker profile. She liked them a lot too. At first I thought it was a good thing that we had something so much in common, but then I realised that she was only interested in me for one thing – not to share camping together, but for my space raiders!
I suspected that tonight would be the last time we would see each other. I signalled to the waiter to get the bill, hailed a taxi for my date, and then walked back home by myself, stopping off at a late night shop along the way to pick up a packet of space raiders all of my own, before meandering along the high street, pausing at the windows of all the camping and outdoors shops. Camping for one was way better than camping with a space raiders vampire, I decided!