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It’s an unnecessarily cold Saturday evening in March 2021 and I’m sitting on a bench on London’s Southbank. The condensation from my Sainsbury’s G&T can is dripping down my already freezing fingers while my Hinge date describes how he’s currently learning Spanish on Duolingo. It’s just like every other lockdown date I’ve been on for the past year, but then a familiar feeling begins to twinge my stomach. I need a wee. I need a wee in the middle of (a surprisingly busy) central London and every single public toilet is closed.
My date and I begin searching desperately for a viable option. Asking strangers in the streets and pleading with unconcerned baristas. At one point, I pretend to a security guard of an office building that I’ve got a serious medical condition, but my acting skills prove futile. Pressure builds in my stomach to the point I think I might actually explode. I haven’t come this close to pissing myself since the first time I saw One Direction live in 2012.
Becoming irritated, I take my frustrations out on a guy I’ve known for two hours. When we finally find a toilet at Charing Cross station, the queue is huge, and I don’t even stand in it for 30 seconds before I dramatically throw my hands in the air and, very loudly, declare “I can’t do this!,” storming out the station like I’m on a reunion episode of Real Housewives while my poor date is left scurrying along after me.
Stood outside in the freezing cold, my bladder is no longer the only thing feeling the tension as an uneasy silence simmers between me and my date. I know the time has come to admit defeat. To give up all attempts of coming across sexy and aloof. I look the poor guy in the eye and tell him we’re finding an alleyway. I’m about to do the least sexy thing a guy imagines when he’s told by a woman on a date that “we’re finding an alleyway”.
So there I am with my trousers by my ankles down a side street in central London. Trafalgar Square is in my eye line and a guy I barely know is standing less than two metres away from me while I unleash holy hell from my urethra. I have no doubt he heard everything – a sound that can only be likened to an automatic tap in a Wetherspoons bathroom that won’t turn off.
It may come as a surprise to many that I managed to obtain a second date from that evening, but the thing I’ll always remember gaining was the most horrific UTI.
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