Saturday, 28 February 2009

Date Report 4

Executive SummaryThe investigation team finds that the crash-and-burn of 27th February 2009 was entirely avoidable, and that the cause was pilot error during night-out preparation and pre-date checks. Despite finding that Pilot Redacted alone is wholly responsible for the crash-and-burn, they also commend him that no lives were lost, and that no serious humiliation was endured.

Background
Date PF-RJB-20090227(1) was a re-scheduling of date PF-RJB-20090223(1). The plan for the original date was filed with the civil dating authority on 11th February 2009. The original date was to convene at the Fortesque, Mutley Plane (FMP) at nineteen forty five hours (local) on Monday 23rd February. The date was re-scheduled at noon thirty (local) on the day of the original date. The civil dating authority recorded the reason for the postponement as "I have to go to the police and give a statement about an assault I witnessed". The date was re-scheduled to convene at FMP at nineteen forty five hours (local) on Friday 27th February 2009. The stated purpose of the date was "a drink"

Pilot Redacted first met Redacted at the Plymouth Musicians' Collective. Upon asking her name she told him "You might as well call me 'Pissflaps', everybody else does". Pilot Redacted subsequently conversed with Redacted on several occasions at the Plymouth Musicians' Collective, occasionally in pubs, and at the Maker Sunshine Festival where they met by chance. On one occasion in early February at the PMC Pilot Redacted asked Redacted "I know that I don't barely know you, but would you like to come out for a drink with me one night?" Redacted replied in the affirmative and took down Pilot Redacted's mobile telephone number. After nearly a full week of radio silence the original date PF-RJB-20090223(1) was arranged by text message. The locale of the date was chosen as Mutley Plane because Redacted lives there, and because it coincided with one of Pilot Redacted's favoured routes - the 22A. Pilot Redacted asked Redacted to state an address where he would pick her up, or to name a pub where they would meet. She confidently selected FMP, and the date plan was filed.

Crash and burn
Pilot Redacted spent much of the afternoon on unrelated motorcycle maintenance work. He started the standard pre-date preparations of shaving, showering, and dressing at such a time that he would have fewer than five minutes to spare before the scheduled departure of service 22A. At this point he didn't have enough cash for his bus fare, let alone enough to sustain an evening of drinking. An unexpected telephone call from his friend Redacted took precious minutes out of the already scant contingency. A small queue at the cash point, and the untimely realization that he would have to purchase a low value item from the local shop in order to procure coinage for the bus fare meant that he arrived at the bus stop running, out of breath, and after the scheduled departure time. The bus arrives moments after Pilot Redacted and took him without incident to Mutley Plane.

Date takeoff was textbook perfect. Pilot Redacted arrived at FMP 20 seconds before the scheduled start time and checked diligently but not obsessively that Redacted was not already present. He bought himself a drink and Redacted arrived while he was still at the bar. He bought her a drink and the couple settled themselves at a table and proceeded to make small talk for 10 or 20 minutes. The table where they sat had 4 chairs and room for 6 or more people. Pilot Redacted was delighted to find that Redacted chose to drink real ale, and had selected a traditional pub with a friendly atmosphere, a good selection of bitters and ales, and an excellent jukebox.

Redacted is tall, at most 2 inches shorter than pilot Redacted's 6 feet, and largely built. Earlobes are pierced, and the holes stretched to an approximate 1 inch diameter. The lower lip, tongue, and upper gum are pierced and display stainless steel jewellery. Tattoos were visible on her wrists, and have previously been observed on the upper margin of her left breast. Pilot Redacted immediately re-confirmed his suspicion that he didn't find her in the least attractive, and moreover found her mildly frightening. During the conversation it transpired that she is a decade junior to pilot Redacted. A great deal of her previous experience, and a good majority of her stories relate to political activism, rallies, fundraising, and publicity for various worthy causes. A lot of this political activism was carried out under the auspices of various students' unions. Pilot Redacted was struck by the impression that he was drinking with a flesh-and-blood re-creation of fictional student activist Milly Tant from the pages of early 90's Viz magazine.

Redacted is employed as a barmaid at FMP and consequently knows all the staff and several of the drinkers there. Shortly after the couple met 2 men asked to join them, Redacted eagerly accepted and quickly introduced them to pilot Redacted. Throughout the evening several more people joined the group and Redacted spent more and more time speaking with them and ignoring pilot Redacted who knew no-one else present. One of the later arrivals was a friend of Redacted whom she had specifically arranged to meet at FMP. At one point during the evening Redacted and one of her friends left the table to smoke in the beer garden without even asking Pilot Redacted whether he smoked, let alone whether he would care to join them.

Pilot Redacted felt that he had been ignored all night and left the group at the end of drinking-up time. Although no black box evidence was recovered from the scene, the investigation understands that his parting words to Redacted were "Thank you very much, you've got my text number, get in touch if you want to do it again." The investigation team concurs with the pilot that this struck an acceptible balance between politeness, and making it clear that he had no intention of trying to organize a similar date in the future.

Additional failure
When Redacted re-scheduled the original date she was very apologetic. In an attempt to foster more conversation, and to take advantage of both her guilt and her needlework prowess pilot Redacted asked Redacted, a keen knitter, to make a small repair to one of his jumpers. Redacted readily accepted and took from pilot Redacted a genuine Guernsey sweater which was starting to fray at the neck. The sweater is both dear to pilot Redacted and valuable as it is very high quality, virtually waterproof, and an indispensable part of his motorcycling attire. At the time of preparing this report the sweater is still with Redacted, and no further communication has taken place between them. It seems likely that social awkwardness may prevent the return of the sweater, even unmended.

ConclusionsThe date should never have taken place. It should have been clear to pilot Redacted that it was a dangerous misadventure to ask out a woman whom he didn't fancy at all. The investigation team finds that pilot Redacted alone is wholly responsible for this reason. The investigation team finds that sexual frustration and boundless optimism were contributory factors in the crash-and-burn.

There should have been no doubt that Redacted and pilot Redacted moved in different social strata and subcultures from the second she told him her nickname. This impression should have been reinforced by the clearly visible tattoos and piercings, and by the mention of the assault. Furthermore it should have been evident from even the most cursory visual inspection that she was neither "age appropriate" nor attractive to him.

Pilot Redacted's failure to have correct of sufficient money for the bus, and his poor pre-date scheduling, are indicative of general incompetence, but the investigation team finds that this was neither a cause nor a contributory factor in the failure of the date.

The investigation team finds that the awkward double negative in pilot Redacted's question when he asked Redacted out was unacceptable, but recognize that the question was framed quickly, and in a stressful situation.

The team finds it beyond belief that pilot Redacted would give to Redacted a valuable and frequently used sweater when he didn't know her at all. We find that boundless optimism, and a desire to have the sweater mended quickly are contributory factors in the additional failure.

Recommendations
  1. Start getting ready for all social engagements early enough that you have a few minutes to spare.
  2. Don't ask out women whom you find unattractive or frightening.
  3. Conduct a first date at a venue where a degree of privacy is likely. Restaurants are ideal, cinema auditoria are acceptable, as are pubs when neither participant is expecting to meet a large group of friends.
  4. Don't give out valuable, important, or sentimental items to people you don't know.

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