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Norie, as she introduces herself, greets us with a vague smile and a floppy handshake. I do not say that I am forever unsettled by the approach into a new city, when illusions of romance blur with reality: the hollow suburbs cut through by huge motorways, the glittering of a thousand city lights against the blackness. The next morning, we set out to explore that most famous quarter of Rome, Trastevere.

She looks as though she hasn’t slept in days and doesn’t at all mind. ” Something about Norie’s soft tone invites confidence. We hand over our passports and sign papers we don’t quite understand. I do not say that everyone appeared to be driving too fast, whooshing past the columns and crumbling ruins at speed and giving Rome a hot, angry feel. ” she enquires, gliding onto a sofa with a back at least two metres high. It is a maze of narrow alleyways with no horizon, so you must look up instead.

For the sake of this blog we shall call him band boy, that is his identifier for this blog post.

After a few chats (lessons one) on Tinder and on Facebook, we quickly arranged to meet at the Irish equivalent of Wetherspoon’s in Manchester city centre.

Before we even got to the pub, he called me the wrong name (lesson two), that should have been my first incline to how the night would go.

After then being ignored for several moments by the bartender we got some soft drinks and headed to chat on some sofas.

I imagine her running through the sun-ripened fields of corn one day, living in the moony darkness of the dead the next. We round a corner into a room of paintings, and suddenly Norie seems to be staring back at us: a weary Madonna with our hostess’s exact wan smile and river of pale hair — only she’s wearing long robes instead of high heels and jeans, and carrying a middle-aged baby with a six-pack.

About a month after we officially became a couple she was forcibly raped.

I have heard that Rome can be racist, and can’t help wondering whether your lovely hazelnut skin is the cause.

Finally, more-or-less back where we started, we are seated at a small eatery on the corner of a leafy square. The pasta is salty and delicious; the wine goes straight to my head.

I messaged him the next morning explaining it was nice to meet and I enjoyed the company but I wasn’t feeling it. This whole experience hasn’t put me off, actually it has given me some confidence to step out again.

Cut to my lunch break at work and I received a paragraph describe how he doesn’t buy the whole “it’s me not you” bullshit and he has had a shit love life this past year, band boy wants to know what he is doing wrong. Meet for coffee first, something short that you can leave if it is heading south. I haven’t had the time in recent weeks but I feel more confident when starting a conversation on Tinder.

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