What Not To Do On A Date. Ever.
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I am going to admit something. A few weeks ago, I think I went on what would be deemed by an external adjudicator as The Worst Date in The History of The World.
Firstly — he was late. 20 minutes late, which is irritating. I sit, drumming my fingers on the table, thinking of all the emails piling up in my inbox and work on my desk while I waste time sitting on my own waiting for a man I don’t know. Meanwhile, a bloke in a double-breasted suit who looks not hugely dissimilar to Uncle Fester has noticed that I am on my own starts smiling at me in a suggestive way. I panic that THIS is my blind date and I’ve been horribly Catfish-ed. He beckons me over. I text the guy and ask if he is there. No, he replies. I’m two minutes away.
The man arrives and he’s undoubtedly very handsome. But he’s also very nervous, with a damp brow and shaky hands, not knowing quite what to do with himself when I kiss him on the cheek hello. The first thing he asks me is if I’ve done many blind dates before — not really, I reply. Have you? No. He’s new to this. He explains to me that he’s just come out of a very, very long relationship. It’s all been hugely difficult. You know how these things go — you either grow closer together over the years or you grow apart — they just grew apart. What about me? When was my last relationship? I tell him. Who broke up with who, he asks. Do I regret it? Why exactly did it go wrong? I am caught off-guard. We haven’t even ordered drinks or found out what the other one does for a living and I’m being forced to divulge more details on my last relationship than some of my friends even know.
I realise this man (who I think is in his late thirties, possibly the early side of forty) basically hasn’t been on a date since Pulp were at number one and that this is going to be pretty heavy-going. It is very much coffee drinking time and I have to go back to the office in half an hour, but I order a double vodka tonic. I try to wrap up the chat about exes by asking him if he’s friends with his her now. He pauses and looks into the middle distance.
I ask him simple questions and he is unable to answer without going on a long, defensive, rambling speech, speaking only in sentences you see on Pinterest “words and wisdom” boards in Helvetica font printed over a picture of a sunset. He starts asking questions to himself within his answers (“I have travelled the world. Has it been to the detriment of my career? It may well have been. Do I have any regrets? None at all”). I order another vodka tonic.
He then begins to pitch me a terrible sitcom idea with a completely implausible lead character and a wooly concept. Could I give him any advice? Start with webisodes, I say. Have you thought about how you want to shoot it? Cost of crew? He’s writing it all down on his phone.
He asks me what other interests I have. I tell him I love music. At the moment I’m learning guitar. Really, he says. He plays guitar too. He asks me if I’ve heard of a band called The Smiths. They sing this lovely song called Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. He starts singing the song. I reassure him that I know it, but the singing carries on before petering off into a bit of a hum.