Dating 101

10 things not to say on a first date

1. “So having weighed up all the evidence and considering the fact that I was quite drunk at the time and I didn’t technically put it all the way in, do you think my ex was right to say that it was cheating?” 2. “I really like that you feel comfortable with your natural smell. I mean, you know, deodorants are really bad for the ozone layer anyway, aren’t they? And there’s something so primitive about a man’s natural odour. So sexy. Oh, you do wear one? Oh. Oh.” 3....
Bad dates

The Ex at Stage Left

Stats: 31, 5’11”, mousey brown/blue, Worcestershire Where: Columbia Road, East London  Pre-date rating: 8/10  Breaking up is hard to do. I know; I’ve done it. Relationships can be a long, languorous drive around winding country roads. The break-up is the huge tractor or speeding idiot who appears from nowhere, slicing through your cosy hatchback of coupledom. If you're lucky, the end of your romance can result in a friendship that no amount of crashing and burning could ever break. Your ex will find somebody else and they will be happy,...
Dating 101

Five men you think you want to date (but actually really, really don’t)

Mr Neat And Tidy Who is he? He’s never got a hair out of place and his flat is a monument to order and hygiene. Why you think you want him: A man who cleans up after himself is the rarest of beasts; to find one is surely the holy grail of dating. Imagine all those gleaming surfaces you can have sex on! Why you really don’t want him: If he’s that fastidious about himself and his environs, think how much control he’ll exert over you and yours. He’ll sneer...
Bad dates

The Quizmaster

Stats: 37, 5'8", brown/green, London Where: South bank, London Pre-date rating: 6/10 No. It’s a simple enough word to say. Just the solitary syllable, after all, and one I always delighted in spitting out as a child when asked to do something. And it’s the word I’m focusing on as I sit opposite Alistair, a good-natured, OK-looking civil servant who’s been sitting bolt upright in front of me for the last two hours. However did we get here, to this date which has very quickly turned into a hugely unsexy...
Dating 101

Why every first date should be a no-food zone

“Let’s meet for dinner. 7pm.” As statements go, it’s fairly innocuous. No hidden agenda, no gameplaying. As far as you’re concerned, you’ll be eating, chatting and maybe worrying internally about how much wine you can allow yourself on a school night. But transport that remark to the run-up to a first date, and I run for the hills, stomach churning with a dread normally reserved for statements like “The PIN you have entered is incorrect” or “And next on ITV2, a four-hour Katie Price reality show retrospective”. Going for dinner...
Good dates

The Late Great

Stats: 26, 5’9”, brown/brown, Midlands Where: Brixton, SW2 Pre-date rating: 8/10 Punctuality is the politeness of kings, my grandmother always used to say, and while I’m not particularly regal, I do believe the least you can do on a date is get there on time. ‘Fashionably late’ is a flawed, dangerous concept. One man’s height of style is another’s fashion faux-pas. You mustn’t leave anything to chance. I have just arrived at the bar for tonight’s date with the latest inked entry in my increasingly pathetic social diary. All I...
Opinion

Why I believe in internet anonymity – even when you’re calling me a ****

We hear a lot about trolls in the news these days. A sub-class of human previously restricted to the mysterious world of specialist messageboards and forums about dodgy TV shows nobody watches any more, the troll has now been brought front-and-centre, blinking uncertainly in the shimmering light that is Twitter. The adoption of Twitter to the bosom of the mainstream has finally done for social media what Facebook could not and would not: it’s made it okay to talk to absolute strangers, even if you’re not an ‘internet geek’. Those...
Dating 101

25 men you should never date

There are so many good guys out there -- you almost need two hands to count them. But in among the gold, is the tin. The sand in your sandwiches, the rain on your parade. The world is full of men you shouldn't date, for every kind of reason. If only there were some kind of test, or a 'tell', so you could easily divine the dregs from the demigods. There's no magic answer, but if your potential beau is a 'yes' to any of the list below, it may...
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