If there’s one thing you learn when you’re looking for Mr Right, it’s that there’s a whole slew of Mr Wrongs just itching to get in your way. It’s like being in a computer game: you have to despatch bad guy after bad guy in order get to the goods. Only then can you reap the rewards. And to carry the tired computer game even further, most of the time you never get to that next level.
It’s inevitable, then, that you’ll encounter disappointment on a first date. Whether you’re the one rolling you eyes in disenchantment, or on the receiving end of someone else’s deflated hopes and dreams, not being ‘The One’ – and with no hope of ever achieving such status – can be the suffocating pillow to the face of the evening. But there’s no need to end things there, just deal with it. Yes, that’s right, sit it out. You can do it. Here’s how.
Be brilliant OK, so you couldn’t help but notice that look as you walked over to say hello. That glazed, startled deer look which said “No. No! NONONONONO!” So they’re not into you, big deal. Now you know you have nothing to lose. You have two options: either sit there and be a self-fulfilling prophecy, which will probably have you reaching for as many aspirin as you can shove down your neck when you get home, or you can style it out and be the best date possible. Don’t think of it as a waste. Make them regret that weak smile and limp handshake and dazzle. Be the date you’ve always dreamed of having. Take a really big interest in everything they’re saying, pay for most of the drinks, be funnier than every comedian on TV, be deliciously flirtatious. And then? Then, once it’s over, go home. Alone. Even if they beg you to go back to theirs. And when they call – they will call, trust me – ignore it. Send nary a text or a voicemail in response. You win.
Oh, so they don’t like you, right? Oh, really? So they’re going to sit there with a bored expression on their face, like they’re squeezing out a dry and troublesome turd, are they? Answer in monosyllabic tones and distractedly push their beer mat around the table? I don’t bloody think so. Gun for them. Don’t let them think that you’re crushed. Tilt your head to one side, seek out the jugular, then sink your teeth in and don’t let go until they wish they’d painted on more of a smile as you entered the bar. Locate as many of their insecurities as you can and pick over them, one by one, like you’re pulling the wings off a butterfly. Pretend you’re the worst psychoanalyst in the world and rip apart everything they tell you. Yes, it certainly does sound like their mother didn’t love them enough, didn’t it? You should tell them. And while you’re there, so it’s fair, you may as well make up lots of fantastical lies about yourself. And then, just when they’re broken, and the last shard of self-esteem is hanging by a thread from their shattered frame, ask them if they want to come home with you. They’ll probably say yes.
Be less disappointed
What if it’s you who’s the disillusioned soul? What if Mr Tonight has not turned out to be all you thought he’d be? First of all, ignore all of the above (in fact, do that anyway); making someone else feel like shit is poor form. If they’re not all you imagined or hoped for, hide it. Why ruin a perfectly good evening? Be charming, be lovely; listen and ask and try to see beyond your initial shallow summing up. Sparkle, enchant, seduce. Whoever said, “First impressions last a lifetime” was talking a load of old tripe. If that were true, I’d still be a virgin. The guy sitting opposite you may not be ‘lifetime love’ potential, he may not even be worth a second date, but you’re there now and may as well sit back and enjoy the evening. And don’t feel too bad about masking your disappointment; they might have read this too and could be doing exactly the same thing. Now clink glasses and pretend you’re having a good time. It’s only polite.