“I sprayed steaming hot prawns all over my trousers.” I bet.
It can be tough, when you’re as beautiful as Alex no doubt thinks he is, to endure endless eye-making from total strangers while you’re on a date. How are you supposed to deal with it? What on Earth can you do? Here’s a top tip: don’t look at them. Keep your eyes on your date. Tough call, I know, but it’s definitely the way to go.
I’m with Edward on the bill-quibbling too. Save that for when you’re a couple, and you’ve eaten out a million times and got bad service in every single place you walk into, dreading the bill because you know there’ll be something on it you didn’t order. Once you have snared your lover, then the restaurant moaning can begin – it’s the best in-joke you’ll ever have as a couple. Whinging and penny-pinching on a first date, however, is spectacularly unsexy.
Once, out on a second date, I found a plastic bag in my dinner. A. Plastic. Bag. I felt I had to complain, even though my date begged me not to. “I come here a lot,” he winced. “It’ll be awkward.” Rightio – there’s a bag in my dinner, so shut up. As the waiter offered his profuse apologies and whisked my casserole away to be incinerated by the local council, my date’s eyes first widened in horror and then narrowed in dislike. And let’s just say I did not get anything else surprising in my mouth that evening – he didn’t take me home, rather transparently lying about a deadline, and never called me again.
Look, I’m sure Alex is a stand-up guy in real life, but holy HELL, he is the worst date ever. This is why I hate going for food on a first date – it is potentially packed with millions of deal-breakers. Let’s step inside Edward’s head for a moment:
“No you can’t try my sea bass; it’s mine. We looked at the menu and you dithered for what seemed like millennia over whether to get the sea bass or the hot prawns. When I said the sea bass was probably the only thing I liked on the menu, you opted for the prawns as it would be “silly to get the same thing”, which is a stupid rule that only idiots – or restaurant reviewers as it’s their job to eat everything – feel compelled to stick to. If you wanted to get the sea bass, you should’ve ordered it. And now, to avoid looking like a prick over something so trivial, I am going to have to let you poke your chopsticks in my fucking dinner. You are the worst. The absolute worst. I will never have sex with you.”
I’m sure that’s quite an accurate account of what actually happened.
Edward doesn’t comment on this in the summary of the date, which is quite sporting, but he does deliver the shade of a thousand parasols in his answer. So not only is Alex a food thief, he eats like a labrador.
The pair kicked off the date waiting at different tables not realising the other was there, which isn’t a particularly good start. Edward says he waited half and hour while Alex says it was 40 minutes, so we can add “exaggerator” to his list of talents. He also says that after the date, he and Edward went over to the pub to meet some of Edward’s friends, and Alex quips “It was a bit like being a trophy wife” which had me howling. Basically, Alex is suggesting Edward’s friends are all horse-frighteners and he just stood there looking pretty. Well, there’s a picture of both boys right there at the top of the page, readers, so I’ll leave this one with you.
They both marked each other a polite 7 – 6 is the point you get to “dislike” territory, and 8 is too enthusiastic, so this is classic “Thanks but no thanks” or “Well at least you weren’t a serial killer” scoring.
I could go on but I definitely shouldn’t.
Photograph: James Drew Turner; Frantzesco Kangaris for the Guardian