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Brief encountersGuest posts

The Forget-me-not

To celebrate my blog's fourth birthday, I decided to give everyone a rest from my prattling and instead hand over to a guest contributor – and not just any guest poster, oh no. This wonderful, funny tale of a brief encounter, which I knew I had to have for the blog as soon as I heard it, comes from none other than my wonderful, funny boyfriend. Take it away, handsome… It’s Friday night, and “the girls” are on the town. I’m with my friend James and his mate Chris, who I’ve...
Impeccable Table Manners

Jane and Crudgie

What happened on the date I’d love to know on what order the questions are asked. I like to think the table manners query comes toward the end of the interview, once all the bile has been expelled. It’s the only reason I can find for such incredible politeness over a date which, when you read the whole thing, sounds as much fun as having your balls waxed. Photograph: James Turner; Frantzesco Kangaris, both for the Guardian...
Bad dates

The Plus One

“I’m going to a friend’s for dinner on Friday. Come.” I should say “No thank you, Toby; it’s only our second date”. I don’t. “Is there anything you don’t eat?” I should tell him about my phobia of celeriac and meringues. I don’t. When I ask “What shall I bring?” and he replies “Nothing, just yourself!” I should listen, but I don’t. When Toby spies the prosecco I’m clutching to my chest as we arrive and tells me “You can’t bring that; they’re teetotal and Polly won’t have it in...
Bad dates

The Reluctant Mean Girl

Midweek. Another bar. Another pint with a stranger. I sit and wonder where I'll be in five hours. Will I be back in my flat ignoring the ironing or will I be tangled in Egyptian cotton and kisses with tonight's contestant?  You just never know. “And you wore pink!" I nod at his polo shirt, knowingly. “Perfect shirt for tonight!" My date tonight bristles with efficiency. He was on time, buying drinks and sitting opposite me with a rictus grin on his face, in his pristine baby pink polo, before...
Bad dates

The Social Mountaineer

Stats: 25, 5’11”, dirty blond/blue, northeast England Where: London E1 Pre-date rating: 7/10 We have agreed to meet at a bar I haven’t been to before. I don’t usually do this – I like to be on familiar territory. But it is my date’s choice and he has been pretty adamant about it in his series of texts, which he sends one after the other – one sentence per text – like he’s on IM. “It’s really great.” “I mean I’ve never been but I hear it’s great.” “We have...
Bad dates

The Also-Ran

Is there anything less sexy than a date who dumps all his problems on you? Is it really only nice guys who finish last? Internet dating attracts the loneliest of souls. Behind every profile advertising a “vivacious go-getter”, there’s a self-doubting emotional wreck searching for a friendly face upon which they can offload their problems – and little else. Sadly. Thankfully. Everybody’s got their problems; some of them like to share them on a supposedly romantic evening. It’s a risky seduction technique, but depressingly popular. Tonight, I’m playing shrink to...
Bad dates

The Raincheck

"It's raining" is the first thing out of his mouth. "I know." He hops from one foot to the other as if avoiding drops of lava from the sky. He seems stressed. "Well, what should we do?" he asks. "It's raining!" "Let's go into the gallery," I reply, wishing I had brought an umbrella – not to keep me dry, but to shove in my date's mouth. I try to shake the last time I went to a gallery with a date from my mind. This will be different. Afternoon dates are...
Guest posts

Guest post: Blindsided by Harry

Sometimes when you are cast adrift on the vast ocean of online dating, it feels like you are the only person in the world going through it. Nobody else, surely, is experiencing this lame conversation, those awkward drinks, that long trek home with a bellyful of boredom, regret and wine. It is, then, both heartening and depressing to know that dating disasters are happening the world over. And to prove it, here is a guest post, from a regular reader named Adam, who was pulled on that most romantic of...
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