archivedating advice

Dating 101Single survival

Where not to meet your next lover: The gym

I have never dressed sexily for the gym – I have never seen the point. Either I have been partnered during my stack of memberships or, more usually, I have had no interest in romance among the kettle bells. In the dank, municipal hellholes where I like to work out, I have somehow known instinctively that Mr Right was not lurking by the lockers. While my latest gym is clean and modern, it is most certainly not a place where I will ever feel lustful and attractive. It is so basic, so...
Dating 101

An additional 25 men you should never date

The dating arena is an unforgiving place. There’s no time to waste on that search for lasting love. As ever, I only want to help, so if you want to separate the men from the boys and the woulds from the would-nots, here I have 25 more men you should, if at all possible, avoid when dating. Everything I do, I do it for you. You should never date a man who… 1. Has a 'hilarious' answer-phone message. Wacky outgoing voicemail messages are up there with novelty underpants, Homer Simpson...
Dating 101

Decoding dumb clichés on dating bios

Your dating profile – or the bio on whichever app your fingers are getting busy with – is your storefront, your prime advertising space. Sure, a picture tells a thousand words, but as anyone who’s spent more than a minute in the company of a  boyband can tell you, hot looks are no guarantee of a great brain or a good time. Given that most people are only a swipe away from dating oblivion, you’d think that guys (and girls, of course, if that’s your thing) out there might try...
Dating 101Single survival

Where not to meet your next boyfriend: The supermarket

The supermarket can be a boring and depressing place at the best of times, let alone if you’re single. Couples snogging in front of the very shelf you’re trying to reach – lasagne for ONE – or, much more likely, arguing about being organic in front of the tenderstem broccoli. It’s a nonstop misery-fest, from the very moment you pick up your basket – complete with someone else’s scrunched up receipts in the bottom of it, the bastard – to the awkward hunt for your loyalty card as your cans...
Dating 101

Know your dating enemies: The bicycle

When you have been on as many dates as I have, there are lots of things you dread. Spending three hours downwind of someone’s halitosis, hearing about their ex and wondering whether that a boil, a mole or worse on the end of their nose can all be terrifying events, but one thing that used to really make my heart sink on a date has two wheels and a seat just for one. You are Diana to its Camilla, and it’s got its eyes on your throne. What has the...
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...
Single survival

Beware the flirtatious straight man – six types to look out for

When you are growing up a future gay, you learn very quickly that your relationships with straight men are never going to be anything other than complex. Whether you’re trying to explain to your dad for the eightieth time that you’re not going to kick that football back at him no matter how many times it flies over your head, or enduring the weekly terror of “Backs against the wall, lads” in the showers after PE, it can be difficult to make yourself understood. So alike, but oceans apart. Many...
Single survival

Say no to searching for a soulmate

When you’re dating you hear a lot of talk about ‘soulmates’, ‘the one’ or the perfect match. Even the singles website where I met most of perfectly willing – but not always able – victims was called Soulmates, as if everybody on it were hopeless romantics staring at the sky with mooncalf eyes, waiting for Mr Right to swing off a star and drop into their arms. Quizzes, algorithms and your own ridiculous preconceptions help you decide who this person is likely to be, this ‘other half’ of you, and...
Good dates

The Wow Moment

Everybody should have their Wow Moment – that one moment in time where you look and feel fantastic and are at your absolute pinnacle of excellence, confidence and desirability. Most people aren’t aware of theirs when it’s happening – which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it – but if I’m ever going to have mine, it’s now, as I walk into the bar precisely 33 seconds late for my date with a man ten years my junior. The wow is all over...
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