archivenever again

Bad dates

The Selfie

Imagine being the most selfish person in the world. Never letting people pass on a narrow pavement, never caring about anyone else’s feelings, never censoring what you say, just barging your way through life satisfying only yourself. I've often wondered what it would be like, but I'm not really a selfish person – it has been my downfall over the years. I've spent many lost hours wanting to claw my own eyes out in frustration at other people's self-centeredness, or waiting – endlessly waiting – for people who can't be...
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 datesFollow-ups

The breakup: Mark and the herpes simplex complex

Oh, Mark. Mark and I had started off so well, with a humorously disastrous date in a museum followed by one too many drinks in a boozer laughing over how bad it had been. That first night ended with a drunken kiss, and half-hearted torso fumbling before we parted at a bus stop, sparks of sexual energy fizzing out of every pore as I watched his bus pull away. As time passed by, I could just about cope with him insisting on trying to put all his fingers in my mouth...
Bad dates

The Hold-Out

A restaurant. I hate going for food on a first date, but my date suggested it and so here I am. Leo is a student and 22 – that enchanted age where anything seems possible, but you’re still not old enough to realise none of it will ever happen. His pictures were, to put it bluntly, deceiving and he is not very good-looking at all, but I’m here now and we can at least have a nice dinner. I can tell he’s not a serial dater, as he’s picked Chinese –...
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

Things I have pretended to like in order to get sex

Football I remember a very miserable afternoon – a rainy Saturday – spent in a pub that smelled of cauliflower and dog, staring with great concentration at a TV up on the wall. I didn’t really dare look away in case I looked like I was bored and I couldn’t have given two bronze fucks about what was happening on the screen so I fixed my gaze on a spider at the corner of the TV. The spider span a web and then fell onto a table and crawled into...
Bad datesBrief encounters

The Attachment

I’ve been chatting online to Graham – a 35-year-old 'scientist' – for a day or two and still can’t quite work him out. And I’m not sure I want to. It’s like there is something he isn’t saying; the unwritten words hanging in the air like hours-old fag smoke. He talks me through the minutiae of his day like he’s writing a report for his parole officer. There is no humour, no flirtation – just fact after fact after fact. Wikipedia has become sentient and decided to explore the niche of...
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...
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