archiveone-off

Dating 101

33 lies you will tell yourself on a first date

1. If I arrive first it will make me look responsible and also like I care and that I'm… not flighty. It will not make me seem overly keen and boring, with nothing else to do tonight, or indeed ever. 2. Arriving late will make me seem mysterious and sexy, and he’ll be panting at my arrival, staring eagerly at the door. He'll be so pleased I haven’t stood him up that he’ll be overjoyed to see me and we will fall immediately in love. 3. Oh well, it’s better than...
Brief encounters

The Charm Offensive

I am 24 and at a friend’s flat. She is having a party. Well, I say party – the lounge is full of people, there are bottles of vodka and dubious mixers on the kitchen table and there is a queue for the toilet. It’s as close to a party as we’re going to get this evening. I am a different animal as a 24-year-old. I’ve yet to endure all the various, turbulent life experiences that will teach me to be kinder, more humble, accommodating, friendly – all that shit....
Brief encountersGood dates

The One-Hour Wonder

The main problem with huge, exhilarating events is the crash back down to planet normal afterward. There is the inevitable need to prolong the high, to stave off the mundane. It is when bored that I am at my most very dangerous, and the warning lights are certainly flashing now as I sit in my lounge staring at the wall just minutes after arriving back home after my friends’ beautiful wedding. The day itself was perfect and the couple radiant. The setting, in the grounds of the groom’s parents’ house...
Brief encounters

The Boy in the Apple Store

The Apple Store is a strange place. It does its very best to pretend it isn’t a shop. There are no tills ringing or sour-faced shopgirls stacking shelves with garish product or hurrying along pretending they’re too busy to help you, no groaning rails or higgledy-piggledy stacks of boxes. The Apple Store, especially the one in London's Covent Garden, is more of an ‘experience’. Smiling pretty boys in skinny jeans loiter at the doorway with eager smiles and eyes so wide they can only be the result of a recently...
Bad dates

The Ex at Stage Left

Stats: 31, 5’11”, mousey brown/blue, Worcestershire Where: Columbia Road, East London  Pre-date rating: 8/10  Breaking up is hard to do. I know; I’ve done it. Relationships can be a long, languorous drive around winding country roads. The break-up is the huge tractor or speeding idiot who appears from nowhere, slicing through your cosy hatchback of coupledom. If you're lucky, the end of your romance can result in a friendship that no amount of crashing and burning could ever break. Your ex will find somebody else and they will be happy,...
Bad dates

The Boy on the Beach

Stats: 23, 5’11”, brown (on his photo, at least)/blue, London When: February 2012 Where: A pebbly beach on the south coast Pre-date rating: 7/10 When your lake becomes devoid of fish – or you’re sick of catching the same old ones – you must cast your net farther. To the sea, even. And so I find myself in a seaside town, firing up a dating app (allow me the indulgence of fooling myself that the men on this app are only looking for dates and nothing more intimate) and seeing...
Good dates

The Graduate

Stats: 5’ 11”, 24, black/green, Oxfordshire Where: The local When: November 2011 Pre-date rating: 9/10 The true currency of dating, the one you never really think about, is time. Whether you’re buttering up a honey in a noisy bar, doing extra lengths at the swimming pool to impress a buff lifeguard or stumbling through endless online profiles, the amount of time you spend on this initial process can be disheartening if the end result is less than satisfactory. Checking out pictures, flicking through your favourites and, of course, fielding all...
Bad dates

The Associate

Stats: 5'9”, 31, brown/brown, London When: Winter 2012 Where: Soho, London Pre-date rating: 8/10 One shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, they say, but it is a redundant cliché. Many of us needn’t be warned: the only pleasure a lot of people take from their work is skipping right out of it at 6pm. If you are the kind of person who derives gratification from their metier, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to find it in the groins of your colleagues or other pursuits in the workplace. As tantalising as Ken...
Bad dates

The Straight-talker

Stats: 28, 5’10”, brown/brown, Cornwall When: March 2012 Where: South-east London Pre-date rating: 7.5/10 One can spend what seems like a lifetime wading through the deep and meaningful in search of love, or whatever your approximation of that is. As I have learned with the majority of my pre-date wooing, sometimes the build-up isn’t worth the final result. You’ve spent all that time laying foundations, only to run out of budget for your skyscraper before it’s topped out. With this in mind, and reluctant to hand over more subscription money...
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