Friday, September 28, 2007

Dating: Why do I bother?

I met an attractive man on a blind date last night in Soho. Unfortunately he blew it within one minute of opening his mouth. Here's why:

1. Do not start off by pontificating loudly and repeatedly on the lax criminal & penal system in England compared to America. This is rude and quite possibly ill-informed.
2. Do not repeatedly press your date to have another drink when she has said very firmly she is happy nursing her current one. To be attentive and ask once is charming. More than this makes you look like a sleaze with an alcohol problem. Above all, do not order her another drink when she has specifically said no.
3. Do not introduce your date to every person in the bar. It makes you look desperate, insecure and a barfly.
4. Do not spend most of the date talking about how the English talk weirdly and then correcting her English pronunciation. Mate – She’s lived there all her life. She knows how the English speak. Your once a month business trip does not an expert make.
5. Don’t try to tell her that Fosters is the smart drink of choice in an English pub. And then argue with her about it. Maybe in the dives you hang out in, but not in the ones that she does.
6. Probably best not to bang on about being a Republican if your date works in the media. She is unlikely to share any of your views. She will also think you are a dick beyond redemption when you say things like, “Why recycle, worry about carbon footprints, bother about food miles etc when the Chinese don’t?”
7. Do not keep pawing her knee, holding her hand or pulling your barstool closer to hers. She doesn’t need to smell your beer breath. She's only just met you. Down boy!
8. Do not tell really filthy sexual jokes.
9. A well-judged compliment germane to your date is always welcome. A shower of rent-a-quote compliments every five minutes or so is not. They appear insincere.
10. It’s lovely that the barmaid is your best friend, (& really, she’s great), but you are here to talk to your date. Do not keep calling her over, or including her in your conversation.
11. When you ask her where she goes swimming, and she says she uses the pool at Soho House, don’t tell her she is name-dropping, and that she is ‘better than places like that’. It’s where she swims, bottom line. You asked the question. It’s not her fault if you don’t like the answer. Get the chip off your shoulder
12. When your date mentions having to ‘do’ something, don’t reply with, ‘will you do me?’ Even as a joke, it’s not remotely funny on a first, second or even third date.

Sometimes I do not know why I bother. Dating in this city, apart from requiring an entire set of rules and etiquette that is so far removed from the English way, to be practically indecipherable, seems to be the province of the crazy, weak-minded, sexually rampant or plain dull.

Or perhaps it’s just the kind of men I attract….