Of late, I have decided to try a radical new strategy for success: embarking on daytime dates.
Daytime dates are lower pressure, lower key, lower priced, and an honest acknowledgement that this dating malarkey is just a numbers game. Arrange to meet someone for coffee, and the worst that happens is that you get along a bit too well and overdose on mochaccinos. You’ll have the eyes of a tree frog and the heart rate of a hummingbird, but at least you won’t vomit outside a kebab van when they turf you out at closing time.
It is all too easy to rely on alcohol to buoy you through the first date. Nerves beforehand? Quell them with a quick tipple. Conversationally inhibited? Oil yourself up with a bevy. Date turns out to look like David Gest as imagined by Picasso after a particularly rough weekend? Buy yourself a double – and get her one too, the poor lady. Booze razes a potential social minefield into a lovely, hazy butterfly field of woozy, lurching delusion. And of course, it’s pretty much obligatory if you’re thinking of pouncing on your date.
I used to arrange first dates for 7 or 8 in the evening, in a pub. If it goes badly, you can pretend you have an early start tomorrow. If it goes well, you move on to dinner, and then towards the threat of mutual pouncing.
Now, however, I am changing tack and requesting to meet people over coffee. Being appraised (a) in the cold light of day and (b) in the cold light of sobriety is nerve-wracking stuff, but at least you know that if they want to see you again, it’s not because they were blind drunk and hallucinating you as Halle Berry.
I have my first ever breakfast date on Tuesday. If he can cope with my marsupial-style eye pouches and Kevin-the-Teenager-style grunting, I’ll know I’m onto a winner.