(These men didn’t lie about their height)
The five minutes before you meet your date are an angst-ridden time. Time to check your reflection in a shop window and scour your bag desperately for breath mints. Time to scratch your head and bite your nails and hyperventilate into your wallet. Time to text your best friend stating that, if it ever comes to a court-based situation, his name is CasanovaTwelveInch and he likes cats.
Your date is probably feeling much the same. However many dates you’ve been on; however experienced in the art of making painful small talk with painful strangers and stifling any urges to sit there howling into the abyss as soon as they pop to the loo; it never really becomes less daunting. There are many ways, after all, in which it can go wrong:
5) Your date doesn’t turn up – The primary reason to fear being stood up is the thought that he or she arrived, took one look at you, and ran. Feel grateful he or she did it then, rather than first chowing their way through a smorgasbord of rare truffles, caviar and swan meat, and leaving you to pick up the bill.
4) Your date is a murderer – Admittedly unlikely this one, which is why it’s only number 4 on my list, but if it did happen, it would be pretty poor form. Look out for weapons, body bags, and the aggressive narcissism typical of a psychopath. (If they spend more than twenty minutes monologuing about their cleansing ritual, the ‘murderer’ threat is reason enough to leave.)
3) Your date has lied on their profile – This one is likelier – although I believe the threat is often overstated. Whereas the prototypal online dater is a short, bald, grossly obese fifty-year-old masquerading as a tall, piliferous, Adonis-bodied twenty-five-year-old, most of the people I have met haven’t lied that much. OK, so guys add a few inches onto their height and women shave some cream cakes off their weight. But it’s in nobody’s interests to lie – you can only maintain the facade for so long. You can hardly keep the stilts on during sex.
No physical attraction / Nothing to talk about – An OkCupid match question, this one – which is worse, nothing to talk about or no physical attraction? It baffles me how anyone could pick the latter. Unless you’re the most implausibly unpicky of pansexuals, you hang out with people you’re not physically attracted to all the time. What about when your mother’s coming to town? Ever cancelled a date with her because things are starting to sag?
On the other hand, if there’s nothing to talk about, you will want to get it over with as soon as possible. And by ‘it’, I mean ‘your life’. Feign a sudden bout of gastroenteritis instead.
1) One or both of you falls madly in love – and madly is the operative word. Love is the most destructive and dangerous mental illness human beings ever had the poor sense to sanction. OK, so it has its upsides, but then so do manic episodes and crack cocaine. Wonderful, yes, but brain-fryingly, world-warpingly, heart-stabbingly insane.
(Sometimes the love thing is a best-case scenario too. It’s like how Victoria Beckham has been known to top best-dressed lists, and worst-dressed lists, at the same time.)