First dates are awkward affairs from the outset. There's the
once-over glance - does she approve of your choice of vest? Do you
have a strong opinion about those Pink lyrics tattooed on her
shoulder? Or are you already planning a swift getaway?
And if you choose to stay, do you shake hands, high five, tip
hats? Or maybe opt for nonchalant, lean against a wall, half
squint, nod, and drawl "Heyyyyy there" and hope the sweat that's
collecting in your cleavage doesn't ruin that carefully-groomed
illusion of cool. Perhaps you go in for a friendly hug, throw in a
back pat or two for good measure. Or are you classier than that?
Maybe you go for a seductive cheek kiss - or both cheeks, a la
posh? And heaven forbid, what if there is a spatial misjudgment of
some kind and suddenly you find yourself planting a premature
smackeroo on her unsuspecting lips?
This is soon followed by the question of who gets the drinks -
such are the complexities of not being conditioned by centuries of
sexist relationships. "Let me" - "No, let me" - "Oh ok, I'll get
the next" and voila, you've already committed to staying for a
drink longer than you perhaps should have bargained for.
And that's just the start. The next step is the official process
of disclosing the following information, much like filling out a
census form: name, age, job, religion, hobbies, ethnicity, star
signs - my personal bête noire. So thorough is this process that
you'd think people should come prepared with CVs listing previous
experience and at least two references from ex-girlfriends. Not
that this process is any testament to veracity, of course.
Kafkaesque as these first date scenarios tend to be, considering
they're a rite of passage for a lot of relationships, it's strange
that the whole grueling process doesn't get any easier.
I asked DIVA readers to send in their memorable first dates, and
received an inbox full of stories. There was the girl who refused
to leave, missed her train deliberately, stood crying on the
station platform and finally guilt-tripped her way back to her
date's flat where she spent the night, sniffling, on the sofa.
To read the rest of this article (including first date
stories from Rosie Wilby, Sophia Blackwell and Bethany Black), buy
a copy of the August issue of DIVA, on sale from 5 July.
Where to find DIVA near you
Buy your copy at divadirect.co.uk