7 good lessons I’ve learned from bad dates


Bad dates

We all go through our fair share of bad dates before we meet ‘the one’, but they needn’t be a complete waste of time. A bad date can offer an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you want from a relationship, as Jo Middleton explains

When people ask me about my worst ever date, I tend to think back to the ‘man with the mole’. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against moles, I’m as moley as the next person, but there was something a little different about this mole. This one was on my date’s face and had several thick, long hairs growing from it. Again, that’s fine – these things can’t be helped. Except that’s not all – my date then chose to twiddle said hairs in a thoughtful way throughout our entire conversation!

Not so fine.

The most frustrating part is that he had a beard, so he already had any amount of facial hair at his disposal, should he be desperate for something to twirl.

Lesson One: Be cautious of people who have habits that make you throw up in your mouth a little bit. Seriously, it’s in the early stages of a relationship when this sort of thing is meant to bother you the least – a decade later and who knows what drastic action I’d have been forced to take!

Lesson Two: Choose gifts carefully. I think a little gift on a date can be a lovely gesture. It shoes that you’re generous, thoughtful and prepared to go that extra mile to make a good impression. The key though, is to actually choose a gift that demonstrates all of these things, rather than, as happened to me on one date, giving a four-pack of yoghurt.

Lesson Three: If you’ve not stretched so far as a gift, I personally think it’s nice for a man to at least offer to pay for dinner on a date. Many women might not be keen on this, and that’s fine, pay your share if you want to, but it’s good to have the option. I went one of those bad dates once where we literally had sandwiches and tap water, and at the end, my date asked me for £4.95. Not cool.

Lesson Four: Keep your mobile phone out of sight. A date is all about getting to know someone, and you can’t do that if you’re constantly checking your phone. I was having dinner with a man once when his phone range. He had the decency to look embarrassed at least, but clearly wanted to answer it. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, getting up and heading for the beer garden. ‘I have to take this – it’s my mother.’

Lesson Five: Don’t judge a book by its cover, and, in this case, I mean don’t assume that your date will look anything like their dating profile pictures.  Now I know we all tend to opt for a picture that shows us at a flattering angle, or perhaps from a year ago when we’d just come back from holiday sporting a slimming tan, but there are good angles and just plain lies. Posting a picture of yourself with a full head of hair and turning up with a comb-over is a prime example.

Lesson Six: If the chemistry isn’t there, no amount of romance is going to create a spark. I once went on a first date to a poetry reading. On our way there, we walked across a park while my date recited his favourite poem to me. It started to rain and we ran for shelter under a large oak tree. I wondered if he might seize the opportunity to press me against the tree trunk and kiss me, but no, he didn’t even lend me his coat.

Lesson Seven: If there is something there, the conversation will flow naturally and you won’t find yourself sitting in an awkward silence. It definitely won’t be like one of the bad dates I went on once where, having clearly exhausted everything we had in common, my date asked, ‘If you were stranded, starving, on a desert island, which bit of yourself would you eat first?’

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