Magazine article The Spectator

Seeds of Discontent

Magazine article The Spectator

Seeds of Discontent

Article excerpt

Dating must be God's way of making you appreciate Gardeners' Question Time. There is no other explanation for why it is so nerve-grindingly awful. I would rather do anything than go through this torture, including listening to people moan about the fact that the soil in their east-facing herbaceous border is too alkaline for an azalea.

As I sit here quietly buzzing with shock and awe from my latest outing, I cannot help but reflect on dating disasters past, if only to reassure myself that it could always be worse. There have been some real stinkers.

1) The man who pretended he couldn't see me. My friend Janet set me up on a blind date with a guy she met while sitting outside a cafe. Apparently they got chatting and he vouchsafed that he was single and drove a blue convertible. Janet, irrepressible romantic that she is, said, 'You must meet my friend Melissa. She's single and drives a blue convertible.' I know, hardly the stuff Relate guidelines are made of, but there we are.

I was duly instructed to present myself at a bar on Lavender Hill in a smart-casualsexy outfit and to 'for goodness sake, smile', all of which I did.

OK, so I wore jeans and a scruffy T-shirt, arrived a bit early in a bid to get it over with, ordered a glass of water and stood at the bar looking grumpy. But as a natural pessimist I assumed I would be meeting Charles Manson. The place was completely empty, so when the lone male in his 30s walked in there really wasn't much guesswork to be done. He was nice-looking if a little thin, not really my type. He looked at me, I looked at him. There was no spark of attraction but people are polite in these situations so he walked straight over, introduced himself and asked if he could buy me another glass of water, right? Wrong.

He began to scour the bar for alternatives. He walked from one end of the place to the other, searching every empty corner for a possible other lone female who might be hiding somewhere. He all but searched the ladies' loo. Then he came back to the bar, stood right next to me and started looking around again. In the end, I could bear it no longer. 'Ahem! Excuse me?' I said. 'Yes, I'm sorry but it's definitely me. …

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