Let's face it, everyone has bad dates. From awkward to boring to smelly dates. But have you ever had someone sneeze right in your face? Or use your belly fat as a steering wheel while making "vroom, vroom" noises? Well, I have. This is the pick of the bunch, to help you learn what not to do on a first date.
1. The Snore
A relatively tame one to begin with. And it's pretty easy as well - be interesting. And if you can't be interesting, at least be interested. Asking relevant, hopefully unusual questions is a great way to seem interesting without actually saying a great deal yourself. More than once, my friends and I have shared woeful stories of sitting through a meal of stilted conversation and one-word answers. This, my dears, is why the "Emergency Call From a Friend" was invented.
2. The Anti-Vegetarian
"I'll have the vegetarian lasagne," I told the waiter, smiling politely. The date had already not got off to a great start, but more on that later. "You're a veggie?" The Date said in surprise. "Well, you won't like this - I used to work part time at a battery hen farm." He then launched into a long and detailed argument about how vegetarians were ruining the economy, and in fact probably forcing farmers to battery farm as they need to make money somehow, don't they. Explaining how I felt guilty eating animals made no impact, and he refused to listen to explanations of EU farm subsidies. Nothing is more annoying than someone who refuses to listen to a reasoned, logical argument. I didn't even bother with the 'emergency call' this time - I just left.
3. The Steering Wheel
This one is from a friend, who looked glum one day after a date he had otherwise been excited about. "She just went mad - she started crying in the middle of...you know...and shouted at me that she never wanted to speak to me again," he told me. "I don't get it." I asked him to elaborate, and so he continued: "Well, she was insecure about her weight and kept covering up her stomach while we were messing around," he explained. "I wanted to put her at ease, you know, and let her know I wasn't bothered. So I pushed her arm away and grabbed her belly, and pretended to drive it like a car." Yeah. Don't do that.
4. The Sneeze
So, you're sat in Café Rouge, enjoying a lovely Legumes Breton as your date quietly coughs and sniffles and apologises for his cold. Then, out of the blue, there's a small explosion at the front of his face and suddenly you're covered in snot. Yes, that really happened. And no, he did not get a second date.
5. The Stinker
I turned up to a blind date and was initially pleasantly surprised - cute in a preppy kind of way, tall and in-shape. But then he opened his mouth to say hello and a green cloud of gas might as well have oozed from in there. You can forgive someone who has something garlic-flavoured and ends the night a bit pongy. But if your date starts the evening with something akin to the worse kind of morning breath, in clothes which smell like they've been in a damp wardrobe for 10 years, they could be supermodel-gorgeous and it goes no further. Just brush your teeth. Please.
6. The Cheapskate
This was, believe it or not, the same guy as the Anti-Vegetarian above. As well as deciding to try to convince a veggie that battery farming is not only okay, but desirable, he started the date by telling me: "I'm a bit brassic at the mo, we'll have to split the bill." Now, I will always - ALWAYS - offer to pay my half at the end of the meal. But it's just plain impolite to demand it. I took great pleasure in the fact that when I left, he would have to fork out for the full bill.
7. The Mama's Boy
Taking a call from your mother during a date is bad form. Spending more time talking to your mother than your date is unforgivable. Another "emergency call" situation.
8. The Flirt
One of my friends went through a phase of dating people she met on the internet. Except, being the attention-seeker she was, she couldn't restrain herself if it turned out they had a better-looking friend. Apparently, it turns out that flirting with someone other than your date is a pretty big turn-off for some. Who would've guessed, right?
9. The Conspiracy Theorist
Having a healthy debate about politics is one thing. But having to sit through someone go in-depth about everything from the death of Kurt Cobain and Marilyn Monroe to 9/11 over a dish of pasta - including pulling up research on their iPhone - is just not acceptable. This was a blind date courtesy of the same friend who set me up with The Stinker, by the way. She has now been fired from her role as matchmaker.
10. The Lonely Heart
A friend went out with a girl from his history class who seemed perfectly nice. And it started well - she dressed well, smiled and asked questions. But it went steadily downhill as she guzzled glass after glass of wine and she started regaling him with stories of how terrible her life was. When she started to cry before they had even finished their main meal, he decided to get her a taxi - at which point she began loudly bawling and begged him not to leave her alone. He texted her the next day and advised her to get counselling before dating again.