Dave* – Student

In September 2009 I started University where there would be loads of exciting new things for me! I would surely meet someone here who would end up being my first boyfriend right? Yeah, so that didn’t happen. When I started Uni I didn’t really go on any dates because I was so wrapped up in making new friends and getting on with my work. I was too busy spending time with my friends and, well doing what students do; go out and have fun! I was studying drama so I also spent a lot of spare time in rehearsals and actually writing essays (yes, even drama students write essays and dissertations).

Towards the end of my first year I did start dating again and I met Dave*. Dave was another student at University and seemed like a pretty decent guy. We went on 3 dates before trouble started to rear it’s ugly face at me. Our dates were fairly normal which for me was a whole new experience in its self! After our third date together, I received a text message from a number I didn’t know and just figured it was someone I hadn’t saved in my phonebook. It wasn’t. (I realise I’m dragging this out and making it sound like some tense thriller) So I opened the message and started laughing. Of course something was going wrong with this guy! The message simply said “How do you know Dave (insert surname)?” but instantly I knew I’ve got myself into something I don’t want to be involved with. I typed a quick reply just saying he was a friend and went to sleep. The next morning I woke up to three text messages and a missed call from the unknown number! The main bulk of the message was that this person messaging me was Dave’s girlfriend and that this wasn’t the first time she had found out he was dating other girls behind his back and that I’m not the only one at this point in time. Jesus Christ.

What does someone do in this situation? Me? I sent Dave a text explaining that I’d received messages from someone claiming to be his girlfriend and that if he’s with someone I didn’t want to see him anymore. I mean she might be lying so I figured he could be innocent until proven guilty. His reply was quick and simple “Yeah that’s my girlfriend. She’s kinda crazy and always messages girls I’m dating” (GUILTY). His words made it sound like it wasn’t a big deal. And she’s crazy?? Yeah, crazy for staying with you!

So that was it. Never spoke to Dave again and ignored his messages. All I could hope for was that his girlfriend finally saw some sense and got rid of the douchebag!

Paul* – Estate Agent

This is a pretty quick one because we never actually got to the date!

Paul* is someone I actually went to school with. He was a year older than me so I’d met him previously but he’d always had a girlfriend and I was never interested; until that fateful night in 2009 where I was on a night out with friends and I saw him. Obviously because we’d gone to school together I knew his friends and he knew mine and before long we got chatting and catching up on everything. He was working as an estate agent and doing well for himself and I was, well I was me. As the night went on we found that we got on really well and he asked me for my number so we could go out for a drink sometime. Result! This guy was hot (not according to my friends but still) and he seemed pretty decent. To top it all off, he’d asked me for my number. Good night if you ask me.

Over the next week or so, we were texting almost every day and continued to get on really well. As we all know, even at 19 I was still pretty new to the whole dating thing so I carried on texting just waiting for him to actually organise this date that he’d suggested on that first, fateful night. It never happened. A few more weeks passed and the date never came but the conversations continued. Now what I should add into this is that we saw each other over these weeks on more nights out. We shared a few kisses in those awful clubs on student nights. Actually, we shared a ton of kisses! There was even one night where instead of going home with my friends, I went home with him and spent the night. Now before you all go straight to the dirty stuff please wash your minds clean because nothing happened other than some more of those smooches! Come on now, yes I was 18 but I was still a virgin and still wasn’t what you’d call sexually active. So basically I was still a nun in that department and planned on keeping it that way until my boyfriend (Haha what a fool I was back then). Anyway, even after all of this, the date never happened!

After five weeks of this (yep, FIVE) I decided screw this and messaged Paul asking him out for a drink. He said no. Yes, you read that correctly. After five weeks of all of these kisses and constant messaging I didn’t even get a date out of him. I know what you’re all thinking and I thought the same thing – I shouldn’t have stayed over that time because now I’m not a challenge. But hold your horses there my friends because remember nothing happened that night! I was still very much a challenge but he obviously wasn’t interested. His reason for not wanting a date with me? “I just don’t want a girlfriend right now” Ah now I see. So he leads me on for over a month making me think he’s interested in dating me and then decides to tell me that actually he’s just looking for someone to have casual sex with. IDIOT! To any men reading this, if a girl hasn’t slept with you within the first two (maximum) weeks and even holds back while spending a night in your bed with you because she has explained she’s a virgin, would you really continue the charade for another three weeks? It’s clear you’re not getting any from her unless you become a very important man in her life so why carry on for so long?

So there was no way I was going to be some bedpost notch and waste my virginity on this guy. Anyway after that message we never spoke again. I did, however, notice that two weeks later his relationship status changed to being in a relationship! So much for not wanting a girlfriend right now.

One thing I can say is that in 2014 he drunkenly messaged me a few times for what I can only assume was a booty call attempt! I was living abroad at the time, I have standards, I am no one’s booty call and the real clincher; he was still with his girlfriend!!

Chris* – Delivery Driver

I met Chris* in a slightly weird way to be honest. He messaged me on Facebook saying he was a friend of Josh’s* (the barman from my previous date)! He asked me out for a drink and said that he’d already spoken to Josh and he had said it was cool. Now seeing as I wasn’t messaging Josh anymore I figured if he said it’s ok then what’s the harm in going for a drink; it’s not like I’m dating anyone else at the moment or getting offers!

So Chris and I met up at a restaurant but planned on only having drinks at the bar side of the place. Now before I say this next bit, I’m not shallow. I mean I will literally date almost anyone who asks me because I do fully believe you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and I might love someone’s personality. I am, and was at this time, 5ft 5in which isn’t that tall really. I’m roughly the average height for a girl my age. As I saw Chris walking towards me I kept noticing how little his height was growing as he got closer. It wasn’t until he was stood right in front of me and reaching up to kiss me on the cheek that I realised he must be no taller than 5ft 3in. Ok. I always imagined myself with a guy taller than me but you never know. He could be the man of my dreams. Haha boy was I wrong!

So anyway, we went inside and sat down with some drinks. For the first half an hour it was pretty much all small talk about where we’re from, what we do, family etc etc. Somewhere talking about family it came up that Chris’ Dad had died from cancer when he was younger. Now I fully sympathised with him on this because, although I only have one parent, if anything ever happened to her I don’t know what I would do! I asked if he wanted to talk about something else as I could see it was upsetting but he was happy to talk about it more, and more, and more. In total we spent the second half an hour talking about his Dad’s battle with cancer and the lead up to his death. Chris went on to talk about the funeral afterwards. I’ve not yet lost a parent to cancer and to anyone who has, I am truly sorry for your loss as I imagine it can only be one of the toughest things to go through but would you discuss every detail of it to a stranger on a first date?

I am very open minded and quite a caring person so I’m always happy to listen if someone needs it but, as with everything, there is only so much someone can take. Once Chris had finished talking about his Dad’s death (and everything surrounding it) he proceeded to talk about every single member of his family who had ever died in chronological order. Five family members and two friends later it seemed like Chris had run out of deaths to give me the details of. This was roughly two hours later into our date. Rather than change the conversation, or rightfully so call it a night, Chris went on the death war path and decided it necessary to give me the details of all his pets who had died throughout his childhood and leading up to now, his age of twenty five! I was nineteen and had been lucky in that the only deaths I had experienced at this point was our dog Dexter and an old best friend of mine at sixteen. I still didn’t feel the need the share the details of these with Chris.

I spent roughly 4 hours with Chris and a total of 3.5 of those hours was spent with me listening to him talk about death! This was and always will be the most depressing date I have ever been on. I had literally just met the guy and this was all he could talk about. I was exhausted and at 11.00pm told him it was late and I had to go. We walked to the car park where we had both parked and as we reached my car I said thank you and goodnight to Chris. Rather than walking away and admitting that we’d just had an awful date, Chris stood there and said “Oh, do I not get a hug?” Oh dear god. I walked over and gave him a hug without saying anything. As I stepped back towards my car he said “Do I not even get a kiss?” Sweet Jesus if you have to ask for it what the hell do you think the answer will be?! I couldn’t bring myself to let him think I had enjoyed being his therapist for the night and the thought of having a second date with him just made me want to cry and visit the Doctor for anti-depressants so rather than trying to lie or say something else, all I could bring myself to say was “No, sorry. Goodnight” and with that I was in my car and out of there quicker than a flash.

I’m still waiting for Chris to pay my counselling fees for that night.

Josh* – Barman

I met Josh* back in early 2009. He was a barman working in a club I used to go to with my friends. Now Josh is someone I wish I had just stayed away from but hindsight will do that to you.

To set the scene briefly, I was out with a few friends one night and we ended up in our favourite club (who knows why because it’s awful). Me, being me, had spotted a cute looking guy working behind the bar but of course I was too scared to talk to him so instead I just kept going to the bar and asking for glasses of water from him: I know what you’re thinking and to answer your questions, I didn’t want to spend any money and yes, I was going to the toilet a lot that night as a result of this! So now that I was possibly the most hydrated girl in the club I decided there was no way I could pluck up the courage to talk to him so I went back to the dancefloor and reunited with my friends. I had briefly mentioned where I’d been and my failings. One of my friends, an over confident young man, figured he’d help me out so we went up to Josh and asked for his number pointing at me and explaining that I ‘fancied’ him like we were all back in year 5 at school or something! Excellent.

Well, much to my humiliation, Josh handed over his number and that was it. We started texting each other that night and decided to meet up for a drink – Oh no!

On the day of our first date, I met Josh at our agreed meeting spot and we started walking to the bar. On the way Josh spotted a few of his mates kicking a football around and decided it would be fun to go over and kick the ball around for a bit. What happened next was the start of a long old night. As Josh went to do some kind of hop, step over a little railing, his ankle twisted and he fell on it at a strange angle – ouch. Fast forward half an hour and I’m currently sat in the waiting room of the A&E department at the hospital with Josh sat next to me swearing about how much pain he’s in. We sat and waited in that room for 4 hours until someone could see us and take some x-rays. 4 whole hours of listening to a 23 year old moan on and on about his ankle and swearing loudly about how the kids playing were annoying him. Wow what a treat he was turning out to be. Finally, we got called through and Josh had some x-rays done. The doctor sat us down and explained that nothing was broken, it was just a minor sprain in the ankle (see, he was bitching and moaning about nothing really). The doctor then laughed and said “luckily you’re girlfriend was around to drive you here I suppose”. Well this is awkward. We both laughed and explained it was a first date (and last) and then thanked him and left. Don’t you worry, this isn’t the end of it all!

From the hospital, I then had to drive out of my way in the opposite direction to drop Josh home. Once there he invited me in for a drink which I, stupidly, accepted. It had been a long old evening and neither of us had eaten anything so Josh asked if I minded him eating some toast. Seemed a little strange to ask me if I minded but I guess he was being polite. Of course I didn’t mind. His next sentence has been repeated to my friends so many times with me telling this story that I will never forget them. “Cool because I have to take my teeth out”. Sorry, you have to do what?? I couldn’t help myself; I had to ask! Josh goes on to explain that he’d gotten in a fight and someone had punched his two front teeth out so he had to remove them when he ate. So out come the teeth and in goes the toast. That kind of killed all sense of romance so after that I looked at the time, feigned a yawn and left.

I never did see Josh again for another date. I got the sense that night that he was quite aggressive. Between all the fights he’d talked about getting into and his swearing about children in the hospital I got the feeling that shy little me who hates conflict would just end up in a bad situation. It definitely would not have worked. You’d think I’d have learned after the cage fighter that an aggressive boyfriend isn’t my type but apparently not.

Anyway a few years later I was reading a magazine and noticed an article discussing how offenders are found using social media sites. Whilst briefly skim reading the article a name jumped out at me. It was Josh’s name! As a side note to the article, there was a list of names of people who had been caught for crimes through social media. Wow. Josh* 25, Barman arrested for assault. Turns out Josh spent two and a half years in prison for grievous bodily harm (GBH). Well at least I know I can trust my gut instinct then!

James* – Student

My next potential suitor after the not so suitable cage fighter was a set up by a friend of mine. She insisted that her boyfriend’s mate James* would be perfect for me! How wrong she was.

Now this one most certainly is not the worst date I’ve ever had but it quite possibly makes my top 10 of the worst. I should probably explain that when this date took place at my ripe old age of 18 (2008), I wasn’t the person I am now. I was quite shy when meeting new people and got nervous easily so never liked speaking up about things; this is an important thing to know about me for this date.

James had chosen for us to go to the cinema for our first (and last) date. Personally I think the cinema is a rubbish idea for a first date. How can you possibly get to know someone by sitting silently next to them, while you both watch a film neither of you probably even care about seeing? Answer is, you don’t get to know them! Although saying that, I got to know that James most certainly was not the man for me during our cinema outing.

So, it’s a Thursday evening and James picks me up from my house for our date. The drive to the cinema is fine. The car is filled with small talk and awkwardness for the 20 minute journey but I feel pretty good about it all. How naive I was at eighteen. Anyway, we arrive at the cinema and decide what film we’ll watch because it’s the only one on at that time. I can’t even remember what film we watched but that’s irrelevant anyway. We walk inside and up to the desk. Now, call me a feminist or whatever but I’m all for splitting the bill or whatever even on a first date so I paid for my own cinema ticket and James paid for his, which I was more than happy with. To be fair, he didn’t offer to pay for mine so I didn’t have a choice but, as I said, I am all good with that…. Until it came to buying snacks!

After getting our tickets James starts walking over to the snack counter and tells me he’s going to get some popcorn and a drink. I politely tell him that I already ate dinner so I wasn’t going to get anything. What happened next was not at all what I was expecting. James ordered a large popcorn, large coke and a bag of chocolate buttons (that wasn’t the problem). The girl behind the counter put everything into the till and told James it would be a total of £18.00 (also not the problem). James, without any hesitation whatsoever, turned to me and said the words “so you’re getting this right?” (PROBLEM). Hang on a minute, I’m getting this? Why on Earth would you think I am going to pay for all of your food and drink when I had already said I didn’t want anything and I’ve already just paid for my own cinema ticket! Now the current me would have told him where to go, however the eighteen year old me politely got my card out of my purse and paid for the greedy bastard’s food and drink.

Yep, I know what you’re thinking – Why would you pay for it? Why not tell him no? Well as I said previously, I was shy and nervous and figured that this was maybe normal etiquette for a first date so I went along with it and didn’t want to cause a fuss. Besides, I’d already decided there was no way I was seeing this guy again after that. So anyway, we make our way to the screen and sit down. As the film is starting I look over and see James holding that popcorn and think to myself ‘well I paid for it so I’m going to have some’ and I innocently reach over to take a few pieces of popcorn. James isn’t having any of that though! He pulls the popcorn away from my hand and whispers “You said you didn’t want any” before he then moves the drink, chocolate buttons and popcorn over to his other armrest; out of reach from me! What has just happened?! So we fairly split the costs of our tickets for the film and yet I’ve somehow now ended up paying for £18 worth of food and drink that I’m not even allowed to have any of! Correct me if I’m missing something here but is that really normal dating behaviour?

Once the film had ended I was just ready to get home. I got in the car and said almost nothing the whole way home. James kindly dropped me to my door and just before I opened the passenger door to get out and slink away inside the house he turns to me and says “So have you got any change to pitch in for the petrol money?”

I got out that car, slammed the door shut and walked inside my house with my head held high promising never to see him again! Of course before doing these things I rummaged around and gave him £5 towards petrol because little me back then was too scared and shy to say anything otherwise. I definitely learned from that date!