In all the time I’ve been single (which totals around 18 years), I’ve learned three things about dating:

  1. Don’t get hideously drunk.
  2. Don’t order lobster.
  3. Don’t arrange a second date in Cyberspace (I’ll explain, even though it sounds inexplicable).

Interestingly enough, I learned all of these lessons in one sitting, on a date in Exmouth Market just last week.

1. Don’t get hideously drunk.
“Hideous” may be too strong a word, but I was certainly “buzzed.” I know this because I started banging on about a half-baked revolution in which we all “just love one another (why can’t we just love one another?).” So, as a general rule, try and keep as drunk if not less drunk than your date.

2. Don’t order lobster.
“Compliment her on her shoes,” Beth advised, before the date. “It’s more specific than ‘you look nice,’ and less cheesy than ‘you’ve got amazing eyes’…”

So, as it turned out, my date did have pretty amazing eyes, but I couldn’t get a good look at her shoes from where I was sitting. That was until the waitress came over and offered up the very same compliment to my date. Not wanting her to muscle in on my game (which is pretty sad, when a waitress can do that), I saw my opportunity and chimed in with a perhaps overly enthusiastic, “Yes! Your shoes are amazing!”

I was too late, of course, and my compliment, now really an afterthought, had no real positive impact. It only served to distract me from the real reason the waitress was standing there, complimenting the hell out of my date.

And so, for some reason, I ordered lobster. And then proceeded to wrestle with the animal, break the thing apart and eat its insides across the table from my date.
My advice? Order anything but lobster.

3. Don’t arrange a second date in Cyberspace.
So, sozzled and strewn with lobster meat and exoskeleton, I was in no fit state to conclude the date in any way that was appropriate. Instead of suggesting we meet again, that I call, or even that we move to a position more conducive to kissing, I turned away from my date, ever so slightly, pointed over my shoulder and said, “well, the tube’s this way,” and, “you should, er, Facebook me sometime.”

It sounded like something from the Chandler Bing school of shitty dating, updated for the 21st century (dating 2.0, if you will). And as soon as I said it I turned, looked down at my shoes, seasoned ever so slightly with lobster and white wine, and thought, did I actually just say that?