Confessions of a first dater

As Channel 4 opens up its restaurant to a new batch of lovelorn hopefuls, Amy Nickell provides a very personal take on that initial nerve-shredding encounter

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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that first dates unhinge even the most together of people.

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So hideous are they that Channel 4 crafted a whole series of programmes dedicated to the subject for us to enjoy. 

Tonight we will belly laugh at the telly secure in our ‘staying in’ costumes, which coincidentally are the exact opposite to the ‘first date’ costume.

The first date costume must make one think of sex – but not that the wearer has had loads of it. The shoes must be high enough to suitably elongate the legs, but low enough to avoid emasculating a more diminutive date.

But before you can even pack your pointless fun-size clutch bag with, well, let’s face it, nothing, you will encounter those obligatory pre-date fears.

Convince yourself ‘he won’t fancy you’, move on to ‘I look different to how he remembers’ and finish up with ‘OMG he’s a nymphomaniac/pervert/megalomaniac/narcissist, what am I doing?’

It’s at this point that your mother is likely to text you a reminder to under no circumstances get drunk. But you most certainly will get drunk. Being self-conscious and British, alcohol consumption is the only way to deal with awkwardness. Plus, you’ve had a WKD in the bath at home getting ready, just to take the edge off.

Despite the fact that first dates involve lots of talking, you go to a restaurant. Neither of you wants to eat food in front of the other (even Angelina Jolie doesn’t look attractive chewing with her mouth open) and you’d secretly rather be in the pub but it’s the rules so here you are. 

“Tell me something crazy about you…”, he asks, to which the brain does two things. First it has a sudden attack of Tourettes.

‘TELL HIM YOU’RE WEARING A WIG’

‘TELL HIM YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S IN PRISON UNDER THE TERRORISM ACT’

‘TELL HIM THAT BEFORE YOU PUT IN YOUR TAMPONS YOU DIP THEM IN JACK DANIEL’S’

Then it packs up for the day and goes home leaving you to giggle (idiot) and say, “Oh, I don’t know! Sometimes when I’m hungover, I watch old Newsnight episodes to see what haircuts politicians had in the 1980s”.

Great.

Now, just don’t mention the ex.

Hang on, did he just look down the waitresses’s top?

With the constant need for awkward-silence-avoidance neither of you is going to risk breaking to read the menu, meaning you end up with the monkfish off the specials board even though you recently went vegan – for health, not ethics – as it’s the first thing your eyes landed on.

Neither of you can face dessert, but you’ll definitely take any more alcohol that’s on offer. He might try to kiss you in about ten minutes time, so you need to pack in as many as possible at this point. You wish you’d had an extra WKD in the bath. Limoncello on the house? Right on.

He doesn’t try to kiss you.

He still promises to call you, though. Did he say goodbye or see you later? You’re too drunk to care.

You just hope for the sake of your family name that he’ll What’sApp you before you get home. 

Not that you’ll be giving it two blue ticks until morning. 

What can you say? You’re a classy type of bird. 

To reiterate: first dates, they unhinge people. 

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First Dates is on Thursdays at 10pm on Channel 4