Sweet nothings: Tweeters reveal worst dates
When Rhodri Marsden tweeted about a terrible date in 2002 it led to hundreds of his 15,000 Twitter followers sharing theirs online. Here are some of the best @ replies.
If you've ever dated via non-traditional means – lonely hearts columns, internet dates, speed dates, or inappropriate blind dates set up by well-meaning but unhelpful friends – you'll have a stack of anecdotes detailing the occasions it went badly wrong.
Whether you disliked the other person, they disliked you, or you found some kind of grim solidarity in your mutual loathing, that unique social discomfort tends to be seared into your memory forever. The stories become dinner-party staples; your appalling experiences, mellowed by time, transforming into comedy gold.
And, for some reason, the British tend to have more potent tales – possibly because we're more socially inept, more apologetic, more likely to put up with rudeness and idiocy. Some of us will sit in pubs for hours with people we dislike because we're scared of saying to someone's face: "Look, I'm leaving."
I'm one of those people.
As I wandered down the A24 in Clapham on Tuesday evening I passed a bar that brought one dating memory flooding back.
We had nothing in common, and nothing to say. The silences became excruciating. She was from Wigan, and I actually heard myself saying: "So, what's Wigan like, then?"
I tweeted this recollection, and soon hundreds of people were sharing their own experiences, all distilled into 140 characters or fewer. They were stripped of extraneous detail and they become brilliantly funny one-liners.
The full collection – still growing – can be seen at bit.ly/140dates, but here's a choice selection.
Note the overwhelming dominance of stories from women; I hereby apologise for the male sex, and promise that in future, we'll try to behave better.
Follow Rhodri Marsden at twitter.com/rhodri