Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

I tried to think of an approach that wouldn't involve stroking courgettes

Catherine Townsend - Sleeping Around

Sitting at yet another dinner party while my coupled-up friends lovingly fed each other bites of bruschetta, I realised that I need to find new opportunities to meet men. My social circle seems to be getting smaller, and the guys I meet through work tend to have their own preconceptions about me.

So I decided to take a new approach, and go food shopping for more than just ready meals. I've read loads of stories about picking up men in supermarkets, and wonder if there's any truth to the theory. So I set a goal this week: to speak to one attractive man per shop. The results were amazing.

In theory, supermarkets have some serious advantages: they are democratic (since everyone has to buy food), and if someone looks good in the fluorescent lighting, things can only improve on a night out. My first destination was Waitrose, where I spied a very cute man with a naked ring finger.

I was trying to think of a pick-up line when his girlfriend came from the frozen food section, wielding a giant bag of frozen peas... I ran the other way before she had the chance to use them as a weapon.

As men whizzed past me at the local Tesco, I realised the downfalls of supermarket hook-ups. When I'm out in bars I have the benefit of having enough time - and liquid courage - to make an approach, but in the aisles I only have about 12 seconds before they reach the checkout.

I saw a gorgeous guy in the pasta section, but I chickened out before saying anything. I followed him to the fruit and veg, where I tried to think of an approach that wouldn't involve stroking courgettes. "Do you think they'd mind if I sample the grapes?" I popped one in my mouth. He looked at me in shock. "You should be careful," he said. " Some bunches have spiders living in them." He walked off. Strike one.

My next stop was Marks&Spencer in Moorgate, which was a target-rich environment, packed with loads of stressed-out City types. I spotted a good-looking guy, but hesitated once I saw his basket: it was full with fat-free products, which signals either a girlfriend at home or an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Either way, it's not sexy. I went home.

My destination the next night was the swanky new Whole Foods superstore. There was a beautiful man buying organic salmon fillets from the fish counter, and while we both waited to be served, I made my move. "So, do you know anything about how to cook salmon?" I asked him. "I'm not exactly Nigella. For the past 10 months I've been using my oven for shoe storage." He laughed before uttering the fateful line, "I live by myself, and I end up ordering loads of takeaways, so don't feel guilty."

It turns out that he lives locally. "I'm making the salmon skewers for my house party this Friday," he said. "You're welcome to come, and bring friends."

I discreetly checked his purchases, which included wine, organic steaks, and loads of chocolate. I'm reserving judgement until the weekend, but I'm definitely impressed by the size of his basket.

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