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Last night I went on a blind date with someone who I already knew I didn’t fancy. Ok so it wasn’t technically a blind date, I had met him for about five minutes in a pub a couple of weekends ago. My friend Jen was seeing his best friend, James, and had gone over to the group of boys, asked who was single, and who fancied me. Nate answered yes to both, and my fate was set. Jen gave him my number and me my marching orders: “be nice to him, you can’t show me up” and a list of questions “does James like me, does he date many girls, is he seeing anyone else” and so on.
Detective Alexa to the rescue.

I really didn’t fancy the poor guy and clearly needed some contingency plans to get out of any awkward situations. Here is my advice to anyone in a similar situation:

What to do on the blind date

Whatever you do, it needs to be something with many opportunities for ending. I think the most fool-proof option is to go for drinks, never dinner. If you go for dinner you are committing to spending at least an hour and a half with them, and you can’t dictate what they eat, he might want starters, pudding and coffee, this could turn into a very lengthy exposure to The Awks. If you go for drinks, and you are losing the will to live, you can end the date after the first drink, without making a scene.

Should you allow him to pick you up?

I spent a long time considering whether I should let him pick me up or not.

Pros: You can drink as much as you need to get through the date.
Cons: He will know where you live.

I settled on letting him pick me up, because I decided the awkward car hug at the end would be a good way to avoid a kissing scenario. VITAL: Remember to go into the hug with your face angled AWAY from them!
As it happened, my date, Nate, was so socially-awkward that there was no car hugging to deal with. In fact, not only did he not get out of the car to greet me, when I opened the car door and shouted an overenthusiastic “hi!”, he didn’t even turn his head, not even his eyes, to look at me! This was very unsettling. I used this experience to my advantage at the end of the evening though, knowing he wouldn’t try any funny-business I said thank you and jumped straight out of the car. No cobra-like kiss dodging to deal with.

What to talk about on the blind date

I think the aspect of any type of date which causes the most anxiety for people, is: will there be enough to talk about. Especially in the current dating climate in which the majority of dates are with thanks to Tinder, and therefore, you really don’t know much about each other when you meet, and might not have any common interests or chemistry. My answer to this is: have a backlog of conversations and anecdotes prepared, prior to meeting. You can use the “blindness” to your advantage: there is so much to find out. Winning conversation topics include: family, work and education (praise the lord if you find an educated one). There is a lot to talk about on these topics and you need to make the most of this. Talk slowly and ask a lot of questions. After you’ve covered the basics you need to tailor more specifically to your date: is he the kind of guy who travels? Does he like sport and exercising? Do you have any shared interests? If you have a good anecdote, steer the conversation in that direction, For example, I have an interesting and looooong story about how I eventually learned to drive, so if I can bring it into conversation, I will.

How to end the date subtly

People constantly tout the age-old trick of having a friend call you with an emergency after sending them a codeword, meaning you have to leave the date abruptly. I’d be very interested to know whether anyone in the history of the world has ever actually tried this, and whether it has worked. Personally I think it would be pretty obvious, I would certainly know, and be very offended if this happened to me. Even if you don’t want to be on the date, you need to be respectful and kind. Because, karma.
A better technique is to plan ahead. If you know prior to the date that you don’t want to go on the date, arrange to meet late on a weekday, say 8pm. So that after one drink you can make your apologies, claim to need an early night before work the next day, and leave. If you can’t use this excuse, try just ending the date with no particular reason. Social norms won’t allow them to stop you if you start putting on your coat, thank them for the date and tell them it was lovely to meet them. Last night, as it approached 11pm and the pub was emptying out a bit so I went with “ooh I think we should go it looks like they’re closing up here”, totally subtle, no one was upset.

How to avoid date number two

If you’re a big pushover like me, you will find it hard to say no to a second date, heck, that’s how you got yourself in this situation in the first place!

Prep is vital: I warmed my date up for the blow by telling him several times throughout the date, how happy I was to be single, how busy I was, that I was moving away soon, was not looking for a boyfriend etc. Now that he has sent me the dreaded “so when are we doing it again?” text, I can play on this. I’ve replied with a garbled “I had a great night but as I’m really not looking for a relationship I don’t think theres any point continuing to see each other”. Sorted.

Alternatively, try this:

So there you go ladies, and good luck!