Tab Blind Dates
Four Tab reporters did RAG Blind Date – in character. With checklists. Read about the train wreck here.
Bored of ordinary dating? Here's RAG Blind Date Tab-style. Each of our reporters went on their blind dates with a specific 'personality' and a checklist of 5 things to achieve on their date (aside from public humiliation). See how they got on.
Wear: Sunglasses and Fur.
Bring: Diary, Blackberry and Mobile Phone.
Question: “I’m really surprised I don’t know you, I know basically everyone at Cambridge. Who are you even friends with?”
Do: Namedrop. Shamelessly.
End it: “I really can’t stay, I promised I’d make an appearance at about five parties tonight”.
Minutes before meeting my RAG blind date, I was surprised to find myself feeling very, very nervous. Until then I’d been secretly relieved to avoid some of the other (arguably more outrageous) personalities, but putting on a pair of oversized black sunglasses on a freezing cold night in February, I suddenly felt like a complete idiot. In hindsight, I should have had a shot or two to make me feel slightly more confident about what, bar a humiliatingly small role in a Year Three school production of 'The Tailor of Gloucester', was essentially my acting debut.
For the first twenty minutes or so everything went smoothly. Or rather, everything went smoothly in my one-man production of How to Behave like a Complete Idiot. From his perspective, presumably, the date was a complete disaster. I forgot his name, scanned the room claiming to see hundreds of people I knew, queried why, being at Kings, he wasn’t best friends with Lily Cole, and checked my Blackberry approximately once every three seconds.
Understandably, his reaction to my performance was less than enthusiastic. After a couple of thinly veiled remarks like as “wow, you’re popular aren’t you” (when I had a five minute phone call during the date) and a pointed anecdote about some infuriating girl he knew (or made-up) who was constantly on her mobile phone, it was clear he wasn’t particularly keen on (socialite) me. On the occasions when I lapsed into my normal personality, we had genuinely interesting conversations. In fact, if I hadn’t been purposefully trying to jeopardise it, I think the date might have gone quite well. When my friend came over and briefly engaged him in conversation, he seemed to find her charming, self-deprecating, and witty. “Sure”, I wanted to interject, “that’s what I’m like normally”!
Fundamentally, my date was too grounded to be in the least bit impressed by my boring, name-dropping arrogance. Had he been a social climber himself, the result might have been more amusing, as he desperately tried to jump on my bandwagon of faux-popularity. But as it was, I have yet to receive the Facebook friendship request I was promised as we parted, and I’m pretty sure my date left with a profound sense of relief that he’d never again have to endure four drinks with a someone wearing Nicole Ritchie-esque sunglasses and more fur than an oversized chinchilla.
Verdict: 4/5. Shameless social climbing.
Wear: Visible bra, red lipstick, heels.
Bring: Lube, condoms (they fall out your purse)
Q: 'Ever had sex in a restaurant toilet?' Cue suggestive eyebrow raise.
Do: Put your hand on his thigh
End it: 'Your place or mine?'
"So. Um. I looked you up on Facebook. Um, do you write for The Tab?"
Well. My date was slightly more polite than many of those in my immediate social circle ("Your Facebook is a shrine to The Tab";"I'm going to delete you as a sodding friend if you post another sodding fucking Tab link, just do some work you bint.") But the fact that he had identified I might be 'undercover' (mission: pretend to be a total tart, hardly the stuff of 007) – within mere seconds of us doing the awkward, shuffling two-step of shall-we-hug-or-shall-we-shake-hands-oh-he's-going-for-a-kiss-on-the-cheek, rather took the wind out of my sails.
Of course, I feigned innocence, in the way that one does. "Yes, I do – but I promise I will not be reviewing our date!!" (Nervous, hysterical laughter); "I forgot to attach the essay in the email? What folly! What inadvertent folly!"; "Your milk? You had milk in the fridge? That is the most bizarre thing, I have no idea where it could be." (Flakes of Fruit-and-Fibre encrusting my mouth, cemented in place by droplets of semi-skimmed). Etcetera. I'm a good liar, me.
But as soon as I had told my polite, charming and frankly, quite hot, date that I was not on a Tab mission, I felt an unfamiliar rush of guilt that doesn't accompany lying to one's DoS/mother/doctor. I also realised that whilst sleazing all over a NatSci might have made an amusing anecdote, pretending to be a tart with someone pretty fit, older and charming was not going to happen. Although the Gardi's lollipop I recently found stuck centimetres above my right nipple the morning-after-the-Life-before (I seem to have stuck it in there for safe-keeping. Bleak.) would suggest otherwise, I actually have a few shreds of dignity left. They are tattered and look not unlike the sort of rags your Dad uses to polish his shoes. But they constitute the last of my dignity, and I'm rather fond of them.
So. I was supposed to slip my hand onto his thigh. And then slide it up. I was supposed to let lubricant and condoms roll out of my bag, and accompany these symbols of my promiscuity with a raised eyebrow and possibly a wink if I could manage to blink my heavily mascara-d eyes (OK, I dressed a little more sluttily than I might have done had I not been undercover. There was a bit too much make-up going on. And my bra was definitely slightly on display.) And I was supposed to end our date – during which I would have bombarded him with questions about his sex life, boasts about my voracious sexual appetite, e.g. my willingness to
have a threesome – with the time-honoured, "Sooooo, your place or mine?"
The way I saw it, either he would offer his room, propose a visit to the shag pad in which I had claimed to live (instead of the 'vista' of St Chads, where I actually live; you know, right at the end of West Road, looks like a prison, secured like a prison, essentially a prison; say, Azkaban for the intellectually-able). Or, the most likely third option: he would say, "fuck off, you slag", refuse the Facebook add that symbolises the relatively successful RAG Blind Date. I frankly can't take any more rejection. I wussed out about five minutes in, rearranged my bra so that it was no longer exposed in any way, and subtly tried to remove my fourth coat of mascara with my fingernails when he wasn't looking.
We got on well; I don't think he fancied me and I don't think I fancied him either, but he was lovely; definitely way too lovely to slag all over our date. We parted in Cindies, where we separated with a slightly less awkward shall-we-hug-or-shall-we-shake-hands-oh-he's-going-for-a-kiss-on-the-cheek shuffle and I trotted off to slag all over boys I did know instead. No, that's a lie. (Really, it is a lie. Please don't judge me on the basis of that lollipop story).
Verdict: 0/5 Pussy.
Wear : Something the ex bought her, and mention it.
Bring : Photo of the ex.
Q: 'Have you ever had your heart broken?' then rant about her pain.
Do : Burst into tears
End it: Get a text saying the ex is in Cindies and run off to meet him.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sorry for the male species. Watching the actually really quite nice guy opposite me stutter and stare blindly around the room, desperately looking for something – anything – to calm down the gibbering wreck in front of him.
He’d done his very best, but within ten minutes an ever so innocent compliment on my £6 Accessorize charm necklace had tears welling up in my eyes. “It…it…my ex…” I said forlornly, looking away overcome with emotion. Then I turned to him, suddenly furious “Have you ever broken up with a girl on her birthday? Have you? HUH?”. It’s brilliant, massive rabbit in headlights as the poor bloke does not know how to react. Enter the psycho-ex.
Everything reminds me of ‘Mike’, my ex and long lost love. The 17 days we spent together were the best of my life, every day a dream. I refuse to go to the Slug and Lettuce because that was where we had our first date. My date's black duffle coat is painfully similar to Mikes, and when he dares to order a G&T I whimper for a good ten minutes. Mike used to love them. Why does this man insist on reminding of all the pain I am going through right now?
I even think I see my long lost love pass us in the street, manhandle my current date and drag him into a side alley. My date is both utterly bemused and slightly bruised.
I try to explain myself. I tell him in minute, painstaking detail every aspect of my previous relationship. From the moment our eyes met across the midst of sweaty mass of Cindies bodies, to the first time he felt me up (outside the Van of Life later that night) and even the first time we did ‘it’ (the next morning. He was a little to drunk to seal the deal that night). My date attempts a few psychiatrist sympathy noises but nothing can stop me in my venting. Until that is, when I was midway through analysing Mike's preference for Apple VKs over Cherry and I notice my date, bored, scanning the room. Horrified, I gasp loudly to regain his attention. He jumps, and knocks over his G&T, staring at the mess ruefully. Yeah, I think he really did need that drink.
A few hours and many deep and meaningful confessions later he suggests I “try to deal with things and move on”. It is the final straw. I am enraged and promptly burst into tears before storming out, yelling about him not understanding me and how Mike and I are meant to be. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Verdict: 3/5. Nothing to cry over.
Wear: Gap year tragedy trousers, headband, bracelets. Lots of bracelets.
Bring: Beer funnel – get her to use it too.
Q : 'Do you know international drinking rules?'- and enforce them.
Do: Take your top off.
End it: 'I'm battered. Tactical chunder then Cindies?'
If you pay a bribe to get "a lad" on your blind date, then I reckon you deserve everything you get. Especially if you turn up 40 minutes late.
By the time my lad-hunter had arrived I was standing at the bar in Ta Bouche, wearing gap year trousers (Deep in the heart of Kenya) drinking my second pint of Quilmes (South America mate). The non-appearance of my gal was accentuated by the fact that everyone else in there seemed to be on a date. And with the exception of the pale, ugly guy who kicked off conversation with his tanned, pretty partner by asking "What d'you think of Cindies?", they all seemed to be doing rather well.
My date was fun; Miss Marple she was not. When she told me that her best friend had warned her I might be writing about it for 'The Tab', and then I didn't leave Ta Bouche despite her absurd tardiness I reckon the indications were there that I was probably…writing about it for 'The Tab'.
In fact the 40 minute debacle presented an early opportunity for some laddishness to be asserted. She bought my fictitious rule that "in our drinking society you do a pint for every 15 minutes you're late" and dutifully drank the pints and vodka shots that came her way despite her protestations that she didn't like beer.
I thought enforcing international drinking rules might be pushing my luck but my date seemed to be un-ironically enjoying the whole experience.
Our arrival at the Champ on King's street, the second venue for the night, got off to an inauspicious start. Why I decided to explain to the lad-hunter that "this place used to be a boat club, kind of like some pubs play football on Sundays" is completely fucking beyond me. It took at least a few minutes to extricate myself from the absolutely pointless series of explanations that followed. A guy wearing a waistcoat a few yards a way shot me a look of amusement. I was having a nightmare.
And yet it all turned out not to be too much of a bloody disaster. Her seeming toleration for, even affection for, my ridiculous persona probably means that any further contact is a complete non-runner. Unless I decide wearing my 'Benidorm Clunge Tour 09' t-shirt and talking about last night ("Literally, mate, I have no idea how we got home, mate") is the new plan. Although it can't be much worse than the old one.
Verdict: 3/5. Mate, massive bant. You Lad you.
Thanks to Daisy Mitchell, Phoebe Luckhurst, Leonie James and Joshi Eichner Herrman, Tab Reporters and just about shameless enough to do this. Also massive thanks to their dates. I'm really sorry if you were one of them.