“D” is for Date and also for Disaster

The title of this article is misleading. It suggests that the “D” in date and in disaster is singular (pun unintended). And that a disaster date is merely an isolated event that comes and goes, hopefully never to be repeated. Alas. The “D” is actually a plural, because there are no limits to amount of disasters one can have, either:

  1. On a single date; and/or
  2. On multiple dates throughout the course of one’s week, month, year – possibly even life (to be confirmed).

It has however, provided me with ample material to laugh, cry and complain about. I have settled on three which have stuck in my mind. This may be because it was last week’s pick up trawl, so remains relatively fresh in my mind – despite the prospect of any further dates with Mr Date #4946329, Mr Date #4387494 and Mr Date #239049 has run stale.

“D” No.1 – In-Store delivery: Should have saved time and shopped online

I’ve found Tesco to be a more successful place to meet people than Tinder. There are no lies, no fabricated profiles. In fact, one’s soul is bared to the entire store. You can’t hide behind a keyboard in Tesco – although you can hide behind shelves if things get sticky.  I met Mr Date #4946329 in the fruit and veg department of my local Tesco Extra store while I was carefully inspecting my weekly banana bunch purchase: not too green, not too yellow, medium sized etc. etc. As one might anticipate, it’s quite tricky to make small talk over bananas. I was relieved he didn’t try. As I expected, he waited until I was browsing the aubergines and the potatoes before he “bumped into me again”. We had solid ground to establish commonality: I shop for food, he works in a supermarket. I love fruit and vegetables; he is passionate about stocking shelves with cauliflowers and spinach. My favourite colour is green; he wears a green uniform. The similarities were uncanny.

Needless to say, I thought I was on safe ground. He was gainfully employed, working his way to a modest pension and he knew exactly how to lift heavy boxes by bending at the knees. He asked for my number, and as I had vegetable stir-fry on my mind, I readily handed over my personal details without a hint of discussion around Data Processor / Data Controller obligations and GDPR.

Mr Date #4946329 was one keen green bean! I was barely out of the store before he messaged me, several times. Then several more times. I have fairly low tolerance for text message bombardment. As a rule of thumb, if someone doesn’t reply to a message for 20 minutes, it’s verging on harassment if you follow up 3 more times with the same message over the course of the next 10 minutes. Mr Date #4946329 did actually end up crossing over the date line, but as a contracts lawyer, I did feel that overlooking any discussion on GDPR and use of personal information was a rooky, rooky error and qualifies as a disaster.

“D” No.2 – Roses are red, violets are blue, barristers are bastards and I knew that too…

On a recent visit to London for some heated discussion on Force Majeure and limited liability clauses, I met a barrister. Barristers are an imperious species and generally speaking, think they’re superior to lawyers. Even though they are, that’s not the point. Under the guise of “picking my brains”, Mr Date #4387494 asked me for a drink. Frankly, I’d prefer to keep all of my brains and slowly erode them overtime with heavy drinking and stress rather than charitably donating segments of it to bastard barristers.  Usually “picking brains” means one of two things: asking a few questions and then casually slipping in “could you get me a job at your firm?”, or, nodding at everything that’s said and then casually groping knees and elbows in the hope that your new acquaintance feels vulnerable enough to agree to a second date with you. I know because I’ve got a job and I’ve been on second dates.

I wasn’t thinking clearly and was obviously in need of nap because I said yes. Three gins, four whiskeys and half a dozen lost brain cells later, I was the sucker paying the £65 tab. Mr Date #4387494 had fallen down the toilet and disappeared round the bend after he’d excused himself to go to the bathroom. It is travesty that I had the unusual generosity of spirit to allow a barrister to speak to me, let alone “pick my brains”. A disaster that I reluctantly admit was my own doing: trusting the scummiest scum of them all – barristers.

“D” No. 3 – Tennis came too late to bat away this disaster

One sunny Sunday morning I woke up feeling unusually fresh after a lavish evening of more gin than tonic. I was looking forward to an ordinary Sunday of procrastination before a tennis match, when I suddenly remembered that I had agreed to meet an “aspiring” teacher for coffee. Mr Date #239049 was my first (and last) blind date, courtesy of my (now ex-)friend. Cautionary warning: when someone provides a “highlight” summary of their old flatmate who “just needs to meet someone nice” (no idea why she introduced him to me after saying that), ask the following direct questions:

  1. Does he have a nervous eye twitch?
  2. Is he going to teach English to children in the Gaza strip for three months because he “despises Israel”?
  3. Does he get the shakes if he’s not smoking?
  4. How fond of showering is he on a scale of “I’ve washed today” to “I’ve just been in a mosh pit at a Metallica concert”?
  5. Is he mal-nourished?

That was possibly the 7th quickest date I have ever had. I didn’t realise that such disasters could bring on the delayed onset of a hangover. Mr Date #239049 wasn’t just a disaster; he had caused an earthquake in my mind that manifested into an almighty hangover that could raise the dead. There I was, half crouched in the foetal position in the middle of Waitrose for 20 minutes wondering if there was anything I could buy as a legal pick me up that would allow me to play a tennis marathon for the next 4 hours severely hungover. I settled on a banana and sesame seed snacks so could continue my rock n’ roll lifestyle on court. It wasn’t my finest four hours, that’s for sure.

Disaster Dates are an aggressive reminder of how the single life is not to be undervalued. You’ll have more money, less hangovers and you can bask in the comfort of knowing your personal details are only being exploited by large global marketing companies and not by over-zealous vegephiles.

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