When you are about to go on a first date, you like to ask lots of advice. You don’t really need advice. And you probably won’t listen to the advice but you like to ask it. It is a very, very good thing that you don’t really need advice and won’t listen to the advice because HOLY HELL the advice is bad.
I went on a blind date recently. It was forecast to be 34 degrees and the proposed restaurant wasn’t air-conditioned. I couldn’t face falling at the first hurdle and fiddling around with the plans so I asked a particularly kind and generous (and, it turns out, mentally sub-normal) friend what I should do. What if I was sweaty? What if my hair was sweaty? What if I went all pink like a boiled ham? What then? She thought about it. She took a little time – because she is so nice – and she came back with a solution. “Pack a small towel in your handbag,” she said. “And wear a hat.” Honestly. How she got married I’ll never know.
But here’s the thing. Married people forget. They forget the subtleties and they forget the vulnerability. “Wear no knickers,” said another, “for sexiness and air.” Another counselled me to take a fan (could anything look more menopausal?) and yet another said, “Don’t turn up. Then say you had a car crash.” Single people just shrug and assume you’ll manage the slings and arrows of dating. As they do.
I managed it, guys. In my own hot and slightly frazzled way. I sat in an air-conditioned car outside the restaurant so I would be sub-zero rather then commute-compromised when I walked in. I sat very still and tried not to panic. The rest, of course, is history. But put it this way, it was not my last first date. And I will ask advice on the next one. Sadly I will not take it. Because married people are lunatics.