Rhodri Marsden: Dating Tips

Singles on Cupid

He’s worked as an undercover musician and published a book about crap dates – which, incidentally, is called Crap Dates. So who better than Rhodri Marsden to take the helm this week as Cupid’s guest dating expert. Rhodri’s tips are essential reading for anyone planning to avoid a disastrous love-life, punctuated by bad dates and angry text messages.

#1: Turn up

Memo all departments: It doesn’t count as a date if you don’t turn up. Yes, your subconscious may be telling you to stay at home as it tries to protect you from bad dates, based upon previous experiences of bad dates. And yes, by not turning up you minimise the chances of spending a grim evening with an idiot telling you which GCSEs they took. But there’s a very real possibility that it might be great. Treat it like a lottery ticket: a minimal investment for a potentially life-changing reward. The other person might not want to turn up either – after all, who likes being anxious? – but you must both do your romantic duty. If you don’t go, you’ll never know.

#2: Make sure you’re single

It may be tempting to go on dates as a diversion from your badly floundering relationship, but it’s a bad idea. The web of deceit you’re spinning is likely to unravel in your face, with at least two people getting really cross with you, possibly more. So work your way through this five-point checklist; if you answer “No” to all five, you’re probably in the clear. 1. Are you wearing a wedding ring? 2. Did making the arrangements for the date involve subterfuge comparable with Cold War espionage? 3. Before leaving for the date, did someone kiss you and say “Goodbye darling, see you later?” 4. Is your excitement at going on the date punctuated by gnawing feelings of guilt? 5. Have you just taken your wedding ring off and hidden it?

#3: Don’t bring a pal

While polygamy is all the rage in some cultures, there’s a general understanding in the West that “two” is both the maximum and minimum number of people that should turn up for a date. Fewer than two and it’s just a person in a room. More than two and it just gets confusing. Matters of dating etiquette – who should pay for what, who should help who on with their coat – become needlessly complex. So don’t bring along a pal – or, worse, pals. “Safety in numbers” just doesn’t apply, here. Three is not only a crowd, it’s a recipe for unspeakable awkwardness; imagine turning up thinking you’re on a date, but then discovering that it’s actually a drink with two strangers who are more keen on each other’s company than they are on yours. Ouch.

#4: Stop going on about yourself

On some dates, conversation can be hard to come by. It’s a symptom of jangling nerves and paralysis of choice; faced with the opportunity of talking about anything, you find yourself not talking at all. In such situations, it’s tempting to rely on the topic you know the most about: you. After all, you’ve taken an active interest in you since the day you were born. No-one knows as much about you as you do. And so you talk about you, endlessly, like you’re applying for the position of you at You Ltd, leaving no detail unaccounted for and saying things like “The thing about me is” and “This is classic me”. But now is really not the time to rehearse the audiobook of your autobiography. It’s a date.

#5: Don’t leave without saying goodbye

“The date was so bad,” people say from time to time, “that I went to the toilet and escaped out of the window.” It’s become such a cliché; 95% of people who say it are lying, and the other 5% are bending the truth because they just sneaked out of the front door instead. The more pertinent question is why anyone would be proud of admitting such behaviour; it’s pure cowardice that inflicts shame, embarrassment and annoyance on someone who probably found the date as awful as you did but was too polite to saunter off without saying goodbye. Confront the situation. Make up a risible excuse if you must. But don’t sneak out of the bathroom window, metaphorically or otherwise. You’re better than that.

Share your tips

You’ve read Rhodri’s, now tell us yours! What unmissable morsel of romantic guidance can you give us? What’s your ‘desert island’ tip?

Do you want more?

By clicking the submit button above you expressly consent to our Privacy policy including use of profiling to find you matches and you agree to our Terms of use, and to receive newsletters, account updates, offers sent by