Sometimes your friends set you up and sometimes you do it to yourself. But there are things to look out for on a first date to make sure that you don't end up spending years of your life on someone who just wasn't worth it. It would be nice to get it right the first time but it doesn’t not often work out like that.
The starters have just arrived, and you wish you could go home already. You have a vague sense of unease that you can't quite place and you're starting to plot an escape route. Here follows a short guide to people you shouldn't date more than once.
-Boozing Bob. If Bob isn't sober on your first date, he's never going to be. Look out for a sign of excessive alcohol consumption– is he incoherent; does he drive erratically; has he gone to the car with some weak excuse during the evening; have you only had one glass of the bottle you shared? Alcoholism is a disease and Bob isn't going to stop boozing because you ask him nicely. He doesn't need a date – he needs rehab. Why take this on?
-Tell-all Mary. You've known Mary for all of half an hour. When she hasn't been SMSing friends, she's talked non-stop about herself. She's told you how many relationships she's had before (14), she's told you what she earns, that her brother is in rehab – in short everything except her grandmother's inside leg measurement (38 cm). Whereas she doesn't even know what your surname is, or what you do for a living. Where's the mystery? Get out while you still can.
-Spongeing Sipho. Sipho likes going to fancy places. Problem is, he doesn't much like paying for them. You would have been happy with the local hamburger joint, but he booked at the expensive Greek restaurant three miles away. Only when it came to settling the bill, his wallet was nowhere to be found. Surprise. And you got the feeling that this 'loan' was never going to be paid back. And you were right. Sipho isn't ever going to pay his way. In fact, you think he should write a book called "Spongeing, a user's guide". Change your phone number or run away as fast as you can.
-Latecomer Leo. Unless there is a real excuse such as an accident or a serious hailstorm, Leonard cannot be excused for being late. He might be using his late coming to get you off-balance, or to try and make you think that he is more important than you are. Drop Leo. If he can't be on time for the first date, a life with him will be a sheer hell of waiting around in parking lots, or missing the first 20 minutes of every movie you go and see. Just don't go there.
-Bragging Linda. If you've cut your hand, hers was so bad, it became gangrenous. You've got a stomach pain, but it doesn't quite match up to her suspected intestinal tumour. Linda brags non-stop about everything – from her family, to her finances, to her cushy jobs. Nothing you do can come close to what she's experienced. Linda has devastatingly low self esteem, which is why she finds it necessary to do a constant PR job on herself. Hit the road – you don't feel like propping up someone's sagging self-esteem for thirty years
-Babbling Bob. Bob doesn't stop for a second. After twenty minutes of being in his company, you feel as if you've been koshed on the head. He talks like a dam sluice in a flood. You can feel your heart beating in your chest, a sense of claustrophobia is setting in and your left eye is roaming the room, searching for an escape route. For Bob there is only one person on earth – and that's him. And Bob also has achievement issues – he's been everywhere, done everything, got all the T-shirts. And in all his endless tales he somehow always emerges as the hero. (Funny that he's living in someone's backyard flat and has had seven jobs in the last year). Bob doesn't need to go out on dates – he probably needs a therapist and medication. And a head-on collision with reality.
-Ex-obsessed Edmore. Edmore's ex-wife drank, had affairs, and neglected the children. She is also set on making Edmore's life a living hell. Or so he says. Over and over again. By the end of the evening you know everything about the ex-wife, but nothing about Edmore. Drop him. His obsession with his ex-wife bodes ill for any future with someone else. He possibly needs help – not a new girlfriend. And have we mentioned that he constantly fiddles with his cell phone in case the ex phones? Imagine having to structure your life around his hatred for his ex-wife. Lose his number fast.
-Moaning Lilie. Nothing in Lilie's life is going right – she complains about the weather, her flat, her family, her job, her boss, her ex-boyfriend. And you didn't even ask. Lilie is a victim of note. Everyone and everything is against her. The litany of woes is never-ending, but Lilie never actually realises that the only common denominator to all of these disasters, is her. Lilie revels in disaster, as it gives her the right to play the role of victim. And if it doesn't happen all by itself, she will create it. She's desperately looking for the knight on the white horse. Make sure it's not you.
-Gossipy Patrick. Patrick's mantra in life is "If you don't have anything good to say about anyone, come and sit here by me." Patrick is viciously poisonous and is far more concerned with the tabloid aspects of gossip, than with the truth. If Patrick spends your first evening together slating all and sundry, many of whom are strangers to you, spend some time considering what he's going to say about you two weeks down the line. Patrick is the local Mr BBC – if you want something to get around, tell it to him, but ask him to keep it quiet. It will have done the southern suburbs by lunchtime tomorrow. Watch what you say on this date, as it will be repeated. Make Patrick a once-off experience.
-Bad Mannered William. Anyone who makes a scene in a restaurant spoils the evening not only for his date, but for everyone around him or her. I'm not saying that you shouldn't ever complain, but there is a way in which to do this. And that does not include being rude, sarcastic or superior to the waiter. The waiter is not in a position to tell you where to get off, which is why he is an ideal target for this person who has a low self-image, issues with food and with social status. In short, someone who is nice to you, but horrible to the waiter, is simply not a nice person.