11/06/2011 16:08 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: Dates From Hell


So next week I am going on a 'dating workshop' to learn how to be a desirable datee and a successful dater. I am cringing and clenching already at the thought. If I have to TOUCH anyone I will be out of the place quick smart. Although it's being held in a bar, so if the fizzy pop is free flowing, perhaps it'll be me demanding hands-on tutoring.

Anyway, the workshop got me thinking about my dating history and in particular, the dates from hell.

Most memorable was the guy who, 10 minutes into our night out, told me he thought I was lovely. So far so good. Swiftly followed by 'because you look so much like my mum.' Despite wanting to run screaming from the pub and on to the first bus home, I foolishly went back to his house for a cup of tea whereupon his dog ruined my coat AND I met his mum. There was no second date, but I did slavishly apply the wrinkle cream once I got home and dyed my hair three shades lighter the day after.

Then there was time a friend and I decided to give lonely hearts dating a go. This shows my age. It was in the days before the interweb, and consisted of an ad in the local paper with a number to phone to hear the personal message.

We found two guys with a joint ad and they sounded quite normal and described themselves as 'good looking' 'professional' and all the other meaningless claptrap people spout in such adverts. We drove to the pub to meet them, and there, in the car park, they stood in all their not-at-all-good-looking glory. They had about three teeth between them and a dubious line in knitwear. Their professionalism could not be judged from our steamed-up-with-mirth car windows, but the glow of their market trainers was def more Skid Row than Savile... We executed a swift three point turn and sped back home, snorting all the way, and vowing NEVER to reply to such ads again.

But I did reply to one more and I won't say too much about it, because asking a guy in a wheelchair to meet you for an ice skating session probably isn't really something to laugh about... or indeed the best way to start a potential relationship... totally my fault for not listening to the advert properly. In my defence I had dialled into it very late at night...

Anyway, I thought I'd ask around for friends' dating disasters: surely being compared to someone's mum or asking a person who can't walk to go ice skating takes some topping? Er, no. How about:

'I was chatted up by the groom's cousin at a wedding, who told me he was unemployed then showed me his eczema...'

'My worst dating disaster? I went on to marry it...'

'The guy who tried to make me walk down a dark alley in east London because it was a short cut and called me pathetic when I wanted to walk the long way. Charmer.'

'The guy who took me to the pub then nipped out to have a fight with another bloke...'

'I went on a date where the guy gave me a love poem. It was just awful: I couldn't look him in the eye afterwards and I was relieved when he ran away to sea a few months later. '

'I flew to Venice to meet a bloke I'd briefly seen before. I t was my birthday weekend and he chose the first night there to tell me how much he hated his mother and that he thought it was understandable in certain circumstances if you hit your partner. I told him the next morning that by the time I was out of the shower I wanted him to have left. He didn't bother paying for the room, so I had to. It was so worth it.'

'A guy who said 'can I feel your breasts?' Nuff said.'

'I moved in to a house - only to find I'd moved in opposite to the man I'd dumped for the one I was with... '

'Went out with a guy who got so drunk on mojitos that he slid down a wall and clung to my knees (after telling me that he still shared a room with his ex wife, and his business partner had recently gone to prison)...'

'I went on a date with a guy I met in a laundrette, and he did magic tricks, and all his friends were watching me from the next table. I later saw him walking around town in a dress. I suppose that's more surreal than disastrous.'

'The guy who stated a preference for wearing pink thongs and pretended to perform a sex act on my uncle the first time he met him...'

And the best of all from a male colleague:

'There was one who turned up at my parents' house, told them she was pregnant, ate a hearty lunch, played and sang a song on the piano, left and then fainted in the street.'

I can't beat that. Can you?