From a fireman in a Ferrari to the man who claimed to know Robbie Williams.... my history of 'first dates' | Sue Plunkett

In my days as a singleton one of my friends used to say to me 'you go on dates for fun, you do.'

Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:15 pm
This week Sue Plunkett talks about the perils of dating

Isn't that the point though? To have a lovely time, a meal out, trip to the cinema or a quiet drink in a wine bar?

But what she actually meant was that I never turned down an invitation to go on a date!

So, there's the rub. If you are hoping to find a ' nice chap' to settle down with then going on dates is par for the course.. after all, you're not going to meet someone sat in your pjs watching Love Island are you?

(I would actually list watching Love Island in my pjs as one of my main hobbies, but that's another story)

So when I found myself single at the age of 50 the dating scene was a totally different ball game.

"Get yourself on Tinder' a younger (and married pal) advised me. So I did, and, unless you lead a very sheltered life everyone knows how it works.. swipe right if you see what you like and left if it's 'a no from me.'

If you both swipe right you're a match and you can start chatting. But there are many different types of 'chat' and some of the messages I received made me blush! You can imagine their content.

So my reply was always 'take care' after I learned it translated as 'don't contact me again' in the modern world of romance. How I longed for the days of innocent teenage dates with boys who were as nervous as you.

My first official date was at the age of 16 with a fellow classmate at sixth form. We met under the iconic Burnley bus station clock and walked to the now demolished Bank Hall Miners' Club for an 18th birthday bash. The romance lasted all of six weeks, I think, but we remain friends to this day.

Over the years I have been on several different dates and even faced the humiliation of being stood up!

I will never forget standing alone in a packed pub, with my Pernod and orange, while groups of girls and couples threw pitying looks my way. There were no mobile phones back then so after waiting for about 20 minutes I dashed outside to the nearest phone box and rang my mum to come and pick me up.

In contrast to that I once agreed to go on a 'blind' date... with a fireman in a red Ferrari!! I had a great time on the date but the 10 year relationship that followed left a lot to be desired.

But it didn't put me off dating, perhaps because meeting new people and striking up a conversation has never phased me. I enjoy meeting new people.

And when someone offers to cook for you, well ,you can't turn that down can you? In restrospect I wish I had when the 'special' meal my date waxed lyrical about after boasting about his cordon bleu skills, was tuna pasta bake!!

Now, I am no cook but that's a bog standard Tuesday night tea, surely?

His other offering was meatballs served with roast potatoes and he was quite offended when I laughed at the combination. 'Take care' was the phrase I think that comes to mind.

And for some reason I always seemed to attact what you would describe as 'wide boys,' the Del boy type from Only Fools and Horses, including the guy who boasted about being managing director of his own company at the age of 25!

But, as I discovered on our one and only date, his 'company' had only one member of staff... and that was him!

And don't get me started on the man who had claimed he had met every celebrity I cared to mention.., even Robbie Williams!

But some dates do work out well, including what I have to say is one of the best dates of my life with my partner who really pushed the boat out with a trip to Manchester for a meal and tickets to see Craig Charles at the fabulous Band On The Wall venue.. and the man himself invited me on stage!

So, you see, if you decide to sit at home and watch 'First Dates' instead of going out on one you never know what you could be missing.