Avoiding the dating doghouse - Londoners' true stories

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Last week Tinder got burned by Vanity Fair, who accused it of killing romance, before blowing up completely in a long tweet rant about how the app really is all about happy endings. And not just the kind you find in a massage parlour. Some of us at SH:24 have had some interesting and sometimes, successful, on and offline dating experiences so we’ve collated these, with other tales we’ve heard, to bring you our top tips for modern dating. (Disclaimer: following these won’t guarantee true love but least you won’t end up as a story on someone’s blog)

Dog dates are over

    Man's best friend should not have to share

    Man's best friend should not have to share

He looked really nice on his profile - bearded, black and white photo - said he was 6’1”. Turned up to meet him in the park to walk his poodle. I don’t rule out people I’ll date on the basis of height but as a 5’10” tall woman (who clearly states that on her profile) when you turn up and are the same height as me or shorter, I’m going to know you’re not 6ft. The dog was amazing though so I gave him a pass. After the walk we went to get a beer at the pub. While we were chatting, he gave his dog a slurp of his pint. Shortly after he lurched across the table to kiss me. I wasn’t into it, but he’d kind of grabbed my face so there was no escape. To compound the face invasion, all I could think was that he’d just shared his pint with his dog.
— Female, 34 - Leyton

Top tips? So many! Don’t lie about your height, it will only make you look like a liar (preach). Don’t try to kiss girls who don’t want to be kissed. If you’re going to try to kiss a girl that doesn’t want to be kissed at least buy Buddy his own beer so she doesn’t have to endure your dog beer mouth too. 

Art is Crap

After a string of unsuccessful ‘drinks in pub’ dates, I decided to ask a girl to an exhibition I’d heard about so if there was no spark, at least I’d done an activity I wanted to do. She was 20-25 minutes late, so I was slightly less good humoured than usual. We wandered round the exhibition, she seemed a bit disinterested - it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea so no big deal. A little way in, we ran into a sign before a door that said ‘Over 18s only’. Through the door was a video installation, about 20ft high, of an enormous penis that repeatedly became erect and flaccid again over time. Few nervous giggles but ok. The rest of the exhibition passed uneventfully and then, with no warning at all, close to the end we wandered into a darkened room where a video of a Japanese woman pooing on the floor was broadcast. We stared on in the most awkward silence imaginable.
— Male, 30 - Clapham

Top tips? Read up on the venue before you go, lest you end up confronted by giant phalli or the latest inedible food fad. Time Out. You’re welcome.

Good clean fun

My story isn’t really is more about some of the approaches you get on dating sites. I was on a site called OkCupid a few years ago and for some reason had a spate of messages from men who really wanted to clean my kitchen. And I don’t mean this euphemistically (that would be a pretty rubbish euphemism). They wanted to clean my kitchen, while I gave them strict (maybe a bit shouty?!) instructions. While cleaning was always a bone of contention in my houseshare, I don’t think the flatmates would have been cool with that solution either.
— Female, 35 - Hackney
Does cleaning make you this happy?

Does cleaning make you this happy?

Top tips? Keep being you. The right person and kitchen are waiting for you somewhere.

Ending on a high

After an intense relationship that left me broken hearted, I was keen to have fun, and steer clear of a serious relationship for a long time! These were the days pre-Tinder so I joined match.com, to meet lots of new people. Within 48 hours I had 20 responses and lined up five dates back-to-back! Three dates, one drunk kiss and four hours trying to wrangle words of more than one syllable out of the least up-for-it Aussie I’d ever met, back-to-back dates didn’t seem such a good idea. I was tired and running through the same anecdotes with each girl. Before the fourth date I drank a Red Bull and a couple of beers. I was thinking up excuses to leave early before she even turned up. When she arrived I was surprised by my sudden energy and enthusiasm (Redbull, who knew?). We hit it off and didn’t stop chatting. I hadn’t expected to meet anyone this lovely.

I cancelled date five before this date ended, forgetting my determination to be single and just have fun. I was too keen and suddenly aware of all the Red Bull and beer flowing through my veins. I managed to keep it together enough to walk her to her station. I started online dating sceptical, with every intention of having the full Tinder-style experience (before it even existed). Three and a half years on, we’ve travelled the world, are in the process of buying a house together and due to marry in 12 months time.
— Mike, 36 - Battersea

Top tips: Do a load of Redbull pre-date (Note: high doses of caffeine can have adverse health effects, one's plenty)! Let go of your expectations, whatever you’re looking for, you’ll probably find something else.

If you have been on a successful first date and are excited about the prospect of more, why not get a sexual health check up for a healthy start to your blossoming relationship: sh24.org.uk