Countdown to a Hot Date

Shopping - Allie Hylton

When a man meets a woman who ignites his interest, he gets her number, fixes a plan to have a drink, and then pretty much forgets about it. Ten minutes beforehand, he may check his shirt isn’t too creased, that his hair looks OK, and that he’s had a shower in the past 24 hours.

When a woman meets a man she likes and he asks for her number, a finely-tuned military operation swings into action. Within a couple of hours she has alerted half a dozen friends, her closest colleagues, maybe even her mother, and Googled him at least three times. Expectations are building remorselessly before the ink has even dried.

From the moment a date is fixed, the woman will be considering her wardrobe options - outfits are mentally discarded for being too sluttish, too frumpy, not slimming enough, not new enough.

If no existing outfit fits the bill, an emergency shopping trip will be scheduled and an ensemble will be acquired, maybe even two, so that there is a choice depending on her mood.

Thoughts then turn to grooming and other necessities. A blow dry an hour before the date, manicure, pedicure (if there’s a chance of bare feet being seen). And maybe a wax and some matching Myla underwear. Better to be prepared, right? The entire process can take many happy hours and cost hundreds of pounds. This is considered a wise investment, rather than rash overexcitement.

As the hour nears, friends will email or text encouraging words, and she will briefly wonder if the man in question would make a good father, and may well attempt her 'new signature' with his name on the end. No woman will ever admit this, but take it from me, it happens.

As our girl is sitting at the hairdresser (telling anyone who’ll listen about the impending date), her phone buzzes. She snatches it out of her bag, wondering if it’s him. It is! Feverishly she scrolls down the message. He’s just been called in by his boss - he has to work late. Can he re-schedule - maybe till next week?

A whole week. All that energy, all that preparation, all that spending, and he can’t even get out of the office. He thinks it’s acceptable to blow her out twenty minutes beforehand? She deflates faster than a party balloon. He’s gone off her, he’s met someone else, of course he’s not working late, it’s just a lie. This always happens to her. Dating is hopeless. What is it with bloody men?

Meanwhile, our man is hunched over his computer, cursing his boss, and wondering what to have for dinner. In the next few days, as work gets increasingly frenetic, he forgets entirely about re-scheduling the date. It’s only three weeks later, when he has time to breathe, that he thinks of that girl and wonders why he hasn’t heard from her. Maybe they should try and hook up again.

He sends her a text. Almost immediately a reply pings back: TIMEWASTING BASTARD.

He scratches his head. Who could ever understand women?