Here's the deal. I've been single since time immemorial. So, in an attempt to remedy my eternal singledom, and to get over my nauseatingly pathological fear of dates, I've decided to challenge myself. The challenge? To go on one first date a week for a year! So in 52 weeks time, I will have either found my Mr Right, or I'll stay forever Miss Write. This is what happens...


The Rules

Here are the rules to the 52 First Dates challenge...

1. A first date must be had once a week, EVERY week, for 52 weeks.

2. Taking someone home after a drunken night on the cider does NOT count, otherwise this challenge would just be slutty, and none of us want that do we?!?

3. Second and third dates are allowed, I must continue first dates unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances. For example, God forbid, the start of a relationship.

4. Each date must be blogged.

11 June 2012

Mr #52?

So, I’ve finally done it! 51 first dates down and now it’s time for the last one. I won’t lie, it’s been an awesome experience, for a myriad of weird and wonderful ways. And now I’m faced with the final date, and somehow I’m sad to let it go. For the last couple of months, I fear I’ve maybe lost sight of the purpose of this project – to find someone special – because as soon as the big five two hove into view, the competitive part of me wanted to reach the bitter end. But perhaps that’s what it’s become, bitter, and that’s not doing the blog any justice at all. I knew I had to get to number #52 and I knew I had to do something very special for it. 52 First Dates deserves to end on a high, and of course, I’d rather like a happy ending for me too.
 

My first plan of action involved doing what I have never done in this entire process – putting my pride on the line asking someone nice out on a date, and being the one to make the effort. Over the last four months or so, I’d struck up a rather lovely long distance correspondence with a rather lovely single Danish boy. We’d spoken about the big serious things: religion, love, family values, as well as the trivial things: Will Ferrell, rum, cake, coffee, log cabins and knitwear. As the last few dates approached, I’d decided to swallow my pride and do the unthinkable: to summon up the proverbial balls ask this boy to be Mr 52. Because whatever would have happened, assuming he agreed in the first place, I knew we’d get on as people, and I knew it’d end the blog on a high. I had this silly idea that for the grand finale of 52 First Dates I’d bake a cake, hop on a plane to Copenhagen, deliver said cake and hopefully share a slice over a cheeky espresso, and then hop back on the plane to England again. For me, it’d have been positive closure to what has been a life-changing experiment, and for everyone who’s stuck with me through the blog, their chance to see me do something different and positive. Good plan right? Yes, in principle...


Trouble was, in the interim of my making this decision, the lovely Danish boy had found himself his own rather lovely girlfriend. Ah. I’m not the sort of girl to meddle with other people’s happiness, so that idea bit the dust pretty sharpish. But DP, if you're reading this, there's still a cappuccino cupcake with your name on it should you ever end up in London town.


Anyway, back at the ranch, I was once again left with the quandary of how to make date #52 as special as I’d hoped. Enter my good friend Maggot*, a PR guru who then suggested in so many words that my choices of dates have been pretty poor at best and fucking diabolical at worst, and to let the long-suffering readers of 52 First Dates choose the final date for me!


Brilliant!


So, dearly beloved readers of 52 First Dates, this is where you come in. I put it to you that since you probably all know me better than myself by now, having endured every buttock-clenchingly cringe-worthy moment of the last 51 weeks of my life, that you help to find Mr #52 for me. You may know the perfect person to tick this elusive box, or even fancy yourself for this coveted slash much-afeared position. Well now’s the time to play Cupid and get that little bow and arrow of yours out (but perhaps leave the nappy at home). You’ve been on these dates with me (virtually), you know the sorts of things and people I like and don’t like, I’m obviously making a total balls-up of finding a boyfriend myself so perhaps you can do a better job.


Perhaps.


All you need to do is get your proposed Mr #52 (or in fact yourself if you fancy being the boy to break 52 First Dates) to email me with some information about themselves / yourself and a photograph, and hopefully some light-hearted correspondence will ensue (although I must add by means of a casual disclaimer that this isn’t guaranteed, not because I’m rude or anything like that, I’m always happy to email, but I’m just a bit shit at times, especially when I’m in the middle of moving house).


I’ve given myself a month to do this because quite frankly I’ve grown too cynical about this whole dating malarkey, and I figure a month sans dates will give me enough time to get my turbulent domestic situation sorted and more importantly to cleanse my former date-induced scepticism so Mr #52 has the fairest of shots. Therefore, on the 11th of July 2012, I shall short-list 5 possible candidates (or just list them if five or less apply for the date which is more than likely) and I’ll open them up to a poll whereby you vote for the final date of 52 First Dates. I do trust you will be kind. I will then go on said date, and write it up so you all know how it went. Simples! And, as an added incentive, if you voted for the right Mr #52 and I end up marrying him, you will of course all be invited to the wedding**.


In the interest of fairness, I should probably also give you some vital information about myself (or lifted from my online dating profile) so budding Mr #52s know a little bit about who or what they’re up against.


Name: CTS (obviously not my real name, but my real initials)

Age: 31

Profession: Edit producer formerly in television, now for a charity.

Random factoid: Used to be a falconer


Likes: knitting, baking, chutney-making, playing the piano, cake, teaching her parrots pointless things, writing in the third person, Tim Minchin, weird films, dark comedy, gigs, blowing raspberries, a wide range of cheeses, cats, Elf, sarcasm, writing, secret London pubs, feathers, loud guitars and louder drums, regional accents, festivals, crispy smoked bacon, Hackney, taxidermy, Eddie Izzard, my nephew, a good book, riding around on the top deck of the bus, cricket, the correct use of grammar, the Overground, lie ins, Charlie Brooker, overripe bananas, being independent, the ukulele, long words, antidisestablishmentarianism.



Dislikes: lateness, bad grammar, stubbing my toe, cucumber, the word ‘moist’, arrogance, spiders, Keane, being disappointed in the human race, the Daily Express, laziness, low-fat spreads, money-lovers, seafood sticks, noisy eaters, unripe bananas, football hooligans, Marley and Me, people who chew gum with their mouths open, the tube.
 

Would like to meet: Someone fun, funny, possible funny-looking but ideally not funny-smelling. Own teeth and hair essential (or at least acceptable substitutes toupees notwithstanding). Someone who likes to ponder the pointless as well as the poignant. Someone who can make me laugh. Someone who will hopefully not make me cry (unless it’s through laughter, see previous point). Artists, musicians, creative types especially welcome.


Oh, I have a face too. This is it.



 So to sum up, I CTS ask you lovely readers to help me find my happy ending. You can help me out by spreading the word, passing this on, telling your friends and helping me round 52 First Dates off with a wonderfully big bang. So until next time, thank you and goodnight.

Read some of the emails that didn't make it to the real life date stage...