The latest series of Take Me Out finished last week, and already Saturday nights seem dull. If it hadn't been for the fun of Earth Hour, our lights would have stayed on all night, completely uninterrupted. How very 2009.
But fret not, for the show that brought us 'no likey, no lighty' has also given us something to take away - and that is some great dating advice. No, I do not mean get a tan, find a very short dress in the Lipsy sale and wear three pairs of false eyelashes - I mean learn from what a lot of those couples did wrong. Because let's face it, there were some shockers. It also sparked conversation with my friends who shared some of their dating dos and don'ts...
1. Don't talk about your ex all night.
This one was awkward - the girl kept talking about the previous love of her life and how they should never have really broken up. Then the guy, who was rather lovely too, said that he found it weird to talk about exes on a first date. The girl did not take the hint. If you need to talk about your ex, you don't need to be taken out by anyone but your girlfriends (or guyfriends, if you're the guy who's hung up on Mrs Wrong). Sort your head out first.
2. Don't wonder why you're there.... out loud
This was even more cringeworthy than the first - a guy decided to describe his ideal woman, who was the complete opposite of the woman in front of him - and then said he wasn't sure why he'd picked her. She was probably thinking the same, love (why me? WHY me?! etc). I've had this once - not on a date, though I'd been looking forward to seeing a guy out that I'd met at new year, but when we saw each other all he could say was that he wasn't sure why he'd come along as he hated the bar. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed and didn't text him back...
3. Do try to remember their name
Always a good one, this - remember what they're called, and repeat it in your head, constantly. Write it down if you have to. Just don't under any circumstances call them something else - especially if it's your ex's name. See point one!
4. Do eat (and drink) nicely
If you're anything like me, you'll cringe when people make noises as they eat (I say cringe, I mean inwardly scream until it stops). The slightest slurp of a drink and my entire body tenses in disgust, and don't even get me started on chomping. Which is why I sympathised (and laughed) when my friend told me the deal-breaker for a recent first date - the guy was sucking the chocolate off their Maltesers, LOUDLY - in the cinema, and it was all she could hear during the quiet scenes. Nothing would put me off my Matt Damon viewing more than hearing someone abuse Maltesers in public. Just don't.
5. Do have fun
Easier said than done when nerves are involved, but I think the lights were left on and the sparks were flying a lot more on Take Me Out when the daters had a giggle, got to know each other while having fun in the sun (good ol' Fernando's) and didn't take things too seriously. Whatever you do on your first date, just relax - and 'Let the bees see the knees' as Paddy might say...