I’d like to talk about dating. I actually think dating is fiscally responsible. In fact, I would like to see daters getting a tax break. Dating simulates the economy, keeps alcohol consumption at their proper levels and encourages urban gentrification. (Which is why I can find quince in my local shop. I feel personally responsible for the insidious spread of overpriced imported condiments. You can thank me later, when you can’t post your letters anywhere in central London. Think how handy that will be! You will be exempt from sending anyone a birthday card!) Anyway, I personally am excellent at dating. On past dates I have:

1. Re-enacted scenes from ‘Anchorman’ in quiet, dimly lit restaurants.

2. Flirted with the waiter to the extent that I got a free mojito. My date sadly, did not.

3. Explained why I think vegetarians shouldn’t be allowed to eat with other people. Whilst stealing chips from my date’s plate. (Turns out, he had ordered chips and soup because he was vegetarian. I had just thought it was this season’s new diet. I was probably going to start it myself right after the date).

I feel that I have suitably established my credentials. This Sunday, however, I had a change of heart. I was meant to go for dinner and a movie with a chap I will call, um, Smeverett. (Smeve for short. Well, Smeve is pretty close to Steve. The only Steve I can think of at the moment is Steve Martin-particularly him in ‘Parenthood’. I’m calling this date Marty). Anyway, Sunday morning I obviously woke up on the wrong side of dating and found myself in Spinsterville. I had decided that it was all far too much BOTHER. I was going to remain ALONE. I had some TRACKIES. I was going to stay INSIDE. I was going to wait for WINTER. So when poor Marty called, I made my excuses. (They were pretty shaky, to be honest. Something about a flooded curtain TV table rug. I was mostly just looking round my living room). The trouble is, Marty handled this whole bizarre stumbling block with grace and humour. I couldn’t resist, and we’re going for dinner this Thursday. I’m rather looking forward to it. There are two things to learn from this:

1. Have a prepared list of excuses to get out of awkward situations. Preferably, these excuses should make you look both fantastically popular and like a good person. (Suggestions welcome, as all I’ve come up with is “I can’t possibly come as ouch oh sorry I was falling over one of my many friends but as I was saying, I can’t come because I have um, flooded sofa”).

2. Don’t go on dates on Sundays. Sundays are for hangovers, and watching tv in your pajamas, and reading The Sunday Times. Perhaps occasionally you can venture out for brunch. But bring sunglasses. You don’t look great today.

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