by Vincent Wong
Tuesday, 19th April 2011
Inviting your date home for the first time is an excellent opportunity to get to know each other better. But remember, your home says a lot about you, and if you’ve been living on your own a while, it might be saying more than it should.
When she walks into your flat, it occurs to you that there’s one chair in the entire place. It faces the TV, and you cunningly routed the Xbox cables through the bit where stuffing is coming out. At least have the decency to let her sit in it while she gulps her coffee down in 30 seconds flat and suddenly realises that she has an urgent appointment with her own sofa.
A mountain of cute stuffed toys is a valuable source of imaginary friends when your real pals aren’t up to snuff. But when other people are in the flat, shove them under the bed. On no account start talking to them when you have company, and certainly don’t answer your own questions in their voices, especially if you’ve hidden them. This suggests a multiple personality disorder, which is a bit of a buzzkill.
My friend Caroline once went back to a guy’s house, which he had helpfully painted the shade that Dulux would call “Nightmare Dungeon Black”. She didn’t stop for a drink.
The occasional snapshot of an ex on a busy fridge is to be expected. But more than three, especially mixed with candles, saved bus tickets and locks of hair or toenail clippings isn’t a delightful memory, it’s a shrine to obsession.
A dog or a cat or one of those guinea pigs that looks like a black and white cow is OK (but not if they sleep in the bed). The following pets should not be allowed outside their little homes when your new flame comes visiting: anything with a sharp beak, anything that makes unexpected noises, reptiles, things that jump from below sofa height, insects, anything that can be mistaken for a rat. This is for your benefit: you don’t want to lose your prize pedigree cockroach in a stamping incident while you’re in the loo.
This does not mean three flavours of Pot Noodle, or two types of white wine.
It’s easier to explain that you studied coprophilia for a University dissertation while you’re still in the restaurant than when she has discovered your extensive library on the subject. Although, on second thoughts, you might just skip the subject entirely, at least until a second date.
Considered to be something of an essential by polite society. Just because there’s something going on in the bedroom for once, let’s hold off on broadcasting it to the bloke with the binoculars in 32b.
Try to make a habit of doing this. It really helps. If you can’t remember to do it after every visit, do it before you leave the house. That means that if you return with company, she’s not going to meet an unexpected extra visitor when she goes to the loo.
The same Caroline (see point 3) went back to a different flat with a different date, and discovered that his pad was delightfully uncluttered to the effect that he had no furniture at all. There simply isn’t a non-creepy explanation for this, so don’t try to sugar coat it. Furniture made out of old newspapers or rescued from a skip doesn’t count.
Intellectual, humanitarian, therapist, daredevil: our relationship expert Vincent Wong is none of these. He is, however, a person who friends can trust with their innermost fears, aspirations, desires and wishes, secure in the knowledge that he'll put them into articles and publish them on the internet. If you have a relationship issue that needs Vincent's special brand of care, just ask firstname.lastname@example.org.
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