AFTER failed relationships, a baby and one (very) short marriage, single mum Amy Nickell, 30, a broadcaster and author from Hertfordshire, has yet to find The One.
Fabulous challenged her to accept every first date for three months. After a brief five-month marriage last year, it’s fair to say my love life has been one massive fail.
My friends are all married, dating or living together with kids, but at 30 I’m a single divorcée. The only steady guy in my life is my amazing five-year-old son.
To shake up my tired dating regime, I agree to say yes to every offer of romance that comes my way for three whole months. Here goes nothing!
As I’m moving house today, the 50-something removal man whose trousers keep falling down asks if I’d like to join him for a coffee.
He’s not my usual type, but I accept. We sit in my garden and he tells me about his two very bitter divorces. As he leaves he asks for a proper date, but I decline. I’m not off to a good start…
The same week, while I’m standing in line for a takeaway after work, an elderly man in an anorak introduces himself as Clive* and asks to buy me a drink.
Usually I’d say no to a bloke old enough to be my grandfather, but over a beer Clive tells me he’s worried he’s too old to have children because “by the time they’re 10, he’ll be dead”.
I don’t see us having a future together, so I tell him I have to meet friends and swiftly exit. The next weekend, a colleague asks if I want to grab a pizza after work.
I call in a babysitting favour from my mum and we head off – until he drops the bombshell he’s married. He tries to kiss me and I run for the hills.
A couple of weeks later, after a few too many cocktails I end up having an accidental one-night stand with a man called Leo from a dating app.
He has nice eyes and unashamedly listens to Mellow Magic. That’s pretty much all I know – and will ever know – because after a few encouraging messages and suggestions for date two, he ghosts me.
He suggests his local branch of Pret, as it’s “convenient” for him – talk about pulling out all the stops. I go, but he’s as amusing as the state of single men in London.
On my way to a member’s club for date seven – from yet another dating app – I run out of data and realise I have no idea what the man’s name is.
But it goes pretty well, he’s got some great stories and we have a laugh together. Are things finally turning around?
A few days later, an ex I’ve been seeing on and off for the past three years asks if I want to hang out. I say yes and we watch Judge Romesh, eat lasagne and have sex.
It’s the best date I’ve had so far. Next up, the man whose name I didn’t know (it’s Robin, FYI) takes me to an Italian restaurant for our second date. It’s like kissing a whelk, though.
Next I meet up with teetotaller Nate, who I met on a dating app. He’s not my usual type, but I accept a sushi date and he spends an hour babbling about The Fear.
I have no idea what he’s talking about, but agree to a second date at Soho Hotel – I have a wine, he has a pineapple juice.
‘BEST SO FAR’
We end up kissing a lot, so we go on a third date to a bar where we sit opposite Love Island royalty Megan Barton-Hanson.
He has no idea who she is and seems irritated by how excited I am. I realise things could never work between us.
The following week, Robin “The Whelk” happens to be working near my house, so I invite him round for a game of Trivial Pursuit for our third date.
His nostrils flicker in annoyance when I have no idea what Withnail And I is. A friend tells me it’s an iconic film, and I realise I’m a moron who will die alone. The next week, Robin stands me up at the pub. Rude.
Today I’m working with a comedian who I seriously fancy. With my son staying at my mum’s, I suggest dinner at mine – I’ve just signed up for Hello Fresh and want to show off my culinary skills.
He spends five minutes pushing his steak around the plate before asking if I could cook it again. I panic, forget to switch on the extractor fan and set the fire alarm off as my dog eats the steak off the worktop.
I’m so mortified that I decline a second date. An old flame has caught wind of my experiment. He texts saying: “Does this mean if I ask for nudes, you say yes?”
I consider it and agree. We embark on an impromptu but hot game of swaps. Virtual date completed. A few days later, a gorgeous colleague I’ve been flirting with asks if I fancy getting lunch. I jump at the chance.
He proceeds to tell me about his lovely wife and two gorgeous children. OK, I read this one wrong. However, with no time to consider the shame, my phone buzzes and I agree to a Tinder date with Scott, who asks to split the bill for a half bottle of wine.
I wonder if he’ll do the same for my babysitter bill. The weekend after, a guy passes me a note in a nightclub telling me that I’ve piqued his interest – but spells it completely wrongly.
‘HE SHARES HIS NETFLIX LOGIN WITH ME’
I say no. A girl’s got to have some boundaries and mine are grammatical. After a bit of a dry spell (well, more than five days, which seems like a lot during this experiment), I tipsily stage-invade a hot man singing Alanis Morissette at karaoke.
We hit it off and miraculously he wants to see me again. Later that week we meet up and he tells me about his open relationship with his girlfriend of four years. Sigh.
With only a few weeks left, I’m on my way to a work do dressed as an air-hostess (don’t ask) when a fit stranger is passing by and stops to chat, and rather boldly asks what time I finish work.
After a quick change, I meet him a few hours later for a couple of drinks. All is well until he lands this game-changer: “So… do you like to be teased?”. Suitably creeped out, I head home.
MOST READ IN FABULOUS
It’s the last night of my three-month challenge, and with my son at his dad’s, I’m excited for a cosy evening in alone. But at 2am my peace is disturbed by the lasagne ex – he’s locked himself out.
I tell him to come over and we share a tinned mojito left over from steak-gate. The next morning he shares his Netflix login with me. Did things just get serious?
What I learned
I’ve been on 22 dates and the frog to prince ratio is worse than I’d feared.
I’m exhausted, skint and might not have found The One, but at least I have a shed load of “worst date” anecdotes lined up and ready to go.
Despite it all, though, I remain optimistic. I’m still dating – in fact, I have a date tonight.
And yes, I’m still eating lasagne every so often with my ex.