Sunday 20 January 2019

Don't listen to Meghan's blind date advice

US actress Meghan Markle waves as she leaves with Prince Harry (not seen) after watching a hip hop opera performed by young people involved in the Full Effect programme at the Nottingham Academy school on December 1, 2017 in Nottingham, England
US actress Meghan Markle waves as she leaves with Prince Harry (not seen) after watching a hip hop opera performed by young people involved in the Full Effect programme at the Nottingham Academy school on December 1, 2017 in Nottingham, England
Just one question: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the announcement of their engagement at Kensington Palace on Monday
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

Meghan Markle said she had just one question for the friend who set her up with Prince Harry: "Is he nice?"

"Because if he wasn't kind," she added during the couple's first televised interview, "I didn't really see there was any point."

Markle's single caveat certainly comes across as noble and righteous - if not a touch worthy - but it's important to remember that this was far from your average set-up.

Thanks to Google, she could browse the various chapters of her future husband's life, examine every angle of his face and get a read on all his ex-girlfriends. The rest of us have to make do with a LinkedIn profile - if we're lucky - and a grainy photograph found in the bowels of Google Images. With less information at our disposal - and the prospect of an excruciating date on our mind - us civilians have to probe a little deeper before a blind date.

Here are a few of the other questions you should ask before you agree to being set up.

Is he/she a punster?

The world is divided into two types of people: Those who feel compelled to spin puns, no matter how asinine the wordplay; and those who pretend to be partially deaf when they hear one. It may not seem like an issue right now, but just you wait until the coffee date declaration of 'you've been on my mind a latte'. You know which camp you're in; it's prudent to find out which camp they're in too.

Nathan Carter: discuss.

How many units does he/she drink a week?

There are people who habitually leave parties at midnight, and there are people who don't consider it a party until it's 7am and they're drinking cider out of a milk jug. It's important to ascertain which one of them you're going on a date with. It's especially important to ask this question if your blind date is with a fellow countryman. We're one of the few nations that still consider functioning alcoholics to be total catches, so it's always worth checking if your matchmaker has overlooked this small technicality.

Real butter or margarine? Very telling.

Does he/she take gym selfies?

Gabriel García Márquez opined that "all human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret". He forgot about the fourth one: gym changing room life, or more specifically: the human beings who take selfies in gym changing room mirrors. This is all well and good if you too like nothing better than keeping the Instagram community updated on your journey towards a six-pack. It's not so good, however, if you think #fitfam is some sort of digestive biscuit.

Real Christmas tree or artificial? It's not like you're judging...

Is he/she an early bird or a night owl? This probably won't seem like an issue at all during the honeymoon phase when you're honing your sexual repertoire and eating Chinese food in bed. Fast forward six months, however, and discordant sleep patterns will start to make you consider separate bedrooms. You can't have it every way in a relationship, but it helps to pair off with someone who isn't snoring while you're watching Netflix, or blowdrying their hair two hours before your alarm clock is set to sound.

What age is he/she... emotionally speaking?

How does he/she describe their ex?

It might feel vaguely comforting to hear all her exes are "losers" or all his are "psychos" - but it's worth remembering that your own relationship epitaph will probably bear a similar inscription.

Does he/she queue or sit it out before their flight starts boarding? Prepare for regular tiffs if you differ on this one.

Have you seen his/her toothbrush? A year-old, frayed-bristle toothbrush that looks like it has been used to scour pots generally indicates this person still has their SSIA money. That or their dental hygiene is poor.

Don't let Christmas become a storm in a C-cup


Lingerie shop assistants often describe a certain type of male customer that they encounter at this time of year.

He's new to these parts and, it soon transpires, the concept of cup sizes. A 34C certainly sounds familiar when the assistant puts it to him, but that might be because it's a bus route that he took in his teens.

Do you know her dress size, asks the assistant. No. Her shoe size? He thinks again... no. Eventually he tries to approximate her cup size by comparing her embonpoint to a tropical fruit. Nobody knows where to look.

This festive phenomenon was borne out in a recent survey conducted by department store Debenhams, which found that 52pc of Irish men can't recall their partner's bra size.

And this oversight can often lead to a storm in a C-cup on Christmas morning, with 18pc of women saying that they have argued with their partner as a result of being presented with a wrongly-sized gift.

Women aren't much better, though. According to the survey, which interviewed couples who have been together an average of 20 years, 13pc of women avoid buying clothes for their partners because they're afraid of getting the size wrong.

Meanwhile, 20pc of couples don't know their partner's clothing size; 12pc can't remember their partner's shoe size and 6pc don't know the colour of their partner's eyes (yes, really).

If you're currently racking your brains for these vital statistics, worry not, there is a very simple solution: "With a little forethought, gift givers can avoid Christmas day ­disappointment by simply taking a shot on their phone of their partner's favourite [item] ahead of the shopping trip," says Debenhams' managing director for beauty and marketing, Richard Cristofoli.

In other words, go snooping in your partner's wardrobe before you go shopping for them this year.

And if you get a quiet moment, gaze into their eyes - you might be surprised by what you see.


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