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12th Nov 2014

Shifty First Dates – The Guide To Dating In Ireland: Communication Breakdown

Guys, I've encountered something of a crisis.

In this weekly feature, goes behind enemy lines to see what it’s really like to be single in Ireland.

From speed dating to making speedy escapes, our no-holds-barred blog will follow our attempts to venture into the dating jungle, play the field and share any wisdom that we finds along the way.

Week Thirty-Five: Communication Breakdown

Guys, I’ve encountered something of a crisis.

After a recent night out, I made the rookie mistake of leaving my recently bought, beautiful phone in the back of a taxi.

On waking up the following morning, I messaged my friend in a panic to tell her that my right hand man had gone AWOL and was relieved to hear that she had called it and got chatting to a lovely gent who had found it and was going to drop it into the Garda station for me.

Now, just in case you’re getting your hopes up and think this is one of those stories where I meet the guy and he looks like Liam Hemsworth and I drag him home to thank him in a very inappropriate way, I have to warn you that this is not a happy story.

In short, he called four people at 4am to tell them he had my phone (including my poor mother who was convinced that I had met an untimely end!), told them all he would drop it into the garda station, gave his name and number to my friend, and has since disappeared without a trace with my beloved phone.

Anyway, what has this all got to do with dating?

Well, I’ve been relegated to a Nokia that was first used some time in the 80s and while this has endeared me to the hipsters in our local café, it has no intention of being able to handle Tinder any time soon.

So, with my mobile options limited, I’ve made the decision to tackle Plenty Of Fish.

We’ve spoken about dating sites previously on the blog but barring a day here or there, I’ve never really given it a proper chance.

Something about the time and effort required makes it seem a little intense and despite garnering quite a bit of dating experience since we launched this blog, I’m feeling quite nervous about it.

However – faint heart never won hunky man so tonight, I am opening a profile.

If you’re single and have been thinking about it or are a veteran and have some top tips, then drop me a line using the details at the end of the page – I could use the moral support!

I’ll be back to report on my first week as an online dater next Wednesday but in the meantime, our reader Anita is based in London and got in touch this week to tell us about her dating experiences.

“I had decided that I would keep Tinder simply for entertainment purposes but in August, I matched with a guy named Paul. Paul seemed different to the other guys I had messaged on Tinder. For a start, we did have mutual friends and he was Irish so we already had some common ground to work off. He was a qualified teacher and was planning on going back to university to train as a quantity surveyor. From what I gathered, he was ambitious, an admirable trait, and he managed to come across as funny which can be hard to do over text/type. So, we decided that we’d meet on a Friday evening after work.

Paul, to give him credit did actually resemble his profile, which was a positive start. However, I quickly realised that this date was going to be extremely one sided. He dominated the conversation from the offset. He enthusiastically told me about his travels and his background and how much he had achieved in his life… as well as how much money he had earned and how much money he had spent and how much money he was going to earn when he retrained. Perhaps Paul was trying to impress but he was way off the mark.


When Paul suggested a post dinner drink, I agreed. He suggested that we go for a drink in Clapham and I thought that this was a great idea. It was only on the Tube when he suggested that he leave his bag in my house that his ulterior motives became apparent. He talked about getting the train home the following morning and I realised that he had assumed that he was staying with me. Not a chance of it.

I made straight for the Alex, a popular Irish bar beside Clapham Common, hoping desperately that I might spy a familiar face. Thankfully, the conversation became much more balanced. He even started asking questions about me. I was midway through telling him how I came to live in London when he cut me off mid sentence so that he could interrupt the conversation of another couple at a table next to us and correct them on whatever they’d been talking about!

I should have cut my losses and ran at that very moment but I knew that Paul was going to be hard to shake off. It was clear that he had no intention of returning to his own bed that night but equally, there was absolutely no way that he was getting into mine!

About an hour and two pubs later, things were going just as badly but Paul seemed oblivious to how much the date was bombing. There was only one option, deploy the emergency phone call. I texted a friend and explained that I needed her to call me in 15 minutes.

Then, he leaned in for the kiss. How he did not see the sheer terror in my eyes is beyond me but in the split second, I weighed up the options. I could either avoid the kiss and have to endure more dull chat or I could kiss him and wait for my phone to ring. The latter seemed the less painful answer!


It reminded me of one of those kisses from my early teens at junior discos… not quite knowing where to put your hands and both parties not sure how or when the kiss should finish. Thankfully, it was broken by the sound of my phone ringing. I looked at the screen and recognised Lizzie’s number. Apologising to Paul, I picked up the phone and signalled to him that I was going outside to hear better. I picked up my bag and walked out. Only thing is, I never went back.

Apart from a rather curt text message, I haven’t been in contact with Paul since we ‘parted ways’ in Clapham. I do however walk past the uni he attends every day on my way home from work but so far (buíochas le Dia) our paths have not crossed.

Perhaps, some day, we will meet again and I can apologise for my moonlit flit or maybe he’ll read this post and realise that my actions were not a true reflection of who I really am. The more likely option is that Paul returned home and told his friends about the emotionally unstable Cavan girl that he met on the Internet and weirdly, I’m ok with that!

I’ve decided that I’ll try my hand at finding my other half the old fashioned way, by going out into the world and actually interacting with real people! I haven’t deleted the app though, it’s a great way to pass train journeys!

*Disclaimer: Real world romance has not proved anymore fruitful, however I think I’ll share that with my therapist rather than the internet! ;-)”

We want to hear your stories! Email us at [email protected] or tweet us with the #shiftyfirstdates.