Paul McKenna and a spreadsheet

Paul Mck

“You too can calculate your way into a relationship with a paid employee with little more than the click of a mouse”

This is it! We can all go home now. Job done, thanks folks. Paul McKenna is giving dating advice and the dating advice is a spreadsheet. Why didn’t we think to listen to him before? It’s pure genius. In spectacles.

Basically, he put lots of information in a spreadsheet and realised he liked his PA. I know, romantic isn’t it? This Guardian article sums it up brilliantly and is well worth a read.



STANDARD DOCUMENT: Dumping someone by text

NOTE THIS IS AN EXPOSURE DRAFT for information purposes only. For more detail on drafting the perfect text to dump someone, please contact 50firstdates.

Know How
Dumping Someone By Text

January 2016

  • Only use this language if you have been dating for a short period of time. If you have been dating for longer than a couple of months, a text is unlikely to be appropriate.
  • The language may need to be tailored to specific circumstances.
  • In most cases, it is better to send a text than simply end all contact and hope the dumpee gets the message.
  • Grow a pair and send the damn text.


Hi [dumpee], hope you’re well. I wanted to let you know that I’m actually not feeling this 100%. I’m so sorry about this! I really wish I felt differently. It has been really great to get to know you and I will miss hanging out with you. I’m very sorry if I have led you along in any way. I really hope [insert a reference to something in the dumpee’s plans] goes well. All the very best x






#13: Film guy


I should mention that I’m not trying to protect the identity of first date number 13; I just can’t actually remember his name. I may have repressed it. I should also state that I am not going to mention individuals in this blog – that is, unless they are total weasels.

This was one of the worst online first dates I’ve ever been on. Nothing too dramatic, just plain old unpleasant.

Firstly, he looked nothing like his picture. His hair was totally white, rather than brown, as advertised. (I think his online photo might have been ten years or more out of date.) He insisted on a pub near his house (which is totally fair enough), but then turned up a good 15 minutes late, without messaging. I bought myself a drink and hovered nervously at the bar, trying to look casual (unfortunately I am now a total expert at this).

He rocked up without apology and bought himself a coke. A coke is never a good sign from someone you know does drink and doesn’t give a reason for not drinking (a sad state of affairs perhaps, but true). It was clear he already wasn’t remotely interested and wasn’t going to waste more than £2 on this evening. I should pause here and state that to some extent this is also fair enough. If you’re just not that interested, personally I would rather know straight off the bat. Obviously, it isn’t a whole lot of fun to be on the receiving end of this though.

We chatted for a bit, almost exclusively about his job in the film industry, which, I admit, did sound really interesting. He then excused himself after about 30 minutes. Needless to say, I left feeling pretty rubbish about the whole experience. I should mention that the vast majority of first dates I have been on have been a million times better than this, even if one or both parties was just not that interested in the other. On the whole, people are really pretty decent.

Not #13 though. A few days later he messaged me at around 6pm, asking if I wanted to go to a film premier with him that evening (at around 7pm). He took pains to explain what a great honour it would be for me. Naturally I didn’t reply. So he sent me a number of progressively more irate messages over the next 3o minutes, scolding me for my failure to reply and my bad manners. Did I not understand that Judi Dench would be there?

Little did he know that Judi and I go way back (well, I have met her before, anyway). And that he couldn’t be less appealing a prospect if he tried. What a sexist, misogynist dinosaur (or whatever M would say).



A guide to: Dating with a moon boot

moon boot

After nearly two months wearing one of these beauties, here are a few observations / tips to dating when you’re not quite looking 100%, for whatever reason…

  1. Strangers may talk to you more than normal. If you happen to have an obvious injury, everyone will want to chat about it. One man ran down an escalator on the tube to talk to me about his own similar injury which had apparently just healed weeks before. (Weirdly I now find myself doing the same to anyone I see wearing a moon boot.) I also got more attention in pubs than ever before; it is the perfect ice breaker. Whether this was actually flirting or not, I am not entirely sure…
  2. Don’t get too drunk. Do not underestimate how unstable you will be.
  3. Milk it. This moon boot certainly looks pretty dramatic, but my injury was pretty minor. Nevertheless, it is the perfect opportunity to let a man be a perfect gentleman. (Or let a girl show how caring she is.)
  4. Avoid the rain. A dry moon boot promotes sympathy and concern. A wet moon boot is just disgusting. There is a fairly significant design flaw with this air cast boot, and any rain water is absorbed from the front upwards. Waterproof socks are a must. Stay indoors if necessary.
  5. Dress normally. There’s just no getting around it, any obvious injury or temporary impediment is going to cramp your style. The more I tried to dress around it, the worse it was. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Can you feel the love tonight?


Occasionally, when you wish upon a star, you realise love is an open door. A tale as old as time, it is not long before someone is thinking just kiss the girl. And at last, you are left understanding: so this is love – a whole new world! After all, a dream is a wish your heart makes.

Or rather, that is what the marketing piece for Mouse Mingle should have said (if I had had anything to do with it…). Never fear, dating for Disney fans is here!





Warm This Winter

A few things to remember if you’re feeling a bit rubbish about being single / in the wrong relationship this Christmas:

  1. So what?
  2. It counts as an extra excuse to spend lots of money on yourself in the Boxing Day sales.
  3. Enjoy not feeling guilty about eating yourself good and fat if you so wish.
  4. Ignore articles that make out that being single at Christmas is great (if for you, right now, it isn’t), like
    which Stylist rather lazily posted on Facebook recently, recycling it from last year. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
  5. Be thankful you are not Donald Trump.
  6. Be thankful you are not Katie Hopkins.
  7. Be thankful for all the brilliant people in your life.
  8. Ditch the wasters.
  9. Bear in mind that New Year will probably be even worse…
  10. But then everyone will feel rubbish along with you in January!


(Last) Message Received


Go read Last Message Received. It’s a Tumblr blog impressively put together by a 15-year-old in the States. It has been doing the rounds recently (see the link to the article in The Guardian, and there are similar recent pieces in The Daily Mail and The Debrief.)

A decent proportion are the hideous detritus at the end of a relationship / hook up / unrequited crush revealed or similar, that someone somewhere wishes they had never sent. Most of these messages should have gone into the mental dustbin, if not also the smart phone trash. And then there’s another whole section of heartbreaking last snippets from loved ones who have passed away suddenly, or people who have disappeared.

As The Guardian article puts it “Last messages are unlike last words. The ending they precede is not always obvious. Your text or email inbox may hold messages that only time will cast as terminal.

As a result, it’s a pretty interesting collection, all the more so because it is growing organically every day.



‘How to avoid dating a loser’ and other bits of terrible dating advice you can find online

Apologies in advance. This is something that might turn into a rant.

There is just so much terrible dating advice on the internet. In fact, most of the stuff about dating online is absolute garbage. It really is unbelievable how awful it is. It feels like Bliss magazine agony aunts are getting a second wind writing for inane websites like wikiHow and yourtango. Even gossip magazines are at least written by real journalists. It seems websites and articles about dating online are written by robots or aliens, and tend to fall into the two key categories, namely:

(i) stating the absolute obvious

For example, see this article from yourtango on speed dating dos and don’ts. It includes nuggets like:  Don’t ask how much they make or what kind of car they drive and Don’t wear a ton of perfume or jewelry. It’s distracting.
Nobody is behaving like that at a speed dating event. It isn’t a 1990s rom com. And thanks for implying everyone reading the article is female.

(ii) total nonsense

For example, from the same article (which, trust me, epitomizes yourtango’s general content) Don’t wear grays, blacks and beiges. What, now? I get that you might want to encourage people to dress in colourful clothes and be memorable, but this advice is so unhelpful.

My favourite dating car crash advice site though has to be wikiHow. I don’t think it is meant to be tongue in check or deliberately funny (or is it?), but that is certainly the result. And hat’s off – it’s a cracker.

Take ‘How to avoid dating a loser’, for example. Top tip: Try to filter out the losers prior to the first date. Other notable wikiHows on dating include ‘How to know if a woman is a cougar’ (advice includes: Determine the woman’s age) and ‘How to date a nudist when your are not one’ (you are recommended to Do your homework). Because, you know, we have all been secretly praying for some kind of road map on just these topics.

I assume these types of articles have a readership (I fear a teenage girl readership), which isn’t really very reassuring. Although, I do appreciate that some of these wikiHows might be useful to certain people in certain circumstances, particularly anyone how believes themselves to be undateable. One thing’s for sure, there is no quality control in this area. Top tip: go look at the Sidebar of Shame instead. It’s a doctoral thesis in comparison.



Breaking up is hard to do (especially at Christmas)

Staying on the theme of breaking up (jolly, I know), here’s a quick plug for Information is Beautiful a great website and even better coffee table book of infographics, which was way ahead of the curve on this trend. The Peak Break-up Times graph is from 2008 facebook data, but presumably still relevant – and the cyclical nature of human behavior is pretty sobering.  We’re hitting the pre-Christmas peak at the moment – brace yourselves!