When the perfect date goes wrong

It was meant to be the perfect date, but it definitely did not go to plan! If you're looking for perfect date ideas, here's how NOT to do it.

This morning I wake up in a state of eager anticipation. I take a little more care than usual getting dressed – I put on a skirt and brush my hair and everything. Why such glamour you may ask. Well, Bee is visiting her Dad and Belle has been invited to a birthday party, so I have a rare Saturday morning to myself.

And so this morning I am going on the perfect date. (Not like this one.)

A date with myself. An illicit coffee shop rendezvous with the weekend papers.

I find the papers make a perfect date. They are interesting, able to talk about a wide range of topics, they make me laugh and most importantly the don’t judge when I dip my croissant in my coffee and drop soggy crumbs on my cardi.

Of course the time limit and the rarity of the opportunity combine to pile on the pressure – that urgent feeling of having to Make The Most Of it that most parents will appreciate. In a bid to really enjoy myself as much as possible I end up visiting three different cafes, trying to find the perfect retreat, before settling on one that really looked very much like all the other two.

My perfect date starts well, and I’m half way through the Guardian when my secluded corner starts to become rather crowded. I have bagged myself a comfy sofa, and am happy to have well behaved extras occupying the two chairs opposite. However, the longer I stay the more I find my space being overtaken.

A small boy plonks himself down in one of the chairs and helps himself to my sports section. Fine. I don’t like sport anyway. His Dad joins him in the second chair. Still manageable. But then the boy’s grandparents arrive and suddenly things are not so fine. I am forced to take my feet off the sofa so Grandma can sit down. I toy with moving but want to stand my ground – I was here first after all. And so long as I ignore Grandma’s shuffling and awkward glances I can still pretend I’m on my own. Just about.

But then it all gets a bit much. I am already starting to feel a little overwhelmed when another couple plus child appear – apparently friends of the family. “What’s going on here then?” says Dad number two.

“Just a little family outing,” says Grandma.

“Who’s that then?” asks Dad two, nodding his head in my direction.

“I’ve no idea!” exclaims Grandma loudly, as though I have just attached myself to them and they are humouring me.

“I am sat right here!” I want to yell, but of course I don’t. Instead I keep my head buried in the paper, hoping they will feel uncomfortable and drink up quick. No such luck though. Dad two plus family are invited to join them. There are now seven of them and me and everyone knows one’s company but eight’s a crowd. I do my best to stick it out but my presence at the crowded table now feels vaguely ridiculous.

It’s not long before I give up, make my excuses and push my way out through the family party. Hmph. Not exactly the romantic coffee for one I had planned. Still, I got as far as the Review section of the paper, which is further than I normally get before about Wednesday, so I probably should be grateful…



  1. Lucy
    6 February, 2010 / 9:56 pm

    AARGH nothing worse than having CHILDREN spoil your child-free morning. Grrr for you.

  2. 7 February, 2010 / 10:58 am

    I was so envious of your date until the little boy arrived. Maybe child-free coffee shops would be a good idea. x

    • 8 February, 2010 / 9:13 am

      Ooh yes! I can quite see me getting to forty and wanting to live in some kind of gated child free village…

  3. 8 February, 2010 / 9:20 am

    I always think I love kids but actually I love mine. And my friends. Everyone elses, not so much.

  4. 8 February, 2010 / 11:08 am

    Oh, papers. Oh, coffee. Oh, heaven. Arrghgh to other peoples children.

  5. 8 February, 2010 / 8:55 pm

    I wouldn’t have moved my feet haha!! Next time go shopping first and put a bag on every spare seat around you! :)

    • 9 February, 2010 / 7:23 am

      I am clearly just too nice. Or perhaps wimpy…

  6. 8 February, 2010 / 10:02 pm

    This post inspired me to write something……have given you a namecheck so thanks muchly :)

    How do you do those smiley faces?….

  7. teachermum
    8 February, 2010 / 11:28 pm

    I love coffee and papers and peace. It is the selfishness od the adults which gets me. A crisp “I was here before the invasion when comments were made normally surfices to get rid I find. However as a devotee of Somerset coffee shops myself we may be tipping each other out!

    • 9 February, 2010 / 7:22 am

      Maybe some kind of Somerset coffee shop badge scheme then – you have to wear something that indicates you are happy to share a table so long as everyone is quiet and promises not to steal half the sofa/the bits of the paper you haven’t read yet/your purse.

      • teachermum
        9 February, 2010 / 10:18 pm

        That sounds good – I can be found with a copy of the Guardian at many coffee shops – best way of coping with teaching and three children. We even have a costa concession at college……….

        • 10 February, 2010 / 10:10 am

          How about a red beret? I have always wished I could stylishly wear a beret…

  8. gem
    9 February, 2010 / 1:49 pm

    I vote we make it UK wide. Use a mad hat or something, and not only will you be tipping the wink to other scheme users, but you’d discourage the normal folks too

  9. 30 October, 2017 / 10:11 am

    Have you seen the John Bishop stand-up routine about going out to lunch with family? He describes your day from the opposite perspective, and it’s pretty hilarious. The parents in at least one of those parties was probably massively envious of you – it probably took them several hours to get out of the house, let alone to the pub, where they pretended to be relaxed. In reality the son or daughter in law was probably walking on eggshells, and the gran was going to complain about everything.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.