Louise Ripley-Duggan

With RAG Blind Date coming up, LOUISE RIPLEY-DUGGAN assesses her less-than-successful dating history.

RAG Blind Date is coming up, and a recently single Lou has thrown caution to the wind and boldly decided to go where she has never gone before. Because, believe it or not, I have never been on a proper, grown up ‘date’.

As far as I can remember, I have only ever been on one date, and it was neither proper nor grown up. It was with a young man who, for anonymity’s sake, I shall call Roger. I agreed to go on the ‘date’ on the sole premise that he was four inches taller than me. Being an unnaturally tall teenager is not fun. Boys grow after girls, you see, and so until I was 18, most of the boys I knew couldn’t help but have their eyes glued to my chest, as it was at exactly eye level. Horrific.

In any case, Roger was beautiful and not vertically challenged. Our first date took place in a pub in Camden where, lo and behold, we just so happened to bump into some mutual friends. They were all at something of a loss, and met us with exclamations of: ‘Ohmygod! You guuuuuuys! You’re here…together? Like, together together? That’s like, SO weird. And obviously, like, totally amazing! Are you guys like, a thing? Your kids would be SO effing tall ohmygod.’ Scintillating though the conversation was, we tore ourselves away and went to get a drink.

I was being dignified, and so I demurely sipped (okay, not demurely. I am incapable of being demure) – and so I sipped on a conservative two glasses of wine throughout the entire evening. My giant ‘boyfriend’ had two pints, but kept nipping off to the toilet, leaving me awkwardly playing with my phone, pretending to be texting so I looked like a date guru who had OBVIOUSLY been on lots of dates before. Every time he returned, I grew a bit more confused – huge though he was, he was definitely quite pissed, and his level of inebriation was rising steadily.

I felt embarrassed for him. I was also concerned that him drawing attention to us would get us kicked out of the pub, under-age as we were. That would have made for a very bashful journey home. So, I decided to buy the next round of drinks.  The barmaid smiled at me: ‘First date? So sweet, he’s so nervous! Keeps coming up and downing shots while you’re not looking, bless…’

Let us not even linger on her horrendous lack of solidarity to the poor dear in this situation. I was far too busy being bemused by Roger’s behaviour. At the time I thought it was quite endearing that he was so terrified of me. However, I soon realised it wasn’t. It was just proof of his definitive wet-blanket status. We broke up a week later.

Two boyfriends later and I still hadn’t had a second date. The boy immediately following Roger preferred to sit in the park and get high, glugging White Ace (great fun, just not exactly romantic) and the one after that was the accidental long-term boyfriend who started as a one night stand.

Dating confuses me. Or rather, American sitcoms confuse me. In Friends, the characters just seem to sit in Central Perk until someone good looking comes into the café, and if they like the look of them, they ask them on a date. I have it from reliable sources that this actually happens. And that it’s considered normal.If a stranger came up to me in a café and asked to take me out, I would be outraged, and probably ignore them. If they seemed nice, I might give them an: ‘I’m sorry but I don’t habitually spend hours alone with someone I’ve never met before.’

Why would anyone say yes? There seem to be a myriad of unwritten laws surrounding dating – none of which I understand. How many dates does one go on until the situation is deemed a relationship? What is the etiquette regarding how many people one can date at any one time? It all seems rather bizarre. If people only date to get laid, then I don’t know why they’d bother with expensive and awkward dinner first. And if people only date to find ‘the one’, I reckon they shouldn’t be forcing fate.

I’ll bite the bullet in the name of charity and perhaps it will convert me, but with a satisfactory love life without them, I’ll be sticking to White Ace in the park and pillow-chat until I’m panicking about my body clock and have only cats for company.

  • observer

    Trent Kebabs? The best thing about Trent is that a takeaway shop shares the name? There is a Trent building on UoN campus… there are loads of amazing things about Trent, this was the shittest list I’ve seen.

    • Independent

      Great times, brill students, fab location, cheeky food, fun list!!!
      Reread you twat

  • hahaha

    Who is the guy in the red circle? I bet he cries during Marley & Me!

  • hahaha

    Also, I’m pretty sure the guy in the white T-shirt is also at UoN. Not sure why he gets to get away with it!

  • An Educated UoN Student

    This list just confirms the poor standard of education that you Trent students have to suffer. I just feel sorry for you that you’re left bragging about ‘Kebabs’, ‘Ocean’ and ‘Paintbrushes’ – all of which I, and the majority of the UoN students, couldn’t care less about. I suppose that’s why we are busy getting proper degrees and paving our own way for a real future. Have fun living on benefits, I hear the council housing is sublime.

    • A Nottingham Trent Scholar

      HAHAHAHAHA! So great to see that this article has clearly got UoN’s panties in a twist. Love it, love Trent!

    • Sophie Stark

      I’m a UoN student too, pretty sure they’re just poking a bit of healthy fun and fostering banter, nothing wrong with that. I think you’re the one who will end up on benefits with THAT attitude!

    • dontbeadouche

      Shame university didn’t teach you how to be a likeable person. A kebab has more of a personality than a pompous twat who can’t get their head out of their own arse.

  • Graham

    “taxi’s”… Taxis doesn’t have an apostrophe. No wonder you didn’t get into a better university.

  • Lol

    Only two of the people in #10 actually go to Trent currently lol

  • PB

    This article pretty much summed up why UoN is better.

  • Lavinia

    #7 What about Clifton and Brackenhurst students? They have to get buses into town?
    #10 are Nottingham JSoc students. It’s a joint society so Uni of go on our night outs and we go on theirs.

  • Just Saying

    This article is an obvious piece of satirical writing, it’s aim is to provoke reactions from both NTU students and UoN students, please keep commenting below and argue your superiority, irony is best when it is not recognised…

  • Cameron

    As someone who does not even go to uni in Nottingham, and really doesn’t care about the rivalry, this really is an embarrassing article.

  • Dom

    I’m not going to disrespect Trent students. All the Trent students I’ve met are cool, except Joel, he’s a dick. ¬¬

    I’m a local lad and I go Uni of. This article is a bag of balls.

    #1 When is Ocean not full on Ocean Fridays (i.e Uni of Night)?

    #2 and #3 Are a waste of space.

    #4 Of the Varsity sports so far we’re about even. (We’ve won 7, they’ve won 5.

    #7 Most Uni of Students live in Lenton (right next to town).

    #8 Maybe the kebab shop is named after the river?

    #9 Einstein is more recent than Picasso and Science works towards the future more than art.

    If you’re going to give ten reasons why Trent trumps Uni of use legitimate points. Like maybe that it’s been named the most environmentally friendly Uni in the country and if that fails you could always say David Attenborough has opened some of your buildings… <3 David

  • Ohdear

    “If you needed further proof that we have more fun THAT Uni of, here you go…”
    Let’s hope you proof read your essays better. Or do you just have to hand in colouring books at Trent?

  • Snobby Delilah

    You have your ‘ocean devotion’ and ‘ rat kebab’ fun now, UoN students will have their fun after graduation- on the yacht you common folk will invariably be polishing… tally-ho!

  • Sid

    So the only things better about Trent are the fact that we party harder at the grottiest club in the western hemisphere and have a few takeaways? Yeah I see it now, I’m so proud to be part of Trent after reading this list.

  • hgn

    There’s a mistake in the fucking title of this.