Maeve Higgins’s ideal . . . first-date activity


I was in my room the other day, drawing up my second-last will and testament. I knew instinctively which of my bras would fit each of my sisters, but struggled to decide who should get my like-new hair straighteners. They flatten the hair nicely, but they also burn the hand – it takes a particular type of person to appreciate them. Fretful that I wouldn’t figure it out in time, I took a break to imagine the ideal first-date activity.

First-date things first, get all the paperwork done – once the confidentiality agreement and release forms are out of the way, you can get down to the brass tacks of what is actually about to take place. In the olden days, you simply had to “dance up on” a person and it was understood that you were dating.

Now, it is more complex. Questions bubble up. Is this a work meeting? A secret-telling session so personal you must never meet again? An accident? Ideally, for it to be considered a date, both parties should sign a document in the presence of an elderly Garda, declaring their interest in each other – however vague that may be.

Only then should you decide on an activity, one that suits both of you.

Ask yourself this. What does Honey-child like to do? (You are Honey-child) I’ll tell you my answer: I like to bite the skin around my fingernails while I look deep into the internet for new photos of animals wearing glasses. I also enjoy guessing what my neighbours are up to. I can’t see into their home anymore, so I’m forced to use my other senses. I sit very still and I can tell you that, this morning, they had bacon on burnt toast that one of them scraped, then they argued about money in a room full of soft furnishings.

What does my date enjoy doing? Maybe he likes golf* or flossing with his own hair, or robbing tractors. I’ve no idea.

What I’m saying is, you’ll have to hold a short Q&A or “conversation” at some point. This is also the ideal time to impress each other.

Once, a man told me that he was the one who came up with the phrase “a storm in a teacup”. It’s one of my favourites, and I was so bowled over, I immediately went to second base with him (meaning we went halves on a house in Meath).

My dream first-date activity is a reset, a drop in flintiness, a stupid fun time that requires packing light or not at all.

It’s just a pair of astronauts reaching out clumsily, one with little plastic nails glued onto bitten fingertips, the other holding the keys to a dodgy Massey Ferguson, both absolute beginners, when you think about it.

* Tip: I often take guys to the driving range to help them with their swing – when a woman controls their movements and corrects their golf slice, they feel super-special.

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