Competition: share your best date story, win free drinks

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

Some of my best date stories begin with me propped excitedly against a bar, with one eye on the door to see who’s coming in. Some of my weirdest date stories start the same way. Come to think of it, when I was dating pretty much all of my dates began in a bar somewhere in London – ideally with a cocktail and a frisson of pre-shag excitement. So I’m delighted that today I get to offer one of you a night of lovely free drinks, in exchange for your best date story. Here’s how to claim it…

A while ago I did a shoutout on Twitter about advertising, and explained that although I love promoting my favourite sex toy companies, you don’t technically need to be a sex industry business to advertise on my blog. Because people who like sex also like other awesome things too: we are not single-minded automatons.

Felix, who runs the excellent Every Cloud Bar in Hackney (just round the corner from Hackney Central station) took me up on the offer and said that alongside running some ads, he’d also like to offer a nice night out as a competition prize for people who read this blog. And who am I to turn down free drinks on your behalf? It’s a really excellent bar (see review in Londonist if you don’t believe me) and you’ll have an amazing time.

So this is your chance to win a totally free night out at the beautiful Every Cloud Bar sampling some of their delicious cocktails with a friend, a date, or anyone you know who deserves a bit of a treat.

Here’s how to win it…

Tell us your best date story

It might be a date that went superbly well, or something that went hilariously badly. An interesting location, an unusual conversation opener, an embarrassing slip-up or a glorious one-night stand. Just write your story in the comments below, and in two weeks’ time Felix and I will pick the one that most makes us laugh/smile/nod our heads in commiseration, and that person will get a night of fun and delicious cocktails for them and a friend.

When we’ve picked and announced the winner, I’ll publish a blog post with some of the best date stories here too, because it’s fun to share. If you have an amazing date story but you don’t think you’ll be able to claim the prize, feel free to share your story in the comments anyway and just make it clear that it’s not an entry.

Terms and Conditions

  1. All entrants must be over 18. You don’t need to be resident in the UK but naturally you need to be able to claim your prize from Every Cloud Bar in Hackney, London.
  2. The winner will be chosen by GOTN + Felix, based on who we think has the most fun date story entered in the comments below.
  3. Entries must be submitted via comment below this blog post. You do not need to submit under your real name, however you must use an email address that can be used to contact you if you win. Email addresses will not be displayed, or used for any purpose other than administering this competition.
  4. Entries must be submitted between 18th August 2017 and midday on 31st August 2017. Winner will be chosen after midday (UK time) on 31st August.
  5. Prize must be claimed before 1st December 2017.
  6. Prize constitutes one night of free drinks for two people at Every Cloud Bar in Hackney – 11 Morning Lane, Hackney E9 6NU. Every Cloud Bar encourages responsible drinking and dating, and the offer includes low- and no-ABV drinks as well as alcoholic drinks. There is no restriction on the number, although Every Cloud Bar reserves the right to stop serving you alcohol should they feel it is necessary.
  7. By sharing your story you agree you’re happy for that story to be published on, under the name or pseudonym you choose when submitting the comment (this does not have to be a real name, and should you decide you’d like to change the name you have submitted under, just email [email protected] and I can edit it for you).


  • Not My Real Name says:

    London is great when it’s sunny. On a grim, wet November evening, when you’re standing in the rain in Chinatown, waiting for a date, it’s not so great. When your date is an hour late, with no message, it sucks.

    Eventually, she arrives. Not where she is supposed to arrive, but near enough, I guess. I go to find her and bring her back to the restaurant which I’ve already called three times to delay our reservation.

    Not only had the rain soaked through my shoes and into my socks, it had got to the spark which had characterised our email exchanges. Conversation was stilted and difficult and as bland as a plate of boiled tofu.

    Worse, she ate all of the rice.

    Not just some of the rice.

    Not just most of the rice.

    All. Of. The. Rice.

    I trudged back to the station, and slumped on the train. “It was lovely to meet you”, I texted disingenuously, while thinking “Thank goodness I won’t have to see you again”.

    But I did see her again, and we celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary this year.

    Not an entry.

  • Mark says:

    My best date at University was a complete disaster. I was still at University, and me and my Girlfriend had been on a date or two. Nothing serious, but we’d clicked.

    One morning I woke up, 10AM, an early start for me. I went to the shared kitchen and hunted for last nights dinner, or milk for cereal, and I came up short. I was texting my Girlfriend as I did this, and I sent what I now realise was a rather weighted text. “Do you want to go out and get some food?” I received an affirmation pretty quickly, pulled myself into some clothes and went to get her. She’d dressed herself up pretty quickly, makeup, hair done, the whole shebang. I thought “Maybe she always dresses like this?”. I was not, and debatably still am not, a clever man.

    So we went out. To Sainsbury’s. She looked rather confused. I said “Oh, do you shop at Tesco or Morrisons or something?” She said no. I thought she might be thinking of something to say because she was shy. We ended up talking for hours, we learnt a lot about each other and I set the bar perilously low for our relationship, and so the only way was up.

    I recently learnt that she had to explain to all of her friends, who thought she was going out on a date, why she’d come back with a bag of frozen Pizza and fruit. Bless her.

  • RB says:

    I’ve just come back from a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, where the quotient of hot artists, beautiful walks and confidence levels are off the charts for everyone, so I took the opportunity to have the the most bizarre date/set of experiences with a lovely guy I came into contact with.

    We met at an extra gig we were both doing, got chatting at the bar afterwards, and I went to see his show the next day; pretty much because I fancied him and wanted to see him again – not the most noble artistic move, but again, when you’re at Edinburgh, you seize any opportunity you can. Unbeknownst to me until I got in there, he spends almost half of the show with no shirt on – because, theatre. I was sitting on the end of a row trying desperately not to stare gormlessly at his chest. I love the Fringe. That was a beautifully uncomfortable hour. (He was also, variously, wearing a cloak and a gorilla mask, and was later dressed as Elvis. I’d explain it, but, it would take days.)

    Hours later, I was so buzzed from both my gig and a BBC one-off where I got to say the c-word on stage, I asked him out properly, and had to scramble across Edinburgh in my high heels and carrying a box of sex toys (my show props, including a dangerously protruding riding crop) to find a bar with any space left in it at midnight (which is about 10pm, Fringe time) – I’m amazed I managed.

    He turned up just after and we spent two hours drinking and chatting and laughing and comparing notes about our lives and our performance work; eventually we left and went a-wandering through Edinburgh, and the late night Fringe chaos, until we arrived at the Royal Mile, which was, unlike every other time I’d seen it, completely and utterly empty. We walked right up and I kissed him, right in the middle where people had been flyering all day.

    He came back to ‘mine’…mine being an airbnb flat, which is where things got tricky. I’d booked the cheapest place I could find, and it was lovely, but it was only cheap because I was staying in the attic, so had to ascend and descend a very loud and rickety ladder to get in and out of my room, which caused so much noise when we both went up, I’m convinced we woke up the entire house. Other highlights included having to rifle underneath piles of flyers with my own face on to find some condoms, and him finding the house instructions my host had left me (including about house guests) and telling me, faux-sternly while waving them at me, “I don’t want to be a narc, but I think we might be in contravention of the rules.”

    It was bizarre, and silly, and so fun. Having had an exhausting couple of weeks at the Fringe and gone home alone every night, it was so lovely to share that space with someone else for a while.

    He’s still in Scotland (where he’s from) and I’m back in Manchester. I don’t know if I’ll see him again, but I’d like to, if we cross paths again. Whether he’s wearing a gorilla mask or otherwise.

    • Girl on the net says:

      For some reason I am particularly taken with the idea of shagging in a flat that contains flyers with my own face on. That is the dream. The DREAM, I tell you =)

  • Ac says:

    My first, “first date”. I’m in my first year at uni and having met a guy on a night out, we decided to go on a date as conversation had been pretty limited in the club. We meet and go for a meal at Wagamama, some kind of noodles (exactly what kind will become important later). It’s a nice evening so we head out and towards a pub with a nice beer garden.

    So far, so good, conversation has been a little stilted but on the whole I’ve been enjoying myself. As we get close to the pub, I start to feel odd, the inside of my ears start to itch, my skin breaks out in hives and I start to find it difficult to breathe. An ambulance is called, I’m having a severe allergic reaction to something. (I’ve never had one before). The ambulance arrives and I get in, he comes too and the paramedics start joking about how “it’ll be a great story to tell the grandkids”. They inject me with adrenaline and the start faffing around to find a vein. At which point he turns very white and admits to a needle phobia.

    On arrival at a and e, he’s sent to book me in, with a small delay as he doesn’t know my surname. At this point I was kind of hoping he’d just leave but no, he waits whilst I sit on a trolley getting bored, and then waits some more after I’ve seen a doctor. I’m to be kept for observation in a room of teenagers who have all drunk too much, but he has missed his last bus home so waits too. Eventually I’m released and he insists on accompanying me back to halls and I give in and make up a bed on the floor of my room. Next morning I manage to throw him out and spend the next week recovering. There was no second date.

  • The Quiet One says:

    I sit opposite him for the thousandth time, watching his gentle hands turning the glass as he details the ways she is once again breaking his heart, despair running rich in his eyes, I sit opposite, putting the pieces back together, hoping for the thousandth time that a piece of myself will stick

    Not an entry and as usual not truly a date

  • 19Syllables says:

    I’ve never been on a date. Written like that it seems pretty tragic, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m from the days before dates. Back from the times when people found partners and hook-ups by going out as a crowd, intersecting with other crowds, letting things get a little messy and seeing who came out of it all the most fun. We knew the word ‘date’, but it was something reserved for Americans on TV or in high school films filed away and ring-fenced with other words like ‘prom’, and ‘rain-check’ and ‘drive-thru.’ I know some couples in long term relationships often operate a date-night system to keep romance alive, but it’s not a thing we’ve ever done. Our love was founded on the old “go out and let things get a bit messy” model; it’s what we know and it has served us well, so that’s pretty much what we still do. It’d go something like this
    “I fancy cocktails.”
    “Good idea, I’ll pump the bike tyres up, while you zip upstairs and put your leather skirt on.”
    We had something that felt like it was going to be a date one day last year. I’d won tickets to a play so, I rung him up at work.
    “I’ve won some tickets to a play tonight, do you want to come?”
    “What’s it about?”
    “It’s at The National Gallery, it’s about Rembrandt.”
    There was a silence…
    “That sounds shit.”
    I think I blinked a few times before replying, and then I said
    “These are free tickets, I am lovely, I’ve rung you up at work, asking you out on a date. I’m going to hang up and call you back in a couple of minutes. Let’s start this conversation over again”
    “Ok sure.”
    I called him back.
    “I’ve won some tickets to a play tonight, do you want to come?”
    “What’s it about?”
    “It’s at The National Gallery, it’s about Rembrandt”
    There was a silence…
    “That sounds fantastic, so exciting! I’ll meet you at Charing Cross at 7, let’s have dinner afterwards!”
    After the play, as we walked across Trafalgar Square he said I’m sorry I was an arse on the phone, It’s just that sort of thing is not usually my bag and I thought you might have preferred to go with Jen or Caro or someone – someone that you more usually go to the theatre with.
    “Yeah I rung both of them up but they couldn’t make it on short notice.”
    “What? I’ve been feeling guilty about fucking up the date-night conversation but I wasn’t even the first person you asked? Not even the second person you asked!”
    It was true. I’d pulled the “I’m going to put the phone down and start this conversation again” card and yet, love him though I do, he wasn’t really the person I’d really wanted to go with. Also, he had been doubly right; the play, about Rembrandt, had been a bit shit.
    We sniped and hissed at each other as we pushed through the Trafalgar square tourists, alternatingly smiling and polite to them (”Excuse me, would you mind?” “No, no that’s quite alright”) in the sing-songy way of English people negotiating others, and grizzly with each other in the low level, side-comment way that can only be finessed by people that have known each other for decades. (“I dashed all the way over from bloody Camden to sit through that” “I can’t be held responsible for how much you liked the play”)
    We slipped into a cocktail bar just off the Charing Cross Road, still both slightly aggrieved but agreed to call a truce and make the best of the second part of the evening. I made a mess of getting onto the bar stool in a ladylike manner and he giggled, giving me that sideways knowing, half-smile that he has, and a hand to steady me. In that moment I think we both recognised the ridiculousness of it. I leant into him across the chasm between our bar stools and put my head on his shoulder.
    We had a couple of cocktails there and then wandered up into Soho where we let things get a bit messy to see who came out of it all the most fun. It was him. It’s always been him.

  • Alice says:

    This is the story of how I learned I shouldn’t always push past chronic fatigue. Sometimes, the best thing to do is postpone the date, again, and curl up in a duvet with a mug of tea and definitely only talk to people who know me well.

    But, I’d already had to postpone twice, and we’d already exchanged a lot of filthy text messages, and I can only be sensible for so long before the desire for first-date kisses (tentative, learning, exploring) takes over.

    So, I went to meet the guy. I blithered my way onto a train and sat there, hoping I wouldn’t feel quite so thick-headed once I got there. It’s happened before – I’ve felt bloody awful and then as soon as I’m with people I like being around, I rally just enough to turn into a decent approximation of a human being, rather than a dribbling meat-sack. We can all hope, can’t we?

    Half an hour later, I’m at the station. He’s late. I prop myself against an outside wall and attempt to look sexy and alluring and first-date-ish. I probably manage to look drunk. He turns up, I go to kiss him on the cheek, and I get his neck.

    For fuck’s sake.

    It’s a nice neck, don’t get me wrong – in other circumstances, future ones involving fewer clothes, it’s the sort of neck I’d enjoy running my tongue up until I reached his ear and whispered something filthy into it. However, we have just met and I’ve basically slobbered all over his Adam’s apple. Great. I try to laugh it off, because it feels like a chaste version of one of the stupid things than can happen during sex – someone farts, or some underpants get stuck on an ear, and it’s fucking hilarious and you get back to pounding the living daylights out of each other.

    He doesn’t laugh it off with me.

    We wander up the high street before eventually settling on a café – he stays outside to eat a sandwich while I order some drinks. He comes inside, we sit down, we make idle chit-chat. We’re both poly and this, oh this, is where my downfall ultimately lies. We end up disagreeing on how poly should work, and I end up speaking passionately, righteously, about how hierarchies can have the potential to be unhealthy.

    He stares into his latte.

    I don’t realise I’m starting to sound like an idiot, and carry on. I use buzzphrases like ‘relationship anarchy’ – and seriously, that may be the most wanky phrase I’ve heard in the time I’ve been poly, so why the fuck am I using it, oh yeah, because I’m so tired I’m starting to see through time because my one source of caffeine is undrinkable. I hate tea pigs. Loathe them. I’m talking like I’m drunk at 2pm on a Thursday – and I kind of am, because fatigue really is that sort of bastard condition where you can be funny one minute and the next – oh. Oh, the next.

    I start talking about my exes.

    On a first date.

    I wish I could say that this was because the breakup was recent. I wish I could say that I was still getting used to the effects fatigue can have, how it thickens the tongue and distorts time like a non-fun version of alcohol. I wish that he’d asked me about the exes, a couple, because they were significant. But the breakup is years ago, he, the poor sod, has disagreed with me on the hierarchy vs non-hierarchy forms of poly, and here I am ranting about a disastrous trip to Berlin and that time my silk cushion got destroyed and neither of them cared.

    It was a nice cushion, but come on, Alice.

    There’s a small, insistent voice in the back of my head telling me to stop. It’s like a sober, well-rested mini-me is sitting on my frontal cortex, swinging her legs, maybe sipping a Proper Cup of Tea, and saying, “what do you think you’re doing, you twit?”

    Eventually, after at least ten minutes of ranting, I stop. I grin, sheepishly, because I’ve finally listened to mini-me and the pair of us know I’ve buggered this up completely.

    There’s an attempted quip about having strong opinions, I’m not sure who of us makes it, and we finish our drinks in near-silence – well, I attempt to, and find my tea is now unpleasantly warm, with the same revulsion that I feel when washing-up water runs down my wrists to my elbows. Ugh.

    No time for another drink? No, fair enough, it’s nearly the end of his lunch break. We attempt a hug and pat each other awkwardly on the shoulder.

    At least I don’t kiss his fucking neck this time.

    Sat on the train, on my way home for a sleep and a reconsideration of what I should and shouldn’t do during a flare-up of chronic fatigue, he messages me, to say he had a nice time and that he’d like to do it again. My response is positive – sorry if I ranted a bit, I’m a little tired today. No worries. Smiley face. He’ll message me to organise a second date.

    Of course he didn’t. Whoops.

  • MariaSibylla says:

    I invited him to a play at a small local theater where the stage was in the middle of the audience. We were in the second row. Soon after the play started, I noticed an itchy tingling tickle between my breasts. I thought maybe it was a stray hair at first so tried to shift position. The stage light spilled out onto us and it was a first date. I didn’t want to just reach my hand down my cleavage in front of everyone.

    When shifting position didn’t work and I felt more tickling, I realized with dread that a bug must have flown into my shirt. It was summer and insects were swarming the outside lights as we entered.

    I couldn’t get up to leave without interrupting the play, I couldn’t reach into my shirt without my date and the whole audience across from me seeing, so I slowly crossed my arms and squeezed tightly, trying to suffocate and squish the little interloper between my tits.

    It didn’t kill him but it kind of immobilized him and I suffered through until intermission when i raced to the ladies room and with intense relief plucked a tiny moth from my cleavage.

    I told my date when I returned and it was a great ice-breaker.

  • Crawf says:

    So you know when you meet a guy in a bar on a night out & at the time you think “yeh he’s really fit” but then the next morning think “oh God why did I kiss Gollum last night?”… yeh well I wish that was the problem I’d had…
    So apparently drunk me arranged a date with this guy for the next night in a bar near Charing Cross (no idea why but I felt bad so went anyway).
    In he comes, waltzing in & I suddenly realise he’s wearing eyeliner (definitely not a thing the night before & although it threw me, isn’t exactly a deal breaker- the skull headed umbrella & cravat could’ve been a warning sign though). We get a drink & sit down, general small talk ensues, then he comes out with “what are your thoughts on taxidermy?” – now I’d already said I had been a vegetarian for years & spoke about how I don’t believe in hunting as a sport etc so I’m not sure exactly what he thought my response would be- next thing “I do taxidermy in my free time, I have a crow on my bedside table, his name is Colin & he’s my best friend”, this is followed by some mild nervous laughter on my part- surely he isn’t being serious?!
    He then proceeds to show me photos of him & Colin together, (there’s a lot of them posing like an awkward comedy double act/ bad 80’s cop show duo), “I’ll show you how I stuffed him” he says then continues to try show me particularly graphic photos & videos of him doing this exclaiming the odd phrase such as “this is me scooping his brains out with a cotton bud” & “I pushed my finger in too hard there so had to sew his chest back up- look”. Now, by this point, internally I am screaming “help me”- I thought the easiest thing to do was to act disinterested & bored & then he’d change the subject… this did not work.
    About 40 odd minutes later he’s still on this subject whilst I’m texting all my friends to work out where the closest bar was with the toilet next to the front door. Sadly I am too polite to run away but managed to make excuses & leave thinking “Thank God that is over”… fast forward to a few days later.
    He must’ve been overjoyed with my apparent eagerness to learn about taxidermy as he sent me an invite to a “couples taxidermy retreat” where you go away to stay in a cottage & enjoy a “fun packed weekend” stuffing a dead fox together… apparently that is actually a real thing.

  • @BarelyLouchid says:

    This all happened a long, long time ago. Back in the 90s when the hills were young.

    I was your standard enthusiastic, affable but utterly useless styoodent, all ill-advised long hair and a lumberjack shirt. Cos in the 90s, if you weren’t wearing a lumberjack shirt, it was actually illegal for you to say you liked Nirvana and Pearl Jam. And that way led to being sent to study in Coventry, not Up North, where this story takes place.

    She worked in the same pub as me, drank pints, played darts and wasn’t a student. She was an archaeologist. Probably still is. She was a riot.

    And it was on. Always had been. Like Donkey Kong.

    We met ‘accidentally’ in our pub and proceeded to get gale-force drunk.

    Drunk led to…


    Told you I was useless.

    She then had the splendid idea of going to one of the university archaeology buildings to show me a cool thing.

    So we took our £2 pizzas and an argument about pineapple (it’s ace) to a musty basement in a dark building.

    A basement full of ancient disinterred skellies. Two or three hundred of them

    The was more booze.

    Then, as I stood there with a slice of hawaiian in one hand and some poor bugger’s skull in the other, she dropped to her knees, said, “You don’t mind, do you?” and sucked my cock.

    Look, this story doesn’t end well, it ends with a one night thing, regret, an abortion, and some hard lessons about contraception.

    But on that one night, we did fuck like rockstars in a room full of dead people. Which, if nothing else, is unusual. And there was pizza.

    Which was nice.

  • fionchadd says:

    Ok, so, this isn’t really a date, or even a story as such, but.

    When I moved to London in 2008 I got a temping job in a large office working for a branch of the civil service. There were quite a few temps on the floor and we bonded over our shared disdain for the work and our iron-clad (& ultimately inaccurate) conviction that we’d be on to bigger and better things before you could blink.

    One of the other temps and I started hooking up. Literally, booty calls in their purest, most stripped-back form. If one of us was horny, or pissed, we’d text the other, end up at one of our flats, have pretty mindblowing sex, then get up and go to work the next morning.

    This was all fine and good (I mean, it wasn’t, I completely fell for him, but that’s a whole other story) until one time we accidentally hooked up on a Friday instead of midweek. I woke up in his bed on a sunny Saturday morning, head throbbing, throat parched, with the entire day stretching out before us. I had nowhere I needed to be. And no idea how to deal with that.

    We looked at each other uncertainly, and he seemed to reach a decision. He got out of bed, wandered over to his laptop, and put on Venetian Snares.

    I got dressed, gathered up my stuff, and left.

    See you on Monday.

  • So this is what I describe as the best/worst first date ever.

    I’d arranged to meet at midday at a quirky little museum. My logic is that if we could surround ourselves with odd bits and bobs and still find nothing to talk about then that was all we needed to know.

    We looked around, we chatted, we went for a coffee afterwards, it was going great.

    The thing was, I had pre planned a natural ending to the date in that I was going to the theatre that afternoon with a friend. My date ended up accompanying me to the theatre and, ultimately, queued up to try to get a ticket too.

    Thing is, this was for a quite dark and intense play about virtual reality, paedophilia, and murder.

    Afterwards me and my friend stood outside (we didn’t know if my date had been able to get a ticket or not) when I glanced over the road and spotted her standing outside the theatre and looking utterly shell-shocked.

    I was busy berating myself inwardly as my friend approached her and uttered the vital restorative word, “pub?”

    We drank, we talked, we ended up going to see an action film at the cinema. All was going well until I started tearing up during the climactic battle sequence, because apparently growing up in the eighties has crippled me emotionally to the point where people are confusing but explosions really get me in the feels.

  • Emmie says:

    We met in Summer Camp, went on a date to the nearest waterfalls. We drank in the sun, me stripping down to my bikini. I could see his erection get bigger. I invited him to the forest and ‘accidentally’ rubbed myself against him while we got changed. We fucked outside the staff treehouse that night, shooting stars overhead. He told me he loved me the next week.

    We’re engaged to be married 3 years later.

  • Girl on the net says:

    Hello and MASSIVE thank you to everyone who entered this competition! You are amazing and we have had so much fun going through your incredible date stories! Just to let you know I’m going to be emailing the winner over the weekend and will have a round-up of stories going live early next week. Will email everyone when it’s up! Thank you all so so much <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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