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NOT a single day goes by when I don’t come across some kind of motivational speech, meme or instruction about how I should live my life to its very best.

All across social media, there are little mantras about what I should do to increase my self-confidence, keep the faith, never give up, accept my weaknesses, show off my strengths, not give of myself too much and generally become a much better person.

6Ulrika Jonsson has starred on TV show Celebs Go DatingCredit: Channel 4 6Podcast host Maria Avgitidis insists that you really need to have 12 dates with someone in order to properly get to know them and work out if they’re 'The One'Credit: instagram

Some of these come from professional life coaches. Others come from mere mortals who spout this stuff to make others feel good but probably don’t follow the rules themselves.

The latest I read this week was about dating and the “12-Date Rule”.

Podcast host Maria Avgitidis insists that you really need to have 12 dates with someone in order to properly get to know them and work out if they’re “The One”.

And definitely, don’t have sex before the end of the 12 dates, she says.


I’m sure all this is sage advice. It’s also mind-blowingly infuriating because it comes from people who imagine an optimal situation which is probably as rare as hen’s teeth nowadays.

There may have been a time, many moons ago, when you would take time to properly get to know someone over a period of time before committing as much as a morsel of your mind, body or soul.

It’s a lovely concept, but it is most definitely not rooted in the current landscape of dating.

I’m happy to be proved wrong but having spent the past 18 or so months in the internet dating wilderness, I can confirm that this kind of scenario could not be further removed from reality.

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Apps are fundamentally devoid of any romance and are just useful platforms for hooking up with people for dates and sex. (Of course, it is possible to find true love on the apps, too. Or so I’ve been told.)

So, when you have someone tell you that you ought to wait 12 dates before you interact sexually — purely based on the fact that sex releases oxytocin in the body which makes it harder to notice red flags — you gotta ask yourself just how practical that is.

I love the idea of withholding sex and aiming “to learn four specific things” about the other person and their traits (as recommended by the matchmaker) in order to understand if I truly like them or not but I just can’t see it happening. Of course, it could be where I’ve gone wrong as I remain a single pringle, but I just don’t think this is how humans behave.

Dating life is fast-paced, expendable and most people don’t have time to hang around for your second sentence, let alone wait for 12 dates before a rumble under the covers.

I don’t like this aspect of dating life one bit. It’s superficial, apathetic, one-dimensional and perfunctory.

It only serves to prove how fickle we all are. Or have become.

If things don’t work out in the first few paragraphs, you move on and find something else that titillates you.

There’s no shortage of opportunities. It’s nothing short of savage because essentially the system is broken.

It’s not just that things are moving too fast and everyone is so heartbreakingly disposable, but more that my experience is that you know when you feel a spark pretty early on.

I don’t want to wait 12 dates or three months to see if there’s a flicker. What if there isn’t? What then? I have to start all over again — and at 55, time isn’t on my side.

Dating life is fast-paced, expendable and most people don’t have time to hang around for your second sentence, let alone wait for 12 dates before a rumble under the covers.


It’s not that I’m impatient. I come from an age when there were no apps.

Everyone knew everyone and there was a sense of accountability which has been completely wiped out by online dating.

Those who say you should steer clear of the ­dating apps can still not give me a good, decent way which is compatible with my working and private life of meeting someone.

And perhaps even more dispiriting is that we have to take people’s word for whatever it is they tell us.

We have to hope they’re being ­honest because people are always on their best behaviour initially.

They’re unlikely to say unkind, painful things when they’re trying to get to know you. So what difference does it make if you get involved and succumb to that spark on the first or the sixth date?

They might still bugger off and leave you lonesome after that.

Let’s face it, most people aren’t even honest about what it is they are actually looking for. They’ll say whatever they think you want to hear.

What would be most useful if all these supposedly wise people who love to give us singletons advice, would visit the real world some time. Come in, I’ll happily show you around.

In the meantime, thank you for your 12-date rule concept. It’s charming.

But I’m afraid some rules are made to be broken.


I’VE previously expressed empathy for actress Alice Evans, whose husband Ioan Gruffudd walked out on her and their two daughters after starting an affair early last year.

Alice has regularly posted on social media about her heartbreak.

6Ioan Gruffudd walked out on Alice Evans and their two daughters after starting an affair early last yearCredit: Rex Features

And what has followed is revelations about the intricacies of the split and her ex-husband’s behaviour, as well as insults aimed at his new girlfriend.

Heartache can send us a bit doolally. But it’s now got to the stage that Alice’s ex has felt compelled to take out a restraining order because of her relentless messaging and verbal threats. This has added a new dimension to their separation.

But caught in the midst of all this animosity are two daughters who are being forced to witness their parents tearing strips off each other.

Much of which will be irreparable, regardless of who is to blame.

Sometimes it’s the adults who need to grow up – and stop the self-pitying drama for the sake of the people they love the very most.

Shut your gob now, Vardy

I BET Rebekah Vardy thought her transformation from steely, ambitious Wag to Mother Teresa would be complete when she appeared in her interview for this newspaper and on TalkTV, dressed in vestal white and a make-up-free face.

In an unabashed plea for public sympathy, she was determined to protest her innocence and persuade everyone and anyone that she is, in fact, the victim in the Wagatha Christie affair.

6I bet Rebekah Vardy thought her transformation from steely, ambitious Wag to Mother Teresa would be complete dressed in vestal white and a make-up-free faceCredit: Louis Wood 6Wagatha Christie was a case brought by Vardy despite many pleas for mediation by Coleen RooneyCredit: Getty

Well, I for one ain’t buying any of it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to clear your name, protect your reputation and defend your right to a fair hearing, but what emerged in court – in a case brought by Vardy despite many pleas for mediation by Rooney – was an embarrassingly poor personal testimony and facts so dubious not even BoJo would have attempted to uphold them.

If this was an attempt to restore whatever reputation she might previously have had, it was much misplaced.

The arrogance of Vardy thinking that the rest of us would buy the words of someone who has so damningly been found to be responsible for such a public betrayal of a friend is overwhelming.

Her need for our compassion because she now “thinks she has PTSD” reeked of desperation and failed at the very first hurdle because Vardy doesn’t seem to understand that if you’ve snitched on a friend, it’s not in your gift to say there are no “hard feelings”.

As for her claim of being let down by the legal system, it will leave many people reeling.

Women who’ve been raped and find that only 1.3 per cent of their cases see the light of court – now THEY can claim they’ve been let down by the court system. Not an arrogant wannabe who clearly has ideas above her station and thinks she’s infallible.

Vardy would do well to disappear for a long while, shut her big gob and bury herself in some worthy charity work. Maybe even take a good, hard look at herself.

I’m pretty sure Coleen would love to quote Mother Teresa: “Some people come in our life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons.”


DANIEL Goffey, a Royal Navy engineer, has been accused of forcibly kissing and groping a female colleague at a Navy barbecue.

He has brushed it off, telling a court martial it was something he would have done to a male colleague.

6Daniel Goffey, a Royal Navy engineer, has been accused of forcibly kissing and groping a female colleague at a Navy barbecueCredit: Solent

He also claimed it wasn’t “sexual” on account of his female colleague being a lesbian.

Well, that’s OK, then.

Because basically any sexual assault can only happen between heterosexual people.

In Goffey’s world, it seems it can really only occur if there’s the possibility or potential for there being a sexual interaction, or an attraction, between two people of the opposite sex.

It is a depressing sign of how little progress we’ve made when it comes to men’s attitude towards women, towards sexuality and towards sexual assault.

Greater conversations are now thankfully being had with regard to what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

And I’m not foolish enough to think there will ever be a complete end to men’s abuse of women.

But you’d have hoped that as a 25-year-old Goffey would have shown a greater awareness.

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We know it’s not all men who behave badly.

But it is all men who need to understand they can’t.

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Pedophile dies after drinking cloudy liquid as jury found him guilty of child sexual assault

Next News:

At least 35 killed and 25 wounded in devastating Egypt church fire as flames tear through building during Sunday service

AT least 35 people have died after a huge blaze erupted at a church during a service.

It's feared the death toll could rise as some 25 people have also been left injured after flames tore through the Abu Seifeng Church in Egypt.

1The fire broke out at a church in Giza, EgyptCredit: AFP

According to local media, the congregation had just finished prayer when the blaze broke out.

Several ambulances were rushed to the scene in Giza as firefighters battled to extinguish the raging flames.


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