The Worst First Date There’s Ever Been

What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on? Emma Tonny is prepared to wager that it won’t top hers and, quite honestly, we’re inclined to agree. Most of have had a bad date or two but this really does take the prize…

I met a man at a friend’s party, he didn’t seem like an obvious sociopath, so we kept talking over the coming weeks. Turns out he’s the worst kind of sociopath: the kind that isn’t obvious.

I had a rare few days off from work and thought: spontaneity’s good right? You’re supposed to be impulsive in your early 20’s. Wrong. Wrong! WRONG! Well, not entirely wrong. The principle is actually fairly sound, but it is a risk and, in this instance, the pay out just wasn’t there. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and at the time it felt like a boldly romantic gesture to plan a last-minute trip to go and visit him.

I felt like we’d completely clicked when we first met but in retrospect that was probably just the alcohol. To this day, I’m not sure if I caught him at a bad time, he just hated me on (second) sight or there is honestly such a thing is two people being fundamentally incompatible.

The first thing that happened was that he moved our meeting from lunch to dinner. When you’ve travelled to see someone that’s kind of a big deal and left me with a lot of time to kill. The second thing that happened was that he told me he’d already eaten as he’s had to work late. Erm right, so we’re not having lunch or dinner? I’m a massive foodie so this did not sit well with me.

I’m British, female and middle class, however, so obviously I didn’t have the guts to complain- I just agreed to drinks at a bar. He chose a busy chain and went on to complain about how over priced the place was. In fact, he complained about money a lot. It’s absolutely fine to not have money but do we really need to talk about it constantly? My initial suggestion had been strawberries and wine in the park: cheap, romantic and fun. He’d picked a pricey place so why keep grumbling?

The evening deteriorated rapidly from there. At one point he hinted that we wouldn’t be seeing each other again in the future. Now, if I’d thought about it rationally, that was probably true. But we’d been talking every day for two months and I was riding the high of my impulsive decision to go and visit him. I wasn’t expecting to date, but I was kinda thinking we might see one another again- you know? The hurt obviously showed in my face and at that point he switched. It was like he lost all sympathy for me and stopped any pretence of being nice.

Suddenly feeling very alone in an unknown city I considered the option that maybe a hotel was a better option than staying with him. The problem? My phone had died, and my credit card was only helpful in so far as reminding me how broke I was. Trying to calm myself, I reminded myself that he was close with some of my best friends- how bad could he be?

Turns out, pretty bad. On the way back to his, I stopped to stroke a kitten; only to look up and find him glaring down at me. You don’t like animals, I asked. His reply? I just don’t really understand why you’re touching a filthy stray. What. The. Actual. Fuck. Who knew there were men in this world who don’t like kittens?

Having endured a forty-five-minute walk filled with the most uncomfortable conversation you can imagine, he asked if he should buy condoms. I’m not kidding. This really happened. He specifically detailed to me the price of said condoms and the extra length of the walk to get to them- managing to make me feel like a prostitute he was having to pay for. In a shocking turn of events, I told him not to bother.

Don’t: travel to see someone you barely know; it’s almost definitely not worth it.

Do: remind yourself that however bad things get, at least you have girl friends you can call on.

What I learnt: that I can survive the worst date in the world.

Why I Want to Shave My Head, Rip Out My Uterus, and Join Pussy Riot

An anonymous contributor shares their frustration at the way women are limited and contained in their ambitions. A woman’s purpose in life is not to reproduce and whether it is family pressure or death threats you face - women’s experience of this pressured purpose should be shared.

I was raised as an incubator.

It was in the commercials selling me Zapf Creation “baby born” toys as a 5-year-old.

It was in the comments of a school teacher at nursery, who told me off for crying and “embarrassing” a boy who kissed me without asking.

It was in the warnings of a headmistress that “some bad things happen only to girls, so you need to be extra careful”. We were 10.

It was in the sexual education classes that didn’t mention periods could be irregular (yes, Brian Kemp, that means periods can easily and often be 6 weeks apart.)

It was in the fact we even have periods: bloody, painful reminders of our “purpose”.

It was in the stigma against pixie cuts at school, in case boys didn’t want you anymore.

It was in the many, many, MANY derogatory comments about lesbian couples I heard from my parents and classmates.

It was in my first experience of sexual harassment, aged 17 (a whole 4 years later than some of my female classmates).

It was in my first experience of sexual coercion, aged 18.

It was in my first experience of sexual assault, aged 20. Again, much later than some friends.

(But not unexpected. 1 in 5 women in a room with you, at any given time, have experienced some form of sexual assault. So shut the fuck up about “woke feminism”.)

It was in the “not all men” I heard spouted every time I mentioned this society’s emphasis on my vagina and role as an incubator.

It was in the phrase “when you have children”, said to me by my mother. I’m not even 25. I’m not in a relationship. How the fuck should I know that’s how my life will turn out? Why should I want it?

It was in the fact I only learnt what the “baby blues” were, TODAY.

It was in jokes about how Meghan Markle dared to position her own body, hands on her bump, while pregnant.

It was in another “pro-life” bill in the States, that takes away a woman’s control of her body. Drives them to coat hangers. Drives them to throw themselves off buildings. Drives them to rip their uterus out of their bodies or die trying. Drives them to wish for a baby, but not like this.

It’s in the fact a mother’s safety, her choice over where to give birth, what she eats, how she lives, how she moves, is always deemed secondary to what is “best for baby”.

It’s in the raw fear I feel to have the sex I want, because of my body’s ability to reproduce. Like a dirty fucking animal.

It’s in the fact that if a man missed his pill, if such a thing existed, the burden would still rest with me.

It’s in the “not all men” you will hear again now. It’s a whisper in the air. “Toxic”, “Unshaggable”, “Feminist”.

Fight back. RESIST. Women compartmentalise, because we have to. Because we’ve been taught to.

But some of our sisters don’t have that luxury. We fight for THEIR right to control their own bodies, as well as to have control over our own. We are more than just incubators.

Top Five Therapeutic Benefits of Cooking

Cooking can be both creative and calming. It’s an important skill for people to develop and can help lower your budget, relax your mind and bring you closer to others. So, why is cooking so theraputic?

I recently started working at a Youth Zone with children who have been excluded from mainstream schools. It’s a challenging and very rewarding role that looks a little different every day. As well as delivering an academic curriculum, I teach basic life skills – including cooking. The joy, comical mess-ups and learning experiences are endless. It got me thinking about how therapeutic cooking can be for us all – and what we have to learn from it.


1.       Sense of accomplishment

There is an amazing feeling of accomplishment once you have completed a dish – especially in the early days of cooking when it can feel like quite a challenge. The skills of following instructions, seeing something through to the end and following guidance are all important ones. Focusing on a single task in such a focused way is a cathartic experience for many people.


2.       Patience

Cooking takes time and patience. Learning to zone in on the moment and complete repetitive tasks like chopping, sieving and frying can take away the day’s pressures. These skills can be applied to so many other areas and brings a patience to your days in genera;


3.       Lessoning the economic strain

Most of us worry about money on one level or another. Eating out and takeaways are some of the quickest ways to drain your budget. A simple way to save is to cook in and enjoy the process of making food. Trust me, there’s nothing more therapeutic than a healthy bank balance.


4.       Experimentation and creativity

Cooking isn’t all about rule following. Even in baking there is room for creativity when decorating and presenting your triumphs. In most other forms of cooking there is endless room for variation, depending on your tastes and dietary needs. Experimenting during cooking can be enormous fun, and it really doesn’t matter if it doesn’t go perfectly right every time.


5.       Sharing food when you’ve finished

Sharing food with friends and families is one of the great joys of life and is such a calming, joyful experience. There is such a feeling of pride in being able to provide for your loved ones. So, take the time to calm, cook, create and share those creations with your nearest and dearest.