As I walked down the A24 in Clapham one Tuesday evening last year, I passed a bar that brought a memory of a crap date flooding back. We realised within minutes that we had nothing in common, save for speaking English and being a bit lonely, and were doomed to spend a long, excruciating evening together. The silences became yawning chasms. She was from Wigan, and I actually heard myself saying, in a moment of barrel-scraping desperation: "So, what's Wigan like, then?"

I posted this mournful tale on Twitter, cut back to the requisite 140 characters. A couple of people sent theirs back, and I reposted them. Soon, the combined wit of the Twitter community generated a glorious collection of stories, which went viral; by the end of that week a quarter of a million people across the world had come to read the tweets and, in many cases, share their own.

Now the best of those stories has been collected together in a book, along with a slightly cynical guide to some of the most typical crap date scenarios. But I'm not that cynical, really. I do believe that we'll bump into the right person eventually. But in the meantime, let's keep reassuring each other that it's not us with the problem. It's them.

Rhodri Marsden
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