Rhodri Marsden: Witnesssing an inadvisable act of romantic sabotage

Life on Marsden


If a swanky bar guarantees to "take the drinker on a journey of discovery", I'm going to walk in, order something with a pretentious name and wait for something to happen. A young, slim, smooth-skinned couple on a date sashayed in five minutes after me and sat at the adjoining table; they coyly played with their hair, laughed self-consciously and mentally marked each other out of 10 for grace, charm and likelihood of being a serial bigamist.

After a while the guy excused himself politely to visit the bathroom.

But on returning, in a staggering breach of dating protocol, he put his index finger under her nose and said "smell this". She had little choice but to comply; she instinctively recoiled, but not far enough to avoid the aroma of his finger. If his grand strategic plan was to get her to smell his finger, he'd just played a blinder.

He'd triumphed. But at what cost? Commanding people to smell things is no way to ingratiate yourself. The only situation where it might be acceptable is during some kind of party game where pairs of contestants have to guess odours, blindfolded, against the clock, which I don't think even exists but could conceivably enliven a dull Boxing Day.

But this was a date. Imploring your date to smell your finger, or pull your finger, or do pretty much anything with your finger, is an inadvisable act of romantic sabotage. Romeo was very careful not to tell Juliet to smell his finger. Wedding vows, even modern ones, don't include a promise to regularly smell each other's fingers for evermore. Eric Clapton's hastily scribbled first version of the song Wonderful Tonight did not read: "We go to a party and everyone turns to see / this beautiful lady that's walking around with me / And then she asks me, 'Do you feel all right?' / And I say, 'Smell my finger'."

So next time you're on a date and you go to the bathroom and find some gorgeously scented soap in the dispenser, and you come away with the delicate perfume of almond or rosehip on your hands, don't return and thrust your fingers into the face of your blameless companion. Say, "they have rather nice soap here, you know," then segue into a conversation topic chosen from my best-selling pamphlet, Mildly Excruciating Dating Chat for the Socially Awkward.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own