Whatever you do, don't discuss Kafka on your first date

Related Topics
WELL, how far should you go on a date? This column has never shrunk from big topics, so we have hired an international agony aunt, Aunt Mildred, for some advice.

Dear Aunt Mildred,

I recently took a girl out for a meal and half-way through she said to me: 'Be honest - are your intentions honourable in asking me out for this meal?' And I said to her: 'I'll be honest with you - no, they are not honourable. I have every intention of making you pay for your half of the meal, and then scarpering off afterwards without so much as a goodnight kiss.' So we laughed at this, and it sort of broke the ice, and we got on well after that. One thing led to another and the bill came and I made her pay her half and then scarpered off into the night without so much as a goodnight kiss. Now she rings up constantly asking me out for another meal and has even offered to pay for me. What should I do?

Aunt Mildred writes: The trouble is that if you let her pay for the meal, she is going to expect something in return. The price you may have to pay is that of friendship. This is sometimes referred to as 'date companionship'. Once you have started letting her pay for things, you will find her ringing up at all hours to have long chats, coming round to clean your flat, cooking things for you and suggesting books you might read. Before you go on another date, go to a solicitor and have a form drawn up stating your intentions.

Dear Aunt Mildred,

How will this help?

Aunt Mildred writes: It won't, but if you tell her what you have done, she will not overstep the boundaries.

Dear Aunt Mildred,

Recently I was at a girl's flat for a cup of coffee and one thing led to another, and before we knew it we were discussing Kafka's novels, and I said it was most unfair of Kafka to expect his father to like his writing as almost everything he wrote was a disguised condemnation of his father; it was a bit like Freud getting upset because his mother didn't like his theories on the Oedipus complex, and we were having a really constructive debate, when suddenly she burst out in a temper and said: 'Friendship, friendship, friendship, friendship] That's all you men ever think about] What I want is excitement, and four white horses, and a bottle of bubbly at dawn, and men fighting duels over me, and a bit of hotcha- cha, and parachutes falling out of the sky with boxes of chocolates tied to the end]' and then she asked me to go home. What should I have done?

Aunt Mildred writes: Oh, dear. You have committed what is sometimes called 'date literary discussion'. This means that without asking a girl's permission, you have obliged her to think about the cosmic implications of some writer that you are keen on. Permissible with Roald Dahl or some such safe author, perhaps, but with Kafka we are getting on to intimate ground, and it is generally accepted that you should at all stages find out if the girl wants to talk about Kafka, or has read enough Kafka to warrant a conversation.

Dear Aunt Mildred,

I have been going steady with a boy for a year or two, but he has never asked me to his place for a meal till now; well, I have been there, and we've sort of had snacks, or a take-away, but we've never gone all the way, because I don't think it's right before marriage to let a boy do the cooking. Anyway, last week I finally let him cook me a meal, and half-way through he suddenly said he wanted to marry me and why didn't we have children together and his career at the bank was blossoming and what about it? And I stared down at my steak and broccoli and pommes lyonnaise and said, without thinking: 'This meat is too pink for my taste' and he went red and stormed off, and I haven't seen him since. Help]

Aunt Mildred writes: You are technically guilty of 'date criticism', which, when your opinion has not been asked for, can be highly offensive to the sensitive soul. I would now take him out to a restaurant, where you can talk things through without feeling threatened by the food.

Dear Aunt Mildred,

I first met my wife in 1949, in the days of rationing, and we used to do our courting in milk bars] After my National Service, we got married and had a lovely family of three children, and we now have nine grandchildren (and a great-grand-one on the way]) but our retirement days have been overshadowed by my wife suddenly announcing that she never intended to marry me and that she just got carried away by the glamour of going to milk bars. Now she is talking about a divorce. What should I do?

Aunt Mildred writes: Hmm. Sounds to me as if you are guilty of what we now call 'date marriage'. I suggest you get in touch with a good solicitor as soon as possible.

React Now

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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam