For a dating columnist, I’m useless at flirting, says Annie Lord in British Vogue. Last weekend I went to a party with the sole intention of seducing someone. I put on my best dress, vowed not to drink more than a bottle of wine and marched into the night, determined to flirt. It didn’t take much for my plans to unravel. “I drank and then I drank a bit more”, and soon I was blathering nonsense at anyone who would listen. One would-be suitor listened to me wang on about how much I liked his Scottish accent for 25 minutes before interrupting: “Annie, babe, I’m Irish.”
But who cares? Yes, it scuppers my romantic prospects. “A lot of the time, people want me to shut up.” But sometimes you chat to a willing listener and end up making friends instead. “I love it when it works and they smile at me and they ask for my Instagram and they say to someone I know, ‘I love your friend, Annie!’, and we hold hands on the way to the loo, and invite each other to things. To me it’s better than sex.”
An Austen dating show
Filming has started for a Jane Austen-themed reality TV show where romantic hopefuls court each other at a country house. Amorous activities will include archery skills, carriage rides and letter writing. It’s not your usual dating-show fare, says Jane Shilling in the Telegraph. Applicants had to supply “a photo with a complete body shot” and an explanation of why “chivalry is important to them”.
But Austen makes perfect sense for romantic reality telly. After all, her characters “encompass every imaginable romantic personality”. There’s timid Fanny Price, sad singleton Anne Elliot, ruthless pragmatist Charlotte Lucas and “the determinedly up-for-it Lydia Bennet – who would have found a natural home on Love Island”.
A new form of couples therapy
In lockdown, cooped-up couples had to find ways to cope, says Samuel Sims in Vice. Some screamed into their pillows, some gave each other space. Others have found “more unconventional ways of managing: taking loads of coke together and chatting it out, apparently”. It’s like couples therapy, says 24-year-old Rachel (not her real name). “We have more honest, intimate conversations, like about whether we want kids or not.” Her 27-year-old boyfriend says he feel “like a changed man”. To each their own.