The often weird and occasionally wonderful world of online dating provides fascinating insights into human nature.
More importantly, it can offer a load of stories about how guys behave very bizarrely when they are searching for a mate.
Our reporter contacted a number of the women he’s met on Tinder, Bumble and the bewildering jumble sale that is Plenty of Fish.
The ones still talking to him, that is.
They kindly shared their stories of men who frightened, bemused, bored or even sparked feelings of pity.
The only thing these women have in common is that they have all experienced an evening, sometimes more than one evening, out with a journalist working for Derbyshire Live. Remarkably.
They are mostly from the East Midlands, aged between mid 20s and mid 40s, and all their names have been been changed.
Not everyone is comfortable being associated with a journalist, after all.
Do you really need your mum on a date?
This seems to happen more than you’d imagine.
Jenny said: “There was the guy in his late 40s who was a who was already drunk when I arrived on the first date , continued to drink red wine by the gallon on a school night, disclosed he was into raves and then proceeded to take a video call from his mum while we were in the bar.
Sheena said: “I think the worst ones have been the one who asked if he could bring his mum and the one who lied loads on his profile. In our messages, all the pictures he’d sent beforehand were soooo old that I barely recognised him when we did meet.
“He had not aged well.”
Criticising someone’s taste in music is also a really bad idea if you want to establish a rapport.
“One started telling me he couldn’t stand people like me after I said I loved the song that had come on in the bar. Needless to say, the conversation just went downhill after that.”
Your cheatin’ heart
Honesty is the best policy but there are a significant number of men who use dating apps for a bit on the side.
“One listed his extra marital affairs and criminal record within the first few minutes. I guess I should have been grateful for his honesty!” said Sheena.
“There was also a bloke that very politely told me that he was married so was just looking for sex but he’d happily introduce me to his wife first if it made me feel more comfortable.”
This is the kind of comment that could be designed to make someone quite uncomfortable.
Elizabeth said: “The morning after the first night someone stayed over, he told me about his wife over breakfast.
“In hindsight I should have booted him out, but I was in the sex haze and fell for all the ‘separated but arguing over the house b*******’.”
One woman saw a guy on a dating app she knew to be in a relationship and messaged to remind him that he had a wife. He was adamant that he was not up to no good and that no one would find out anyway.
People getting angry
Stephanie said: “I went on a date where at the end the guy told me all about his severe bipolar disorder. I suggested that he shouldn’t take coke and weed if he’s bipolar. He got angry at this.”
The irony of this is that this woman is a neuroscientist and therefore something of an expert on brain function and disfunction.
Some behaviour defies rational explanation. Just because you can complete Rubik’s Cube, doesn’t mean you should take one on every date to demonstrate your skill. People rarely warm to show offs.
Elizabeth said: “First date, casual game of tennis planned. He was a county player and showed no mercy and completely thrashed me.
“I have been on other tennis dates where they have clearly been much better than me but we just had a fun knock around. This guy enjoyed thrashing me!
“Not an appealing character trait.”
Sportsmen take note.
Jenny, another tennis fan, was equally bemused by an aggressive line of questioning on a date.
“There was the guy who worked in motorsport, obviously extremely driven and competitive who thought that it was appropriate to hammer me with questions with a serious face on.
“Referring to my love of tennis, as soon as I sat down and his first question was ‘so why doubles, not singles?’
“It felt like an interview. Needless to say I didn’t get the job and I didn’t want it.”
Please, please, please, refrain from sending k*** pics
Seriously, why do people do this?
Nina said: “I’ve been sent loads of k**b pics.”
The suggestion that she just has one of those faces proved unhelpful.
Not everyone has the misfortune to be inundated with obscene images though.
“I’ve never been sent one,” said Anna, feigning disappointment.
“Am I not k**bworthy?”
She was joking, by the way. Please avoid sending anyone pictures of your junk.
You will get arrested.
Sheena said: “There was also a bloke that asked for my number before we met so he could send me some of his nature photography via WhatsApp and in the midst of the 10 or so pictures was a d*** pic. And it was tiny! *Crying with laughter emoji*”
Of course, this might’ve been an oversight. But probably not.
Is it ever okay to send an obscene picture to a woman?
Christine said: “Well, you’d need to be in a sexual relationship with someone already but even then it’s a bit of a grey area…”
She was being polite. It’s a ‘no’.
Remember, gentlemen, sending obscene pictures can land you in court, get you a criminal record and, as a special bonus, even a listing on the Sex Offender Register.
Not a great look.
Remember, what you might consider charming or funny could be considered illegal in the eyes of the criminal justice system.
Elizabeth said: “I was chased down the street by a bloke yelling ‘I just want to kiss you!’ I just turned round and screamed at him to f*** off. He did.”
It’s worth noting that people who appear normal while chatting online can turn out to be proper weirdos.
Jane said: “I’ve had men call me names. One called me a b**** for not wanting a second date and because he saw I was online and not talking to him.
“I had another guy say he was going to commit suicide as he was in love with me and I didn’t want to see him again. That date had only lasted 30 minutes and he’d managed to fall in love with me during that time. I sent him the link to Samaritans.
“I had one guy download my picture from the dating site, use Google image search to find me on FB then message me there and threatened to message all my FB friends. I blocked him and learnt never to use the same pictures on dating sites as you use on other social media.”
She threatened to report him to the police and take out a restraining order.
“It was an empty threat. And if you took out restraining orders for every weirdo that threatens you on a dating site, well…”
Remember, gentlemen, you have no entitlement to a woman’s time or attention. This is an important point. Learn how to let go.
Fiona said: “One guy assumed that just because he’d come all the way from Northampton then I’d sleep with him. He was wrong.”
Leah said: “One weirdo messaged and offered me £5,000 to sleep with him. Unsurprisingly, I declined.”
How do these people get through life?
At the other end of the spectrum are those guys who appear completely freaked out in the presence of an actual living woman.
Elizabeth said: “First date at open air theatre, sun was shining he had made a picnic, lovely. Until he told me he was signed off sick for six months because he was scared of open plan offices.”
She appears to attract the shy type.
“I went out for dinner and my date was too shy to speak to the waiter! I have no idea how he made it out of the house. He was very sweet but not really what I was looking for. How can it be that scary? How do these people get through life?”
Kathy said: “An hour into dinner with a guy off Plenty of Fish, giving me one-word answers, I went to the toilet and rang my friend to come and rescue me. She turned up pretending to be in distress as her boyfriend of three years had dumped her! I made my apologies and he left!
“The bar manager had noticed and felt so sorry for me having to make conversation with someone who wasn’t playing the game, that he gave us a free bottle of wine.
“You would think he wouldn’t have messaged me again but the next morning he text me to say what a great time he had. I couldn’t believe it!”
She also had a serious wardrobe issue on one date.
“One guy took me to London for a few dates but it all changed however when he turned up to pick me up and he was wearing the same jumper as I was wearing. A girl’s jumper!”
Occasionally, guys, your attempts to compliment a woman go wrong and scupper your chances to live happily ever after.
Elizabeth said: “Having lunch on a first date a guy said ‘wow I can’t believe how much you eat’.”
Oh mate, had you ever spoken to a woman before?
Happily ever after?
Elizabeth said: “You’re probably thinking ‘Is she a terrible judge of character to have even gone on a date with these guys?’ I feel it is worth stressing here that these guys all came across as totally decent in their profiles and in online chat.”
So, what’s the key to surviving the online dating jungle?
Rachel said: “Sense of humour, strong boundaries, possibilities or a full life offline and people to share the nonsense with are key to keeping it in perspective and not being treated poorly.
“Easier said than done sometimes though.”