Rhodri Marsden Tells Us Why He Tweeted About His Bad Date and Spawned an Internet Sharing Circle
Yesterday we wrote of Rhodri Marsden's bad date tweet, a tweet that spawned some next-level seriously epic bad date tweets -- a sharing circle, if you will, now being housed at crapdate.com -- all the better to reflect upon your own bad dates and feel either better or worse, or just laugh, which generally does make a person feel better, at least temporarily. We got in touch with the London-based Marsden, who also happens to be a writer ("Mainly for The Independent") and a member of the band Scritti Politti (and others), to ask him what he thought of the fervor that's ensued from his initial tweet.
Tell us about that initial date, the one that set this off... That date was back in early 2002. It was still at the stage when doing internet dating was something you didn't like to talk about; admitting that you went out in the evening to have drinks with someone you'd never met before was like telling people you had a contagious disease. But you could tell that it was becoming a "thing," because journalists were doing first-person pieces about it. In fact, I had three dates with a woman who I thought was utterly lovely, but she eventually revealed that she was just doing it to write about the experience for a Sunday paper. Gah. We're friends now, fortunately.
Was the 2002 date the worst date you've been on? Back then the etiquette wasn't established -- in fact, I'm not sure if etiquette is established even now, but we've developed ways of dealing with awkward situations -- so you were kind of doomed to spend long, excruciating evenings with people you had precious little in common with. That was one of those evenings. I'm terrible at small talk in any case; the dream is that you'll hook up with someone you chat with effortlessly, isn't it, but most of the time you'll just end up asking people where they're from, really tedious personal history questions. Like a really bad chat show. Anyway, I found myself asking this girl, who was from Wigan, "So, what's Wigan like?" I shuddered at the memory, and tweeted about it. And the floodgates opened. People were reassuringly eager to share their misery.
Have you been on any dates since? Any Tweetworthy? Oh, plenty. I took 2002-2009 off, having met someone wonderful online, but now I'm occasionally doing the dating thing. I wouldn't tweet about it -- I've got 11,000 followers on there (16,000 since this date-tweet explosion), and it would be just horribly indiscreet. I'm happy to tweet about my own dysfunctional personality, but I can't go pointing the finger at someone who might read it.
What do you think about the bad date tweet responses you've gotten? So funny. I was breathless with hysteria. I'm really lucky to be followed by some tremendously funny people that make the Twitter experience a total delight. I wasn't surprised that people made me laugh -- that happens all the time -- but the sheer volume of responses was amazing. The number of responses probably hit a thousand or so; the Storify currently holds just over 200 of the best ones.
What do you think will come of this? Book deal? More dates? I'd hate to get myself a book deal by piggybacking on other people's tweets, but if the whole copyright thing can be sorted out, it would be a nice thing to do. And a great little Christmas book. A few publishers have been in touch, so we'll see. Dating? Inevitably. It's boring sitting around at weekends otherwise, isn't it?
What would be your ideal date? If it's the right person, what you're doing and where you're doing it pales into insignificance, doesn't it? I could come up with some fantastic description of a yacht scenario in the south of France or whatever, but I'd rather be sitting on the top deck of a London bus with someone who noticed something preposterous written on the side of a building at exactly the same moment as I did, said to me, "Did you see that," heard me reply "yes," and shared with me that moment of hysterical mirth. Listen to me, I almost sound romantic.
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