Don’t date crew

Speaking of guidelines, I have another addition to the handbook, this time courtesy of my flatmate’s friend R.

Don’t date crew.

Say, for example, you’re in a bar, and the person serving you is really attractive. There is no point in even attempting to flirt with them, according to R, because the number of potential encounters and dates they could have by virtue of their position far outweigh the likelihood of you making a good enough impression to stand out.

To you, they are the one person who can serve you your gin and tonic to perfection, and therefore ARE perfection.

To them you are just another (possibly drunk) punter at the bar.

Apparently this rule can apply to anyone who works in a profession where they might meet more people than you, or whose job it is to be highly sociable.

Celebrities fall into this category, as do all performers and entertainers. People who work in the service industry – waiters, baristas, bar staff – clearly do. So does the man who hands out your free Evening Standard/Shortlist/Stylist/City AM/Sport/Metro in the morning. You are just one pretty smile among hundreds.

Next level down, I suppose you could include people in media – journalists, PRs and photographers – whose job it is to be charming and interested in you, and who meet people in a professional capacity regularly, if not every day.

I’ve definitely found myself switching into journalist mode on some of my dates – the point where I know that there’s no spark, but plan on having a nice time anyway, and so ask interested questions, make witty observations and laugh politely at every joke – as if I’m seeking out the killer quote that will make the headline that will make people read the entire feature. Even if all you are talking about is your last skiing holiday, or how you plan on redecorating in the New Year.

Obviously, if you fall into one of these people-facing categories, then to date someone who’s your equivalent is completely fine. If you’re the barista at the coffee cart outside the Tube station and you fall madly in love with the person in the Ticket Office, you’re on a par. Or if you’re the prima ballerina and you are besotted with the lead opera singer at the theatre over the road. Or a journalist who ends up getting together with a photographer. These all work.

It’s not a rule, so much as a rule of thumb. Clearly solicitors can woo waiters and hedge fund managers can court newspaper vendors. But it’s probably not wise to imagine that when the person you buy your sandwich from every lunchtime smiles nicely at you it’s for any reason other than it’s their job.


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