The first time I heard about false shocks, I’d been sitting in work gossiping with my friend Darren. Exchanging stories from the weekend and eating a salad the size of a chubby newborn. I’d showed Darren a photo of a guy I’d been chatting to who was also supposed to be popping in that day to say hi (despite not inviting him).

Well…within five minutes, my heart darn near stopped.

“He’s here.” Darren stared deadly serious at the floor. The beat in my chest thumping like a muscle Mary collapsing in Chariots. Cut to me stiff as a statue, mid-bite and lettuce flourishing like an allotment patch from my half-open mouth.

“What? Actually?”
“No girl, I’m just playing.”
Right now I’m about two seconds away from swatting that Cheshire grin off his face. “But don’t you feel so much more relieved now that he’s not here?”
Actually, I did. And when the guy finally did turn up, I was relaxed, nonchalant and care-free; you know the kind of attitude that Helena Bonham Carter has to her hair.


I recall another time I was on my way to meet a guy for a date, being so nervous I nearly soiled myself on the overground. I was so nervous even the hair on my balls was sweating. No but on a serious note, a bit of wee did come out.

When I got off at the stop, I walked to the top of the escalators to find he wasn’t there. And just like before, the nerves vanished quicker than the nation’s respect for anyone in Crocs.

It turns out I’d actually got off a stop early, but it meant that I’d used up all my real nerves on a false shock, so when I did finally get off at the right station, I just emerged off that escalator cool, calm an collected…


So are false shocks a sure-fire way to banish those ‘first meeting nerves’? It’s hard to say, but it’s not very realistic to get off a train a stop early every time you go to meet somebody (and pretend to be surprised when they ain’t there). Cést ridiculouse, ah?
But… it might not be a bad thing to give your friend one if they’re feeling a little nervous. You can also do this by suggesting the worst case scenario, i.e; the date having a clef lip that he had disguised with side-on photos. Or a crop-rotation hair line that he covers with hats? And then he turns up and the guy isn’t all that bad, your friend will suddenly feel totally at ease.

Anyway it’s about making someone really panic, before rapidly bringing them back down to earth; it’s what friends do.

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