Boy, can this guy talk. Blah. Blah. Yada. Yada. Yada. And on and on.

At one point when I try to say something he holds his hand out to me and says “Wait” while he finishes his gloriously boring tale of how he’s far outdoing his colleagues at work, getting in with the boss and achieving outstanding results.

Wow, what a guy. I should snap him up, right?

If only he’d let me get a word in edgeways that is.

It’s not that he’s unattractive or uninteresting… he’s great. Of course he is – that’s why he wants to tell me all about it. We have things in common (not that he would have noticed) and I’d love to go to his allotment with him. I really would. But as he self-aggrandises, I diminish into nothing more than a nodding doll.

Sadly, this is not my only experience of going on dates with guys who have the chatterbox bug. I’m not feisty or gobby enough to tell him just to shut up; so I feel trampled on and suffocated.

When I do get to say something, he practically shouts me down and offers me a five-point plan of how to fix the minor dilemma I’ve brought into the conversation. Even when I try to discuss something, he wants to control what I’m presenting – he wants to put me and my ‘issues’ in a box.

As I march my way home, I get increasingly wound up by how overbearing he was. Nerves are one thing, but this was a tirade of words and I’ve been left shipwrecked in its wake. By the time I get home I’m furious. Just who does this guy think he is? What makes him think he has all the great ideas to change the world? My poor housemates endure a 30-minute rant before I storm off to bed.

Maybe there is something deeper here about how I feel, as a woman, being effectively silenced, albeit in a coffee shop in Covent Garden. After all, that sexism thing is all over now, right? Women are equal to men. ‘Yes!’ we all cry. But in moments like these, I don’t feel that. I feel that the guy thinks he is better than me. He’s taken up all the space, and time, with his stories and witticisms, so where does that leave me?

Guys, listen up! (Literally). Ask some questions and not just for the purposes of ticking off the top five from your list (Christian? Tick. Wants children? Tick. Would consider living overseas? Tick. Likes rock-climbing? Difficult to ascertain). You’re there to get to know a person, aren’t you? Not an idealised version you’ve built up in your mind of a perfect wife. Give them space to talk; to be who they are and shine.

If you find yourself deep in an entangled monologue about your family problems and your tea has got cold/beer’s got warm, you’ve probably been talking for too long. Women are often good listeners so they might have been encouraging you with affirming nods while secretly dying inside. (Ladies, it would be wise to take more control of the situation here too. Note to self).

I appreciate it could be the nerves, so take some deep breaths, don’t drink too much (because you really aren’t as funny as you think after five glasses of wine) and write the letter ‘L’ on your palm to remind yourself to ‘Listen’.

If you get home and realise you actually know nothing about the person you’ve just been out with, other than which tube line they take home, you probably didn’t ask enough questions, let alone listen to the responses.

Ok, guys – am I being too harsh? Have you had the opposite experience with a girl?

Ladies, am I the only one who’s been talked down and walked over before being pecked on the cheek at the end of the night?

Written by Girl About Town

She's a girl about town, doing her thing, trying to find her way. She has a tendency to gravitate to socially awkward situations and those conversations you just don't want to be a part of. She's great at her job and has loads of friends - she'd just like to meet a special kind of guy to lark about in the park with, have adventures with and who knows, maybe more...

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