> Sweaty palms, forced conversation and making an absolute tit of yourself; student advice in the minefield of courtship

When it comes to dating we all seem a bit lost when it comes to the opposite sex. How we interact with other  genders appears to depend on a number of factors. ; do girls with 34JJ sized boobs in a lycra dress actually turn a guy on? Do females swoon at a man wearing a checked shirt and skinny jeans?

Let’s travel through the world of dating in chronological order. You’ve arrived at the bar and been struck dumb by the love of your life; we form  an opinionof someone within about five seconds of clapping eyes on them. In the past it was just the girls who were thee looks obsessed ones, but now it seems guys are joining in on the action too.

So what style works for us? Jamie Anderson, 20, studies English and Journalism and believes “if the girl’s good looking it doesn’t really matter what she’s wearing, Jessica Alba would still look hot wearing a bin bag.” According to 18 year old Rosa Sherwood, it’s a different story; the Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies student believes that “a guy who looks stylish and cool wearing designer clothes” is the look to make her head turn. As students, maybe designer attire isn’t an option, but it does prove how times have changed and that guys now prim their hair and enjoy shopping just as much as  girls. It would seem that the stereotype is officially dead.

Now, back to your game: you’re making your way over to the object of your desire, and suddenly realise you have to interact with them. Small talk can be tough enough during an actual date, and now you need to somehow spark up a conversation from nowhere. James Web, 22, studies Journalism and Criminology and says “chat up lines never work, I usually just buy the girl a drink and that’s normally fine”. However, 19 year old Safia Yallaoui, studying Journalism, Media and Cultural studies, says “if a guy ever uses a chat up line on me I just think ‘get a life’. They’re just so annoying and cheesey”. When playing the dating game, the best advice is just to try and find a common interest and enjoy the flirting.

So, the guy or girl has said yes to a date, and the choice of location is your first chance to show them what you’re made of.  A first date can reveal a lot about the type of person who planned it; Geography student Will Harvey, 22, admits “I would take her out for a casual drink at a nice bar because it’s relaxed and you can get to know each other”.

In general it seems we want somewhere we can feel at ease, which isn’t surprising request really – you’re essentially talking about new things with a stranger, and taking them to a place you know well means you can control at least one aspect of the date. On the other end of the scale, 20 year old English and Journalism student Emillie Forrest Jones says “I’d probably choose to go to the cinema. Then you don’t need to talk and afterwards you can just talk about the film. You have to avoid awkward silences at all costs”. 

Now, the last phase of the game has come. Even if you’ve survived the whole night without spitting out food, snorting when laughing or punching an usher, not many of us are clear about how to deal with the big finish. Lean in for the kiss, or not? Invite them in for the symbolic coffee? The end of a date is a minefield of potential embarrassment and rejection. Christina Smith, 22, who studies English and History, thinks that “a peck on the cheek is fine. You want to play hard to get a little, and if the other person had fun then they will definitely get in touch!” However, Russell Heideman, studying Product Design, reckons “just go for it! If they are into you, then great, and if not then at least you know.”

Sarah Adams