The madness of the modern dating game
If you can’t find the product you’re looking for, why not sue the shop?
Mrs Slide was fortunate enough to have made the acquaintance of your columnist in the traditional manner and without need of professional help. Times have changed. All couples meet through dating apps these days it seems. But it's a minefield. Divorced mother of three Tereza Burki, for example, unhappy with the matches offered by her dating agency, sued.
True enough, she had paid out £12,600 for the service, so perhaps she felt she had the right to be demanding. She won her case, as Kaya Burgess reports in The Times. The judge ruled that the agency "falsely represented the size of the active membership" (although Burki also had to pay the dating site £5,000 in damages because she incorrectly alleged the operation was a scam in a review).
Kate Mulvey, another lonely heart, knows just how Ms Burki feels. Newly single and on "the wrong side of 50", she handed over £6,000 to a matchmaking agency that promised to "filter out the undesirables, the mediocre and give clients the personal touch", she writes in The Daily Telegraph.
But rather than the "suitably educated and successful professional" she was hoping for, all she got in return for her fee was "an array of terrible matches, a growing sense of alarm and a flaming row in a flash restaurant in Chelsea". One date had "the table manners of a modern-day Baldrick"; another "was so boring he made me want to stick asparagus up my nostrils". Oh dear.
Some readers might now be rolling their eyes and saying "you can't always get what you want", but maybe that's just a tad too harsh, says Jean Hannah Edelstein in The Guardian. After all, single people are constantly targeted by businesses that are not slow to "remind them of their insecurities and promise to help them find true love". At the same time, we are "led to believe that expressing a want for love the most human of desires makes us less lovable". Burki's victory "is a small, albeit highly privileged, strike on behalf of all of us who have ever been made to feel ashamed" for looking for love.
The hard work of dating
Perhaps, but maybe not all the fault lies on the side of the dating agencies. As Rachel Johnson notes in The Mail on Sunday, even the judge in the case noted that "Ms Burki's requirements for a man who would be both a walking wallet and potential babyfather were not modest'".
She needs to understand that, having "already forked out a fortune to an ex-wife or two via the divorce courts", the last thing wealthy older men want "is to risk another woman taking them to the cleaners". In the high-rolling dating game, Johnson suspects men "are hearing not wedding bells but warning bells".
Indeed, we're just going to have to accept that dating in the 21st century is "hard work", says Harriet Minter in The Independent. It surely makes no sense to "bring the courts into romance". After all, if people can sue dating agencies for not finding them appropriate mates, are we all then to "start invoicing Tinder for our bad date"? Are we going to find ourselves sued for "being a terrible date"? Instead of suing, Ms Burki should just have wondered: "maybe it's not them, maybe it's me".
Tabloid money Kate Winslet's moments of doubt
Maybe you think you have been bluffing your way through your career and it is only a matter of time before you are found out and security comes to march you out of the door, says Carole Ann Rice in the Daily Express. If so, you may be suffering from "imposter syndrome". That is where you labour under the delusion that you are lacking what everybody else has in buckets.
Actress Kate Winslet confessed she'd wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot and think, "I can't do this. I am a fraud". Poet Maya Angelou wrote 11 books and still felt like she had hoodwinked the world into believing she could write. Don't compare yourself to others, understand that you are good enough, and keep a "big me up" book of evidence of all your achievements. In short, don't do it to yourself.
Labour MP Dawn Butler is furious with Jamie Oliver, says Brendan O'Neill in The Sun. Not because his crusade for a sugar tax would hike the price of treats. No, she is mad at him because he has committed the crime of "cultural appropriation". "Do you know what Jamaican jerk actually is?" she tweeted to the TV chef in response to Oliver's latest supermarket product, Punchy Jerk Rice. "It's not just a word you put before stuff to sell products."
Two years ago, foodies were up in arms when he put chorizo in paella which the Spanish tend not to do. But what is Oliver supposed to do stick to roast beef and toad-in-the-hole? What a shame it would be if we never dipped into other cultures and experienced their pleasures.
The tide of opinion against the infestation of plastic cups has breached the shores of Westminster in the form of the so-called "latte levy", says Dominic Lawson in the Daily Mail. It may be that a small fixed sum will be added to the cost of a takeaway cup of coffee not that it would make much difference (an estimated 2.5 billion cups of coffee are sold in Britain every year).
If people are crazy enough to pay upwards of £2.50 for a cup of milky foam with an acrid dash of coffee somewhere inside it, they are easily capable of handing over an extra 20p or so without flinching. As the leading American professor on the psychology of addiction, Keith Humphreys, once told me: "The existence of Starbucks is evidence that man is an irrational creature".