We’ve all spent time daydreaming about the perfect date, so this Valentine’s Day we wanted to have a bit of fun and with the aid of some experts in the art of storytelling have created some great stories just for you.
We've teamed up with some top romance novelists Nicky Wells, Fiona Gibson, Talli Roland and Jane Lovering to bring some of our Twitter followers’ #mentallydating stories to life. The lucky participants got regular instalments of their personal dating story on Twitter throughout February with the final episode revealed to them on Valentine’s Day.
So now it’s time for you to put your feet up, make yourself a cup of tea and settle down with the great reads below.
Georgia + Pete
By Talli Roland
Georgia didn’t even have time to cry ‘ouch’ before the rugby ball bounced off her head.
As her vision faded to black, she could barely make out her good friend, Pete, reaching out to catch her.
‘Pete, I’ve always wondered what would happened if we dated.’ The words left her mouth as stars swam before her eyes.
Georgia sat up, horrified. Had she said that aloud? Thankfully, Pete was nodding and smiling.
‘You know, I’ve wondered that, too,’ he said. ‘Would you like to go out tonight and give it a try?’
Georgia nodded, a huge grin on her face despite the pounding of her head. ‘I’d love to.’
That evening, Georgia slipped on the dress she knew Pete liked, and tried to cover her black eye resulting from the rugby ball.
They’d known each other for ages, so she wasn’t nervous… just excited. Oh, here he was! God, he scrubbed up well.
Everything about the date felt so natural. Georgia couldn’t remember ever laughing that much – she even forgot her black eye!
The night ended, and Pete leaned down to kiss her. Phwoar! That was definitely something she wanted to experience again.
Thank goodness they’d given dating a go. And all it had taken was one rogue rugby ball and one black eye to bring them together.
Tina + Josh
By Talli Roland
Tina ran her eyes over the match.com profile. ‘I sing like Josh Groban,’ the man said. Bonus!
She’d always dreamed of the celebrity serenading her, so – fingers shaking – she got in touch straightaway.
Over posh fish and chips, she met Jon, who looked so much like her dream singer, she could scarcely believe it wasn’t him."
They smiled and laughed, each sharing the other’s humour. She’d had a fab time, but still she dreamed of Josh.
The next day, Jon emailed to say how lovely their date had been, and would she go out with him next Friday?
Tina’s jaw dropped. Friday? She’d planned to see Josh in concert then. The show was sold out, but she still hoped for tickets.
Heart heavy, she emailed back and told Jon she was busy.
That evening, as she walked home from her office job, she wondered if she’d made a mistake. Should she have said yes?
As Friday dawned, she still didn’t have tickets. The day dragged, and she was about to head home when the office door opened.
It was Jon! Her heart raced as he opened his mouth and started singing one of her favourite Josh songs. The office applauded.
Tina was glad she hadn’t made the concert. There was nowhere else she’d rather be. ‘I’m free tonight, after all,’ she said.
Becca + Channing
By Talli Roland
‘Oh, I so needed this!’ Becca said to her friend as they piled into one of London’s most exclusive spas.
‘Becca and Kirsty?’ the therapist asked. ‘I have you booked in for a massage. We'll do you in the same room so you can chat.'
Becca followed her friend into the change area. She ducked to the loo, and when she came out, Kirsty was gone.
Assuming Kirsty was in the treatment room, Becca went to join her, lying on a table beside the towel-clad figure of her friend.
Becca lay face down, sighing as the masseuse dug into her shoulders. ‘Ah, that’s wonderful.’
‘Kirst,’ Becca asked in a haze of relaxation, ‘do you think I’ll ever find my dream man?’ Kirsty was silent.
‘I’m only asking for someone resembling Channing Tatum, with a heart of gold,’ Becca continued. ‘That can’t be too much.’
There was a grunt from the other massage table, and Becca gave up conversation and lay back to enjoy the massage.
The massage ended. Becca sat up, stunned to see the person on the other massage table wasn’t her friend. It was Channing Tatum!
‘I hope you find your dream man,’ he said, smiling. ‘Maybe you’ll meet him at my premiere tonight?’
Becca grinned with excitement. ‘I didn’t expect this when I came for a massage. Thanks, I’ll see you tonight.’
Jenny + Hot geeks
By Fiona Gibson
Jenny loves comics but she's not looking for a superhero.
If she were to encounter Superman, she'd secretly hope he'd turn back into Clark Kent. Who reminds her of a certain man she sees in the library. The hot geek, she calls him secretly. They've never spoken.
She's desperate to start a conversation, but it's so darn quiet in there. Makes a girl a bit self-conscious.
She returns her books and – yes! He's here. She makes for the section where he's flicking through a novel.
Jenny pretends to browse. When she turns around he hands her a book and says, 'I think you'd really enjoy this one.'
'Really?' she laughs. 'How d'you know?’
He smiles shyly. 'Um, I just thought…' 'It looks great,' she says quickly. 'I'll let you know what I think.'
She leaves, wondering if he'll be there next time. What if she never sees him again?
That night, as Jenny curls up in bed with the book, a scrap of paper falls out, on which he's written: Beautiful girl in the library… call me sometime? Their story starts here…
Lucy + Daniel
By Fiona Gibson
As an agony aunt Lucy's clued up about relationships. She knows that #mentallydating can be good for a girl… sheer escapism by another name.
So who's it to be? If the world's her oyster, who is Lucy #mentallydating?
Clue: it's not Sean, George, Roger, Pierce or Timothy. All have their qualities but they don't quite set Lucy's heart alight the way Daniel Craig did as he emerged from the sea in those shorts.
She's picturing that scene as she enters the bar and grabs a table.
Her friend's running late. She checks her phone. Be there in 5, her friend has texted. No prob, Lucy replies as a waiter approaches.
'Here you go,' he says, placing a tall glass on her table. 'What's this?' she asks. 'I didn't order…'
'Oh, he sent it over,' the waiter replies. 'That man over there.' He nods to the far end of the bar.
'Which man?' she asks. The waiter glances around. 'Um… fair hair, blue eyes. Looked kind of familiar.'
She sips her drink and scans the bar. Then she spots him. Can it really be…? Her friend runs in and says, ‘You'll never guess who's here! Oh – what's that you're drinking?'
'A martini,' Lucy says with a smile.
Viki + Russell
By Fiona Gibson
Funny how good looks seem hugely important for, oh, all of 3 seconds when you're… #mentallydating
Because it's really about that old dating cliche – GSOH. A man can dance like his dad or wear terrible shoes.
But if he makes you laugh, none of that matters (what are shoes anyway, other than waterproof coverings for feet?)
Viki senses a swirl of excitement – and the slightest flutter of nerves – as she walks into the bar and looks around.
There he is – Russell Howard! Cute in pictures but actually, they don't do him justice.
Viki checks his shoes (can't help herself). Yep, fine. And he's already made her laugh. Better still, he's not one of those competitive stand-up types who has to be the centre of attention
He asks her all about art college. Feels good. Being interested is as attractive as being interesting…
And as she heads home, Viki's still smiling, knowing she made him laugh too – properly laugh, that is loud enough to make people look round and think, 'Why aren't I on that kind of date?' *bit jealous*
And being funny isn't even her job….
Lauren + the guy at the barber shop
By Jane Lovering
He seemed like your typical guy, but when no-one was watching he’d play the guitar upside down for a laugh.
You’re sure it’s the guy from the barber’s shop. Looks like him. Except the tattoo on his wrist he makes dance.
And when he slips a bit of paper with a phone number into your hand as you pass by, you’re still not sure.
But hey, the tattoo is cute. So you call. He’s seen your match.com profile and thinks you look ‘interesting’.
It’s a great bar. You see him across the room and make faces over the heads of the crowd until he spots you.
But it’s hard to talk and hot enough to melt your lipstick, so you head outside where it’s raining.
He takes you puddle jumping. Weird, but you’ve not laughed so much since you were five. Or been as wet.
He calls to invite you to his gig. He likes that you act like you do this sort of thing all the time.
He’s off travelling Europe for a couple of months. He says he’ll send postcards. You shrug and wave goodbye.
..but to your surprise a postcard arrives. One grey morning as you stare at the rain, a text. ’Meet me in Berlin’.
Taryn + Ryan
By Jane Lovering>
It’s not often that Wigan hosts a ‘Ryan Gosling-alike’ competition, is it? But when your friends are going…
They’re right, they all look like Ryan Gosling! Except for one, who’s better dressed than the others.
He asks if you’ve ever seen Modern Family, he’s a huge fan and you remind him of one of the characters.
You quietly hope it’s not the dog. But before he has chance to tell you he’s whisked away behind the scenes.
He finds you later, with your friends and presses a piece of paper into your hand before vanishing again.
It’s his Twitter ID, so you follow him, among loads of followers. He talks about another look-alike appearance.
Your friends all say ‘go’, but you’re not sure. Then he Follows you back, with DM ‘hi Modern Family Girl’.
You meet at the bar and he kisses you on the cheek. A flash – there’s a photographer outside the window!
Next day’s headline ‘Ryan Gosling in meeting with mystery brunette’ and your pic in the papers. You both laugh.
Helen + Tom
By Jane Lovering
He smiled at you in the popcorn queue, and smiled even more on the way in to see ‘Thor’.
He was near to your seat, your eyes happened to meet. The trailers were hokey, but he looked like Loki.
He gave you a wink and you spilled your drink, there was coke on the floor and he grinned a bit more.
You tried not to flirt, there was coke on your skirt, but he really was cute and looked great in that suit.
He was waiting outside and you rushed off to hide, then safe in your car you found corn in your bra.
Embarrassment’s worse because you dropped your purse, which can only mean it got left at the scene.
But he had the grace to turn up at your place, your workmates were amazed and you’re a bit dazed.
He’d got your purse, so it could have been worse. He called you 'Cinderella', the sweet-talking fella.
So you went out again to see Monuments Men! And in a shared joke, you BOTH had a coke….
Lois + Ian Somerholder
By Jane Lovering A tall man passed by the office. Looked like Ian Somerhalder, blue eyes. He looked up and saw you watching.
He smiled. You’re almost positive he said ‘Sleepy Hollow’ but you couldn’t hear the words.
When you left, he was still there, sitting on a bollard and drinking coffee from a plastic cup.
Before you knew it you were sitting at a pavement cafe with this man, talking Doctor Who and travelling.
He didn’t tell you his name but he told you about the wideness of the world and the fun it contains.
You laughed about fezzes and books you’ve read. You kept asking what he wanted, but he didn’t answer.
He stood up at last and said he had to go, there was something he had to do, but it was lovely to meet you.
…And he kissed your hand, like an old-fashioned gentleman, and gave you the daisy from the table decoration. Then he was gone.
The waiter came and asked if you wanted more coffee, were you waiting for someone?
When you said you’d been with a friend, he shook his head. You were alone, he said.
But when you stood up to leave, you found a daisy resting on the top of your bag and it made you smile.
Read more Valentine's Day articles here: >>Your Valentine’s Day Singles Survival Guide >>Top 5 Chick Flicks to watch this Valentine’s Day >>The 5 Best Ways to Enjoy Valentine's Day if You’re Single >>Valentine’s gift ideas for her >>If you're single this Valentine's