Anybody Out There? Meet Our New Dating Columnist, Ariana Dunne

She's taking us along on her funny, hopeful, and often disastrous quest to find love.

I really thought this was gonna be the one I would tell our grandkids about. “Tell us the story again Granny,” they would say. “Tell us about how you kissed inside a tree…”

I had been on a bit of a dry spell date wise – we all know how hard it is out there, you don’t need me to tell you. Between Tinder, Bumble, Happ’n, POF, and every other new app promising love, us single gals should be out on a date every night of the week, but getting a guy to commit to a date in Ireland is harder than painting an Octopus’ toenails. So when you pick a venue, arrive and your date actually turns up and better yet he is lovely and hot and funny, hope springs eternal.

We had connected on Tinder just two days earlier. He seemed cool, interesting and interested. When I said I was taking my new four month old puppy for a walk in Phoenix Park on Saturday afternoon he asked if he could join me. He was studying for an exam in work so wasn’t drinking but wanted to meet me sooner rather than later so I agreed, though truth be told I was slightly terrified. I hadn’t been on a first date, day date, sans alcohol since I was a teenager.

But everyone had told me getting a dog would suddenly bring forth an array of single dog-loving men so perhaps this was going to be the start of a whole new area of dating for me.

Could this lil fluff be the key to true love?

We met in the Phoenix Park cafe, and my pup Molly, who quite frankly is the biggest love of my life to date, snoozed in her little carry kennel under the table. He was so tall – 6’6″, blue eyes, sandy hair and a cracking smile. He bought us two cups of coffee and some brownies and we chatted for two hours as we let the rain showers pass outside.

We had great conversations jumping from one topic to another until a smell interrupted us from beneath the table prompting us to think we had a poop situation on our hands, but it turns out Molly had farted… nothing like apologising for your puppy’s farts on a first date to break the ice.

We hastily moved outside and started walking aimlessly around the park talking about travel and food and… well actually we kept getting interrupted as, like something out of a Disney movie, Molly kept running circles around us making us get all tangled up and in her lead. Our limbs and bodies got closer and closer as Molly played Cupid. I fancied him for sure and felt a frisson of electricity every time he placed his hand on the small of my back.

What happened next looked a little like this…

Evening was setting in and I realised I was delving deeper into the wilds of Phoenix Park with a man I barely knew, so we started to head back towards the car park. But before we could get there the heavens opened and it started to rain down heavy. I looked up and saw what I can only describe as a huge tree that looked like somewhere a hobbit would live. There was an opening under its gnarled leafy branches and all three of us scarpered inside away from the downpour. We huddled closer to one another laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation and then he lifted my chin to his and we kissed. A sober kiss. A great kiss. And that’s when I heard my imaginary grandkids in my head.

But life isn’t a Disney movie, and I really need to stop jumping to romantic conclusions, because we met for a second date and there was absolutely zero chemistry between us the second time. Zip, zilch, nada. My search continues…