‘I insisted I wasn’t too clever for him and he agreed to go on a shopping trip together for our first date.‘But it was awful.
I think he felt I should lead the conversation, so he barely spoke and I felt too awkward to say anything.’Her longest relationship was with a car mechanic from Burnley last year.
In class, their conversations centre around going to gigs and smoking weed at weekends, which is not what I’m looking for in a date.’She prefers instead to date older men she meets through her part-time job as a nightclub promoter.
Yet even more mature men fail to show the requisite enthusiasm for her university projects — which include a radio documentary she recently produced on ‘the pressure that black women are under to adhere to white beauty stereotypes’.
For Natasha Hooper, the most important part of pre-date preparation isn’t getting her hair done, waxing her legs or buying a new dress.
Instead, she is more preoccupied with composing a list of conversational topics which she hopes will bridge the gap between her highbrow preoccupations, and the more mainstream interests of her dates.
Indeed, she is one of a growing breed of women who fear — perhaps with good reason — they will be left on the proverbial shelf because of a shortage of educated men.
The issue, she explains, is the calibre of men she attracts.
Among those from poorer backgrounds, the gender divide is highly pronounced, with young women who were on free school meals 51 per cent more likely to go into higher education than men in similar circumstances.‘The boys at my school mostly went into manual jobs after we left and seemed to think I had a high opinion of myself for going to university,’ says Becca.
‘They say I’m too bright for them.’Becca recalls a factory worker she asked out in a bar while home for the holidays turning her down because she was ‘too clever’ for him.‘We were having a great chat until he found out I was at university,’ says Becca.
Waiting in a bar for a young man a few weeks ago, she ran through possible options, before settling on the subject of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
A surefire way, the 22-year-old undergraduate reasoned, to guarantee an interesting debate.