Dating advice from Roald Dahl

Posted by
Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
12:30pm, 14th February
Charlie, Enormous Crocodile, Esio Trot, George, Matilda, The BFG, The Twits

Romance may be the last thing that springs to mind when thinking about Roald Dahl’s books, but he gives a surprising amount of advice for getting the perfect date.

Does dating make you biffsquiggled? Is your love life catasterous or plexicated? We've ranked a list of tips from Roald Dahl's books for the 14th of February that are anything but uckyslush...

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you.

The Witches


In the most romantic of all Roald Dahl’s stories, the gentle Mr Hoppy has held a secret torch for the attractive widow Mrs Silver for years. He comes up with a rather unusual way of declaring his love; using one hundred and forty tortoises, a backwards poem and seven weeks, all to make it appear as if her beloved pet tortoise Alfie is growing.

Pros: Thoughtful idea, tortoises are too slow to escape, they’re not dangerous animals.

Cons: The risk of being caught, cleaning up after hundreds of tortoises, causing a lettuce shortage in the UK.

Originality: 8/10
Risk Factor: 5/10
RD rating: 5/10 - You need to be a dab hand at creating a mechanical grabbing device, but few verbal skills are required.


Follow the example set in The Twits, and think up a delightful pet name for your beloved. The Twits are a disgusting old couple who constantly try to get rid of one another, but as the saying goes, 'treat them mean, keep them keen!' Some of their favourites nicknames are as follows:

  • You old hag
  • You grizzly old grunion!
  • You rotten old turnip!
  • You filthy old frumpet!
  • You whiskery old warthog!

Pros: A pet name is always the sign of a loved-up couple.

Cons: This might not work with everyone. You must date someone as awful as a Twit for inspiration, and it might backfire horribly when you get assaulted with a cane.

Originality: 4.75/10 - You need to be smart with words, but name-calling in relationships is nothing new
Risk Factor: 4/10
RD Rating: 7/10 - Strong wordplay skills are required!

Cooking a meal

Take a leaf out of Mrs Twit’s cookbook and make a romantic surprise meal for your date.. the surprise being that your spaghetti is actually a squirming heap of worms, freshly dug from the garden! Most of The Twit’s relationship in the book seems to be based on playing pranks on one another.

Pros: Incredibly funny for you, enjoying your regular spaghetti. There isn’t a more surprising gift.

Cons: Having to dig the worms out of the garden, being able to cook, the revenge prank that they play on you might be worse, this could be relationship-ending, but worst of all, they might actually enjoy them!

Originality: 9/10
Risk Factor: 6/10
RD Rating: 8/10 - Dark sense of humour needed, plus creativity with cooking.

Love Potion

Let George’s Marvellous Medicine inspire you this Valentine’s day, and make a love potion for your unsuspecting crush, using the contents of your bathroom cupboard.

Pros: Anything valentine- related will be sure to sweeten them up.

Cons: You need a well-stocked cupboard to work miracles, and preferably pills for farm animals.

Originality: 3/10 - This is the oldest trick in the book
Risk Factor: 10/10 - You might send them through the roof (literally).
RD Rating: 10/10 - Inventiveness? Check. Dangerous result? Check. Great story? Check.


Why not copy The Enormous Crocodile? Knock your loved one off their feet by hiding as an inanimate object… then pouncing out at them when they least expect it!

Pros: You must be a master of disguise

Cons: Croc may have been trying to swallow children, but this approach didn’t exactly work for him.

Originality: 3/10
Risk Factor: 5/10 - Croc gets a bit of a bashing.
RD Rating: 4/10 - A villain that is this unsuccessful is probably not one who will win over a significant other.


The BFG is famous for his dream-mixing skills, and for spreading happiness through the windowsills of sleeping British children. Why not find a way of hinting to your secret love that you are ready and waiting? Even better, you could make their dreams true like Sophie and sit on the windowsill, ready for when they wake up.

Pros: One of the nicest things you can do for someone is to give them a golden phizzwizard. You could make them dream of you! If it works on the queen, it could work on anyone.

Cons: You might be arrested for breaking and entering, or be labelled as a massive creep.

Originality: 10/10 - You’ll have to have magic in your bones and a crazy imagination to pull this off… plus a collection of thousands of dreams.
Risk Factor: 10/10 - Being caught peeping into someone’s bedroom in the middle of the night is not advisable!

RD Rating: 7/10 - You need to be able to make wonderful stories for this one, and be slightly magical. 

Musical Surprise 

Ask some of your more musical friends to serenade your date with a personalised rhyming song they’ve created for the occasion, like the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

Pros: There’s nothing more irresistible than having a song written for you, as any guitar-playing friend will attest.

Cons: If your friends are anything like the Oompa-Loompas, they love playing pranks, and the song they sing might end up being rather unflattering.

Originality: 0-10/10 - The originality all depends on whether you can get Oompa-Loompas involved..
Risk Factor: 6/10
RD Rating: 6.5/10


If none of these tickle your fancy, it’s probably safer to be smart like Matilda and stay at home reading a Roald Dahl book…