Without a doubt, the most difficult thing I’ve done since the end of my marriage is dating.
Pre-2013 I hadn’t dated since I was a teenager. Back then match.com wasn’t really A Thing and neither was dating, really. If you liked someone you’d probably go to the pub, have a couple of drinks and snog them. Repeat a few times but at a different pub, the SU bar or bowling alley. If you REALLY liked someone you might go home with them and if you really liked someone for an extended period of time you’d start holding hands and call them your boyfriend. It was a bit easy.
These days it ain’t easy, not in the slightest. There are ridiculous rules that people seem to play by, rules that have no foundation other than in American Rom Coms. You go for a drink. If the drink goes well it turns into dinner. You wait a few days to play it cool then accept an invitation to dinner again. You do the endless ‘getting to know you’ dance which, by the way, the man always seems to be in charge of. You never know if the person you’re seeing is dating you and only you or someone else. Do they like you or are they biding their time?
Most recently I’ve been thinking a lot about dating. Why do people do it? What do they want out of it? Are they in it with the end goal of marriage, or just sex? Why is everything so shades of grey? Why can’t everyone be a bit more honest about what they want?
I think it all comes down to labels. We are labelled in every single aspect of our lives: at work we move from intern to assistant to executive to manager to director. We’re stay-at-home mums, work-at-home mums, working mums, full-time mums. We’re always defined and dating goes the same way. Are we dating? Seeing each other? In a relationship? In a casual relationship? In an exclusive relationship? People need definitions for their Facebook relationship statuses, you see, but it’s never been harder to get them to commit to one.
And this is why I’m not going to date with enthusiasm anymore.
If you want to jump feet-first into dating it’s pretty easy. Sign up to a couple of sites, download Tinder (ADDICTIVE) and you’re away. You can literally (and I have) spend hours each evening thinking up pithy responses to emails that have most likely been copied and pasted to fifty different girls in your postcode. Then there’s the actual date-aspect of the whole thing; sitting across from different men you don’t know twice a week with the goal of getting to know them just in case they might be ‘the one’ or maybe even ‘the one for the next few weeks’. But once you’ve sat across from a few different ‘the ones’ it can become a little bit soul-destroying and I’m bored of it.
I don’t want another husband, not right now. I went in to dating to find someone funny who likes a couple of beers once a week and maybe a roast dinner with the papers on a Sunday. I’d quite like someone I can stay up til 4am chatting shit to and yeah, a bit of action would be nice I suppose. But that is not what I’ve found in the crazy world of dating sites so I’m taking a break. I’m spending my dating hours on work, writing my book and having fun with my lady friends (who are way more interesting and funny than most blokes anyway. Now if only one of them could grow a penis…).
It’d be nice to remember that actually, I’m only 28, and I have time to myself now that I haven’t had for years and I can spend that time having a bit of fun. Not worrying about who I’m going to spend the next part of my life with. If I meet someone who likes casual beers and Sunday papers in the pub then that would be very nice, but if I don’t I have good times with my friends and my career to enjoy.
So this is where the fervent dating ends. It’s not for me right now but if it’s for you I will leave you with this advice:
– If a man says he is 38 then he is probably 40+. Especially if he looks 40+. Each man I’ve dated over the age of 40 has fibbed about their age on their profile.
– If a man sends you a photograph of his willy before you’ve even met he’s probably not the one. Even if it’s massive.
– If you’re a man who sends girls a photo of your willy before you’ve even met you should know it’s done the rounds of that girl’s friends the last time they had a night out. Or a coffee.
– Ask for a man’s surname and Google them before you meet. I narrowly missed going on a date with someone with a pretty hefty criminal record this way.
– It is impossible to know what a man wants out of dating, even if you ask them. But they probably don’t know either, so there’s no hope.