Whilst reading tweets from single ladies, I couldn’t help but notice there’s a lot of man haters out there. Have we forgotten how to give people the benefit of the doubt after one too many bad dates? Tarnished with the same brush, the women seem to have united to form a defence system. They protect the tribe, and throw shade to all the men they date and it doesn’t go the way they long for it to. I’m certain it’s probably the same for the single males too.
It saddens me that such hatred can occur from a situation which mimics trying on various pairs of gloves to see which one fits. It’s nobody’s fault if a date doesn’t flow, it takes two to hold a conversation and the fact of the matter is, it’s just not the right fit! My pet hate is when less confident people project the blame on the other person saying they’re not fun. Everyone is fun in their own ways and fun is measured differently from each individual anyway. Who has the right to decide what’s fun and what isn’t? What saddens me more is knowing that this attitude towards dating is diminishing their chances of finding the one because they have already given up hope, have already decided what type of bad arse person this is before they go on the date. Besides, who’s going to find a man/woman-hater attractive anyway?
We all need to be more open to date on the mission to find love, and kinder towards those who we meet along the way. They’re the ones who give us the experiences that make us who we are today, after all.
James and I had been on a few dinner dates and with every second spent together, my feelings grew. There was nothing that I didn’t like about this guy. He was intelligent, confident and adventurous, and made me feel good about myself. However, there was a constant dull aching in the pit of my stomach that this was only meant to be a casual thing whilst he was in the area. I could not help strong feelings developing, there was just something about him. Or perhaps it was just the wanting what you can’t have? Part of me wanted to run away from it, knowing that I was likely to get hurt when the time came for James to leave but it was too exciting to do so. We laughed hard, and played hard: James made me feel alive again. I also felt safe in his arms like nothing else mattered in the world when we were together. But this was too perfect, and I knew something this good couldn’t possibly last forever.
We were good in every situation, from the adult alone time which was passionate and exciting, to socialising with family and friends. I seemed to instantly click with anyone James introduced to me, probably due to the fact, we shared the same interests and sense of humour. One evening whilst watching a northern soul movie it was obvious that we shared an interest in the history behind the music scene. “I would love to go to a Northern Soul event” I explained. “Let’s do it!” the carefree James’ replied. And there and then we decided to go on a mini adventure to a northern soul weekender.
James picked me up on the Friday morning and we made the journey to Prestatyn. It might have been a long drive but the time flew by as we sang to cheesy radio classics and polished off the continental breakfast James bought along the way. I felt young and carefree, like I was driving to a rave once again. Upon arrival, we dumped our bags in the little ‘love shack’ and ventured out for supplies. We stumbled along the casual dining restaurant that reminded me of a school canteen. The menu consisted of the 70’s classics scampi and chips, and roly-poly pudding (just to remain in keeping with the event I’d like to think). There were guys already dressed in their finest bangs and ladies parading in their platforms ready to hit the dance floor. We were soon full of excitement back at the love shack, getting ready for the all-nighter, helped along by northern soul tunes and rum. Whist James was busy in the shower I couldn’t help but desperately practice some moves in the mirror after beginning to feel that I could be out-danced by these professionals. As we entered the arena James took the words right out of my mouth “wow”. The dance floor was packed with all ages shuffling, side-stepping and spinning. It was like a scene straight from the movie. This talent had obviously been hidden as these middle-aged pros were working their mundane lives as bank clerks, teachers and nurses. It was at these events that they were awoken. James, with his usual carefree air, just began doing his own thing on the dance floor. I could not help but get frustrated that I could not copy one single step that the professionals made look effortless. I soon asked a lady who was stood at the side to show me some northern soul moves. She taught me the basic shuffle step and insisted “there’s no right way of doing it, just feel the music.” “But that’s too much arse.” James could not help but chuckle “less arse is more”. I soon got drunk and didn’t care about the lack of northern soul in my moves. I was enjoying the music and the company, and that’s all that mattered. We danced until our feet hurt which meant we were shown up by the older couples still going at 4oclock in the morning. The following day was amazing as we canoodled on the beach (which involved me screaming as I was carried in a fireman’s lift as an attempt to throw me in the sea). We cozied up in cafes sharing coffee and cake, and wondered around exploring the North Wales seaside towns. By the end of the weekend, I was tired and hung over yet I still mustered a spring in my step. I never knew things could be so good, and I certainly didn’t want it to end.
It was finally the evening of the first date with James. It took a good thirty minutes of trying on various outfits and tossing them aside in a pile on the floor before I decided on my new high-waisted jeans and crop top combo. I had no idea where we were going which didn’t help matters. James insisted on planning the whole evening, leaving it as a surprise for me. Apparently that’s what the guy does where he’s from. I wasn’t complaining, well apart from the fact I didn’t dare wear my new dress due to visions of us going gliding with my hair and dress flapping wildly in the wind. Obviously, I gave the chosen combo the wow factor by teaming it with healed platforms, and dedicating time curling my hair and perfecting my make-up. I felt hot and therefore, I had to take a few selfies as a souvenir (this is what I have found myself doing since passing thirty). I got into the mood by indulging in one or two glasses of rum and coke, and listened to music which brought out the minx in me. It was soon time to leave feeling excited yet slightly apprehensive not only that James liked me but whether I felt the same way about him. It had been a few weeks since I’d last seen him after all. I walked up the steps to the quirky little joint where I was told to meet my date. It was full of laughter, and eyes following me to the bar. Why is it, a lady entering a pub alone is instantly preyed upon? I glanced over to the bar and could not hide a smile of relief as my eyes met with James’. He had obviously made an effort, wearing a smart jumper and shirt combo. I could not help but wonder how many outfits he tried on that evening? Most probably just the one, men don’t seem to have this issue, apparently. As soon as I was in his presence my nerves disappeared. It was the familiar guy I spent, passing the time at the side-lines, chatting about nonsense. I think you can build these things up too much once it has been labelled a date. James did the gentlemanly thing in ordering me a drink, and the conversation flowed as it always did… With little or no awkward silences. How could this be possible, I could talk to this guy like a friend yet I still fancied him? This was new territory for me, usually I could gossip away with a guy because he was in the friend zone or I went disastrously shy after deciding a guy was hot and intimidating. After drinks, we ate at a tasty little deli by day that transformed into a candle-lit bistro by night. And yes, I could also eat infront of this guy. There was none of that delicately dicing my food into mouse-sized portions, and gently nibbling it after finding that my stomach had closed for the evening. We shared a love of seafood, and after both deciding on the same dishes, it made sense that we shared a few plates. However, I could tell that James was holding back and he would have most probably polished off the entire banquet in ten if I wasn’t sat opposite. This was kind of endearing. At the end of the meal there is usually that awkwardness of who would be paying the bill. I always offer and am happy to pay and can’t help but sometimes feel offended when I am refused. But I knew that this insulted men and I had to simple bite my lip and be grateful for the gesture, even if it is something out of a 50’s movie. As we walked to the taxi rank, I could not help but lean my newly delicate frame into his. There was a chill in the night air after all. Then, we suddenly stilled, and our eyes met. It felt like the perfect moment to seal the evening with a kiss, and right on cue, the smooth operator read the signals, swooping in for a kiss. As our lips locked, I felt the electricity, like the moment our hands first connected. In the taxi ride home, I could not control my giddiness, along with the smirk fixed to my face.
I have been on many first dates, most involved finding a cosy corner in the city’s funkiest coffee house (a mutual choice, granted!). But I was suddenly caught off guard when I met a guy from overseas. We were flirting with banter of how he would wow me with an impressive first date. I was puzzled by answering questions such as ‘would I describe myself as someone who loves trying new experiences, someone who knows what they like and sticks to it or someone who is somewhere in between?’ Of course, this worried me slightly as I envisaged being propelled out of an aeroplane with my delicately curled hair flapping in the wind, and mascara running down my cheeks. But I reluctantly still went ahead anyway. And I couldn’t have been more wrong…
The evening was perfectly planned, tailored around my need to escape being a mom for an evening and instead, being treated like a princess. I was given the instructions to meet in a swanky bar for drinks. Okay, he did not quite manage to make reservations there but the alternative was the next best thing… an intimate hidden little gem serving rich, flavoursome food. After much debate, we ordered two starters to share (yes we had similar tastes in food), alongside a glass of red confidently recommended by my date. Like many men (I hate to stereotype), my date didn’t have a sweet tooth. However, just to ensure that I didn’t shy away from desert because of appearing too greedy, he insisted that we would share a desert of my choice. Perfect so far? Well it gets better. We then took a short stroll hand-in-hand through the city to a comedy club where we had pre-booked tickets. Upon entering we were offered an upgrade to front row seats. We were to wrapped up in the moment as we missed the warning sign that we now had front row seats to a comedy night! Being the only couple in the club to be interlocking hands across the table, of course we were instantly singled out! We must have been oozing the first date syndrome, and it didn’t take long for this to escalate to debating my date’s manhood. But for some bizarre reason it wasn’t awkward, we simply held a gaze and exchanged a smirk.
So that my friends, is how you plan a first date. Or perhaps I was biased by the fact that for the first time in a long time, I was on a date with a guy I wanted to spend more time with? It would have been a tricky date to escape if we didn’t click, most probably involving pulling a fast one e.g. jumping out of the ladies toilet window or asking a friend to call with the news that your great aunt is ill!