My Story

It’s been difficult to meet a potential partner with a child in tow. People just assume you’re in a relationship. Work was a joke! Do you know there’s a shortage of men teaching in primary schools? And (I hate to stereotype) the few sports coaches who did flatter the ladies, were usually straight out of college. Nights out with the girls seemed to decline over the years as one by one, they found their mate, and reproduced. On the rare occasion we were let out, you couldn’t help thinking this was your one and only chance to meet a guy during a 5 hour window of opportunity. I must have reeked of desperation. The kind that only attracted those on their weekly episode of ‘no strings attached’ fun. Luckily I never lowered my standards to this.I had little choice but begin online dating. People spoke about the free dating sites, and I was intrigued. Writing a profile was challenging for someone who is modest such as myself. How do you blow your own trumpet without sounding like a cocky ar**! Having a quick nosy at other profiles (for research purposes of course) was a mistake. The competitive me came out. Their profiles were sexy, sassy and witty. If they were single what little hope was there for the rest of us? It didn’t take long to reach the point of pressing the button, the button that made you become a piece of meat hung out there for predators near and far to nibble on. And that’s just how it felt at first. Suddenly my inbox was inundated with winks, messages and invitations to chat. Perhaps this was a good sign. It felt wrong to scan through peoples profiles like they were CV’s. You soon got into a routine of sieving through those who were of no interest to you, and detecting those who were players by key words hidden within their profiles. The naked selfies in the mirror…. that was definitely desperation!!! But I was addicted to the site. Sucked in by the hope of someone new entering the arena who was my Mr Right? It didn’t take long to stop living in the real world as I excitedly hurried back home to my laptop for a quick flirt, and the giddy feeling at the thought of going on a first date with someone I’d been chatting to for weeks. This was the problem. A pattern emerged, investing in weeks of chatting to one person on the screen, whose photos gave the perception of a hotty, and the detailed profile of the perfect boyfriend. You could not help building a whole package inside your head based on the snippets of clues tossed to you through your laptop. Over time, this evolved further, until you had created your perfect avatar who you expected to meet over a perfect date. Unfortunately, reality was somewhat different. The person in front of you ended up being your avatar’s somewhat shorter and older cousin, with a tiny resemblance of the person on the computer screen, with a much squeakier voice, and excitable mannerisms and gestures. After much conversation (well, if would be rude to leave after ten minutes) it emerged that the business they were CEO of, was actually a selling site on Ebay. There is only one thing that runs through your mind at this point… How the hell do I get out of this date quickly and painlessly? Needless to say, this was never achieved promptly by someone with impeccable manners and who feels some sort of loyalty to the person they had been speaking to over the past few weeks. When you did escape, you knew the next dilemma you faced… How to let him down gently when you get the text saying ‘they hope you got home safe, and that they enjoyed your company and would love to do it again’. Again, this is awkward for a nice person. To ignore the text would just be cruel. It always ended up as some version of the classic ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech.
So, this went on for some time with the same pattern of events. It always ended with the deflated feeling that yet again, there was no spark when you met the person. You start thinking there must be something wrong with you, you were some sort of a commitment phobe. When you’re single, everyone around you looks happy in a relationship, and let’s face it, sometimes you can’t help thinking they must have settled for less. The more you think about finding Mr Right, the more of an obsession it becomes. The loneliest times are always Christmases, birthdays and of course Valentine’s Day. The winter months are bleaker than ever with no one to cosy up with. You crave for someone to hold you and tell you that everything’s okay when you have a bad day at the office.

 

After a while, the buzz of reaching out to guys from behind a computer screen, wore thin. It became draining scanning through the guys that didn’t reach your high standards. The text talk messages became infuriating ‘hey ur sexy, wanna meet?’ Soon the site was only being visited every other day and that was only because it became routine. It was when I was out shopping in a supermarket when a guy suddenly caught my eye. He held a stare and all I could muster was a blush and to scuttle away with a smile on my face. It was a glimmer of hope that there are actually guys all around you who are passing you daily, going unnoticed. It suddenly dawned on me, when was the last time I went out for drinks with friends? I’d been on dates, at least one a week. But when was the last time I was out to have fun and not on a mission to find Mr Right? My life had been taken over. it was time for a change. I was going to live instead of racing back home to my inbox. That is exactly what I did. I firstly deleted every single one of my dating profiles (including the site I had a month’s subscription left). It felt fantastic. Just as it did when we burnt our school uniform in the summer of 99 (or was that just us being rebels?). I contacted friends who had been neglected for a while, and begged them to be my sidekick. I spent more time hanging out in general whether that was sunbathing in the park or visiting a museum for the tenth time. Soon the need to be in a relationship had been replaced with having a good time and making money. I felt powerful and carefree. This of course meant that I could now hold a gaze with a cute stranger. For the first time, I was enjoying life and didn’t need a relationship to complete it.

 

‘You will meet Mr Right when you least expect it’. Isn’t this the reassurance couples offer? Well they couldn’t be more right. It was the most unlikely place that I found love… My son’s Christmas disco of all places! I was wearing an old bobbly woollen jumper, I hadn’t even bothered to reapply my makeup from the day and my hair was in a falling out state. I was just sat with friends having a beer (yes we had alcohol at our children’s Christmas disco). It was even a sophisticated can of Stella that I was cradling. I was chatting with my friend whilst scanning the dance floor when I caught the eye of a guy sporting a Christmas jumper. I didn’t even think anything of it because he had two boys in tow and was obviously another one of the married men who get their kicks by stalking me with stares hoping I will respond to boost their ego. I did what I always did… I looked anywhere but in their direction and appeared to be having a great time. I even braved a strut right on past the guy without even acknowledging him. But the guy was persistent as he moved over to our side of the hall, I could feel his piercing stare. I felt intrigued, and saddened when he suddenly was gone. I resigned to the fact, it was another brief encounter with a guy that I would never see again. But I promised myself if I did see the mystery man in the playground the next day (the final day before the Christmas break), then I would approach him. The next day there he was. Playing it cool, I stood next to him in the huddle waiting for the children to be released. I caught his gaze and asked him why he was still wearing his Christmas jumper?

Bad case of verbal diarrhoea?

Whilst watching the repeat of last night’s Take Me Out, I found myself burying my head in my hands. 

There were comments of being sweaty Betty’s on the dance floor, grown cavemen eating delicate spoonfuls like a lady. And that was only the guys choosing the girls to date. The row of girls competing for dates compared themselves to Side Show Bob, and openly shared the fact they ate six packets of pork scratching a day (she somehow redeemed herself and got the guy). The girls were also persistent in throwing out compliments to the guys on how hot they were. 

I realise when you find yourself attracted to a person you can unfortunately, become the biggest wally ever in a nervous mushy mess. But less is more. 

Whilst on dates it’s okay to retain a degree of mystery. Sometimes if we pour out our whole life story, it can sound a little desperate, and you need to leave your date wanting to know more. Likewise, it shows we have a degree of emotional intelligence when we compliment others but tell them you like what they’re wearing. There’s no need to let out you fancy them straight away. They should work for it. Nobody wants it when it’s offered to you on a plate. When you put someone on a pedestal it can sometimes sound like you think they’re out of your league. We certainly shouldn’t be putting ourselves or close family and friends down in front of dates. Although it’s a good quality to be able to laugh at ourselves, it can come across as not being confident, and put them off. We’re trying to make a good first impression after all. Even if we do have bad habits or imperfections we’re not ashamed of, in the early stages we can’t help but be shallow and misjudge others on things we would later laugh about or find cute. We’re all guilty of it. How many online daters have you swiped left on because you found a spelling mistake in their profile?

Attractive qualities are confidence, being interesting, sociable and relaxed about the whole dating game because we are comfortable in our own skin.

Have you ever been told “when you stop looking, love will come along?”

Is there actually truth in this statement? Whilst being the only single left in your circle, you can’t help but think, your friends are just trying to be kind consoling you with this little white lie. But recently I’ve found myself debating whether it’s a fact?

I’m surrounded by tales from the dating world of people feeling hurt when they’ve been dumped from someone they’ve been chatting to online or have been on a couple of dates with. For some, there seems to be a fairytale built around what I would call ‘a few casual dates between two like-minded people to see if there’s a spark’. They already have themselves married, with the perfect cottage in the country with their little vegetable patch, and cute, freckled-faced perfect children in tow. Expectations seem to be high because they are on a mission to find the one. To earn a date with some of the ladies in the first place the guys must pass a series of online tests e.g. a literacy exam, a resistance to forward dick pics!

After each dating process, they never make the grade and the dater either do the dumping or get dumped due to the expectations overload. 

Have you ever been searching high and low for the perfect shawl to go with a dress but when you stop looking and the event has passed, you stumble across at least a handful of garments that would have been perfect?

The same can be said for love. When you’re putting pressure on yourself and your date to be ‘the one’ it takes the fun out of the date, and being in such a desperate mindset to find true love can only set yourself up for failure and pain when it’s all you live and breath.

Instead, I would like to read the tales from the dating world reading like “I have been so busy with life but I met this one girl who caught my eye. I thought we might as well go out for a date to have some fun. If it goes somewhere then great, if not, I haven’t lost anything.”

I’m certain when we become more relaxed about dating and reach the emotional intelligence not to care if things don’t go anywhere, then love will come along.

A Bitter Pill?

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.

Just your average dating story- third installment.

girls-shopping-iclip

The cute guy smirked, and replied slightly taken aback “yeah, I left my Christmas jumper at home today”.

After the holidays, we began chatting our way through the cold whilst waiting patiently for our monsters to be released. Which resulted in me unusually arriving at the pitch side ten minutes early, and suddenly planning what I was going to wear the for the next match day. We actually had a lot in common for example, we both seemed to have a desire to never settle in one place for too long on a quest to seek out new adventures. James wasn’t the ‘married man desperately seeking a flirt with a single girl’ type that I first decided (which would have been obvious if he wore a ‘My Light is on’ button badge, just saying!). He was actually just babysitting his cousin’s children after school and was taking them to clubs. And to add to the perfect scene, my son conveniently became best friends with his brood (yes, I know… It’s too much like something out of a chic flick).

As always, we shouldn’t get too carried away with these things. Nothing is forever after all. But one thing was for sure, I was having fun and enjoying this guy’s company, even if it was in the friends zone at this point. James felt familiar, he was laid back which made him ooze a warm, friendly ora which I’m sure, allowed him to instantly feel at ease with anyone he met, and makes him the sociable person everyone loves to be around, and invites to parties. However, it wasn’t the usual friend zone. This was new territory… I also fancied the guy and felt challenged by the things he said. For the first time in a while, I had met a guy confident enough to put me in my place if I was cheeky, and one who didn’t feel the need to keep reminding me ‘you’re gorgeous!’, ‘why are you still single?’ (a note to people going on first dates). More to the point, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel the need to run away.

After a few days of chatting I decided there and then that the next time we met, I was going to drag us out of the friend zone by getting James’ number. It was a Sunday (meaning there would be a five-day window when we wouldn’t be seeing each other), which was the perfect excuse to request anyone’s number. I was cool, confident and playful, as I suggested “we should exchange numbers and go for a drink whilst you’re here”. I caught at the corner of my eye, my friend (the married one who was feeling slightly awkward standing next to us) suddenly looked dumbstruck! James coolly replied “yeah, good idea but I haven’t got my phone on me right now”. Part of me felt deflated, thinking that I had overstepped the mark, and he was making an excuse as to not give out his number. But I’m certain I didn’t show it. I thought what the hell, what have I got to lose? I conveniently found a pen in my handbag and wrote my number on the back of James’ hand. As our hands connected I felt something, I’d hate to say a spark because that is too much of a clinche’. I was certain that James found my confidence hot and I felt sexy and seductive even if nothing came of it. After James was dragged away by the force of his hungry brood, I turned around to my friend and said “you’re shocked I had the balls to do that aren’t you?” and she replied “Yep, I was impressed!”

Does seeing someone attract other potential partners?

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Am I alone in thinking love interests are like buses… None show up and then they all come at once?

In the past I have experienced long dry spells of serial dating but nothing ever getting past the second or third date. But then over the last six months, things have been somewhat different. I have been in new territory, a period of permanently seeing someone one after the other whether that be for a month at a time or more.  It appears that being found attractive by someone, attracts others, and this has lead to interesting (and interested) guys coming out of the woodwork.

Perhaps when you are coupled up (whether it is deemed to last or not) you radiate a happiness or a self-confidence in which the opposite sex detect and prey upon? Or maybe this is just another example of how giving up online dating has opened up new opportunities which had gone unnoticed before now? It will be interesting to see if the ‘My Light is on’ pin badges will help others to find love interests the organic way by erasing the issues of being dubious whether the hot girl or guy in the supermarket is single and is looking to date, as well as being a conversation starter!

Let us make this campaign happen!

Just your average dating story- second instalment.

untitled (4) After a while, the buzz of making contact with guys from behind a computer screen, loses it’s appeal. It becomes draining sieving through the endless profiles which don’t reach your impeccably high standards. The text talk messages become infuriating ‘hey ur sexy, wanna meet?’ Soon the site was only being visited every other day and that was only because it had become routine like brushing your teeth. It was whilst shopping in a supermarket when a guy suddenly caught my eye. He attempted to hold a stare but I could only muster cooly strutting away whilst smirking like a cat who got the cream. It was a glimmer of hope that there are actually guys around you who pass you daily, going unnoticed. It suddenly dawned on me, when was the last time I went out for drinks with friends? Date nights were a regular occurrence but when was the last time I ventured out for fun? It’s very easy to become sucked into living in the virtual world, and I vowed there and then that it was time to change. This is achieved by getting out and about, instead of racing home to your inbox, firstly involving deleting every single one of the dating profiles (including any having subscription left). It feels fantastic, just as it did when we burnt our school uniform in the summer of 99 (or was that just us being rebels?). I contacted friends who had recently been neglected, and begged them to escape for a good old boogie. I spent more time hanging out in general whether that be in the park or visiting a museum for the tenth time. The obsession of being in a relationship is replaced with having a good time. I suddenly felt powerful and carefree, oozing confidence. This of course meant that I could now hold a gaze with a cute stranger. For the first time, I was enjoying life and did not need a relationship to fulfil it.   ‘You will meet Mr Right when you least expect it’. Isn’t this the reassurance your married friends fill your head with? Well perhaps they’re right. It was the most unlikely scenario that I met someone… At my son’s football club Christmas disco of all places! I was wearing an old, bobbly woollen jumper, and I hadn’t even bothered to reapply my makeup from the morning, and my hair was in a falling out state. I was sat with my married friends having a beer which was even a sophisticated can of Stella I was cradling. I was deep in conversation whilst overlooking the dance floor when I caught the eye of a cute looking guy sporting a Christmas jumper. I didn’t even think anything of it because he had two boys in tow and was obviously another one of the married men who get their frills by stalking women with stares just with the glimmer of hope that they will respond, to boost their ego. I acted cool, looking anywhere but in the cute guy’s direction whilst ensuring that I appeared to be having a great time, giggling at all of my friend’s jokes. I even braved a strut past the guy without even acknowledging him. But he was persistent as he moved over to our side of the hall, I could feel his piercing gaze. I couldn’t help but feel intrigued, and saddened when he suddenly was no longer in sight. I simply resigned to the fact that it was another brief encounter with a guy that I would never see again. But I promised myself that if I did see the mystery man at the side of a football pitch the next day (the final day before the Christmas break), then I would approach him. And there he was. Cool as a cucumber, I stood next to him in the huddle waiting for the children to be released. I caught his gaze and in true Bridget Jone’s style I asked  him “not wearing your Christmas jumper today?”

Just your average dating story- first instalment.

It is incredibly difficult to meet a potential partner with a child in tow. People just assume you’re in a relationship. Work was a joke, there is a shortage of men teaching in primary schools. And (I hate to stereotype) the few sports coaches who did flatter the ladies, were usually straight out of college. Nights out with the ladies seem to have declined over the years as one by one, they found their prince charming, and produced offspring. The rare occasions when we did escape, you could not but help thinking this was your one and only time to meet someone, in a 5 hour window of opportunity. This only ever attracts those on their weekly mission for a casual one night stand. In my thirties, I would never lower my standards to this.

There was only one thing for it… online dating. Friend’s had met their husbands on free dating sites, and I guess I was intrigued. Writing a profile is a bit of a challenge for someone who is extremely modest such as myself. How do you blow your own trumpet without sounding like an egotistical ar**! Looking at other women’s profiles (for research purposes) was a huge mistake. My hidden competitiveness could not help but make an appearance. Their profiles were sexy, sassy and witty. It didn’t take long to reach the point of pressing the button, the button that made you become a piece of meat hung out for predators near and far to nibble on. And that’s just how it felt at first. Suddenly my inbox was inundated with winks, messages and invitations to chat. Perhaps this was a good sign. It could not help but feel wrong to scan through peoples profiles like they were CV’s. You soon got into a pattern of sieving through those who were of no interest to you, and detecting those who were players by key words hidden within their profiles. And the naked selfies in the mirror…. Well that was just desperate!!! But even through the commotion, you could not help but become addicted to the site, wondering if anyone new had entered the arena or whether your Mr Right was sitting behind a computer screen. It did not take me long to stop living in the real world, and excitedly hurry back home to my laptop to have a quick flirt or feeling giddy at the thought of going on a first date with someone you had been chatting with for a few weeks. This is where the problem occurred. A pattern was emerging, investing weeks to one person on the screen, whose photos gave the perception of a sex god, and the detailed profile lead me to believe that this was the perfect boyfriend. You could not help but build up a whole package in your head based on the snippets of clues offered to you through your laptop. Over time, this evolved further, until you had created your perfect avatar who you expected to meet during a perfect date. Unfortunately, reality was somewhat different. The person in front of you ended up being your avatar’s somewhat shorter and older cousin, with a tiny resemblance of the person on the computer screen, with a much squeakier voice and excitable mannerisms and gestures. After much conversation (well, if would be rude to leave after 10 minutes) it emerged that the business that they were CEO of, was actually a selling site on Ebay. There is only one thing that runs through your mind at this point… How the hell do I get out of this date quickly and painlessly? Needless to say, this was never achieved promptly by someone with impeccable manners and who feels some sort of loyalty to the person they had been speaking to over the past few weeks, as to not hurt their feelings. When you did escape, you knew the next dilemma you faced… How to let him down gently when you get the text saying that they hope you got home safe, and that they enjoyed your company and would love to do it again. Again, this is challenging for a nice person, to ignore the text would just be cruel. It always ended up as a polite cover up of the original ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech.

So, this went on for some time with the same pattern of events, ending with the deflated feeling that yet again, there was no spark when you met the person. You could not but help think that you were a commitment phobe or something. When you’re single, everyone around you looks happy in a relationship, and let’s face it, sometimes you cannot help but think that they must have settled for less. The more you thought about finding Mr Right, the more of an obsession it became. The loneliest times were the winter months which were bleaker than ever with no one to hibernate with. As were those sick days or bad days at the office where you craved for someone to hold you and tell you that everything will be okay.