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?

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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.

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!