Dating crimes.

My list of successful…even just good dates is faaaar shorter than my list of bad dates. Here are five dating crimes that I have had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of.

LYING. I just don’t get it? If you know you’re rather plump, or that you’re not the youngest you’ve even been (who is?) then why lie?? Because you will always- and I mean always, be found out. I get that perhaps a shallow lady might not strike a conversation up with you online if she thinks you’re 42 but pre-first date don’t you think it’s pretty damn important to inform of your little white lie? Well, I certainly do. If you can lie so readily about your age, your children and your weight then what else are you capable of? I’m not sticking around to find out!

DRINKING. Might I add- to excess. We’re all nervous on a first date, a second, maybe even a third but that does not excuse getting absolutely sloshed. I once went on a date where the otherwise perfect guy (he had the looks, the brain, the wealth, the wit- he had it ALL) got wasted. He racked up a huge bill that I had to pay as he couldn’t remember his PIN number (he did later transfer me the money, to be fair!) He made lots of loud, hugely inappropriate jokes that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable- and I’m not easily offended. He revealed far far far too much information about his self and ended the night throwing up outside of the lovely posh restaurant before falling into his taxi. The next morning he texted me: “how drunk we were last night? I’m feeling it today but I do remember how much we clicked.” There was no WE about it- I had ONE glass of wine and ONE cocktail and as for the connection between us- apart from the vomit that he sprayed on my beautiful new shoes, there was nothing that I felt with Sir-drink-a-lot!

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BAD MANNERS. If you want me to take you home to meet my folks then you’d better be able to turn the manners on! A few months into any relationship the airs and graces go…but on a first date? I once dated a man who chose a very fancy restaurant to impress me with- it was all running so smoothly until… post beer he decided to simply belch in my face. This was no discreet, accidental hiccup job- oh no, he was impressed with volume of his creation unlike me and the other nearby diners who turned to face this animal at my table, call me shallow I don’t care!

WANDERING FINGERS. I know this isn’t the Victorian times…but even so- agreeing to go on a date with you does NOT mean that I’m agreeing to bed you! Things happen, girls sleeping with men on their first date isn’t that uncommon, but one certain way of ensuring it never does- is to be that creep with the wandering hands. One guy took me out for a few drinks and sidled up to me in a booth at the back of the bar. He put his arm around me in an overly affectionate way but I ran with it- not too offended. As the evening wore on he rested his hands on my legs, my inner thigh, the bottom of my back…it was when he let his hand cup my boob however, that I made a dash to the toilet! I rang my best friend who dropped into the bar where I “bumped” into her and not long after ditched him for a few drinks with the girls!

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EX DISCUSSIONS. This is a pretty fundamental dating rule- you don’t have to be a dating expert to know it….you never mention an ex on a date. Perhaps the odd comment I could forgive…but a guy I once dated droned on and on and on about his- clearly- beloved Rachel. He showed me a few pictures of her and lots of coupley photos of the two of them on their last holiday to Malta. Put it this way- I recognised her in Tesco not long after!  He told me how she had cheated on him with a work colleague, how she bought herself a dog that she named after him in an attempt to win him back (incidentally, please tell me that’s weird…right?!) and how she had even designed their matching “his and hers tattoos.” If you want to be sick in your mouth, I don’t blame you! When I kindly asked if he was actually over her, he replied saying; “ofcourse I am babe, why else would I be here and all over you?” Needless to say there was ofcourse no second date. Also, about three months later, he got back with Rachel!

Yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m happy.

It struck me as I lay in bed watching an old episode of “Don’t Tell the Bride” on my strategically placed iPad. I was smothered in a thick layer of fake tan and had a nice splodge of toothpaste on my chin concealing a spot that had taken up a near-permanent home on my face. Having munched my way (very unattractively) through a tube of Pringles, it became apparent to me as to why I was single. Did I want to change any of this routine though? DAMN NO.

I’m 22 (nearer 23, infact) and have nothing resembling a normal, healthy relationship. Yet every day it seems I’m hearing about a new friend getting engaged, marrying or falling pregnant. I still seem to be in this awkward transition phase that most people leave when they’re 16. Newly graduated, looking for a job and uncertain of where I will be or what I will be doing in six months – never mind a year! The least of my worries is settling down with a man.

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Yet every man and his dog takes an interest in my love life (or lack of)- my parents, family friends, my friends- all asking me if I’ve met anyone, who it am seeing etc etc. NOBODY….and you know what? I like it just like that.

The thing is, nobody accepts that singledom is a choice. This isn’t circumstantial, there isn’t anything wrong with me, I just want to be single. I want to be answerable to myself and myself alone. I want to be able to travel, go out when I want and see who I like.

I’m not saying I want to be a spinster for life, that I want to be alone forever and that I don’t want to ever settle down. That will all come, I have no doubt. For now? I’m enjoying being me- I’m working on my career, seizing opportunities that come my way and I’m relishing in friendships and all the relationships I have around me.

So yes, I’m single…and I am happy.

How many is too many?

My ex boyfriend declared that I shouldn’t sleep with more than five people in my lifetime. Obviously it was comments such as this that lead to our romantic demise, but it did get me thinking.

How many is too many?

One of my closest friends remains adamant that entering double numbers is- and I quote- “utterly appalling.” I could understand where she was coming from- well, accept her stance, were she not on eight, already. That means that the next person she beds has to be her last, unless she decides to rekindle the flame with an ex. I find it barbaric that we insist on following self-imposed rules. Who said we had nine (sex) lives and that was that? What if number 10 is the best sex of her life? Or number 11 is the man of her dreams? Is she really going to hold back because her twenty two year old self was so appalled at the prospect of having slept with 10+ men?

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Another friend of mine is pro sleeping with whoever but always tells the world that she has slept with four people. It’s the “Golden number” she insists. Just enough experience to be good in bed and to have a few anecdotes to tell but, too few to be labelled a slag. Four. She recounts what she will tell her future husband also; Number one- “the awkward virginity guy,” Number two- “the guy she dated for a couple of years not that seriously but he was a lovely guy” and Number three- “the long term serious guy that I thought I loved…until I met you.” Future husband will ofcourse be her golden four. HOW UNROMANTIC.

Then there is my friend who- at last count (‘tho she cant be sure!) has slept with 61 people. “I am what I am.” She declares; the guys she sleeps with know, all her friends know, even her mother knows- she’s not proud of it she insists but, she’s not ashamed either.

Whilst 61 is more than I have or (I’m sure) will ever have slept with, I cant help but admire her absolute honesty. I can’t help but think, actually, when it comes to scoring- she has the right idea. Surely we should just be upfront and to the point? If we’re judged for it, then sod ’em.

Being a virgin is you- its what you are. Sleeping with 101 men is you- its what you are. Our endearing naivety and our sexy experience stems from what we have or haven’t done in the sack. I can’t help but think…does it really matter, anyway?

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Females, faking and fucking.

FAKING. We are all doing it, ladies.

  1. ORGASM FAKING. We have all done it! Ever been waiting and waiting AND WAITING for the big moment…maybe probably he has already had his moment of glory and yours just isn’t happening? You want to save both him and your time and effort- so you fake it. Or you’re bored…getting nowhere near climax and you catch a glimpse of the time and realize that actually you would rather be watching TV or cooking dinner or doing ANYTHING else? So you fake it. Maybe what he is doing is so unpleasant that you just want it to end right now? You got it, WE FAKE IT. I don’t believe any woman that claims she has never faked an orgasm- it’s convenience and sometimes the most efficient thing to do: we are all busy bodies, sometimes we have NO choice. Not that I condone this behavior- here are my thoughts on faking orgasms: https://femaleramblings.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/operation-mindblowing-sex/
  2. INTEREST FAKING. I can’t lie, I don’t give a shite about the “off-side rule,” I couldn’t care less about your love for cycling in the countryside and I’m really disinterested in the merits of that fast red car compared to the merits of another (to me) indistinguishable fast red car. I still love you and many things you tell me indeed do interest me: but I’m not your male friend and some stuff, I don’t care about. This is why I don’t tell you about my love for Sex and the City 24/7, I don’t discuss the merits of my Clinique foundation, MAC blusher or Benefit eyebrow pencil with you and I don’t expect you “to get” why one designer handbag is better than another (seemingly identical) handbag. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls and that’s it. PLEASE accept this otherwise I will be yawning and faking interest!
  3. APPEARANCE  FAKING. Make-up. Fake tan. Hair extensions. Fake eyelashes. Fake nails. Spandex. Heels. You name it, we use it. Anything to hide our flaws and to extenuate our strengths, to make us look slimmer, taller, generally sexier. How often does the guy you like see you…for who you are; warts and all. Even if you pride yourself on your natural beauty, I bet you wear a touch of concealer, I bet you shave your legs, I bet you change your appearance to be socially acceptable.

WHERE DOES IT END?! How much of us is the real deal?! This struck me when I woke up beside my current date, I hopped out of bed, ran to the loo and touched up my make-up at half 6 in the morning ladies! I went back to sleep and when we woke a couple of hours later I was relieved that even though I looked groggy, I looked better than I could have done! I thought this as I sat for hours at the salon: hair dyed and styled to perfection. Nails preened and manicured, body tanned until I’m a bronzed goddess. Make-up caked on, eyelashes thick and ready to flutter and wearing knickers to sculpt my body into a perfect hourglass shape! This is just my appearance.

Then there is the lunch date he took me on to one of his favourite restaurants…a bloody sushi bar. Incidentally- I hate sushi- but there I was munching away, ordering as many non-fishy dishes as was socially acceptable/possible and telling him how great his restaurant choice was. BULLSHIT. 

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When with him- any guy (in the early stages) I am, to be blunt, not myself. This isn’t the girl that my mum recognises- the girl with a flabby belly, with short bitten down nails, with pale skin and freckles plastered all over my face. The girl who sneers at fishy dishes and would much rather devour a Maccies. I’m not the girl my sister and my best friend knows. I’m faking it.

So as I lay in bed that night I vowed to be different; to be me. I’m damn special as I am- maybe I hate sushi and all his favourite sports. Maybe I’m freckley and a bit spotty with crappy nails. This is me. Warts and all. Come on ladie let’s be true to ourselves, let’s be real.

The birds and the bees.

What’s worse than having a conversation with your mum about the birds and the bees when you’re thirteen? Having a conversation with your mum about the birds and the bees…at twenty two.

My mother called me downstairs “for a chat.” The very comment brought fear to the pit of my stomach, “shiiiiit what had I done now?” was the only thought running through my head as I tried to think up some excuse or explanation for this unknown issue.

I had left a packet of contraception in my bedroom when I last left for university and my mother 1) worried that I was thus having unprotected sex and 2) worried that I didn’t know of the potential repercussions linked to this particular version of the pill (which she was ready to fill me in on after discussions with her friends/a thorough google search.)

Uncertain of what to expect, I went downstairs where I was faced with a brief interrogation by my mum. “It’s none of my business” was her oft-repeated phrase and “IF you’re in a sexual relationship” pre-empted virtually every sentence she uttered.

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Honestly, it was horrendous…almost comical, if it wasn’t so damn embarrassing. My mum likes to consider herself somewhat liberal, open minded and younger than her years but we’ve never had that kind of relationship where I could tell her who I had been sleeping with as many of my friends do with their mums. It was an unspoken area that was never discussed. Until today.

I had never sat her down and told her that I had lost my virginity, we never went to the doctors together to put me on the pill…I just went to university and aged twenty two figured that my mum probably realised that by now the deed had be done.

In all likelihood, she never actually thought about it until she was faced with the packet of forgotten contraceptives. AWKWARD AS HELL. 

I kind of wanted to set her straight: “yes mum, I’m not a virgin. That status went out the window at the end of my first year at university when I was 19, horny and drunk. I have been having safe sex (virtually always and if not have taken proper precautions to check I am STD and baby free: I have never had either) and now the pill has been forgotten about because I’m currently as celibate as the nun who taught me Latin.” That is my story- but I figured that not only was it a case of “too much information” but that actually it is nothing short of tragic. I don’t know that I could face the pity of my single, divorcee mother. I would kind of prefer that she thought I was at it like a rabbit with some charming boy I fancied.

We had this awkward chat where my mum was trying to be this really cool parent just making sure her daughter was being careful whilst I was trying to hide the awkward smirk on my face and ever reddening cheeks! You’d think I would have had my fair share of awkward parent chats in this area- I have divorced parents and when I started my periods got the “congratulations”, helpful advice chat from my mum and the concerned “if you ever need any products or chocolate or some space or whatever feel free to let me know and I will sort it” chat from my dad.

No matter how young- or old- you are, it seems this conversation will never get any less embarrassing. Will it ever end?

 

My A-Z of Dating.

Ever wanted a dating manual? A catalogue of dos and donts? I don’t claim to be a dating expert (just look at my shambles of a love life to see that!) but I do have some advice- however flippantly you take it. He is MY A-Z of dating tips, make of it what you will and please let me know what you would add/omit! Happy dating folks!

A– advice. Take your friends’ dating advice with a pinch of salt! Have you ever noticed how the people in your friendship group who always seem to be dishing out the dating advice (mostly advice you haven’t even asked for) are actually the very people whose love lives are in chaos. Maybe that’s just my friendship group, but the irony was never lost on me. Friends are biased towards you. They love you, care for you, but might have their own agenda. BE WARY. All single girlfriends hate being ditched the minute a man appears in your life- although friendly and seemingly helpful, genuine advice might not be given with just your interests in mind. Here are some dating gems I’m sure you’ve heard friends say time and time again; “you can do better,” “never settle,” “you should ask him out.”  This is unhelpful though- we need to stop being told that we can do better because nobody is perfect. Friends encourage us to set impossibly high standards but in the long-run this will end in tears. It may boost our egos temporarily but this dangerous advice could stop us from finding love or, when we do inevitably “settle” it might be with an unnecessarily heavy heart. In all honesty it’s likely that when we can do better, we know we can already. It’s likely we know if we are “settling” without the interference of a seemingly concerned friend. As for asking him out- if he’s shy or timid then go for it- but otherwise if he isn’t initiating then he probably isn’t interested. (OUCH! I know the truth hurts but this is the stuff friends probably won’t tell us!) if you put it on a plate for him he’ll probably Carpe Diem the hell out of it, if only to get laid…it doesn’t mean you’ll bag a boyfriend! [This sounds so cynical I know, I don’t mean it to- we shouldn’t settle for just anybody and sometimes it’s good to take the bull by the horns and ask a guy out] Just be wary of your girlfriends’ advice and confide in a few friends who you know will be honest with you. Also, trust your intuition!

B– be yourself. I know you hear it all the time- but do it. If you don’t feel comfortable in heels, discussing current affairs or eating seafood then go in your best pumps, change the topic of conversation and suggest you dine somewhere that suits you too. You don’t want your man falling for fake you because you can’t keep it up in a relationship- be real and be yourself.

C– candy crush free zone. Infact, generally a mobile free zone. Your date is awful? You’re bored? You want to update your friends? Don’t! No matter how awkward, boring or lacking in chemistry the date is- don’t be rude! I hate dining at restaurants and seeing couples in silence on their phones. I hate even being out with friends when they can’t truly let themselves go over a meal and instead have to check their twitter feeds or text some random person. ENGAGE, CHAT, EAT…texting doesn’t feature…and if you really need to take a call or send that text then take a trip to the loo…

D– drink responsibly. Nobody likes having to nurse a drunk. Especially your date. It’s unsafe, unattractive and inappropriate. If he’s lucky enough to make it to a second, third, fourth date…and a full blown relationship then he can see the drunken you…he can also hold your hair back and supply you with water as and when you need it! What else are boyfriends good for? 

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E– expectations- have NONE. A few whatsapp exchanges or even a phonecall isn’t indicative of chemistry. You might meet and have zero  spark, expect nothing. Some first dates you will go on and be disappointed by- dream date may have been better (often the case from my experience!) than the real deal! He might have seemed wittier and kinder via text, perhaps his photos were taken very cleverly or back when he was a younger, thinner version of himself. Or maybe it was the guy you disregarded and dismissed- agreed to date on a whim and actually realised that there was something there…. Expectation leads to disappointment, no expectation could lead to more! Think of a first date as an audition, if it doesn’t work out? Hey ho, maybe you got a free meal or drink out of it, you certainly gained some dating experience and I’m sure it was preferable to that ready meal for one you have waiting at home!

F– fashionably late. Always. Nobody wants to be the girl sitting alone waiting nervously for the date. Maybe spend a few extra minutes in the car, let yourself toy with differing shades of lipstick before you leave- make him wait. If you agreed 7pm, for you it was 7.10. Obviously, don’t take the piss and be ridiculously late and maybe bad traffic or something will make him later than you- but fashionably late, is always the way forward ladies!

G– google! Always have a cheeky online search for your date. Check out what he does, see his online profile and have a cheeky stalk of any Facebook pictures he may have. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this as it’s human nature- we’re curious creatures! It does serve a practical purpose though (I’m not even fully convincing myself here!!) as the more photos you see, the more likely you are to spot him in a crowded bar, finding a shared interest on his social media might give you something to talk about and ofcourse you could discover that he is a mass-murderer and therefore cancel the date and thus save your life!! I’m kidding- sort of…

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H– haste: avoid it! Don’t push your man into a relationship he doesn’t want! The first few dates (although awkward and sometimes uncomfortable) can be one of the most beautiful parts of a relationship as you develop feelings for one another and get to know each other. Do not rush it. Let it play out naturally and it it fizzles out then let it. If it doesn’t- trust me the wait will be worth it!

I– informed- make sure somebody, anybody knows where you are. It’s a shame that I’m even having to include this: but girls do get their drinks spiked, boys can get carried away and sometimes things can go wrong. This tip is so important when it comes to meeting men online. You might just need your friend and if she knows where you are it can save you from an otherwise dangerous situation. You can never be too careful: it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, you need to update your friend so you can fill her in on all the juicy gossip after (BEST bit of the date if you ask me!!)

J– judgmental? BIN IT. Nobody is perfect- quit nitpicking. So what if he’s a little tubbier around the waist than you wanted? Who cares that he doesn’t earn as much as your last boyfriend? Or that he has dreadful taste in footwear? I’m sure there are things he isn’t too fond of about you. It’s time to throw away our judgmental attitudes. Women notice everything and analyse and overthink to the max. It’s not healthy and it’s not helping your life love. Focus instead on the positives. He may be chunky but god his face is gorgeous. He might earn less than your ex but he’s so much more generous with what little he has. Bad footwear but incredible cologne. Hopefully he will ignore your shortcomings too because nobody is perfect.

K– knickers. Keep ’em sexy. Remember that scene in Bridget Jones when they’re getting down and dirty and she reveals her erm…larger than life granny pants? Don’t let that be you- wear your hot underwear, just incase. (Or keep it in your handbag at the very least, so you’re not caught out!) We can pretend we are all prim, proper and fresh out of a Jane Austen novel but sometimes, we get carried away. Be prepared!!

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L– lighthearted. Your first date doesn’t need to be a lesson on your political views, your opinion on abortions and the breakdown of your parents’ marriage. Save the serious stuff for another time! Chat about the lighthearted, trivial stuff- he doesn’t want to be your shrink and if a conversation becomes too serious, tell him it’s one for another date or chat about it without killing the mood!

M– money. Take some, offer to pay halves and always have enough for a “he’s-a-psycho-get-me-out-of-here-taxi-fare” just incase something goes wrong. It’s nice if/when men offer to pay but don’t expect or assume that he will and it’s always important to be self-sufficient to be on the safe side!

N– no baggage. It’s hard to forget about that cheating bastard you wasted a couple of years of your life on, I know. Whatever you have been through in previous relationships it can be tricky to forget. But, TRY- treat every date, every new relationship as if it’s the first. It will make YOU more attractive (cynicism is endearing to nobody!) and will help YOU to have healthier, better relationships. Learn from past mistakes but try to forget them too- no baggage is the way forward!

O– open minded. So, you don’t like facial hair? Your man has to be taller than you? You hate northern accents? Let your preconceptions go! You’re trialling something new for a couple of hours, so run with it….wholeheartedly. Are you really going to throw your perfect man away because he has a Scouse twang? If so, maybe you’re not ready for the dating game! Sometimes it’s nice to step out of your comfort zone! Remember: lists are for groceries, not potential partners!

P– Ps and Qs, remember them! If he holds the door open for you, buys you flowers or pays for your meal always remember your manners. Even if you think a guy should pay or you are having an otherwise dreadful date- always be polite. Let it be said that even if there was no spark he can go back to his friends and family and tell them that at the very least, you were polite and grateful.

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Q– questions. Ask them! Favourite film? Best holiday? Plans for next year? Favourite sport? If he’s a family man? Give and take- don’t let the conversation be all about YOU. Everybody enjoys talking about themselves but make sure you don’t go overboard- engage and ask him questions. From the silly to the important! It shouldn’t be an interview in his life plans; marriage, kids, views on private schooling etc this will scare the poor guy off! Just get to know him- that is the whole point of a date afterall. A friend of mine used to turn her first dates into something of a game of “Would you rather?” The game involves giving two ridiculous options from which the other person chooses; “huge hands and tiny feet or tiny hands and huge feet?” “All the money in the world but a life of celibacy or all the sex you could want but a life of poverty?” “Dinner with Piers Morgan or the Queen?” She swears by this game- it’s fun, shows she doesn’t take herself too seriously and she claims it tells you a lot about a guy: what he values, how vain he is and his sense of humour. One date refused to play the game saying it was childish and daft…they spent a pleasant evening discussing current affairs and a shared love for tennis instead. There was no second date though “he wasn’t game for the game…so I’m not game for date two, bloody bore!” She texted me. I doubt I’d ever opt for a game of “would you rather?” on a first date but I am a big fan of questions.

R– run with it. If you like the guy and he suggests taking you out of town post-dinner to his favourite ice cream bar, do it! If you want to get down and dirty with the fella, do it! If you want to to stay on for a few more drinks, do it! Don’t hold back- don’t be a slave to some rules you’ve read in a magazine, some ideals your friend once spouted or views you’ve imposed on yourself. If you fancy some sex on a first date then why not? If you end up trying something or going somewhere that you never would normally, just run with it! For the duration of the date you are opening your eyes to his world and he is opening his eyes to yours- let it take over you.

S– stand him up. NEVER do it. You certainly wouldn’t want him to do it to you- if you really decide against the idea of the date then cancel with advance warning. If you turn up and see him sitting there looking less attractive than you remembered or wearing something you hate (girls can be shallow!) or put off generally by anything- just see the date through to the end. Nobody will force you to have a second date and you can leave promptly feigning tiredness if you must! It’s a matter of basic human decency. Standing someone up is cruel and can have lasting implications on confidence, future relationships and self esteem.

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T– toilet break. Dinner, movie, drinks- whatever the date is, take a moment for yourself in the loos. On a first date, it’s unlikely your man will tell you that you’ve got spinach in your teeth, so always have a toilet break. It lets you break the swing of the date a little which will unnerve him. (Mean? Naaah, necessary!) He won’t know what you’re thinking and will have the chance to sit back and think- maybe to become inspired to initiate a new conversation or, if nothing else to re-admire the hot dress you painstakingly chose as you walk back to the table. It also gives you a chance to re-apply lipstick, dab your nose and update your best friend on how it’s going! Definitely don’t give the toilet break a miss!

U– Unavailable. Okay, so this one is a mean one! I’m not pro playing games but sometimes we have to show our man that we aren’t putty in his hands (even if really we are!) It’s important that he knows you have a life separate from him. Once you’ve been on a couple of dates and he knows you’re interested play a bit more hard to get and tell him you can’t make the next one he arranges. Be off the radar for long enough to keep him guessing but for a short enough period of time that he doesn’t give up! Also be unavailable every now and again- most people are nursing a hangover or just chilling on a Sunday afternoon- switch your phone into “airplane mode” and go silent on his texts for a few hours. It’ll leave him wondering what you’re up to and make him work just that bit harder to keep your interest!

V– Vanity. We all want to be looking our best on a date but vanity isn’t attractive. I’m talking about constantly re-applying make up, ordering rabbit food to avoid extra calories and fishing for compliments on a date. It’s boring and it’s awkward. Odds are that your date does fancy you (he’s on a date with you, afterall) be confident…that’s more beautiful than calorie counting and endless self deprecation!

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W– Wow him. So this is a bit un-feminist and I hate myself for saying it but it’s true. You’re hot in your joggers, wearing no make up and with your hair scraped back messily into a bun, you are. The problem is that your date won’t see this until (if…you get to) a sleepover, a few dates in or until a relationship is on the cards. Until then we play the dating game. A game which requires a lot of effort for a few awkward dinners/drinks/whatever your thing is. A game that requires that you wow your man with your feminine wiles. We are talking glam hair, perfect make up and a few sexy outfits. You want his eyes to be on you…and just you. Once he’s hooked he’ll be dying to see you naked and dressed in your loungewear but until then- dress to impress!

X– Exs! OKAY so I’m cheating a bit here: your date probably doesn’t want to hear much about that X ray you had last summer or that time in junior school that you go to play the Xylophone in music class though! The golden rule of conversation (and I know you already know it) is to never mention the ex! If you find you’ve talked about him a lot then you need to have an honest chat with yourself as to whether you’re 1) actually over him and 2) ready to move on. If not then you’re not ready to date and no poor guy should have to endure an evening of tears or ranting about past loves! Equally if he drones on and on and on about his ex then my best advice would be: TO RUN FOR THE HILLS.

Y– yin and yang. It’s easy to look for a date with similar tastes in music to us, a date who enjoys the same films, who is from a family just like ours, maybe we seek dates from the same profession or who share the same dreams and aspirations. I get it, we want to click with someone. It’s all about that god damn CLICK and whilst sometimes we get it, mostly we don’t! It’s important to agree on the major things- if you’re desperate for children and he’s not interested then you should think long and hard about your future. What if he has a burning desire to live abroad and you just want to stay in the same town you’ve always known and loved? These differences can be insurmountable obstacles. Does he really have to share your love for 90s pop though? Or adore your taste rom-coms? No. Yin and yang. Opposites do attract and often actually work. Step outside of the norm- stop looking for the man who agrees with all your views and shares all of your tastes (for starters he probably doesn’t exist!) and instead look for the man that differs from you. A man that can complement you. Are you wild, loud and up for anything? Maybe the man you need to be dating isn’t the like minded thrill seeker but somebody more subdued, cautious and calm. Balance. His attitude, his opinions and his approach to life might just open your eyes.

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Z– zzz- don’t be boring! Nobody wants to date a prissy, uptight girl who can’t laugh at herself. Be fun, be different, be interesting. Don’t get me wrong this is hard, it’s half the battle when you’re dating. You don’t know this man and so can’t judge what he would deem playful, interesting or fun. You have to be yourself and hope it works: show him you’re up for anything no matter how random. If he wants to play truth or dare at the dinner table, indulge him! If he wants to take you to a theme park or the zoo for date two, let him! Show him that you don’t want to sit and discuss political reforms until the cows come home. We date to find someone to join our lives. Someone who can enhance what we already have. An addition to our friendship circles. A new member of our family. Someone to wake up with every morning. Someone to go to bed with every night. Little miss boring won’t enhance anybody’s life!

 

 

Why online dating shouldn’t be normalised…

This isn’t a discussion as to the usual dangers of dating online; people not being who they say they are, giving out too many personal details etc etc.

But this is, as I see it, a very real danger in itself.

A decade ago online dating had a stigma attached to it. To say you had met your partner on a dating website, was looked down upon. Those around you (and maybe rightfully so) would voice their concern as to the problems with meeting strangers in real life, it was seen as an inability to meet people in the real world and was viewed as an arena for weird people to find love. Fast forward to 2014 and things- thankfully!– have changed. Infact, online dating isn’t just socially acceptable now, it is the norm. It is encouraged. A decade ago, it was for middle aged adults who seldom met new people; perhaps due to work commitments, maybe post-divorce, possibly due to bringing children up or the fact that all said person’s friends remained happily married and no longer on the hunt. There are 101 reasons as to why middle aged adults may struggle to meet new people in the real world and so, for them, online dating is ideal. Nowadays, however, it is for everyone- from the young, to the old. From the beautiful, to the less so. From the sociable, to the unsociable. It knows no bounds.

Whilst this is a good thing, I find it worrying at the same time. Tinder is a fabulous invention (I can’t deny my love for the app) but it isn’t for the middle-aged, in fact it is primarily for the young, for people like me, for students. Now, is that not perverse?! Here I am, along with my friends, having moved many miles away from home to study at university; to gain some independence, to get a degree and to meet new people. Yet, here I am- here we all are- talking to people who are elsewhere, online.

Online dating is no longer the novel addition to dating, it’s no longer a new way to meet people. It is now the alternative to meeting people in real life, it is the way to meet new people. This is the danger.

Recently I went on a night out and sitting in a booth of a nightclub, my friends and I were all glued to our phones. Our fingers running around the little screens in a frenzy as we replied to tons of messages that we were getting, flicking our way left and right through possible Tinder matches and as we flirted via text with boys we like. The booth beside us was filled with men, who, like us, were scrolling through Facebook pages and sending message after message to their ladies. A group of good looking ladies and a group of good looking men- side by side, yet nobody approached the other. Instead we all (and I am as guilty as the rest) initiated conversations with strangers who were not near and who we could not see. HOW IS THIS  GOOD FOR US? This isn’t helping our love lives. It’s ruining them! It’s also ruining our ability to converse face-to-face without a moment’s pause to come up with a witty response, without the aid of emoticons to guide the conversation and without the ability to stop replying abruptly.

We are moving backwards.

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Online dating is fabulous for people who simply cannot meet new people. It sometimes suits those who can; the very shy and the very self conscious. But the rest of us? The virtual world is not a preferable alternative to the real thing. Maybe we like photoshopping our photos and enjoy the ability to portray ourselves in a particular way online. We lose these freedoms in the real world where my flabby arms and oily skin become visible, where a question requires an immediate response. Is this bad? No. This is who we are. This is the real us.

If we want real relationships then surely this is what our partners have to see? We come into contact with hundreds of people a day: on the daily commute, in the supermarket, waiting in a queue….why don’t we seize these real opportunities and find love the traditional, best way? OH, I remember, we are too busy on our phones to look up and notice the moment.