Archive for the ‘dating’ tag
A few weeks ago I was wistfully looking out of the choo-choo train and I asked myself the very question that is in the title. I wasn’t thinking about whether true love exists or whether it is possible to meet that person but it was more of a thought about how likely it was that you would meet them.
It was a thought about basic maths.
There are what just over seven billion people in the world so that is a hell of a lot of people. Now obviously not all those people want a person of the opposite sex but just for the sake of this blog lets say that they do. So everyone is looking for ‘the one’ out of 3.5billion people. The odds of winning the Euromillions jackpot are 116million/1 and not many people win that and yet many many more people believe they have found their kindred spirit and the one that they were meant to be with. If we only take say the people within 10 years of us older and younger that would still be around 900million/1.
For the point of this blog I am assuming ‘the one’ is the perfect soul-mate and that there is only one for each of us.
If you are around my age and loved Sabrina: The Teenage Witch then you’ll remember the final ever episode where Sabrina found out that the man she was due to marry wasn’t the perfect match for her. He was a very close fit but Harvey was the one she was meant for. All very sweet but also asks the question about both the likelihood of her ideal match – in the world of the human race – went to school with her and also why couldn’t she be happy with someone who was nearly her ideal match?
I know it is only a TV programme but still.
To me it seems as though ‘the one’ could in fact be ‘many ones’ as we don’t get to meet everyone in the world in our lifetime. We’ll only ever meet the tiniest fraction of people who could in theory be our supposed life partner. In this modern day era we are exposed to more people through things like the internet and social media but still in all honesty an insignificant number. So how are we meant to find the one we are meant to be with when the odds are stacked so heavily against us ever doing so?
So either ‘the one’ doesn’t exist and instead we all find people that we enjoy spending time with and enrich our lives or as a race many of us defy the odds every single day and find the person that we are ‘meant’ to be with. I know which I think is the more likely.
There are a few people who meet someone and know straightaway and they are ‘the one’ or at the very least that they are head over heels in love. However even in these situations it is often just one half of the couple who know it there and then with the other realising later. My brother-in-law knew that my sister was the one for him the moment he sat eyes on her – seriously – and at that time it seemed highly unlikely but heck they’ll be celebrating 23 years of marriage in the autumn. I was talking to a friend of mine today who celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss to his partner yesterday and when he first met her (and fell in love with her) she was married to someone else. He cursed his luck that he didn’t meet her earlier but things change and he got his chance a couple of years later after the marriage ended.
Now some could say that these are examples of ‘love conquering all’ but I just think things happen and for every feel good story like the two above I am positive there are hundreds where two people who would have been very happy together missed getting together because of them wasn’t available at the right time etc.
One question I often ask myself in bed or on the loo or on the choo-choo or wherever I’m doing some thinking is ‘I wonder if the person I end up with (assuming of course I do end up in love and with someone) is someone I’ve already met or not?’ Will someone from my past return into my life? Will someone I’m friends or acquaintances with blossom into something more? Or will someone walk into my life at some future point? Will I know straightaway? Will it be a slow burner? There are so many questions and so few answers.
People talk about a ‘spark’ and I think the evidence is there that a ‘spark’ is real but most certainly isn’t something that means a long and fruitful relationship. A spark is different for every single person. I have had that ‘spark’ with just one person in 29 years. In the end we didn’t even have a date as she had other guys interested in her and she decided to go down that road with someone else. I have had *thinks* dates with I think seven women in the six years since. Not once have I felt that spark with any of them (although a couple I certainly was interested in seeing them again).
My point is a spark isn’t something that happens at the start of every successful relationship. I know people who think sparks need to fly from the very first moment otherwise there is no point. I don’t subscribe to that view. Not every relationship is like the movies no matter how much we would all like it to be.
Feelings ebb and flow and can develop over time and finding the right person for us all will mean many different things. If/when I find the right person I’ll no doubt gush over her and it’ll be a fantastic feeling. What it probably won’t be is me finding the perfect person for me. That is statistically an extreme long shot. What is far more likely is that I’ll have found someone whose life I enrich and who enriches my life to go with being in love. You don’t need to be with your ideal person to be in love with them. It is all about finding your perfect imperfection and when all find that then we are on to something.
As for the antiquated notion that there is someone for everyone are ideal partners well that’s hogwash. The odds on that are just too extreme. If we can find someone who in our own minds are perfect imperfection then we are all on to something good – no – on to something great.
Ages ago I did a blog about being a girl on an online dating website. Well at the same time I set up a fake male profile as well but didn’t get around to blogging about it. I completely forgot about it until the other day and I logged into it. Suddenly logging into it has produced a spurt of mails. Yet again I refused to reply to any but was interested in the types of messages I would get. One of the most common things that I have seen on dating profiles is something along the lines of ‘don’t just message me and hey hi or ask how I’m doing’ so how do women message guys..well lets see…
1. If only they still sold Tab…
What am I meant to do with this? Ask her what she’d still do if they sold a short-lived clear coloured cola?
2. Excellent profile, made me laugh x
If I was going to reply I’d just say ‘Thank You’ – clearly she is putting it on me to get a conversation flowing.
3. Hi Mr Bombastic you look cheeky (in the good way)
Well at least I could reply in an equally flirty way I suppose…
4. Is your pic taken at Harry potter studios? Xx
Well I could answer Yes or No. Great conversation!
5. Your profile made me giggle!!
People have been known to say similar about me xx
I’m not going to reveal what the profile stated but she is basically saying she is good at giving blow jobs and then winking…
6. I’m in the some think your handsome group x
Flirty but again putting it all on me to create some conversation.
7. hey hun, how u doing? x
Surely you can use capital letters and proper English?
8. naughty….but I did laugh out very loud reading your profile x
Your profile had me in stitches.
How are you?
Now this one was interesting as it was from someone I had actually messaged – as me – months ago. She never replied. Capital letters, proper English, only person to actually tell me her name, ok it’s not the best opening message ever but it was the best I received. Shame she took one look at the real me and thought ‘Nah…’ and yet words that I had written had her in stitches. Oh internet dating you are a strange one…
10. Whatever happened to that drink Tabclear?? You have me thinking now
Well it kinda just died away (I made a reference to it in my profile(
11. Nice hair!
Seriously is that it?
13. Are you terribly fantastic?
Yes. Yes I am…
14. are you being serious in your little description thingy???!!
Well I’m not as the person doesn’t exist but thanks for asking.
That profile had so many messages but they get deleted after 28 days and I forgot to copy & paste them into a file but basically all the messages are along the same lines. They are very short and punchy and mostly rather suggestive. I haven’t put them up here because they were a while back when I first created the account (but didn’t save the messages – d’oh) but there were more than a couple of people who basically said that they wanted to get busy…talk about being forward!
One of the girls who messaged ‘me’ had the following on her profile, ‘Wherever we go…I can guarantee you’ll end the night on a high xXx’ – maybe I just don’t understand the female of the species (actually that might well be very accurate). The profile I used in this instance said nothing about me at all – but was full of hot air – not describing my interests, what I look for in a partner, basically said nothing about me and yet messages flooded in. That didn’t surprise per se but the quality of messages really did.
As I noted in my previous piece women get way more messages than guys and they have a much harder job filtering them but on the other side of the ledger surely women should make some effort to engage if they are messaging a guy? The only date I went on last year came about from someone who had messaged me. I can’t remember the message exactly but it did pick up on a couple of things I said in my profile and asked me about them. That is all an opening message should be. A paragraph or two at most to show that you’ve read their profile and not just looked at the pictures and try and engage with the other person.
Now had I actually been that person in the fake profile then no doubt I could’ve gone out and had a rather good time with a lot of these women. The thing that gets me and annoys me somewhat though is a lot of them – the same people who basically just messaged me suggestively – stated on their profile that they wanted something real and not just a fling as they weren’t like that. Well apparently they are depending on the other person.
No wonder I found it all very confusing and demoralising. It seems many people have a public face that they want to portray but in fact are looking for something completely different. Oh online dating…I don’t miss you so.
Last night I was having a conversation with a nurse at the hospital (I wasn’t at the hospital – good old Facebook) and we were gossiping about another nurse and a situation that we are both looking forward to as and when the Hospital Radio is reopened and she was saying that I needed to be more spontaneous and maybe go around with mistletoe in the upcoming weeks when doing my ward rounds. I shuddered at the thought and it reignited something deep down inside.
We are all moulded by our life experiences. I think that is pretty evident to us all. My own life experiences with regards to the opposite sex have been somewhere between woeful and horrific. Now of course a lot of this is very much water under the bridge but it still lays dormant in my psyche.
You see at school I wasn’t a popular boy with members of the opposite sex. In fact I think I would go as far to say as I was rather unpopular. Even within my own social group I was without a shadow of a doubt the most unpopular male of the group amongst the females present. I knew this and at times I would question myself as to why and wonder what had I done. Now of course if you asked these people even to this day ‘who was the weirdest and creepiest boy you knew at school?’ I fully expect that I’d come out light years ahead of anyone else.
I look back on events like when one member of said social group said that the New Years Eve Party in 1999 would be so much better if I wasn’t going – and the moment I heard those words come out of her mouth there was no way I was going and I’d prefer to stay home alone. I wasn’t going to put another person’s nose out of joint. I distinctly remember things like this and they are not isolated incidents. If I thought anyone was uncomfortable in my presence then I would do (what I thought at the time) was the right thing to do – stay the hell out of the way.
Now I know that (or do I know – maybe believe?) that this may not have been the best course of action. That may be in fact have been even weirder and creepier to just stay the hell out of the way. Where I used to work a few years ago the girls there thought I was weird and creepy and yet I pretty much blanked them and didn’t really ever engage in conversation with them. Yet that was weird and creepy.
I think it all stems from that lack of self-confidence as a kid and once you have it then it is hard to overcome. Now I know some people are reading this and thinking I’m being defeatist and selling myself short but here’s the thing – I know that in the vast majority of cases people who actually get to know me and invest time in doing so like me – they like me a lot. People with whom I spend time and am relaxed around generally like me. The issue has always been people making snap judgements on me and obviously I must give off a bad ‘vibe’.
This is why I still would never do anything spontaneous with people whom I hardly knew because I know deep down that the majority of women in the first instance do not like me – and a significant percentage of them think I’m weird. Now it should be said here that most people that know me know I’m weird but also they know it’s not creepy weird so I could be far more spontaneous as it were with them.
The truth is I make a bad first impression. What I do or do not do I don’t know but apart from that blip last year that I have written about previous it has been six and a half years since I translated a first date into a second date. Now I’m not saying there have been 100s of dates in that time but I think we are certainly using both hands to count and maybe a foot as well.
Personally I think the major issue is I don’t have that bed of self-confidence as a rock underneath me. Instead I have a plethora of bad memories and being told that I’m a creep and a weirdo and hence why I take the step-back approach. I would be stunned if I ever became the forward-thinking and forward-acting person when it comes to relations with the opposite sex. I need a lot of positive body-language (and when I say a lot it needs to be overpowering) before I do anything. Maybe doing nothing is the creepy part. Maybe doing the wrong thing is the creepy part. Whatever I do I fail and do you know what? Deep down I am fine with that and have resigned myself to that.
For example I know that I cannot flirt. I would propose that I had more chance of nailing Heston Blumenthal’s signature dish snail porridge one my first go than I do of successfully flirting with somebody (and when you consider how awful I am at cooking then that says even more). Is this because I don’t have the mental capacity to flirt or is it to do with not having that rock of confidence underneath me? I think we all know the answer to that (the latter…).
So to round up I think my lack of self-confidence has evolved over the years. These days I believe in myself a lot more and I fully believe that most people would like me if they got to know me (which is significant progress on the Neil of a decade or so ago) but I also still know that my first impression is not great in a lot of instances and that I give away a creepy vibe despite being really not creepy. I mean the moment someone says I’m being a bit weird or creepy I done. I mean totally done. As I said before this might even be being more creepy but who knows.
All I know for sure is I’m moulded by my past experiences and my memory is not full of people saying I’m amazing but more people saying I’m a bit weird and that they are not comfortable around me. This is just how it is. This is why I stay very much in my shell until I have the confidence of knowing people don’t think bad of me and then I can flourish but until I have that belief in any situation I will always revert back to the knowledge that people will think I’m a bit weird and creepy when they first meet me and that as they say is that.
So yes your favourite (well I might not be your favourite) loveable loser (or loser in love?) I prefer loser in love ended his 2012 desert in terms of dates last night as I had my first date of the year. That makes it three years in a row I’ve actually had a date. In your face 2009, 2008 and 2007. Talk about consistency. I mean who else can say they’ve had dates in three consecutive years? What do you mean ‘most people…?’
So anyway the fact that I’m writing about it publicly will hint to those of you who know me well that things may not have gone well as I’m notoriously private when it comes to dates until I know the outcome of them. I didn’t tell a soul and got told off today for not having told people (Apologies Miss Morris…). Anyway she asked me out a few days ago (Yes she asked me out) and we met up for a drink last night.
She seemingly had high expectations (which is as you know if you’ve ever met me is probably not a good thing to have high expectations of me) We had been texting for a few days (did you know Google chrome doesn’t consider texting a word?) and as she text yesterday afternoon she was ‘really looking forward to meeting’ and yeah in her own words, she is ‘generally attracted to men a little older than myself who are articulate funny and laid back…’ You know what? I actually tick those boxes! Looking good…
I was older than her by a couple of years. I am articulate (heck if anyone reads my crap on here they’ll know that), I am funny to some degree and I think the term laid back was invented for me. So on paper I can see why she was genuinely excited to have a date. On paper she was certainly ticking my boxes as well. She was (is) genuinely extremely good looking, has interests in the arts and history and her life doesn’t revolve around clubbing and getting smashed. Heck we are still looking good folks…
So anyway on to the date after a bit of background. Now when I wrote my awesome post about first date dating tips for men last week this date hadn’t been arranged. I had no inkling that 2012 would not end dateless so it wasn’t like I was writing myself a reminder for how to act. Well in general I followed most of (if not all) of my tips. Conversation flowed. We seemed to get on pretty well and when I was walking her back to the bus stop I thought a second date was pretty much a mere formality. However she did seem rather anxious for her bus to come and when it did she jumped on that thing quicker than an Olympic sprinter with a quick glance and a wave. At this point my belief of a second date that was pretty darn strong dissipated rather rapidly. As a keen body language studier that was certainly not good body language. She hadn’t displayed particularly (did you know I always spell that word incorrectly and Chrome tells me off? every single bleedin’ time…) positive body language throughout the date but there certainly wasn’t any negative body language.
So I texted her (texted apparently isn’t a word either – Chrome needs to get with the times…) saying I had enjoyed her company (which I had) and wanted to see her again (which I did) but the response was in the negative. Despite being ‘interesting’ and a ‘really nice guy’ she felt there was no connection between us and therefore didn’t want to see me again. She ended with ‘I wish you well x.’
Now I can read and I know perfectly well that says ‘I wish you well’ but my brain interpreted it as a ‘I really really never want to see you/hear from you again.’ I don’t think I have ever felt a connection between myself and a date on the first date. I tend to think a first date (as I wrote the other day) is more like an informal interview to see if you and the other person get on. I feel that that ‘connection’ as it were develops over time. I know others disagree and think you need that initial spark otherwise there is no point but how many people have fallen for a friend or someone they hardly knew over time? I think most of us certainly have developed feelings for someone when we didn’t have them the first time we met them – or even for months or years afterwards. So the ‘connection’ is not something that I personally look for. I just see if I want to spend more time with them and want to get to know them better. If I do then for me that is a successful first date. However in this instance it wasn’t enough for the other party.
Look am I a little bit disappointed? Sure I am. She was beautiful and was nice and interesting. Certainly was someone I wanted to get to know better. Even before knowing about my interest in politics she told me she was going to stay up and watch the US Election results come in. I mean seriously this girl was clearly someone that was ticking my boxes as it were but these things aren’t just about ticking boxes. You can fall for someone who isn’t your type and someone who ticks all your boxes you don’t don’t like. As Bruce Hornsby wrote ‘That’s just the way it is…some things will never change.’
I won’t bad mouth her as I do genuinely think she is a top lass. She was honest and you can’t ask for too much more than that. It is sad that I was a disappointment to her – such a bad one that she didn’t even want to see me a second time but what can you do? As I wrote last night – ‘I actually had a date tonight boys and girls. The first of 2012. Go me! However she doesn’t want to see me again. I’ve still got it…’ (not sure why that had so many likes – for the fact I had an actual date or because I once more proved that I was a loser in love?)
The ‘I’ve still got it’ refers to my awesome ability to have a date and then for a second date never to materialise as they didn’t like me. If we take out the instance of late last year (which is probably fair to do because on reflection that girl was clearly still on the rebound going through her divorce and just wanted a nice guy to make her feel better about the male species – something which I think I did rather well and then she realised that she wanted (and deserved) not just a nice guy but someone that made her heart flutter and she didn’t think I would do that). So yeah if we take her out of this debate it has been a grand total of six and a half years since I successfully translated a first date into a second date.
So yeah the ‘I’ve still got it’ refers to the ability for people to not want to see me again after a first date. I think this is quite an awesome ability. The most egregious thing though is I have ‘interesting’ and ‘really nice’ and yet still am not good enough for a second date then what hope do I have? They (along with being mildly amusing at times) is all that I have! If that isn’t good enough then there probably isn’t much hope for me.
Anyway I shall not dwell. It made for an excellent blog post (and I do love anything that allows me to write about my dating woes) and I had a date with a very attractive young lady. It wasn’t a successful date but still…will I make it four years in a row with a date in 2013? Who knows – four years in a row would equal my record (2003-2006) but I think (positively) that I will. Yeah positivity! Will I have my first second date (bar the above mentioned girl) since 2006? I’m going to say no but world – I am waiting for you to prove me wrong.
Ah first dates. Don’t we all love ‘em? *watches tumbleweed flow through the internet* well as someone who has been on maybe 15 first dates in his life (yeah – rock on b’s & g’s) I am actually pretty awful at getting dates and even less proficient at doing well at getting the second date. However I am great at the theory (so the total opposite to my degree – awful at the theory but waltzed the practical) and knowing many women who have talked me through their first date encounters I thought I’d use that wisdom coupled with my own inadequacies and put together a very simple list of things that guys you really should do on – and think about – before your first date with a lovely lady.
First things first what are you going to wear? Now you see women are different to men in many ways but the most stark difference dating wise is clothes. To a guy what a lady is wearing is not all that important. If they wear a dress or a skirt or jeans and a t-shirt most guys won’t make an initial judgement. Now women on the other hand do. Oh boy do they. If you rock up in tatty trainers and jogging bottoms then you are in a bad place my friend – a bad place. So think about what you are going to wear. Make sure it looks like you’ve made an effort because if it looks like you can’t make an effort on date one then the question ‘will they make an effort at any point?’ will be reverberating around the mind of your date.
Second is remember why you are on the date in the first place. You are there to get to know someone. So be prepared for conversation. A first date is essentially a prolonged interview in a less formal setting. Both parties are there to work out whether they want to get to know each other better. Therefore do not talk about yourself all the time. I know you have a few stories that you think are hilarious and show you in a good light but don’t ram-rod them down her throat. Ask questions and go with the flow of conversation. Remember you are there to find out about the other person as much as you are there to try and impress her. You will impress her by listening to what she has to say and following up on her thoughts.
Planning is essential. Look I’m about as anti-plan as you can get. I hate making plans and like to just go with the flow. However if you can’t be bothered to plan a first plan then when will you ever be bothered to make a plan? Even if the plan is as simple as ‘lets go for a walk along the beach and if we get on go for an ice cream/chips/a drink at a pub along the seafront. That is a plan of sorts. Just ‘lets meet at 1PM at x and see what we fancy’ is not a acceptable plan.
Honesty is good – up to a point. We all have secrets and we are always told that women love honesty. They do – up to a point. If you have been dating someone for a year then you might be able to bring up the fact that you have a toe sucking fetish and your partner may think ‘weird but I’ll try it’. If you tell her on a first date that you have a toe sucking fetish then your odds of a second date are deeply diminished. So being a total open book is great in theory but in reality unless you are lucky enough to have a date with someone who is incredibly open and liberal to fetishes then keep them locked away – for now.
The whole payment issue if you go somewhere that involves money. Look I’m a modern man. Straight up I’m a very modern man and believe that women should pay as much as guys do over the course of a relationship but on the first date it is the guys responsibility so pay and don’t think about it. If your date asks you to go dutch or say she’ll pay then politely decline and say that they can pay next time. If they kick up a fuss then of course let them pay whatever they like. I’ve found that if you say they can pay next time and they say ok that there will definitely be a next time.
The debate about taking charge is an interesting one. I’m not a dominant personality. I’m certainly no Alpha Male but on first dates women seem to want a guy to make the decisions so take charge or at the very least make suggestions. This is linked to the planning issue that I wrote about earlier. Planning is winning boys. Planning is very much winning.
Watch your body language and watch that of your date. Shakira once wrote that hips don’t lie and I’m unsure as to the accuracy of this but one thing that doesn’t lie is body language. I am a negative nelly with women. Deep down I think they all hate me. However sometimes I get confused as I see positive body language and this doesn’t compute with my self-doubt issues. Ignore your brain and listen to your instincts. We all know about body language and we know the positive and negative types. If a date is clearly displaying one or the other then go with it. Also remember to smile. Smiling is the simplest body language around and a genuine smile is the best reassurance anyone can get.
Use flattery wisely. Women do not like OTT flattery. It makes them uneasy. If you are going to give out a compliment then make it specific. If you notice for example that they are wearing ladybugs earrings ask about them and say they look nice. This shows you are noticing something specific. Just saying something like ‘you look amazing’ and saying that 17 times within an hour is awkward. Flattery should be used sparingly and for specific things. Non-stop flattery makes it sound like you don’t know what to say.
I think that there is nothing wrong with manners. Having basic manners will never be a bad thing. You may want this bad boy image and think a woman swoons at that but as you get older you’ll realise that women look for a good guy. The younger you are the more pure sexual attraction and chemistry weighs in your factor. They say the geeks shall inherit the Earth and that isn’t too inaccurate. Women always want looks and chemistry. Always. However in time acting like a gentleman and being there for them become far more important. Just showing basic manners like opening doors, being attentive, engaged, happy, act like you are genuine and a woman will certainly think ‘well he’s not like my ex…’
Respect personal space. This is a big one. Don’t be too touchy feely on a first date. Not unless the positive body language is overwhelming. Most women will have a first date and straight away talk to their best friend(s) about it and personal space is a huge issue as is respect. Respect is so key that I can’t stress it enough. Show respect and class and do not repeatedly touch your date.
The goodbyes. A hug I think is the best way to end a date. Not a handshake and not a kiss. Say it was good to meet them and if you are interested in a second date tell them that you enjoyed yourself and that you want to see them again. If you say that you will call her then darn well call her. Women are as insecure as men. Reassurance is something both sexes like and the onus is still on the guy to ask for that second date. So tell them straight up and even though a woman may say yes out of politeness but deep down mean no that is fine. If they say yes then follow up within three days and ask if they fancy doing x, y or z. If they say yes then hooray. If they say no then no problem.
Lastly and most importantly. If they decide that they do not want to see you again then don’t keep asking. The moment you don’t take no for an answer you stop being a date and start to become a worry. Women are always fearful for their personal safety whereas guys are far less so. If a girl you didn’t like kept texting you or e-mailing you repeatedly then how would you feel? Uneasy and freaked out I suspect. If you do that to a woman then they’ll feel the same but 5-10x worse. So if a girl says no to a second date then say no worries and wish them well and move on. If they want to speak to you or see you again then they’ll contact you.
So there we have it. Neil’s top tips for how to act on a first date. I think it’s pretty good. If you follow all that then you’ll be fine. If things don’t work out then they don’t work out. Sometimes it isn’t anyone’s fault. If a first date doesn’t turn into a second then seriously don’t worry about it – and certainly don’t ask why. We’d hate it if women asked us ‘why don’t you fancy me?’ so it only makes sense that women would hate hearing the same question from a guy they’ve turned down.
Most importantly folks have fun, stay safe and have respect.
They say those who can’t, teach. Well I’m living proof boys and girls. I don’t have the chutzpah to pull off online dating very well however I can offer some advice on how to do it far better than I ever did. I know all the theory but putting it into practice in a different kettle of fish. I will give a quick overview of the online dating scene to give novices a bit of a heads up.
First of all men and women are different. I know people who want to talk about equality all the time don’t want to believe this but they are. Men send far more first messages than women. Women get so many messages that it is hard to reply to them all. Men pretty much have time to reply to every message they receive. Therefore women actually need to write the better profile because even though most guys will send them a message solely based on a photo they need to write the better profile because they need to sieve through the wheat and the chaff more.
I once spent 12 hours on an online dating website as a woman and boy was it an eye-opener experience. I felt that I would just flat out ignore so many of the messages and only those who had written a good opening message would get a response. However to write a good opening message you need something to go on so you do actually have to write a fair bit. Whilst researching for this blog post yesterday I came across the following two profiles and honestly this was all they said (along with a photo)
‘no weirdos thanks’
‘No bullshitters – Love dancin and bein wiv my friends love rub pop garage a bit of everything xx’
Now honestly what do either of those profiles give you to go on? The first one doesn’t want any weirdos so do you send a message saying, ‘Hey there, just saw your profile and saw you didn’t want a weirdo well you know what? I’m not a weirdo. It is like we were meant to be?’ and the latter doesn’t want any bullshitters (well who does?) and loves a ‘bit of everything’ well that’s great. This lady is actually rather good looking so she will get messages but the quality of them I fear are pretty awful.
So we need to talk about the positive stuff. Well yesterday whilst researching I came across the following profile and I’ll copy & paste and show you why I think it’s an excellent example of an online dating profile and why if I was still in the online dating game I’d be messaging this girl straight away:
Hi, I’m Jen and I very much enjoy watching silly comedy programmes such as Bad Education, The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner etc. I could probably recite most of the words to every Friends episode – that surely doesn’t make me a proper grown up?! Sadly, irreverent comedy programmes are not part of the National Curriculum (yet – I must start that petition!) so I cannot use this knowledge as part of my job teaching the future generation. Nevertheless, I very much enjoy what I do and more often than not, a day in the classroom can be a bit like appearing in a sitcom!
But I can’t have you thinking that all I do is teach and watch TV. I have been known to watch DVDs too! However, when I’m not in the classroom or on the sofa, I do manage to make my way to the gym a few times a week – I am a big fan of Body Combat. I also venture into the kitchen fairly often where I very much enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. I recently made some blueberry and vanilla scones. If you play your cards right, I could be baking some for you – just promise me we don’t have to have the discussion on the correct way to pronounce ‘scone’?!
I would like to meet someone who is fun and friendly and maybe also knows the words to various Friends episodes – just in case there is ever a power cut and we had to make our own entertainment. I would also really like to meet someone who is interested in having a proper grown up relationship incorporating the use of bags for life!
Let me show you why I think it’s an excellent profile. First of all I like the introduction of a name. The first couple of lines makes a little bit of a diss at herself about being a proper grown up. Quirky. She talks about her work and so we know quite a lot about her already. She’s a teacher and really likes comedy.
I love the ‘I have been known to watch DVDs too!’ line. The rest of that paragraph opens up some of her other interests. She likes to keep fit but also likes baking and shows us one of her specialities with a bit of a tease about baking for you (the reader/potential date) one day then adds in a line about the ‘scone debate’.
Lastly she tells us what she wants. A nice line about knowing lines to various Friends episodes but more importantly she is looking for a genuine grown up relationship. Brilliant all around. It gives you plenty of possibilities for opening gambits as you know several of her hobbies and what she wants. I’d be shocked if she wasn’t inundated with really good quality messages because she profile really opens itself up to getting good quality messages.
So to recap a good online dating profile should only be three paragraphs long. Three paragraphs is the perfect length. Show a bit of your personality along with some of your interests and then round off by telling the readers what you are looking for in a date/potential partner. Perfection. Remember the photograph(s) are important but the profile will open up the quality of people. If you have a hot picture you’ll get lots of messages. If you have a cracking profile you’ll still get lots of messages but it’ll be far easier to see straight away if the person writing to you has read it instead of just looking at the picture and it gives them many avenues to speak about.
A photo attracts a click and attracts a message but if you want a quality message a good profile is key. Show your personality and your interests. Throw in a spot of humour and what you are looking for and suddenly you have a first rate profile that should attract some excellent responses. It’s a shame I’ve given up online dating so I can’t contact the person whose profile I have used to underline how to write a good profile to see if she is getting good messages but still, trust me, she should be getting many interesting and thoughtful messages and hopefully soon she’ll be dating and happy in that grown up relationship she wants with ‘bags for life’.
Men with a lack of self-confidence and a one-way ticket to the friend zone I have some dating advice for you…
Men of the world who find themselves regularly making a permanent trip to the ‘friend zone’ need to listen up. I’m going to give you some advice and background for how not to find yourself in this particular position time after time. Now I know I’m no expert at not being in the friend zone. Heck I always make it there but I have actually had a bit of a crash course over the past year or so and you know what – the reason for repeated trips to the friend zone isn’t because someone doesn’t find you attractive but more you are too much of a wuss to bite the bullet and go for it.
Now I know what you are thinking ‘being friends is better than nothing’ but here’s a home truth that men with little self-confidence might not understand. A friendship will slowly wither and die once the object of your affections has found someone else. Women (and men to some degree) in general do not keep up active friendships with people that they were once interested in or dated. They remove you from their day-to-day life pretty quickly as they get all wrapped up in their new relationship and seeing someone socially they that had interest in (or had interest in them) isn’t happening. It just isn’t happening. So if you fancy a girl men then go for it. You don’t actually have that much to lose.
Now of course either a) asking someone out or b) kissing them on a date isn’t easy for guys like us. We worry about doing the wrong thing etc… Well as I’m an open character I’ll let you into my world and tell you the stories of all the girls I have actually asked out and how I did it and what I could’ve done differently that may well have resulted in a different result.
For the purposes of this blog I am ignoring all internet dating beaus as obviously you are going to ask them out by e-mail/message. Sadly whilst in bed last night mentally writing this blog post I realised that I think I have only asked out three people outside of internet dating – and I’m 29. Oh god that’s a depressing statistic but I won’t stop for a little cry. I shall persevere.
First of all I wrote a letter to a girl I went to school with when I was 15 (Year 11) and we were friends. We were in the same social group. She wrote back saying some nice things but there was a ‘but’ in there and basically she was infatuated with someone else. I used the term infatuated. She didn’t. Anyway on reflection there is probably little I could have done on this one no matter how I played it. She liked someone else and was holding out for him and him only (well until a couple of months later when she got together with another member of our social group but still – lets not split hairs).
Now we fast forward seven years to the age of 22. Yes I didn’t ask anyone out between 15 and 22. Loser. Anyhow for about three or four months I had seen this girl working in a shop that I frequented most days. She had the most wonderful smile. I would describe it to people as a smile that would still shine brightly even in a power cut. I finally plucked up the courage (and boy did I pluck it up from somewhere) to ask her out one day when she was working. She said no but I walked out of there elated that I had plucked up the courage and was not deflated in the slightest.
Now of course I would have to go in there again (well I wouldn’t but I still did) and I remember telling myself that if it was awkward the next time then I’d never go in there again. Well the next time I went in there she was just leaving but she saw me and swooped behind the till telling her colleague that she’d serve me and apologised and explained that she had been asked out just a couple of days before and had felt bad all weekend. Whilst it wasn’t explicitly said that she would have said yes it was implied. I felt good about that. However also it shows that if I hadn’t been such a wuss that I took ages to pluck up the courage I may well have had that date. So time is of the essence folks. I will say this though. Even if I never see her again she’ll always have a small corner of my heart cornered off for her for the way she acted. She will never understand just how much I appreciated that and how highly I think of her for that.
Fast forward just a year and a half now and we get to the third girl I asked out. She was a work colleague and we got on very well. There was that quote/unquote ‘spark’ but I sat on my hands privately (or not so privately – it wasn’t the biggest secret in the world) lusting after her. It took me three months to make my move and how did I do it? By e-mail. Yugh. I actually just went back and looked at the e-mail and in all honesty I couldn’t even read her reply in full. I had to strike whilst the iron was hot as it were and that was months before. Do I think timing was an issue? Maybe as had I made my move (not by e-mail although she did say it took courage to write that e-mail – which to be fair it did but still…no) a couple of months before things might have been different. I say might as I genuinely don’t know. All I know (or I should say I’ve been told by those in the know) is she had some interest at some point.
So two out of the three timing and doing nothing either could or did make a difference. So my advice would always be don’t worry about rejection and be brave. I always thought that girls would laugh at me if I asked them out but heck I’ve asked out three and all of them took it well. Now two of them I was friends with before I asked them out but am I still friends with them now? Well no. No I’m not. Is that because I asked them out and they felt awkward? No. No it’s not…
Girl one got with another member of the social group and didn’t really hang out with me at school or outside of school any more. Girl three chose another guy (she had three offers basically on the table) and decided that she wanted me out of her life completely (which wasn’t easy considering we worked in the same room). I remember a few months later I said to her that I was walking into town and would walk with her after work and she told me no. After she got together with her new we did not see each other once socially unless he was there as well. Not go for lunch or anything. I was completely cut out.
I quit that job and my last day was to be a Friday. On the Thursday I left as usual and then on the Friday she had booked the day off. So we never even said goodbye. We’ve not spoken since. It still rankles with me. We were close friends at one point but once she decided she wanted to put all her energies into another guy she literally did not want to even know me. That hurts but it shows you that even friendships will change between two single friends when one of them gets into a relationship. Nothing wrong with that per se – it is just the way it is. Single friends with see their friendships evolve (and when I say evolve I really mean go on to the back burner) when one gets into a relationship with someone else.
So whilst friendships are all well and good. Friendships between people where one or both people fancied one another at some point are unlikely to ever be serious long-term friendships. So what is there to lose? Guys if you fancy someone – even if they are a friend then go for it. There is actually very little to lose.
Also kissing. When you’ve successfully got a date and then had several dates you need to kiss. Girls don’t generally have a date with a guy and then have several dates with them over the next few weeks unless they are at some level interested. Now if you are shy and have little self-confidence then kissing someone is a nervy experience. Now I have kissed a grand total of three people. Yeah I know. Big time. Two of them pretty much threw themselves at me but the third was clearly waiting for me to make the move and I did on the fourth date and she was very happy that I had gotten around to it. Apparently she was more than willing to kiss from the second date.
So men of the world who have actually got to the date stage and have had a few without kissing them then they will feel that you aren’t interested. I will put in this caveat that as long as both parties know that these are actual dates obviously. Not just two people meeting up. If it is clear that these are dates and yet you still haven’t made a move after say four or five dates then the other party is going to think that you never will and will in turn mentally move you towards that dreaded friend zone.
The ball is in your court men. Women may not give you explicit signs but several dates is probably – no not probably – it is flat out a positive thing. Make some sort of move if you like a girl you are having dates with within a handful of dates otherwise she’ll already mentally be moving on. There are always other men who will catch the eye and if you do nothing the boat will sail on by and you’ll regret it. Trust me you’ll regret it.
So if I teach you one thing men it is this. You are not as bad as you think. American teen sitcoms where girls laugh in the face of nerds doesn’t actually happen. Most women think it takes a lot of courage to ask them out and they appreciate it. It will bring a smile to their face. Trust me on that and if you’ve already done the hard bit and got the date – and then one a second, third, fourth… then if you like them then go in for the kiss. Someone on a fourth/fifth date is not going to brush off a kiss and slap you and if they do then what the fuck are they doing on a fourth or fifth date anyway?
Ok I think I’ve sorted out relationships. I think I’m going to get dressed and go and buy the local rag and settle down to watch my boy Nick Clegg’s speech. Rock n Roll boy and girls…
The words of Emma Morley in One Day. These are however words I have also uttered in my lifetime. This evening I sat down and watched this movie and did so with a genuine interest. Rarely do I sit down and actually watch a film that I have heard about and actually wanted to see. Usually my film watching habits involve being bored but I actually did go out of my way to watch this one.
Now I haven’t read the book and my subsequent peruse of the reviews of this film indicate that this was not a bad thing. The book is apparently quite wonderful and the film did not live up to the material of the manuscript but I can’t judge it on that. For me all I saw was a quirky little film with a strange feel-good factor despite the character you grow to love being killed and the character you hate getting the girl he doesn’t deserve. Also I didn’t care that Anne Hatherway’s character was ‘too attractive’ and had a rather clear shifting accent. I’m not sure people who actually watch films care about this. I’m sure it is just for the critics. Most people just like a couple of hours of escapism.
I thought about my past and looked to see if any of the characters related to me in any way. I always do this when watching films. I’m pretty sure it isn’t normal but still. Unlike Dexter I am pretty sure that I don’t have a close female friend who is deep down in love with me. Also as far as I know no friend has ever had a crush on me. That might be a rather depressing sentence that I just compiled. I think I should move on rather swiftly.
The other thing I did mull over in my mind is the type of girl that I deep down yearn for. Once more linking it back to a blog post I read earlier in the week entitled Typecasting: The Myth of My Ideal Man – we all have the people in mind that we believe and hope that we will fall in love with.
Looking back at my history of women I have either dated or had interest in physically there doesn’t seem to be an obvious link. I always thought I had a type and yet I realised that I have dated more people who don’t fit into my type than do. If we just narrow it down to the big three of people I have had real interest with in my adult life physically there are no similarities whatsoever.
If we move it on to personality then yet again nothing too clear if you look at the three of them and yet again I always thought I had a type. I thought that I had a type of the quirky girl who would like to spend her Saturday’s baking cupcakes, being read to in the park, sitting watching the world go by in the countryside or by a lake. Very much the creative type with an interest in the arts. Now to most people who know me they might be stunned by this as they see me as a guy who loves his sport and not much else. I just think I very much want someone who is the polar opposite to me to light up my world. Someone with a positive and sunny outlook.
That is what in my head I have as my ‘type’ as it were but yet there was another moment in the film that summed everything up beautifully. In the film Emma dates a nice guy called Ian for several years but is never in love with him. She is always deep down in love with Dexter. A couple of years after her death Ian speaks to Dexter and says, ‘I used to hate you…because she lit up with you just in a way she never did with me and it used to make me so angry because i didn’t think that you deserved her… She made you decent and in return you made her so happy, so happy, and I will always be grateful to you for that.‘
Now that sums it all up for me. I just want to find the person I light up with and who in turn gets lit up around me. Isn’t that deep down what we all want and all not only want but deep down just yearn for? I can safely say that up to this point only the three people I hinted at earlier ever made my heart beat that little bit faster when I saw them or spoke to them or whatever. Only these three have made me smile at just the thought of them.
We all have this idea of the perfect partner in our heads but yet you never know when you will find that person who just makes you smile when you think about them. The person with whom you do nothing but nothing is everything. The person who even on the gloomiest day and at your lowest ebb will be there for you and assure you that everything is going to be all right – not just that – but you actually believe them that everything is going to be all right.
One day was a nice little quirky film. It made me think and I like films (and people) who make me do that. Emma was never happy with anyone except the person she deep down wanted to be with and I can relate to that. I see no point in dating people who don’t make me light up. It is better to be single and happy with yourself than be in a relationship that isn’t truly special. I honestly believe that and whilst so many people say I should settle for some happiness and not wait for that special someone I think that happiness can be found from being single and unhappiness can be found from not being truly happy in a relationship.
As the title says I’m not lonely, I’m alone…
I have discovered a new blog today (well late last night if we are being strictly accurate) and it is one of my favourite things on the internet. The wonderfully named Confederacy of Spinsters is a fascinating read and is written by three women in Texas. The blog post that drew me to the site was one entitled ‘I think you’re neat, let’s date.’
In it the author proposes a way to take out all the awkwardness of those early dating days. At what point do you go from a date to something more? I think we are all very similar when we have a date with someone and then actually want a second date. It is fraught with worry as you try to work out what the other person is thinking. The author uses the following examples, The beginning of a relationship seems especially fraught with danger.‘Does she like me? Does he think my teeth are crooked? Does she want me to kiss her? Is it weird that his last name rhymes with my first name? So many worries!’ and yes some of those really hit home.
The problem is we are creatures that struggles with communication. Communication is easy but we struggle mightily with two things – saying No and talking about feelings. The former is a debate for another day but the latter is one for right now. When you are seeing a boy or a girl you have many thoughts running around your head and the other person also has many thoughts running around their head. All that needs to happen is for both people to know both people’s thoughts and then everyone is good. However the expression ‘ignorance is bliss’ is just too darn accurate.
Sometimes it is easier to live in a world where good things can happen than live in a whole where bad things can potentially happen. If on a date I told the (un)lucky lady that I liked her and wanted to see her again and she just turned around and said ‘fat chance loser’ then I suspect I would not react too well. On the surface I’d be fine but deep down I’d be taking a kicking. However it also works the other way. I struggle telling someone that I’m not interested and yes it has happened and yes I have been in that situation. Telling someone who likes you that you don’t like them makes you feel like an arsehole and you’ll be a bad guy – but the truth is doing that isn’t being an arsehole.
The truth hurts but do you know what hurts more? A lie – certainly an ongoing lie. Now see this blog post inadvertently came about because of a situation in the HBO show The Newsroom involving the bizarre love square of Jim-Maggie-Lisa-Don. Had Jim and Maggie just been honest with each other then they would happily be together. Instead they are dating other people knowing that deep down they love each other but don’t want to hurt other people. Sounds noble but deep down it is a lie and living a lie will surely not lead to long-term happiness.
Being hurt by someone you are forming feelings for sucks but compare that to being hurt by someone you have long-established feelings for and finding out that deep down they were never in love with you? Now that is a sledgehammer to the heart. Luckily I have yet to experience this but unless the whole world has been lying to me then I think I’m right in that assumption.
So trying to wrestle this blog back on track. Those early dating days are awful but they needn’t be. If people after a first date or second date just say something like the lady suggests in her blog post:
“Hey! I think you’re really neat. How about we go on a few dates, make out a couple of times, then become boyfriend and girlfriend, after a month or two?”
Then dating would be oh so much simpler. Then both parties know the situation and if one isn’t happy then they can speak up. It sounds so easy but yet will people do it? I have no idea. I’m sure when/if I have my next first date I’ll go home and cringe and relive the date in my head and pick apart every single thing I did wrong and every bit of negative body language that I see. I’ll obviously ignore the positive bits as you don’t think about them after a first date. I remember when I was seeing someone at the turn of the year we had several dates and were still unsure of our ‘status’ as it were and it took a week of discussions (yes that is right – genuinely a week of discussions) to decide we were in a relationship. Then pretty quickly she realised that I wasn’t the guy for her so there wasn’t prolonged awkwardness but still a week of discussions about a relationship status is not good!
So next time I have had two dates with someone that I do like and see potential for a relationship with I promise to propose something similar to what this lady blogged about. I’ll say that I like them and that I want it to go somewhere and we have some more dates and make out a couple of times (I love that Americanism) and if we are still replying to each others text messages then we’ll be in a relationship.
Yes sounds simple enough. Now for that getting a date business…
I’m surprised I didn’t call a press conference and/or issue a press release on this but I have actually had a few people ask me what the latest was with my online dating adventures that I have blogged about previously. Well there is news but the retirement is not because of any great success. I have watched many people that I know have success in the online dating world and that has been heart-warming. I have seen these people say they are the happiest they have ever been thanks to online dating. However things have not exactly been the same for me and a few weeks ago I threw the white towel in mentally and this evening profiles were deleted.
Now this of course isn’t me throwing in the towel of ever being in a relationship. It is more a concession that maybe online dating isn’t for me. I am one of those people who is better in the flesh than I am online or in photographic form. I’m not exactly what you’d call full of the old self-confidence but heck I have been known to look in the mirror whilst cleaning my teeth or washing my hands or having a shave or whatever and think to myself ‘not bad, not bad…’ and I don’t think I have ever thought that after seeing a photograph of myself. I am not photogenic. Which is a problem in the online dating world.
As for describing myself and making me sound interesting. Yeah… I work from home, live alone, have a fruit and herb patio which I am super proud of. I do hospital radio, commentate on football, blog my life and thoughts pretty publicly and have a rather large interest in politics. I don’t drink and I don’t exactly go out much. Heck looking at me on paper I wouldn’t want to get to know me. So maybe it is no surprise that I’m not ticking boxes.
At this point I’d like to point out that on the flip-side I’m a guy who most people who get to know me quite like. Whether they fancy me is of course a very different kettle of fish but most think I’m a decent guy. At times apparently I fall down in my ‘manliness’ as I’m a beta male and let other people make decisions. I can make decisions about myself easy enough but when it comes to others I’m very laid back. A lot of women I have ‘met’ or should I say communicated with prefer a guy who makes decisions and takes charge, which is a surprise as I thought women didn’t want that any more but in my years of attempting to date it seems the opposite is true. I think relationships should be equal with both members leaning on each other to get the most out of things. This might not be the majority view.
Most of all though the reason why I have retired from this is because I don’t enjoy it. I do not enjoy the dating game and when you can’t even get dates then the dating game is even less fun. This year I have not had what you’d call a quote/unquote ‘first date’ and it showed no sign of changing. Since I moved into my apartment just over two years ago I have had a grand total of four proper first dates. An average of one every six months. It really isn’t worth the hassle.
So online dating is now in my rear view mirror. If something happens with someone then it’ll either be through someone I already know or someone I meet via a different medium than internet dating. Everyone has a different piece of advice as for whether you should put yourself out there and look or it’ll happen when you aren’t looking at all. I am sort of been in-between the two for a long long time but now I’m moving towards the latter of the two.
Deep down I have always hoped that a relationship would be a natural progression of a friendship I had with someone. I think being friends first is a good platform for a relationship. I know others may disagree but a friendship forms a bond that goes beyond physical attraction. I have always – and I do mean always – said that the most important thing for me in a potential partner is to enjoy spending time with them. As a self-proclaimed loner knowing that I’d like to spend time with someone over watching a plethora of live sport says a lot to me. Online dating doesn’t really create those opportunities as it is basically if you/them don’t fancy each other from the get go then you/them don’t want to know each other.
To round-up my online dating statistics. I think I have had seven or eight dates although to be honest that sounds low so I may be forgetting one or two. These numbers do not include people I have met/dated from IRC as that would add a few names to the list or from other websites that aren’t strictly ‘dating’ websites. Out of these only two did I have more than one date with. Not an awful ratio but nothing stellar either. One of those two it should be pointed out I had a second date with the day after she met another guy who subsequently she dated for four years so not sure if that really counts…
We’ll see what happens but I’m happy I have closed the book on my online dating attempts. Deep down I hoped to just meet people but you forget that most other people are seemingly looking for ‘the one’ and I don’t think I was. Maybe that is why things didn’t work. So now I look to see what happens. Whilst my hopes of leaving the single world aren’t what I’d call going on the backburner but I’m not going to worry about it and just let life take its course. No more forcing it. Forcing (or attempting to force it) wasn’t working and wasn’t making me happy. It just frustrated me. Just kicking back and seeing what happens is the way forward.
I think the only thing I’ll miss is good blogging material. Now that bit I did enjoy…