Friday, 31 July 2009

Just courting....?

Talking to someone about your dating history and hopes for your future love life is like talking to a shrink and Cilla Black all rolled into one. But that’s what I found myself doing one evening. After getting bored and becoming quite exhausted by today’s conventional ways of trying to find dates I decided to put my quest for the ‘one’ into the hands of professionals – a dating agency.

Now I’ve never actually been on a blind date, unless being blind folded, escorted into a room and made to flirt with two guys in front of a camera crew counts. Before you start to wonder I hadn’t made the wrong turn on a night out and ended up in some adult movie - I had, of my own free will, decided to participate in an audition for a TV dating show. But that’s another blog……

So rocking up to a date that
Just courting had set up for me was a new experience. It was technically a blind date because after speaking to the lovely Kate (my matchmaker) about what I was looking for in a guy, it was down to her to pick me a winner, which I imagine must be a hard job when there are millions of singletons out there looking for totally different things. All I knew was his name and what he did – but apart from that I had no clue and was hoping that she had been listening when I said my preference was more Jude Law than Mr Bore.

So my obvious main worries were that he wouldn’t be my type, would have no sense of humour and the night would be as much fun as spending a night with your coupled up friends. But she had done me proud – he was cute and the conversation flowed just like the wine did.

Handy that, as we were wine tasting that night, which was quite refreshing and great to be doing something different instead of just chatting over a couple of drinks. Because sometimes you need something more on a first date - a conversation starter or something to talk about when the conversation dries up - so I jumped at the chance of doing something else.

So while learning the basics of how to taste wine (apparently gurgling is best - but not so attractive on a first date) I found out that he’d been wine tasting before but been so drunk he couldn’t remember it, that he’d had a terrible blind date once (I was hoping this wasn’t a hint!) and gradually found out that my love of wine drinking was mutual.

But as the night went on I knew he was more mate material than second date material. Which was a shame as after the wine tasting (was I possibly a bit tipsy now?) I decided he was a cross between Steve Jones and Jonathan Rhys Myers, and I fancy those two guys so why couldn’t I fancy him?

Obviously it comes down to that inevitable ‘spark’ - which this date had failed to ignite. Whether it’s that special gaze, a shared interest in music or something far cheesier, there has to be that moment when you both realise that you could possibly have something special. Either that or they need to be an amazing kisser.

But on a serious note, I enjoyed my first blind date. It was slightly unnerving not knowing who I’d be spending my Friday evening with – it’s not every day you tell your friends you’re spending the evening with a complete stranger. So as blind dates go I think it was a success, well apart from the fact that I won’t be seeing him again of course. But it’s renewed my faith in blind dates and dating agencies, especially after all the horror stories my friends ever so kindly shared with me….. before my date!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The men you 'try' to avoid

There’s the guy that totally wouldn’t then there’s the guy, at a drop of a hat, in a beat of a second, would. And the guy that cheats is the guy you’ll never be able to settle down with, however hard you try.

And as one of these ‘drop of a hat, in a beat of a second’ guys turned up last weekend I ended up being the ‘other woman’. Not that I knew this of course, he had cleverly removed all evidence, the first being lack of a girlfriend present and the second how he refrained to mention any knowledge of her existence in our three hour conversation, and eventual kiss. It was only when I mentioned seeing him with a girlfriend that he admitted to still being with her.

So is it the effects of alcohol, plain greediness or just his downstairs department talking when a guy cheats? My man’s excuse was that he liked me before he met his girlfriend, so of course it didn’t count. Thankfully I’m not foolish enough to fall for that – but it had in fact been true. About nine months previously when I had just started dating my ex he had chased me out of a bar asking if he could take me out for a drink, without I’m sure, even knowing my name. Embarrassingly for him, I turned him down – in front of one of his mates. So when I bumped into him last week it was inevitable that something was going to happen.

But whenever I mentioned him to friends it was obvious that his playboy reputation had preceded him, the reaction I got even before anything had happened between us was – ‘he’s so not boyfriend material’ or ‘he’s a bit of a player – don’t expect to get anything serious from him.’ So with guys like this, it always make me wonder how they get a girlfriend in the first place? Maybe they like the idea of having a girlfriend, but they can never be a one woman man. And the girlfriend must either know this and be doing exactly the same to them or think that she can somehow tame his wicked ways.

When you’re in a relationship you wonder why girls attempt to date players, arrogant types or just total w**kers. When you’re single you still wonder, but you sort of understand too. They start off as a bit of fun, someone to make you forget about a messy last relationship or the previous idiot you dated, then all of a sudden you’re hooked by the attention, or sometimes lack of, that they’re giving you.

So are us single girls just too distracted by looks, charm, arrogance and maybe a bit of bubbly when it comes to these type of guys?

In my case it was probably all of these ingredients. My ex was so prim and proper compared to Mr ‘I have a girlfriend, but forgot to mention it’ that I suppose I just welcomed the change. Owning the bar that we were drinking in probably helped as well, along with the obvious arrogance and bubbly that came with it.

So alcohol and these type of guys never really mix, especially bubbly, as it just blurs our vision, and possible sense, turning us from the – ‘talk to the hand player’ sensible gal we normally are, into the party girl who is falling for every trick in the book.

And I’m not going to lie…looks help, I’ll admit that I have readily fallen for guys just because they’re drop dead gorgeous – I think my last relationship was actually based 90% around looks, (shallow – moi?) so no wonder it was doomed from the outset.

It would be nice to think we don’t fall for charm in a guy, but most of us do. Unless you have a rare ability to spot one from a mile off then you’re probably going to come across at least one in your lifetime. Whether you succeed in making them more than just a blip on your dating radar is probably another thing, as once the chase is officially lost then they’re quickly onto their next victim.

But it doesn’t matter if they’re a player, arrogant or just drop dead gorgeous it never excuses a guy from cheating on their girlfriend. Or us in fact, for letting it happen. Hopefully I get a free pass because I was oblivious to the truth. But then again – with his reputation maybe I should have known the outcome.

So the lesson I’ve learnt from Mr ‘I have a girlfriend, but forgot to mention it’ – is never assume anything. He may look unattached, he may act unattached, but under all that charm, arrogance and the booze he’s throwing down your neck, the truth is there somewhere. ‘Do you have a girlfriend’ is five words which I think I will be using more often.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Dating...for dating's sake....

As I wait for yet another online date to show up I’m faced with the same thought that always crosses my mind at this point ‘what the hell am I doing?’ I’m doubting my ability to remember what he looks like, if he was even my type in the first place, what we had in common and wondering how long I should wait before I can officially leg it home and pretend he was a no show.

This is, of course, a common case of first night nerves. And it’s not a rarity – as I wait for my knight in shining armour to come and sweep me off my feet and into a world where single isn’t my middle name, I regularly feel as though I’ve dipped my feet into a freezer.

It’s not the actual date I’m scared of. After all I’ve been on enough of them to know the protocol, but it’s what I’m anticipating. What if Mr ‘knight in shining armour’ is a stone heavier than he admitted, a foot shorter, or worse – older than my dad? So you have to sympathise with me when I mentally freak out if men, who don’t quite fit my date’s description, come within 10 metres of me. My thoughts usually constitute of the following – “What? No, no - is that him? It can’t be…but…no, oh, phew…of course I didn’t think that was him,” usually repeated at least ten times before my date makes an appearance.

And depending on what kind of day I’ve had I’m either hoping beyond hope that this is him, the one I’ve been waiting for - the man of my dreams, or that he’s just Mr. Flash in the Pan, so I can make a quick escape and get home in time for Grey’s Anatomy to start.

In the fickle world of online dating sometimes I’ve made my mind up about the date before I have even set eyes on him. And if it’s a no go, which quite regularly it is, it poses the question – why am I meeting up with him in the first place? Maybe I am just setting myself up for the possible or inevitable rejection that will follow? Or am I just dating for dating’s sake?

When you’re single you feel that if you’re not dating, then you’re just not trying. It’s the whole ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ thing – what if one of my potential no-go’s turns out to be the man I’m destined to live a long and happy life with? How can you ever tell from a dodgy photo, a few emails and some similar hobbies whether a) you’ll fancy them, b) there’ll be any sort of chemistry between you, or c) whether they’re as boring as your first primary school teacher was? So missing out on a date is not advisable – unless you’re happy being in a loveless, boring relationship??

But it probably doesn’t help that I’m picky. When I met up with a guy called Sam recently I knew that I could never date someone so tall that even my sky scraper heels didn’t make a difference. Then there was Richard, who looked great in his photos, but reminded me far too much of one of my gay friends. Homosexuality and boyfriend material just don’t go together very well. Chris was too honest, Ed lived with his parents??! And Mr 'I have a girlfriend, but forgot to mention it' – well that’s a whole other blog.

Then there are the ones that you thought went so well that you’re convinced there'll definitely be dates two and three. But your daydreams come to a grinding halt before you’ve even planned the bridesmaids’ dresses, because…wait for it….he’s just not that into you! When you like them your phone suddenly becomes the most important thing in your life and you’re willing it, to just, please, please send you any form of communication from them. So when it doesn’t come after the first hour, day or week – you could say rejection, disappointment and failure all spring to mind.

But that’s the thing with online dating, if at first you don’t succeed, you can try, try again. As long as you can stump up the cash to keep your online dating profile running then you could be dating a handful of men every week.

As for the first night nerves and rejection, I suppose it all gets easier the more dates you go on. Some say that dating can be soul destroying – but it’s just like life, it has its ups and its downs, and usually the ups are worth waiting for when they finally come around.

So I’m all up for dating, for dating’s sake – I may not find a knight in shining armour to take me to a land where couples roam and lonely chairs are forbidden, but at least I’m out there looking for someone who may just fit the bill.


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