Sunday, 28 February 2010

Speed dating....take 2!

"Never, ever, again!" I vowed after a particularly bad speed dating experience last year. I’d expected tall, dark and handsome, I got short, bald and boring.

For some reason speed dating had seemed appealing. There had been a sheer lack of men in my life since I landed in dumpsville a couple of months earlier, so dating 15 men in one night sounded like the sort of challenge which would brighten up my love life, hell - maybe even resuscitate my sex life too.

But of course I hadn’t been in the right state of mind. Under no circumstances should you go speed dating if you’ve just been dumped, your pining for another man or wondering where oh where Mr Right is. Unfortunately I had been suffering from all of the above.

Speed dating is always misunderstood anyway. It should come with a caution which clearly states *we take no responsibility for quality of dates, of the rubbish conversations you may encounter and the severe lack of love life which may precede your speed dating experience.

It’s safe to say my first experience of speed dating didn’t result in me recommending a friend for the torture. Instead of leaving the pub that night with numerous phone numbers and plans to date half of the hotties I was left emotionally drained and exhausted after not even stumbling across Mr Right-now.

So whenever friends’ so much as whispered speed and dating in the same sentence forget about running in the opposite direction I’d be packing my bags ready to leave the country. Never again would I join the conveyor belt of dating or have to sit and make small talk with men I'd rather chew off my ear for than date.

Okay, well that was until a friend decided to arrange a speed dating night for a charity. I attempted to leave the country, but my conscience got the better of me and before I knew it I had parted with my cash (*and obviously felt better for it!) downed a few courage cocktails and decided that maybe speed dating and I had got off on the wrong foot. So armed with a truck load of ice breakers and expectations lower than if I was turning up to an insurance seminar my second instalment of speed dating commenced......

Unfortunately the night didn’t start off on a particularly good note when I got the contents of a girl’s martini glass thrown all over me. And that’s before we’d even started dating. It didn’t dawn on me until afterwards that she may have actually been trying to cut out the competition. Good job I had a change of clothes – ha!

And because I’d ventured into the scary world of speed dating before I was somehow seen as a ‘pro’ - friends who were speed dating virgins were hoping some of my dating skills would rub off on them, when really I was probably about as clueless as them. Did they expect me to wow the men with my witty one-liners? Get a clean sweep of ticks from the men we dated? And go home with my diary cram packed with dates for the next two months?

My nerves racked up a notch as our mini dates commenced.

And it’s safe to say that most of the dates fell into two categories – ones where you completely forgot about the four minute time limit and the others where you were hoping and praying to be saved by the!!!

The most memorable date, for all the wrong reasons, has to be the guy who bounded up to my table like some sort of excited teenager. His opening line was, "Oh my god, you're the most beautiful girl in here," before he proceeded to get up and check what he had said was actually right, and after a few seconds of scanning the room said, “yep you definitely are.” Oh and dear was all I could muster.

And don’t you just hate that feeling of déjà vu? Well that’s what happens when you become embroiled in back to back dating......!The first date’s fine, but come the 8th you wonder if it was him or Mr no.7 or even 6 you told about your extensive Barbie collection? And did he say he was an actor or a policeman? Was he 27 or 32? In fact hadn’t you just spoken to this one....?

And then there’s the really decent men, who if I hadn’t been on a 4 minute date with I may have become quite good friends with. But it’s always awkward to pull out the friends’ card when you share a dating history with them, be it 4 minutes or 4 years.

By the end I felt guilty for not ticking anyone’s box. Was I being too picky? Would Mr not-quite-so-right have been ‘the one’ had I given him just one more minute? Thankfully my conscience was cleared when friends revealed that no one had quite floated their boat either. Phew!

So I’m thinking speed dating and success shouldn’t really be used in the same sentence – especially when I’m involved. Unless of course you count going home with a girl’s phone number as successful? Nope thought not. Back to normal dating it is then......

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Delights of Valentines….

Every year, whether I’m attached or not, I’ve looked forward to Valentine’s Day with anticipation – will a red rose magically appear at my door? Will the milk tray man swing in and leave me some chocolate goodies or will I be faced with a night of steamy sex with my latest eligible bachelor?

Last year that illusion came to an almightily halt, without so much as a tacky teddy bear to comfort me. I woke up and was faced with my then boyfriend’s facebook status claiming that ‘Mr (not-so) Perfect is…… chocolates – check, flowers – check, restaurant reservation – check, overdrawn – check!’

The say romance is dead – it was as though he was hammering in the final nail. I was gutted. Had I pressured him into celebrating Valentine’s Day? Did I expect too much from him? Or was it my right, like millions of other women, to expect to be spoiled on Valentine’s Day, whether it breaks our men’s banks or not?

Some say I’m high maintenance (only a little bit!) but don’t most girls, especially when they’re attached, at least expect a card on Valentines? Never do we expect to be guilt tripped into how they’ve ventured into the depths of their overdraft again. I tend to now steer clear of guys who talk about being ripped off by card companies come Valentine’s Day – in my eyes they’re either bitter or just a tight arse.

And it’s safe to say I haven’t really had an amazing track record when it comes to Valentine’s Day anyway. One boyfriend took me to Venice, well attempted to – he stupidly got the dates mixed up and there we were in one of the most romantic cities a week before all the other love birds got there. One year I got bought a CD ROM. A CD ROM for god sake – let’s just say practical was his middle name. I duly dumped him, but not before he cooked me a Valentine’s Day meal, in the company of his parents, and with the rugby blaring away in the background.

Then there was the time I was in Paris, the city of love on that very day. The Eiffel Tower beckoned and it even began to snow. It would have been the perfect romantic gesture – had I not been single and on a school trip. And I really can’t forget about the picnic incident (it was in the middle of February, i.e. not really picnic weather) or the year my knight in shining armour came bearing…….a womble bag! Okay we were 16 and he turned out to be gay – but even so – ever heard of flowers or chocolates mate?!

But then there are the times when they surprise us. A friend last year had almost given up hope of any sort of romantic gesture from her man – if she’d got a smile from him on Valentine’s Day she probably would have been happy. So imagine her shock when he presented her with not just any old necklace, but a Tiffany’s necklace. He may as well have been proposing. It shouted not just ‘I’m from Tiffany’s – but also an ‘I quite like you’ too.

But what do we expect when we’re single? Being newly single and after last year’s lack of romance I’m sort of happy that I’m without a man this year. Okay so maybe I’m slightly jealous when I see women holding flowers and maybe my lip does a little wobble when I pass card shops which are adorned with red and pink heart shaped cards but being single means there’s no fuss, no need to get dressed up and no baking of silly heart shaped cookies. And come February 15th it’s all forgotten anyway.

Other single friends have organized single’s parties, some will be burying their heads in their duvet for most of the day, and some have just forgotten the day exists all together. Me, I don’t have any grand plans – apart from waiting for the mounds of cards to arrive at my door and deliveries of flowers to commence of course. Well, a girl can dream I suppose.

And as for the men reading – we don’t need a proposal, hell we don’t even want flowers (okay, some roses would be nice) – just an acknowledgement that it is actually Valentine’s Day and you’ve remembered would be appreciated. And if your admiring from afar – isn’t it the perfect time to tell us? After all it’s probably the one day of the year when we might take pity on you enough and actually agree to a date!

Happy Valentine’s Day…….x


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