I used to be kind of curiously jealous of my single friends.
Their single life seemed so invigorating….so empowering….so intriguing.
They were young, gorgeous and free, and the world was their oyster. They could go wherever they wanted with whomever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Who knew who they might meet next and where their adventures may take them?
So when I was faced with the prospect of dating again when my long term relationship ended, I have to admit I found it strangely exciting.
Ok, ok….maybe after the whole constantly crying for a few weeks solid until my eyes were so swollen they looked like the puffiest puffer fish in puffer fish land (or indeed….puffer fish sea). Oh and the being completely unable to sleep due to being unable to shift that immense feeling of self doubt and the OH MY GOD HAVE I DONE THE RIGHT THING ?!?!?! thing.
But once that super fun and cheery period passed over I was like…hey you know what? This is going to be fine; I’m young, I’m sassy, I’ve comfort bought £200 worth of Benefit makeup and I have cheek bones for the first time in 5 years due to living off a heart break diet consisting only of my own salty tears. I’m so ready to be taken on dates and getting back out there.
I’m not going to lie, I pictured myself as Cardiff’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw, sitting in cool bars, being approached left right and centre and having to pencil potential suitors in to my busy social diary.
Fast forward four years and what I’ve learned is, well….the dating scene is a minefield. And I’ll tell you for why….. (in list format….because obviously).
- Getting asked on a date isn’t as common as Sex and the City would have us believe
Sarah Jessica Parker, I hold you personally responsible for misrepresentation of the dating scene.
No man has ever approached me in a bar and asked to take me out.
No beautiful stranger has ever handed me his number in a coffee shop.
I’ve never crashed into someone’s trolley in Asda and looked straight in to the eyes of a slightly geeky but incredibly handsome young man who simply has to make it up to me by “taking me out for a drink sometime.”
It’s all a massive lie girls…don’t be fooled!
I’ve got 615 tinder matches and I think I’ve been on about 3 dates in 4 years.
And while we are on the subject…..
2. Men on tinder usually only want one thing….
….even if their profile says they enjoy long romantic walks on the beach. Actually, ESPECIALLY if they say they enjoy long romantic walks on the beach!
3. Dating is terrifying….
So you’ve managed to score yourself an actual date after 10 tinder conversations that have ended with agreeing to go on a date and then hearing ABSOLUTELY nothing since (right?!)
The run up to the date is terrifying. Like I literally feel like I’m going to break out in hives and vom everywhere an hour before I leave the house. Sexy.
From trying to decide what to wear, to fretting about what you’re going to actually talk about to wondering how much of your personality you should give away in one go…..it’s stressful.
Like, will they find the skinning of the sausages story hilarious, endearing or horrifying?!
What are they going to think when I turn up and they realise I look nothing like my extremely filtered Instagram pictures? What then?!
4. Men: getting the nice vs aloofness balance is really hard
Compliment me too much; …..urgh you melt! I’m going to walk all over you and this will be no fun for anyone.
Don’t compliment me enough; who do you think you are?! You’ve only told me my hair looks nice 8 times. GIVE ME ATTENTION NOW!!!
5. Getting the balance of sober vs drunk is also hard
If you’re like me, you’ll need a cheeky gin to take the edge off.
If you’re also like me, it only takes one drink for me to flip from nice, social, life and soul Ashleigh to an Ashleigh that no one needs to meet until date 5 by which point I’ve tricked you in to liking me and you’re too invested for it to be a game changer. LOL.
Equally, I’ve also been on a sober date and that was Not Ok Hon. The right level of slightly drunk is essential to help through the tedious first date chat….
6. First Date chat is the definition of boring
Do you REALLY care that much about what my brother does for a living and the name of my first pet?
Let’s keep those questions where they belong- i.e. Barclaycard security log in.
You just want to know how long I’ve been single and therefore what’s wrong with me. Just come out with it.
7. It’s harder than you might think to decide if you like someone on a first date
Sex and the City, Disney and basically every 90s romcom starring Jennifer Anniston has basically taught us that when you meet someone you like, fireworks burst in the sky, a choir of birds serenade you, you do the leg pop thingy when you first kiss and float off on a pink cloud of love i.e.there is a spark.
So you spend every date wondering why you haven’t been completely blown away by someone you’ve only just met- is there a spark ? Do I fancy him? Does he fancy me? He may be growing on me as the night goes on but is that because I like him or because I’m 4 gins down? And do I actually care?
8. Post -Date Anxiety is nearly as bad as Pre-Date Anxiety
You’ve both had a lovely old tolerable and mediocre time together and are wondering whether you should go another date to see if you can up this indifference to something verging on attraction.
But what now?
Do I text? Do I wait for them to text you? What if I come across as too keen? Or not keen enough? Am I overthinking this? Did I say something I shouldn’t have? Did I talk about my friends too much? Or not enough? I didn’t even really fancy him that much but WHY DOESN’T HE FANCY ME?!
I know…I’ll send the details to my what’sapp group chat to ensure we all give this the level of extreme over-analysis it deserves.
9. Ghosting is a thing
You’ve been on 3 dates. You’ve hit it off like a house on fire. You’ve been texting each other all day errrr day. You go out one weekend and text Monday to find out how his weekend has been….nothing.
Strange….. he must be tired/dead. You’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
One week later and your deleted off Facebook and snappy.
You’ve been ghosted my friend.
Ghosting, as urban dictionary explains, is “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating but no longer wishes to date.”
Because being polite and kindly explaining you’re not in to it is so uncool obviously.
(No YOU’RE a bitter single 27 year old )
10. Dating does give you good stories…
I’ve had some wonderful dates and some truly AWFUL dating disasters (watch this space) but whether good or bad, putting yourself out there and trying new experiences with new people if nothing else gives you some hilarious stories to share on wine Wednesday with the girls.
So there you have it…dating is hard.
I think possibly in the not for me box next to Michael Ball and Star Trek. There’s gotta be a better way of getting to know someone, right?!
Don’t bombard me with dates requests all at one now hons…..girl be busy.