Two words which used to be the two most favourite words in my vocabulary… when I was married that is.
Date night for me used to mean a spontaneous trip to the cinema with my husband or a curry on the couch and a funny film in the comfort of our own home fuelled by cookies.
Now, ‘date night’ just strikes fear into me if I’m completely honest.
The thought of meeting a complete stranger whom I’ve selected via a swipe right fully based on his Snapchat username and a couple of decent selfies of his from circa 2008 in Shagaluf makes me cringe more than the sound of someone playing with some polystyrene!
…that’s a whole lotta cringe.
So I’ve now been officially single for just over a year and it seems I’m not the only one who finds dating a bit of a minefield! As it’s been a year, I have a few experiences under my belt along with some hints and tips to share. I hope you’ll take something from my sharing of these as always. A few of you have dropped me messages to the Instagram page on the subject so I figure it’s a good time to write a post on it.
I stupidly assumed, if I’m honest, that if the worst was ever to happen, I wouldn’t find it too difficult to find love again. You would think that in a world this technologically advanced, we could sign up somewhere, filter the search box and just select Mr Perfect from a list! But I would argue that technological advances such as apps have actually made finding love a whole lot more complicated.
Call me old fashioned but I am a hopeless romantic.
I grew up watching a lot of old films, I dreamt about my wedding day my whole life and, like most girls, very much looked forward to my own happy ever after. And I don’t believe that chivalry is dead however sadly, I feel it is a dying art. I’m not saying the man should pay for everything but simple small things such as holding a door open or manners do matter and go a long way.
So, based on some of my own experiences from the past 12 months with dating (some exaggerated for your reading pleasure), I’m going to share a few tips and tricks to getting the most out of what I think is a pretty perplexing thing right now… DATING!
I want to apologise in advance (sorry Mum) for the multiple use of the F word in the next bit, it doesn’t work to just keep writing ‘the F word’ so stick with it, it’s only for this bit.
The Fuck Boy
OK I’m just going to go straight in with this one.
This is the type of boy to try and avoid. They WILL break your heart.
Be very careful that you aren’t charmed and then lured in by a ‘fuck boy’. Just to give you a brief definition (in case you’ve been hiding in a cave without social media for the last year or two)…
Courtesy of urban dictionary: ‘A fuck boy is a manipulating boy (word changed to maintain readers and so’s to not offend! Also note boy not man) who does whatever it takes to benefit him, regardless of who he screws over. They will screw over anyone and everyone as long they get who and what they want.’
I think personally, that is a pretty good description. However, without meaning to stereotype (ahem), they forgot to add that the boy in question will typically wear trousers which are too short for him (deliberately), some overpriced trainers and have a shockingly well-maintained hair style which is well-maintained to try and look rugged, thrown together and not maintained. He will Snapchat a lot, definitely attends the gym to rep out some more Snapchat and possibly has an Audi or BMW on finance for trips to Asda and Tesco when he’s not flying back and forth to Malia to PR some club.
These are gross generalisations but please try to avoid a boy who fits all or most of the above criteria as chances are, you are one of about 10 girls he’s ‘grafting’ and he most definitely won’t be your happy ever after.
Stay clear if you don’t want your heart broken but they can be temporary confidence boosters in the gym as you probably lift heavier than them.
Tinder vs Bumble
Tinder is the biggie. It’s the one everyone has heard of or probably dabbled in at some stage.
Tinder still seems new I think!
I remember when it first launched and chatting to girlfriends about how it all worked. But it has now been around for over 6 years! Men and women have been swiping their way to new conversations for half a decade.
Like I alluded to in one of the first paragraphs in this post, I find the idea of selecting someone based on a few pictures a really difficult concept to get my head around. If, like me, you believe in a spark and chemistry, then you will know that how someone looks may be important but it really isn’t everything when forming new connections.
For me, chemistry stems from how someone makes you feel in their presence. The old school art of face-to-face human connection.
I have been on and off the app personally and had the odd funny comment come through but I’ve never taken it too seriously because a lot of my friends who are male have told me that they predominantly use the app to find sex and not for dates or to find someone they want to settle with.
To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m looking for so I’m not in the right position to judge anyone, but I wouldn’t be using an app for a casual hook-up, that’s for sure!
The one time I did open my mind to the possibility of finding love on Tinder was when I was in New York recently. I decided to download the app in a new city, reactivate my account and get swiping. I had read that in New York City, because a lot of people in Manhattan moved there alone, men and women are using the app to simply meet new friends and network more than anything else. I thought it would be someone to hang out with if nothing else.
It wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for.
Matt was 31, 6 ft 2, dark haired and an illustrator. He was taller than me and looked like a fun person. I asked him to meet me at a familiar place to take away my fear. My familiar place is a bar where I’d been a few times in Greenwich Village called the Knickerbocker. I’ve never been more unable to get a word in in my life. Anyway, long story short the conversation became a bit dull and I just felt awkward overall.
I wanted to say I’d tried and I did! (mainly for your entertainment)…
Let me know what your thoughts on this are though. I know a few very happy couples who did meet on Tinder so please let me know if that’s you. Maybe I’m doing it wrong!
But right now, it’s just not for me I’m afraid.
Bumble is slightly different from Tinder. It does have the swiping function but the ball is completely in the woman’s court. The woman makes the first move.
I feel like from my project’s point of view, Bumble is definitely where it’s at for dating in the app world. Bumble says, “When members of the opposite sex match on Bumble, women are required to make the first move, shifting old-fashioned power dynamics and encouraging equality from the start.”
For this reason, O think you do tend to have slightly more meaningful chat on Bumble than on Tinder. I’ve never actually met anyone in real life from this app though so let me know what your experiences have been with it.
I’d be interested to hear them and quite frankly, I’m loving chatting all things dating with you ladies!
Love yourself first
Loving yourself first is a very important first step when it comes to introducing someone new into your life.
As you all know, I launched this project as a way to help me find my own way to empowerment so I am only in the process of reaching this but I truly believe in the old belief that you can’t expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself first.
This means knowing yourself and being comfortable with yourself. Although you can make small sacrifices or compromises once you are in a relationship, you should never feel the need to change yourself to fit someone else’s criteria.
Someone should want to get to know you for you, warts and all.
So in amongst the madness, I was seeing someone who said I looked better with my nails done and that he didn’t like my eyebrows. I found myself trying to keep my nails maintained more frequently than I would have and I was also trying to adjust my eyebrows to suit his needs.
I now see, on reflection, that this is not a healthy response to what is someone else’s insecurity. If someone doesn’t want to date me with slug brows and stumpy fingers then I’m sure I will be happier alone for now!
Anyway, I’ve kind of rambled on as always but I hope that you take something from my rambles! I can’t even say the search for love continues because I think now I’d just like to find out who I am first and get to know and fall in love with her first and foremost.
The journey to self love and empowerment continues. When the time is right, I’ll be ready to share that person with someone else.