“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.” – Mandy Hale
I’ve been there; wishing I could stroll in to a book shop in Notting Hill and immediately fall in love, hoping that my male family friend in the Christmas jumper would see the beautiful Bridget in me, considering becoming a prostitute in the hope one of my rich clients would see me as more than a Pretty Woman. The films that I loved so much as a single pringle, I also despised. I was my own worst enemy; I’d be sobbing in to a bowl of popcorn balancing on my muffin top, watching these films that romanticise life and encourage me to unrealistically fantasise about, for example, being a secretary for the prime minister and ending up snogging him at my nephew’s nativity play because he spontaneously turned up at my house and declared his love for me. In reality, the thought of tongueing Boris at a primary school isn’t something I would do on a normal day. Fuck you, Love Actually. Yet, I still get excited over rom-coms more than I should. The truth is, dating in the 21st century ain’t like that. It ain’t like that AT ALL.
I’d say my thumbs are pretty damn strong. I swiped the living daylights out of Bumble and Tinder for two solid years. The outcome? An album of dick pics and some great memories with my friend Hollie, sending hilarious one liners to matches I was never going to meet. After getting bored of constant rejection/ghosting/requests for nudes, I decided to try one more app. If this didn’t work, I was going to pack it all in. I deleted Bumble and Tinder, and set myself up on Hinge. The outcome? Went on a date with a guy called Lewis and now I’m with him every single day. I guess it worked out for me in the end. But why did it take me two years? And what was I doing wrong before? On reflection, I have a few ideas on what I may do differently if I’m ever single again or how dating could be less complicated if I just tweaked a few bits, so I compiled a list.
Being a female on the dating scene in the 21st century
1. First and foremost, make sure you’re ready and you actually want to date. I signed up to the dating apps way before I wanted to. I was perfectly happy being single, and dating was never a priority. Maybe that’s why I got nothing out of it for two years. Don’t bother unless you’re ready and willing to meet someone. If you’re enjoying the single life, embrace it and stay away from the dating scene!
2. I started on Tinder first. It was pointless matching with anyone though, because I would NEVER message them first. That’s why I then moved on to Bumble (the same as Tinder but the female has to send the first message). Why should the men always speak first? If you’re like I was, be brave – slash the stereotype that the man always has to speak first. If you like the look of someone, speak up – you’ve got nothing to lose.
3. I received a lot of dick pics. I didn’t ask for them, I didn’t encourage them and I didn’t love them when I received them. But I got them. What to do? I used to laugh to myself and then un-match. Thanks, but no thanks.
4. I never did this, but I know a few females that did/still do and it irritates me. Do not expect the man to pay for everything on the first date. If he insists, at least offer. It shows you’re in it for a genuine connection rather than his wonga, and gives a good impression that you can financially support yourself.
5. Very cliché, but be yourself. On the apps and on the dates. There’s nothing worse than creating a connection with someone based on falseness, masks and lies. Embrace who you are and if you find someone, you know they want you for you.
6. Be open-minded. Being fussy will get you nowhere. Men are nervous too. I find a lot of men I know find selfies and witty bio’s awkward as hell, so give their profile a break if it’s a bit shitty. Lewis’s profile wasn’t amazing but he looked fun, so I matched. Never looked back.
7. Be safe. There are dangers around meeting someone off a dating app – make sure someone close to you knows all the details of where you’re meeting, what time etc and make a code word you can text them if you feel uncomfortable or threatened. I would also switch on your location on your phone, just in case!
I should also mention I am most definitely not an expert and there is more to dating than the apps, that was just my experience. The two years I was single was a bit of a rollercoaster in all honesty, but maybe I learned what I needed to. Even though I was on the apps, I spent a lot of time alone. Sometimes I loved it, sometimes I absolutely hated it. But I did it. Maybe, before we date anyone else, we should date ourselves. Take solo trips,
go for lone days out and get to know yourself inside out first. Fall in love with your mind, your quirks and your reflection. Take the time to be you again, whatever that may mean for you. The more you love who you are, the easier dating becomes. As I say, I am no expert, but when I threw all my love in to myself, I then met Lewis and it all fell in to place. It could be a coincidence or it could not be, all I know is dating and loving others goes hand in hand with loving yourself too. So get swiping, be you and, most importantly, enjoy the dating scene as much as possible! If you love being single, enjoy dates with yourself – there’s nothing wrong with not having a partner!
Stay safe x