Has Technology Killed off Romance?

Anyone who has had the pleasure of trying to date in the 21st Century will know how vile it is. It’s been overtaken by technology! When I was younger and people first started holding hands and ‘going out with each other’, it was easy. You’d say to someone the exact words “will you go out with me?” If they said yes, you were a couple. Done. If they said no, you walked away and moved on because they’d made it clear they weren’t interested in you. If you talk to your parents and grandparents about how they got together it would be a fairly similar, very simple thing. There wasn’t all this choice out there and hundreds of potential matches just a right swipe away. These days it’s all about one night stands, swiping left and right, basing decisions purely on photos, catfishing people with filtered and posed photos. It begs the question….

Has technology taken the romance out of dating?

Of course it has in the respect that it offers people more choice, so they’re less likely to stay in one relationship for as long as generations before us did. Too much choice confuses us all and we panic that we want to hold out for the right one. Dating apps give us all this choice. A plethora of cock and vagina if you will that overwhelms us all and makes us want to try out potential options, rather than just sticking with one who is actually pretty decent. We’re also growing up in a generation of people who are used to instant gratification. Technology in all aspects of life makes it easier to instantly get what you want and give you a buzz that temporarily makes you feel happy. You want to eat something delicious? Get on an app and order some food straight to your door. You want to watch a new film? Don’t bother with the cinema, there’s an app to get new films straight on your iPad. You don’t have to put any work into anything anymore. Gone are the days of putting in the time and effort to make a meaningful relationship work. If things get tough people walk away assuming it’s not right. It could just be a rough patch you have to work through together but instead they’re onto the next one they swipe right to trying to get that relationship high again.

Technology also gives people way more chances and means to cheat. Temptation is everywhere and more available than it’s ever been. People aren’t able to resist as much as older generations did because it’s no longer out of sight, out of mind. Not only that, but it’s easier to hide or cover up using technology. With so many different ways of contacting each other, people are finding it so much easier to cheat. God knows how though! I can’t even get one boyfriend, let alone multiple at the same time. I don’t think I even have the head space to have multiple men on the go. But I know that guys in the past have been dating me while messaging other girls. Remember Brian*? He was texting another girl while he was seeing me and used to message her while he was lying in bed next to me! On his modern technology phone he could get away with what I would consider cheating (he would disagree with me). So many people find themselves in a similar situation with technology driving a wedge between them and their significant other.

Instagram and Facebook bombard us all with images of our peers and friends in seemingly perfect relationships. Celebrity Instagram feeds show their relationships in the same way. They cherry pick the best bits of their relationships to show the world, but it doesn’t reflect the reality of the annoyance that your other half has left his dirty underwear on the floor, yet again. We look at the models with all the filters and make up and wish we could date people who look like them. Catfishing has become the norm with potential partners only seeing the best bits in photos that don’t actually look like the real thing. We set our expectations so high based on social media. The romance of getting to know somebody and falling in love with a personality is slowing slipping away from us. The romance of spending time with someone and actually talking, rather than checking your phone or trying to get the next Instagram photo, is gone. I know I do it too sometimes! Younger generations want the perfect aesthetics for their social media feeds. You could have the best personality but if you’re not hot enough then you don’t make the cut for a relationship. If your look doesn’t fit on the other person’s Instagram grid (see I’ve got the lingo) then it’s a no go. Does this mean technology has ruined romance?

On the other hand it has improved dating for some people. Long distance relationships work even better now with video calling, WiFi messaging that is free and even underwear with sensors and sex toys in so you can kind of have sex with each other miles apart. It’s crazy! Modern technology in dating also gives you the opportunity to meet potential partners you might never have crossed paths with. It gives us the means to keep in touch with potential partners even when our lives get a little busy. By chatting to each other via messaging before hand, you can figure out much earlier on if you’re suited to each other or not. It saves wasting time and energy going on lots of dates before finding out they’re wrong for you. But then does that fall into the same category as instant gratification? That need for every aspect of a relationship being sped up. Who knows, because I certainly don’t.

People can’t cope with too much choice because they’re so scared of settling for the wrong person. They strive for perfect and are obsessed with greener grass which unfortunately, technology aids via dating apps. The influx of dating apps means we have to keep up with them all to get the best potential matches only a swipe away. You have to get your A game on when it comes to opening messages to make sure you grab attention. We’re a generation always keeping busy, being handed lazy dating techniques and we just can’t cope with them. More people between the ages of 18 to 30 are single now than they have ever been! Granted, we’re a bigger population but still. It speaks volumes. Let’s give ourselves a break, put our phones down for an evening and maybe just chat to someone in person. Dating may not have killed romance, but it’s definitely changed it. Who knows whether it’s for better or for worse.

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Do I Need To Be a Bitch?

I don’t normally write reviews that aren’t about bad dates or men and I appreciate that this is a little different to what I normally write, however it is relevant. I was recommended a book by a colleague one fateful day and she loved my blog but said I really should read this particular bestseller. Shout out to Ciara Carter for recommending it to me. Big love to you. The book is called ‘Why Men Love Bitches’ and was written by New York Times bestselling author Sherry Argov. Obviously I already loved the title as soon as I heard it. It’s not necessarily that I agree with it as fact but I’ve always been intrigued as to why men don’t like nice girls: I suppose in the exact same way that the old ‘nice guys finish last’ belief rings true also. For the first time in my writing career (yes, that’s exactly what I’m calling it; my writing career) I was about to do some research that didn’t involve me having to go on bad dates or encounter shit men and have my feelings hurt. I was evolving into a somewhat journalist. Alright fine, I might be getting carried away with it all but let me have this. 

For the purpose of referencing correctly but also because this is not my University dissertation, I’m not going to sit and write the reference after every quote I use. I will quote a lot from the book and will write the page number after. For the sake of this blog post I will make it clear that I am using the 2009 edition of Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov published by Adams Media, MA USA. 

I won’t lie to you because I never do, this book took me a while to read. I’ve always been a quick reader but I kind of struggled with this one. I couldn’t get into it quickly and it didn’t have me gripped and keen to continue reading. I do prefer fiction literature so my personal preference held me back a little on this one. When I started the book I was a little disappointed as I felt like Sherry Argov was basically telling me not to be myself at all or no one will ever love me. She mentioned things girls do that turn men off and I kept thinking to myself “oh my God, I do these things and that’s why I’ll stay single forever”. I felt disheartened for the first three chapters at least. Now that I’ve read the whole book I can honestly say please don’t let it put you off if you feel the same way I did. The more I read on, the more I realised that Argov is not saying don’t be yourself, she’s giving us tools and advice on how to just change up your strategies slightly when it comes to men. Argov describes in the Introduction what she means when using the term Bitch in the title. She’s not describing a literal bitch or nasty woman. She’s using the word to describe a woman who is ‘kind yet strong. She has a strength that is ever so subtle. She doesn’t give up her life, and she won’t chase a man. She won’t let a man think he has a 100 percent “hold” on her. And she’ll stand up for herself when he steps over the line.’ [page xiii] Now, let’s all be honest here and admit that we’ve all been in positions where we’ve maybe let a man have more control in a relationship. We’ve all been there where we’ve given up a date with friends or a fitness class to fit in seeing a guy we like because it fits in with his schedule. What the book is telling us is to not do that! Argov is telling us not to make our lives fit around his because he will never do the same for us. I’ll look at this more later on. 

Argov uses this book to address ‘the very issues that men won’t. He won’t say, “Look, don’t be a doormat,” “Don’t always say yes,” “Don’t revolve your whole world around me.” [page xv]. Apparently men won’t tell us these things. We have to read minds and figure it out ourselves so we can then equip ourselves with the manipulation methods to get past the said issues. I knew dating and relationships were a minefield but I had no idea I had to now learn battle tactics. Throughout the entire book, Argov repeatedly reminds us that we have to find ways to subtly manipulate men to do what we want. Being honest is not the way forward apparently which frustrated me when reading because I’ve always tried to pride myself on being honest and open. I’m now being told this doesn’t work on men! They are not attracted to honesty about certain things and won’t listen to you if you are. One example I loved, however, and may actually end up using at some point was in Chapter 4 where Argov is explaining Attraction Principles and being ‘Dumb Like A Fox’. She uses an example of manipulation that is so golden, I even folded down the page! 

‘The dumb fox doesn’t give up power, she simply creates the appearance that she does… A woman I know named Michelle told me about a man she’s seeing. On the second date, he asked her if she’d drive to his place… She ignored the request and very sweetly asked, “Would you prefer to get together another night? If tonight is inconvenient, I do understand”. Michelle averted the question completely. She didn’t act upset or tell him what to do.’ [page 91]

The reason I love this so much is because I’ve been in that situation countless times! I’ve been asked over and over to drive over or to drive further. Basically men ask me indirectly to make more effort than them and more times than I care to admit, I’ve done it. I’ve gone out of my way because it suited them. Why?? Because I’m an idiot and I thought it would make them like me more. Argov sets out in this book to prove that it has the opposite effect. If a guy likes you, he’ll make some effort. If we start in the beginning by making more effort than him, it’ll always be like that because it sets a precedent. He will respect us less and will get bored of us more quickly. As frustrating as this truth is to read about, I can’t help but look back over my own dating experiences and the one long term relationship I’ve had and feel….. it’s right! I can almost pin point where men had got bored of me and almost every time it’s because I’ve been stupid enough to make more effort than them. 

Further on through Chapter 4, Argov hits us with some more truths we wished we didn’t read. We all want to believe that in the beginning guys are 100% honest with us about their intentions but, given that this blog even exists and so many people enjoy the honesty of it, we all know that they are never completely open with us; especially when it comes to their intentions. Argov writes ‘the nice girl believes everything she’s told because it sounds good, which puts her out there to get hurt. The fox knows that, in the beginning, a man is likely to “flower up” his intentions’ [page 97]. Argov even gives us a handy table which essentially deciphers the actual meaning of certain phrases many men use in the beginning of dating. You’ll see this decrypted Da Vinci code style translation below, 

LRM_EXPORT_12332383468409_20190804_122747219.jpeg[page 97] 

Argov continues by insisting that we must not let a man know that we see through his initial shimmer of a white knight. We have to pretend we believe him when he uses phrases from the table above because if he thinks we are fooled, he is more likely to let his true colours show even quicker than usual. Argov thinks of everything because she even gives examples of how a guy will gaslight you if you call him out on his shit too quickly. You might see through his dress up, nice guy act but you should never let him know that straight away. She rightly says ‘when you tell someone who may be manipulating you what you observe, he will immediately try to talk you out of it. He’ll say “you’re insecure” or “you’re prejudging me”. Are you prejudging him? You had better be. The only mistake is letting him know it.’ [page 98] 

Reading further into the book I got more upset because Argov echoed so much that I had done in my past, without even realising I was doing it, or that it was the wrong way to go about things. Chapter 5 is titled ‘Jumping Through Hoops Like a Circus Poodle’ and is all about how women give themselves away to please a man. It delves into the mindset of women who choose to adjust their lives for a man hoping that he might do the same for her. We all want to believe that if someone cares about us enough they will make space in their lives for us. Newsflash… THEY WON’T. No man will change his life to fit you in. Not only that but no man will ever really understand just how much you’ve given up to be with him. He will never understand it because he will never make the same sacrifices for you. This is the rule. There will be people reading this who have good examples of exceptions but for everyone else we should remember the one main thing we learnt from watching the 2009 movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ (directed by Ken Kwapis and based on the 2004 book of the same name written by Greg Behnrendt and Liz Tuccillo). We learnt that we are not the exception. We are the rule and as the rule, men will not make the same sacrifices for us as we do for them. Reading this made me feel angry. I was annoyed that I agreed so much. I could feel myself wanting to start a riot inside about how women always adjust their lives so much to fit him in or make him happy. It’s so true! But then I took a moment. Why do women give up so much of themselves to keep a man around? He doesn’t really explicitly ask us to. He doesn’t make the same effort or sacrifices so why do we do it? We do it because we think it makes him like us more. Argov is telling us the complete opposite. What he actually wants is a bitch who stands up for herself and is confident enough to put her own life first. She doesn’t sacrifice anything in her life to fit a man into it. She acts like a man. A man will never cancel football with the boys for you. When you do the same and don’t cancel your yoga classes for him it’ll make him scratch his head and wonder why you would rather go to your class than see him. It will keep him interested. ‘When you will not drop everything to be with him… this will remind him of your worth, and invariably, he will begin to come your way’ [page 199]. So don’t sacrifice your life to prioritise him because he will not do the same for you. If he does, then keep him forever because he’s a unicorn!! 

Let’s move swiftly into Chapter 6 titled ‘Nagging No More’. Argov uses this chapter to give examples and tips on how to avoid nagging because nagging at a man will get you nowhere. Nagging leads a man to have feelings of obligation and there’s nothing sexy or desirable about obligation in the early stages of a relationship. One of my favourite examples that Argov writes about is about a woman called Diana ‘who started nagging her husband to fix a latch in the laundry room. After the third time she asked, he became so irritated that no force on Earth could get him to fix that latch. One evening some friends came over… Diana asked her friend’s husband to fix the latch… in that sweet damsel in distress tone of voice… Before she could even turn around, her husband ran up the stairs… and fixed the latch in two minutes flat.’ [page 141]. When it comes to men, being nagged at constantly will cause them to push away. Then we get into a vicious cycle of worrying that they’re pushing away so we try our hardest to encourage them to come back to us. Unfortunately, as past experiences will tell me, that doesn’t always work to the desired effect. I will always be an advocate for honesty but I’ve come to realise that when it comes to men, sometimes you have to keep a little bit back. Don’t always tell him how you’re feeling, especially if it comes to telling him you hate that he doesn’t make time for you. This is where Argov gives you more good tips in the art of manipulation. She writes ‘if he has excuses for why he isn’t spending time with you, you need to make excuses for why you can’t spend time with him. Is it a game? No. If he’s too busy and you’ve already tried telling him how you feel, it’s time to show him with your actions that he will no longer be dictating the terms’ [page 137]. Men don’t like it when we play them at their own game. If they act a certain way and you don’t like it, do it back and give them a taste of their own medicine. Rather than nagging to him about how he’s making you feel bad with his actions, treat him exactly the same way and see how he likes it. 

Recently I was texting a guy who clearly wasn’t bothered about whether we spoke or met up or not. He would only message or ask to meet up on his terms. I always had to drive to make the effort if we agreed to see each other and that was always his idea. He’d never offer to drive to me or say something like “let’s both get the train so we can have a drink together”. I always had to make the effort to travel to him or we wouldn’t see each other. Having read this book, I decided to try it out and stopped messaging him at all. Sure enough he started to initiate conversations again. If I engaged too much in messaging, he’d get distant again so I’d stop messaging. Yet again, like a predictable routine, he’d start messaging me again. I started to treat him how he treated me with messaging and he obviously didn’t like it because it caused him to send me a message. I hate playing games but evidently, men love playing them and will continue to play them. One of the games I absolutely hate, that I’ve always known men play even though they insist they don’t, is making us women feel insecure! As you know, I’m a woman who sometimes needs a little reassurance so being with a guy who wants to make me feel insecure is so damaging to my self esteem and many other women. It’s not on and they’d be furious if we did the same thing to them. Argov uses real interviews with men in Chapter 7 ‘The Other Team’s Secret Playbook’ and one guy reveals to her ‘“Sure, men play cool… I know some guys that check out a woman who isn’t even that beautiful, just to make his girlfriend a little insecure”’ [page 158]. REALLY GUYS?? This came from a man admitting that guys actually do things like that. Just putting it out there and saying that making us feel insecure about ourselves is technically emotional abuse. By doing this to us, you’re edging yourself into the category of an abuser in a relationship. This now applies to anyone in any relationship when I say, if you’ve ever done this to someone, you should be ashamed of yourself and you don’t deserve them. Emotionally abusing someone you’re supposed to love to make yourself feel better is disgusting behaviour. 

Moving on. Chapter 10 ‘Gaining Control of Your Emotions’ has a section on men playing it hot and cold. I can hear the groans coming from you all because let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been seeing a guy who turns around and gives excuses about not getting into a relationship. The one who only wants to see you when it suits him and when he’s craving attention. The hot and cold man is a fuck boy. Please see my previous post about fuckboys for more information. Argov nails it when she says ‘He’s not “hot and cold” because he’s indecisive. He’s “hot and cold” because he is manipulating you.’ [page 224] This is the guy who only contacts you when it suits him. You might think “yes, he’s interested because he’s texting me back” and you give him the attention that he wants but really, he’s just manipulating you to get what he wants while he’s finding someone else to fill the gaps. A hot and cold relationship is a red flag and an immediate sign that you are wasting your time. Run. 

Continuing on in Chapter 10, I actually found myself feeling a little upset at one section. I’d been beating myself up about all the things I’ve done wrong in my previous encounters with men. I was reading a book that was literally pointing its finger at me and telling me that I’m doing it wrong so no wonder I’m still single. Now, I will hold my hands up and admit that I have made stupid mistakes where I used sex as a way to try and find love. It wasn’t many times: I ain’t no hussy. But I have previously believed that if I slept with someone, it might make them like me. I blame daddy issues 100% and my need to look for love wherever I can find it. Going back to getting upset involves a long passage being quoted from Argov; one that I will etch into my memory forever to make sure I listen to it and I hope you will too,

‘Sex is not something you do to reward someone or to score a relationship. Sex is something you do with a man who already cares about you… This is often when the nice girl instinct kicks into overdrive. Here’s the succession of logic: “He was wonderful in the beginning… I must have screwed things up… I need to do more, work harder, jump higher…. and pick up a two-by-four and beat myself up with it by wearing myself out and telling myself I’m not worthy.” Life is hard enough; you don’t need anyone around darkening your doorstep to make it worse.’ [page 228]

She’s right. I always blame myself when things go wrong (I mean, except when a guy brings his mum on a date or punches me in the face). I always immediately think that I’ve done something to push him away or make him not like me. In reality, I need to have more self worth and act like a bitch does! The nice girl bit that we need to avoid is all about having more self worth. Argov quotes my favourite thing Eleanor Roosevelt said which is ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’ [page 240]. Let’s stop giving men consent to make us feel like crap. Let’s stop giving them consent to keep us at arms length because we deserve better. 

All in all, I hated this book when I first started it. I hated reading that it was my fault that everything had gone wrong. I hated feeling like I was being told I should never be myself because nobody will love me if I am myself. The book was telling me what I already felt, that I was doing it wrong which meant I was never good enough. Then as I read on and on I came to the realisation that Argov isn’t saying don’t be yourself or that you’re not good enough. She is telling us all that we should never let a man write the terms of a relationship. She is giving us tips to manipulate men to do things without us nagging so we don’t feel like we’re not listened to. If you don’t read the whole book and only read a bit, read Chapters 10 and 11 because they are the most empowering of the entire book. They give us the much needed kick up the arse to be a bitch, not to make a man happy in a relationship, but to make us happy in life and to show ourselves the respect we deserve. We are allowed to stand up for ourselves and if a man doesn’t like it and it pushes him away, was he really the man you wanted to begin with? 

 

Even a Nice Guy Can Be a Fuck Boy

This week has really opened my eyes to the fact that no matter how nice a guy seems for however many years, he can still revert to ‘Fuck Boy’ tendencies. For anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with the term ‘Fuck Boy’, I have taken the liberty of researching it and the most accurate one comes from Urban Dictionary and reads as follows

Asshole boy who is into strictly sexual relationships; he will lead a girl on and let her down, then apologise only to ask for “pics” once the girl has welcomed him back into her trust. Boys like this will pretend to genuinely care about the girl… he has to hangout on his terms which could be whimsical… and if the girl rejects those plans… he will get pissed… If a girl tries to stand up to this asshole he will most likely deny everything and turn it all around on the girl making it seem as though… he has done nothing wrong.

(https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fuckboy)

 

I’d say that pretty much nails it! I feel I need a disclaimer here, so… For the purpose of this post it’s important for me to mention the fact that I am a heterosexual female and can only talk about my experiences with heterosexual men. I can only give an account that unfortunately isn’t inclusive of all sexual preferences and partners. Of course I have no doubt that there are plenty of women who also act the same way. I know plenty of people in same sex relationships who have told me their accounts of previous partners who acted like fuck boys.  I am only able to tell of my experiences.

I’ll be clear from the start and say I have no criticism of someone who wants a strictly sexual relationship, as long as the other person in it agrees and is aware that it’s strictly sexual. The main trait of a fuck boy is the fact they are not open about it being purely physical and they lead a girl on until it is, then get rid of her or keep her at arms length. He’ll see her on his terms and commonly will engage in on/off relationships with her so it works when he wants it but doesn’t when it no longer suits him. He’ll make her feel special to keep her around but will be very vague about future planning and will often be flakey with plans. If she calls him out on his behaviour he’ll call her paranoid or psycho and make it seem like the problems are all her fault. He’ll treat her like his girlfriend but will never make her his. He’s all about a special bond but never a relationship. He’ll be pissed off if she dates anyone else but he’ll have a plethora of girls on the go. Sound familiar? You my friend, have fallen victim to a fuck boy. Don’t worry, most of us have. It’s hard to spot them and we don’t want to believe we’re naive enough to fall for one.

The reason for this particular post is because recently I was hurt. I wasn’t screwed over by a fuck boy (I like to think I’ve had my fair share and have learnt to avoid them) but I was hurt because I watched someone very close to me act like a fuck boy. I’ve known this man since I was 7 years old and we have a close friendship. I love him the way a sister loves a brother. He’s always been a very kind, caring, considerate and respectful man but I had to stand by and watch him behave in a way that I hate. It was really hard. He was leading a girl on; taking her on dates, inviting her to his to cook a romantic dinner and having nights away with her. I assumed he was moving into a relationship with her based on these behaviours but when I asked him about it he replied “nah I’m not looking for a relationship but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do for a shag”. I asked him if she knew it was just for a few rolls in the hay and he said yes. I knew he was lying. I was gutted. This man I thought treated girls so well. This man who had watched so many men screw me over by leading me on with zero intention of caring for me, was doing exactly what they did. All the times he had hugged me and told me I’d find someone amazing and that not all men acted so badly felt completely empty now. My heart suddenly cried out for the girl, a complete stranger to me. She had no idea she was being used.

Many men will read this and think this man did nothing wrong. That’s the problem. It may come as a shock to you but not all women are desperate for relationships. If you were completely honest about your intentions from the start, she might surprise you. You don’t have to trick a woman into thinking you want a relationship with her just for sex. I’ve used this quote before but it seems apt for this now

The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her

Bob Marley said that. If you’re not sure how you feel about someone then fair enough, sometimes you have to go on a few dates to see how you feel but don’t intentionally lead a girl on just to make yourself feel better. Don’t pretend to be interested only to turn it all around and make it seem like she’s crazy. Some people are a little intense when it comes to relationships but every so often it’s been caused by a fuck boy trying to tell her she’s a psycho. Even more often she’s acting like one because this fuck boy has suddenly stopped being the loving, caring ‘boyfriend’ he pretended to be in the beginning. She’s so unsure of what’s going on because he won’t be honest with her.

I was dealing with a fuck boy earlier this year. I kind of knew he was one before he asked me on a date but we get on so well as friends, I figured I’d give it a chance. He seemed keen and was trying really hard to fit in some time to meet up. I wasn’t too fussed but my lack of interest seemed to fuel his even more. We met for a coffee one afternoon and had such a good time. We laughed like we always do as friends, we caught up on our lives and flirted a little. As we said goodbye he told me he’d had a really good time and we should do it again. With my experience, I figured it was another empty promise from another empty potential suitor. I heard nothing for a week so I wrote it off. Then out of the blue, I receive a text asking to meet up again. Ball was in my court because I was going away on a work trip so was too busy to see him. If he tried to rearrange then I know he’s genuinely keen (sort of). Surprise, surprise, he did not try. Two weeks of absolutely nothing from him went by and then suddenly…. another text message asking if I wanted to catch up. My guess is it didn’t work out with his Plan A girl that I was running parallel to but slightly behind. I’m his Plan B. In all honesty I’m probably more like his Plan F but the others before didn’t pan out and he’s feeling lonely. He’s a good looking guy; he could get a lot of girls. Looks wise he’s out of my league. Personality wise, I’m out of his. I am allowed to say this despite how big headed it might make me sound. I’ve worked a lot on my personality and how I treat people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware I might have made this up in my head and maybe he is interested but given my background in dating, I think I’m probably not far off on this one. We’ll see how it all pans out but chances are, if he keeps waiting weeks but tries to keep me loosely on hand, I’m done.

So, fuck boys of the world. I see you. We are starting to see you even more than we used to. We recognise your behaviours that manipulate us. We recognise the red flags and warning signs. We are becoming strong enough to walk away because we know that we deserve better.

Theo* – Event Planner

Once again, I put my faith in Tinder to help me find a decent suitor. Once again, I was left disappointed but with another story. As we all know, I love a good dating story; especially a miserable one that doesn’t work out the way we’re hoping it would.

After matching on Tinder with Theo* and striking up a conversation, we chatted on the app for a few weeks until he made the plunge and asked me for my number so we could move over to texting on a popular messaging app. This exchange continued for a few weeks and actually seemed fairly normal to begin with. Theo was funny, intelligent and easy to talk to. Messages flowed effortlessly between us so it seemed promising. He suggested we meet up for dinner and I named a place easy for both of us. I won’t bore you with the details of planning the date because that’s not where the fun happens! The actual date is always what brings the decent stories here to An Education in Dating.

We had a table booked but agreed to meet a little earlier so we could have a drink first and ease into the night. It was the first time meeting each other in person after all so at least we could abort mission if one of us was a catfish. With drinks you can make an excuse or just run while they’re in the toilet (side note: I would never actually run while someone is in the toilet). With dinner you have to sit through the entire meal and just eat really quickly knowing that the impending inevitable indigestion is coming. I have to admit that the drinks bit was actually alright. Conversation flowed as effortlessly as it always had over text. It was comforting to talk to him in person and realise he wasn’t a catfish. Our table was ready so we moved over and prepared for food!

Something to note here is that I was driving so I’d had my one alcoholic drink for the night and was moving onto soft drinks with dinner. Theo was not driving and ordered an entire bottle of wine with his meal. An entire bottle that he was going to drink to himself. On a first date. With a girl he’d literally just met for the first time. All after the two drinks he’d already had while I had my one before dinner. Just let that set the tone and sink in.

We ordered our meals, I sipped on my glass of diet coke while he necked another glass from his bottle of wine. The more drunk he started to get, the more sober I was. That’s saying something because I started completely sober! The food was delicious but the company I was in started to go downhill. He was getting louder and more obnoxious as the wine in the bottle continued to evaporate… into his mouth that I wanted to punch at this point. Other patrons in the restaurant were looking round with judging eyes at our table because it was the source of the drunken arsehole making all of the noise and making crude jokes about the waitress’ ample bosom. Lord, kill me now. The conversation then took a different turn when he said the sentence “I can never tell when you’ve read my messages”. He was sneaky with this one because even though it was clearly rhetorical, I still felt like I had to defend myself to him on the subject; this drunken arsehole. I explained to him that I had turned off the read receipts feature on my messaging app and that I had also switched off the last seen feature. I like having some privacy and anonymity with my messaging. I don’t like people knowing when I’ve last been online or whether I’ve read their messages and chosen to ignore them or, more likely, been too busy to reply in that moment. If I have my phone nearby and have the time to, I will reply. If I haven’t replied, then I’m busy or at work! He didn’t accept my answer. Instead he chose to repeat himself and make it sound like he was genuinely annoyed about the fact he didn’t have ultimate control. I was met with “Well, it’s really annoying that I can’t see if you’ve read my messages or not.” RED FLAG. I repeat. RED FLAG!! Why should he know when I’ve read his messages or not? I’m a grown ass woman and I have every right to keep some privacy when it comes to the settings on MY messaging app on MY phone. So now I’m sat finishing a dinner with a drunk guy who is clearly an absolute control freak and I just want to go home and debate why I bother with this dating malarkey anymore.

Finally, dinner was finished. Obviously I was so full I couldn’t possibly fit in any dessert (even though there was a bloody delicious looking cheesecake on the menu) so I suggested, probably way too enthusiastically, that we get the bill. I insisted we split the food equally. He can pay for his own bloody booze and this way I owe him nothing in terms of a second date because I’ve paid for half. As we got up to go our separate ways and release me from this pain, he turned and asked me for a lift home… He lives in the opposite direction to me from where we were. I will always happily drop someone home if they live on my way and I have done in the past but this guy is still technically a stranger. Also he’s a pain in the arse and the thought of driving out of my way to drop him home where I’m trapped in a confined space with him, was not high on my to do list. I apologised and said I was staying in town at one of my friend’s houses so wouldn’t be going back to my car. Then I made sure to walk the complete opposite way to him after an awkward hug, only to then stand and wait for 15 minutes and walk back the way he went just so I didn’t have to walk with him. The things we do.

The aftermath of the date remained fairly quiet and we didn’t text any more which was good for me because I wasn’t rushing to see him again. Obviously he knew I wasn’t over the moon about the date. Then a little over a week ago (4 months after our date) he messaged me out of the blue! He messaged saying he wanted to get in touch and see how I was doing. He said he was thinking about me and curious to know how I was getting on. That’s really nice, thank you but at the end of the day, you’re still the guy who wanted to know when I had read messages and got drunk on our first date. You’re also the guy who genuinely got pissed off that I like to have some privacy. Not really a good sign mate. I’m hoping he was just nervous and it didn’t manifest in the best way. I wish Theo all the best in his endeavours.

Sean* – Stranger Boy Racer

Yes, the job title of this guy sounds intriguing. It’s not exciting, I just don’t know what his actual job is so this will do. You’ll understand why as the story unfolds.

As your detective skills have already determined from reading my previous posts, it’s clear that I work as cabin crew. On this particular day after landing back from a long haul night flight, my car was dying for a drink so I stopped at a petrol station on the way home to satisfy the poor thing. It was this supermarket petrol station that set the scene for my oh so romantic encounter with Sean*, the stranger boy racer. I’m going to inspire you to imagine how this looks for an outsider. Yes I am in full uniform which some may find attractive (I don’t) however, after working a nine hour night flight on about 4 hours sleep for the previous 24 hours, my hair was a mess, my make up had slipped from my face and I’m pretty sure it was hard to determine whether the dark circles under my eyes was smudged eye make up or genuine evidence of how shattered I was. To put it bluntly, I looked like a zombie from an apocalypse movie who had just happened to stumble across the uniform of a flight attendant and put it on for kicks.

After paying for my petrol and buying a much needed sugar kick in the form of a toffee crisp, I got in my car and willed myself to start the journey home. As I was pulling away and driving towards the exit, I could see a car start to jolt forward from one of the petrol pumps that was to my left. This car kept coming forward towards me so I had to swerve to the right of me to avoid being hit. The other car stopped and I followed suit. I looked to see some guy who couldn’t have been any older that twenty looking at me and getting out of his car. Again, I followed his lead and got out the car and vaguely remember the words “What is wrong with you? Did you decide to just not look at all when you nearly drove into the side of me?” He just stood there and looked at me for a minute. Ok this feels uncomfortable. His excuse for why he’d nearly smashed into my car was ridiculous. It’s something you think would be really cute to hear and some awful screen writer somewhere has probably used it as the way two people meet before falling in love. To me it sounded like the stupidest thing I’d ever heard and I almost felt insulted I looked like the kind of girl who would fall for it. I kid you not when I tell you that his reply to my anger was “I’m so sorry. I saw you getting back into your car and I needed an excuse to talk to you because I think you’re stunning. I figured even if I did hit you, the bump in my insurance would be worth it.” Please, Lord, give me strength. Naturally I was a little speechless by this. I looked anything but stunning and I’m pretty sure I was wearing a big sign on my forehead saying ‘Fuck off. I am not in the mood’. He continued on to ask me for my number like it was the most normal thing in the world after he’d nearly rammed his modified Renault Clio into my passenger door. First of all, get rid of those stupid wheel rims and throw out the awful low modified bumper you’ve got; you’re not 17 anymore buddy. Second of all, absolutely no thank you! I politely declined, muttered something about being more careful next time and got back into the car to make my escape and get to my bed!

What guy in their right mind thinks that would be the best way to get a girl’s number? I mean, obviously he was a little cocky and thought I’d fall weak at the knees at his grand gesture but what sonny boy over here didn’t think of was the fact I just didn’t care. Boys, if ever you think it’s ok to nearly drive into a girl as an attempt to get her number… Think again. First of all, it’s stupid. Second of all, it’s stupid. Third of all, it’s stupid. I do hope the little tyke finds a girl who’s heart melts at his risky attempts of romance. I, however, will move on to find a man who does the old fashioned stuff that doesn’t mean a nearly smashed up car.

Derek* – Management

Right then, I have to backtrack for this tale because it did actually happen before my previous post. I just couldn’t wait to write about the disastrous date with a guy and his Mother so had to skip this story and figured I could go back to it. You don’t mind do you? Good. Also this guy actually chose his name for the blog and wanted to settle on Roger but there was no way I was going to write a story about being rogered by Roger!! I stuck with the first name he chose instead. I also want to say that although his actions at the end weren’t ideal, this frog (from what I know) isn’t actually a bad guy. He has a good heart in there somewhere and one day a girl will be good enough in his eyes to find it. His actions may have been rubbish but a part of me hoped I’d see him again.

About six weeks ago I got up and left to travel a bit around Bali and Singapore for a few weeks. I’ve always wanted to go to Bali so I decided that credit cards would be my answer to finally take the time to go (they weren’t the answer but I’m figuring that out now). I was going to be out there alone so I decided that to be on the safe side, and to make sure I was making the most of my time out there, I would book onto a tour package. My activities and accommodation for Bali would be all sorted plus I’d get to meet some new people without the hassle of sorting everything out. Yeah, yeah I know what you’re thinking; in my job I’m basically on holiday all the time! But I needed some time away from everyone and everything that is back here in the UK. Work doesn’t allow me to be away from it all but a few weeks off work in Bali with people who had never met me before gave me the perfect opportunity. I could clear my head and have some kind of escape. I’m not one of those morons who goes to a different country and then comes back insisting that I “found myself” and I’m all “enlightened”. To the people who do say that, get a grip! Getting drunk on a beach in Thailand or Indonesia for a few weeks/months (delete as appropriate) doesn’t make you some kind of enlightened, spiritual being. All I am saying is that I needed to escape for a while. Anyway, that’s not important.

My first night in Bali was to be spent getting to know everyone else who had booked onto the same tour. We all met in the hotel lobby and the introductions commenced. Some of the last to meet us were Derek* and James*. First impressions? They were both attractive, sunburnt and a really nice looking couple (Sorry guys but I did think you were a couple at first). Spoiler alert, they weren’t a couple. They were just two straight lads from England. The evening progressed with us all heading to a restaurant hidden off the main street for some dinner and drinks. I ended up sat next to Derek at both dinner and then afterwards when playing drinking games. This meant I had plenty of time to get to know him a little and also have a really good laugh (his banter was top notch I should add). I laughed more than I had in ages which is exactly what I needed. Derek was easy to talk to and had a positive energy about him that just seemed to radiate; although the radiating may have been his sunburn. Of course everyone had a lot to drink and we all gravitated from one bar to the next before ending up in a club(?) type place. The entire group were just amazing. Throughout the week, each and every person had their own incredible stories and each person interested me with their different lives and interests. One of my worst habits is that I can talk about work way too much but this group just let me, and they listened. Bless them for that! They all deserve some medals for that torture. On that first night, I knew I’d have a good week with that group of delinquents (I miss them already).

Whilst in this club I went outside to get some fresh air because apparently I thought there would be fresh air outside in Indonesia; there wasn’t! It was just as hot outside as it was inside but being the stubborn girl that I am, I still sat for a bit to try and cool down. Before long, Derek came outside and sat with me. He was talking to me for a bit and then he kissed me; no point me dragging that out. It’s important that you remember here that he kissed me. As in he initiated it. As in he was the one who leaned in and put his lips on mine. He made the choice without any hesitation and without any hint from me. Just you know, to make that clear. I liked him so I wasn’t complaining. Me not complaining was just me kissing him back. Not going to sugar coat this next bit but we ended up spending the night together. Oh shush, I can already hear your judgements through my screen! What you have to remember is that I am twenty six years old and I am in complete control of my body. I will do whatever and whoever I want with it. I have endured enough physical, emotional and sexual abuse throughout my time to know that I have the right to say yes when I want to. Women have earned that right. Yeah, alright fine, so for someone who pretends she doesn’t care what you all think I sure did jump straight on the defensive!

You don’t need details, I’m sure you all know how the whole thing works. The next morning Derek got up and left and then we all went about our day. Everybody met for breakfast before heading off to begin our week exploring together. The next few days Derek tried to talk to me as little as possible! I got the feeling he was desperate to stay as far away from me as he could and he pretty much succeeded. Luckily I was too busy taking in the beauty of all that Bali had to offer. I knew what that first night was. It was two consenting adults, drinking alcohol and then fooling around. I understood that it meant nothing and I’m a grown up. I hardly expect anything more these days given my track record and the fact I repel men. The least I expected was for Derek to act normal with me afterwards like an adult on the same level as me. He obviously did the classic thing and assume that every girl is just desperate for a relationship straight away. Apparently women aren’t allowed to just have a one night stand and enjoy it without there being a hidden agenda. Then I started to doubt myself. Maybe he didn’t want other girls to know in case it ruined his chances with them. Maybe he was embarrassed about it. I get it. I’ve grown up with two sisters and was constantly reminded that I’m “the ugly one of the three” so it isn’t exactly news to me that I’m not the most attractive girl. I do fully believe though that Derek was not out of my league (despite what he probably thinks. Sorry buddy, but you’re not better than me). The grown ass (arse), strong, independent woman in me knocked back my insecure, debilitating thoughts and just focused on enjoying my time away! If Derek wanted to be weird around me then so be it.

Further through the week I started to learn that Derek was a guy who liked getting attention from girls. He still seemed like a nice guy and I can’t knock him for anything. He genuinely was alright, when he had the balls to be near me and not scared I might try to trap him into some kind of relationship. Dude (yes, I did just use the word dude), it was a one night stand. Chill out! On our fourth night away, I decided screw it and took an opportunity when he was alone watching football to go and chat to him. He seemed less that amused at this and I could sense he was a little uncomfortable. Apparently my metaphorical balls are bigger than his real ones at times. Anyway, he was a gentleman and still humoured me with answers to my questions. He let me try my best not to talk about work too much and I was genuinely interested in hearing about his work. He seemed different while I was listening to him on his own. He obviously wasn’t interested in trying to impress me and the way he spoke was just simple and raw. It was honest. Oh bollocks. I can hear it now. My bloody brain is thinking that actually he doesn’t live that far away so maybe I could see him again. Don’t be ridiculous.

Skipping forward a bit because you don’t read this to hear about my travels do you? On the second to last night we all went out, again and again, Derek decided to kiss me; in front of the entire group! He proceeded to take my hand and walk me back to the hotel. I wasn’t exactly kicking and screaming here but I wasn’t putting any hope out either. I still knew precisely what this all was. I checked with myself and I was ok with it. The last few days Derek seemed much more comfortable around me. He sat with me on the beach while he watched the sunset; all of us did! It wasn’t some romantic thing. He made jokes about having some ridiculous, couple looking photos taken to screw with people. He went back to the Derek from the very first night. This was the much more attractive, less uptight version that I preferred. Naturally we spent the last night together too only this one was different. Derek got weird again! He made a comment about the fact he wasn’t going to ask me for my number and gave me some kind of awful excuse that he only uses his phone for work stuff.
Note to Derek – get better excuses to use on girls. Also don’t assume that you’re God’s gift to women and we just can’t resist you.

He went back to that weird Derek I didn’t really like. Now we all know I can be too honest sometimes and this night was no exception! I told him flat out I knew he was trying to pie me off (basically some awful made up slang just meaning get rid of me). I’ve heard every excuse in the book from all sorts of guys so I knew what it was. I also explained that I’m not an idiot and I understand exactly what it all was. We were two adults who had fun for a week but now it was over because we were both going our separate ways. I knew I wouldn’t see him again. This is where things got interesting. Here is where suddenly, Derek’s penis panicked. The Y chromosome in his genetic make up had a minor panic attack because all it could think was “what is happening? Why is this girl in control of this? Something doesn’t fit here. I can’t cope that the girl has taken control and ended it. Girls aren’t supposed to be cool with one night stands/flings that aren’t going anywhere. Girls are supposed to want men for long term stuff so we can break it off and hurt them. Girls aren’t meant to have the power. It must end on man’s terms”. After spending time within his own head having this slight panic and confusion Derek changed his tune and told me that actually who knows what might happen. We can’t put pressure on seeing each other again or forcing it but we might see each other again (top points for the ambiguity here). I don’t want you to think I’m a dick because I’m not (too late, I kind of already think you are one for trying to pull me back into this game). Luckily my experience has taught me to always be sceptical and not to trust too much of what men say (Oh god I really am screwed for thinking this) so I didn’t buy what he was saying and we went our separate ways to bed.

The next morning was my last day in Bali before moving on to Singapore while Derek was staying in Bali for a few more nights. I got up early and packed my stuff together before going to say goodbye to everyone. I really was going to miss everyone from my time in Bali! I had built a friendship with James (Derek’s friend/housemate) and we’d got on really well so I was gutted to be saying goodbye to some new friends so soon. I went in to say bye to Derek for the last time but he beckoned me over to climb into bed next to him. He put his arm around me, kissed me on the head and told me to take care and message him when I got to Singapore. Seriously Derek stop with the games! Why are you trying to drag this out? I know exactly what it is and I know for a fact that you have no interest in ever talking to or seeing me again. I rolled my eyes (he couldn’t see this) and decided on a non committal “take care and enjoy the rest of your travels. I’ve had such a lovely week. Thank you” before getting up and leaving. I closed the door behind me and told the others to give him a minute because he was devastated I was leaving. He just needed time to gather himself (had to get a quick laugh in obviously). Then I left the island of Gili T and headed back to Bali airport. Onwards and upwards. I felt proud of myself. Of course I’d like to see him again but I knew from the start the reality of it. I’ve been there too many times before and I’m so proud that I left it where it was.

Was it over here? Of course it bloody wasn’t! Derek just couldn’t handle that I’d been in control. That it had finished on my terms. For goodness sake you don’t want to see me again so just leave it alone! Just accept that I understood it didn’t mean anything to you. I got to Bali airport and had a Facebook message waiting for me from him telling me to message him when I got to Singapore and to have safe travels. I should have left it there! I should have completely stuck to my guns and ignored him but noooooo. Me being me thought well maybe he does want to see me again or maybe he does want to keep in touch (IDIOT). Hindsight really is a bitch because now I wish I could have screamed at myself to just stop. But I couldn’t. We messaged on and off a bit for the next few weeks until… nothing. He just stopped and I haven’t heard from him since. I knew he wasn’t interested. I knew what kind of guy he was and I knew exactly what we were doing. But I just couldn’t help myself at the end. I gave him an out. I gave him the perfect opportunity to get away with never talking to me again but that didn’t feel right to him. He wanted it to finish on his terms and with me feeling like the idiot. Bravo Derek. Bravo. You succeeded. He plays a good game. I was so close to getting out of that one alive, with my head held high and my emotions still in tact. But in true me style, of course it could never have ended like that.

Next time I’ll trust my gut instinct and I will not message back after I’ve cut things off. Haha we all know that’s not true.

Ben* – Property Development

So obviously the David Experiment didn’t have a lasting, positive outcome. Instead it proved that a particular name has absolutely no effect on the type of man christened with said name. The clearly very scientific research conducted into the name David has no scientific standing whatsoever! Academics will be so upset everywhere. In light of my failed attempts to find the perfect (for me) David, I got myself back on the dating apps and started swiping people with other names too. Whilst swiping away, I matched with a guy called Ben* and after the standard small talk that happens every time, we arranged to meet up for a drink…

Note: before I matched and started chatting with Ben, I actually have another story before him. I went traveling for a few weeks around Bali and Singapore and met a guy there. Unfortunately this story about Ben was way to good to keep everyone waiting!! My next blog post about the guy from Bali will have to back track. Trust me! I couldn’t wait to write this one.

Back to Ben. In his messages he seemed alright. He was a property developer who lived fairly close by and worked around London. He was easy to talk to and I didn’t feel like I had to drag conversation out of him (which I hate). I have a tendency to talk about work too much, mainly because it interests me. Sometimes I worry and have to stop myself before my date hands me an anorak and binoculars and tells me to stand at the end of a runway (a common joke about plane spotters). The fact that Ben was good at keeping it all moving forward was a great sign to me. Anyway, we agreed on when and where to meet up and I seemed hopeful for a good date (HAHA! I can’t believe I was so naive).

I arrived after Ben and he was already sat at a little table near the bar with a drink. I smiled and made a beeline for the bar to get myself something. He stood and said hello with a polite kiss on the cheek and we sat and began chatting. It started with the bog standard “hey, how was work?” etc which moved onto how long we’ve done our jobs for and so on and so forth. About twenty minutes in Ben’s phone, which was on the table, started buzzing. He picked it up, looked at the screen, sighed a little and then returned the phone to the table. Stuff like that doesn’t bother me so I asked “Did you want to take that? I really don’t mind at all”. He thanked me but declined and carried on explaining his work to me. The phone started buzzing again to which he, again, looked at the screen and sighed. “Seriously, it must be important. I really don’t mind if you need to just take the call”. I really didn’t mind! If it’s important then I would hate to think he missed it just to be polite. I didn’t hear the whole conversation but just heard bits of his end that concerned me slightly “Mum…… yeah we’re here still…… oh really? Ok well sure come and meet us……” Excuse me? What? Come and meet us? Mum? How many more question marks can I fit in just a few lines? Bearing in mind I’ve just met this guy, he’s told his Mum she can come and sit with us on our first date.

Ben returns to the table and sits back down. “Is everything OK?” I ask and he replies with “Yeah it was just Mum but everything is fine.” No mention of her coming here. Maybe I heard it wrong then or just missed a bit of the conversation. We go back to our conversation for another ten minutes or so when it happened. “Ben, darling”. I absolutely did not hear that phone conversation wrong because there she was, clear as the look of horror on my face at that exact moment, a woman who must have been in her mid fifties wearing an outfit that could have been from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, arms outstretched and smiling our way. What. The. Actual. Holy. Mother. Of. All. Things. Kill me now. Kill me now. I can’t even run away. Ben stands up and greets his Mother like what is happening is the most normal thing in the world right now! I look around for my nearest emergency exit and seriously consider just running through it. My bag and coat will have to be left behind now; collateral damage. Instead, I remain a vision of calm and poise and stand up to introduce myself and say hello to this woman. Just to remind you all. I’ve been in the physical presence of this guy for a total of around thirty minutes at this point. Half an hour! I’m now meeting his Mother!

The Mother asks me what I do for a living so I tell her I’m cabin crew. From the look on her face anyone would think I’ve just told this woman I skin dolphins for a living. I thought maybe she hadn’t heard me correctly so I carried on saying which company I work for and that I really enjoy the travel aspect of the job. Rather than feigning the same politeness that I was doing so expertly, she asked me something that made me want to pick up my lime and soda and throw it over her, “Have you ever thought about doing something more with your life? I mean it’s not a very respectable job is it. Are your parents proud of you for that?” *Silence*

Ben never said a word through this. I couldn’t say anything either. I ignored the questions but she just couldn’t let it go! She was rude, arrogant and completely oblivious to what she was doing. “You know my sweetie Ben has had some lovely girlfriends in the past. They’ve had some very top jobs up in London…” on and on and on it goes. I DON’T CARE is screaming inside of my head. I need to get out. Where is my escape? She just can’t stop talking. It feels like somebody is scratching their nails down a chalkboard while playing the bagpipes really badly and swinging a cat around in a pillowcase (No animals were actually harmed in the making of this imaginary scenario). I’m starting to feel myself coming to the end of my tether. I’m standing on the edge at breaking point! While they were both just at the bar I’ve already sent messages to my friend telling her the horror of what is going on! Once back, Ben’s Monster (sorry, I spelled Mother wrong) suddenly seemed rather intrigued about my employment. She wanted to know more information about what us mere cabin crew servants get up to on our trips away. She asked me if it’s true that we all sleep around. This was too perfect an opportunity to miss! If I didn’t grab this bull by the absolute balls right now I would regret it. I knew I’d never see this guy again and I knew I never wanted to see his Mother again so I just couldn’t resist in letting my answer slip, “Yeah we do. We all get together on trips and have massive orgies in each others’ rooms” Obviously I let out a little laugh to make it sound like maybe I was joking. She wasn’t amused. I looked around waiting for my round of applause but no one else was listening.

Finally this was where Ben decided to speak up, “Mum, do you think maybe you could leave now so that we can talk? I’ll see you at home later.” With that, he kissed her on the cheek and walked her outside, hopefully into the lake across the road. He came back and we spent the next thirty minutes awkwardly trying to salvage what we could from this date. No apology for the way his Mother acted was received. We both knew this was it. There was nothing to save here. I just hope for his sake, he learns to stand up to her and not let her crash any more of his dates! We left our separate ways before we’d even finished our drinks and today, (the morning after the date) I have heard nothing from him. I must have done something really really bad in a previous life to deserve that one last night!! Good luck to the next girl who dates him…. and his Mother.

 

David #3 – Delivery driver

I should probably start by saying that yes, Dave#2 was a dream and completely adorable! We continued chatting for a week or so but he made the decision that maybe the difficulty in communicating with each other was a good enough reason to call it a day. We’ve chatted again since and I am happy to report to his fans that he has started dating a girl who can sign. He’s happy and even wished me all the happiness that he knows I deserve. After one date and he’s this perfect!

This one is another fairly quick one so easy reading to digest on your lunch break…… I met Dave#3 on Tinder (yes, I’m still using it because you never know). We matched and did the standard awkward opening lines and getting to know each other. He’s nine years older than me so I was hoping that the maturity would help. Hopefully he’s spent a few years already playing the field and maybe fancies something with more substance. No rush! And absolutely no pressure, but I’m just thinking ahead so I’m not wasting my time. Dave and I chatted for a week or so and then exchanged numbers where we continued our thrilling small talk and 20 questions games while learning more about one another. He was a food delivery driver for an independent company. He seemed like a genuine and very sweet guy; a little less extroverted than I usually go for but a nice guy all the same.

I did struggle to keep conversations flowing and it felt like hard work getting him to talk but I hadn’t met him in person yet and figured maybe he just wasn’t great with conversing via messages. We both agreed to try and arrange something quickly in order to meet up as we shared the view that we’d rather meet sooner and not waste time messaging; only to finally meet and not actually like each other. Now I am absolutely all for guys and girls sharing the responsibility for organising a date and I think it’s great when a guy is polite and let’s you choose the place. What I cannot get on board with is a guy who does this for every decision:

Me: “I don’t mind where we go. Do you have anything in mind?”

Him: “I don’t mind. No not really. You choose.” (Ok then so I did choose)

Me: “Do you fancy drinks or dinner?”

Him: “I don’t mind. You choose.” (So I said dinner)

Me: “What time suits you best? I’m free all day as I’m off work so whatever works for you.”

Him: “I don’t mind. You choose.”

You get the point! I ended up making the decisions for everything! Like I said, I completely get that he was being sweet and being a gentleman but in some ways it also kind of makes me feel like he’s a pushover. I already know that I could never be with a pushover. I need someone who challenges me and who is happy to take the lead sometimes. I have Daddy issues remember! I need someone who is strong willed and confident to try to fix those Daddy issues. Get your heads out of the gutter! I’m not looking for someone to be my Daddy; gross! We all know that girls look for partners who are similar to their Father figures; the man who first loved them unconditionally. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a Father figure (other than the one who abandoned me) so I know that I will struggle, but I need someone to replace that. I like to think I’ve learned enough about myself to know what sort of man I need (insert crying with laughter emoji here because I’m clearly not doing a very good job of finding a decent man).

Anyway, I’d put the trousers on and made every single decision for the date. The day arrived and, as I normally do, I messaged him in the morning with a simple “Hey, how are you? Still all good for later on?” To which I received no reply. The day goes by and the clock continues rolling through the hours and minutes and still, I hear nothing from him. It gets to half an hour before we are meant to be meeting and I send a message asking “Just checking everything is ok?” You guessed it! No reply. I heard nothing all night from him so got into my pjs and started watching a chick flick to cheer me up. Later on that evening my phone buzzed and I read the message on my screen…. “Hey. Sorry, wasn’t really feeling it.” What kind of apology is that? Also really?? If you’re not ‘feeling it’ send me a message in the morning saying something came up or actually you’ve changed your mind. Don’t leave me hanging all day. I’ve wasted my day off not planning anything in that would clash with our evening date. I’ve put on a nice outfit and styled my hair only to then sit in pyjamas and stuff my face, while watching a film that makes me want to kill myself because it only reminds me that my romantic life resembles the remains of a rabbit that has been hit by a car and repeatedly run over by other screeching car tyres (no rabbits were harmed in the writing of this post).

So. Dave#3 was not a success.

Me – 2
The David Experiment – 1

 

 

 

David #2 – Teacher

After my David #1 didn’t go so well, I was already pretty sure that the name David probably has nothing to do with whether someone makes a good partner! My second David ended up being a mixture of chance and coincidence rolled into the package of a tall, handsome man with brown hair and glasses.

In my job, I meet new people every single day I turn up to work. Each day I work with different crew and obviously hundreds of different passengers too. You’d think it would be a great place to meet someone but I’m here to tell you that it’s like trying to find that lost sock you’re missing. One fateful night I was working on a short haul flight going to somewhere in Italy and back. On the return flight back home, I turned to ask my next passenger what he’d like to drink and it was a guy in his mid twenties I’d guess. I’m just going to mention again that he was very tall (even sat down), with dark, messy hair and glasses. He was very handsome! I smiled and asked him if he would like anything to drink to which he smiled back to me and mouthed the words apple juice please. I figured I had just missed what he said but read his lips enough to understand. As I passed the drink over to him sat next to the window, I noticed that his travel companions were all signing to each other. He mouthed the words thank you and smiled that big beaming smile again. So this young man is deaf. He is also mute. You’d think the story would end here but of course that wouldn’t be worth writing about.

Once the service was finished I sat for a little at the back of the cabin and read some of my book. Whilst halfway through a page I noticed two rather large shoes standing next to me so I looked up to see the same guy who had ordered the apple juice. I looked him in the eye and asked if I could get him anything and he pointed at the carton of apple juice on the side. I smiled and poured him a glass. We both stood in silence for a bit while he drank it. It was a little awkward but only because I felt like an idiot that I didn’t know how to communicate. Luckily this stranger knew what he was doing because he pointed at the book in my hand and silently asked what it was about. I looked directly at him and briefly explained which was slightly embarrassing considering I was reading a biographical book about depression written by a guy who had contemplated suicide. He tilted his head to one side as he read my lips and smiled, only looking away to point at the seat I was sat on followed by the one next to me. I gestured for him to sit with me and he did. For the next 10 minutes, we both sat and conversed by lip reading each other. It was difficult for me at first but he was very kind and spoke his words slowly. My new acquaintance was a teacher at a school for deaf children. He taught PE (cue hearts melting). Mr Handsome stood and went back to his seat but not before he pulled out his phone and asked me for my number. Just like that, with so much confidence so I couldn’t refuse. I saved my number and pointed to my name badge so he knew my name. He put his hand out in front of him, which I shook, and mouthed the name David. Oh come on. Of course his name is David! This was just a massive coincidence that this guy was thrown into my lap with the name I was interested in to go on dates.

David and I texted for a few weeks before finally meeting up for a drink. I already got from him that he was very sweet and considerate. He was very kind but also had a wicked sense of humour. He joked about us having a date and not being able to talk to each other which relaxed me a little. I was obviously anxious about the communication side of things but for him to joke about it made me feel at ease. On D day (date day or David day works too), I drove up to a bar roughly halfway between us as arranged and walked inside to see David sat at a little table. He caught my eye and stood up smiling at me. I went over and he hugged me. At this point I was suddenly very aware that I was going to have to watch his lips all night to lip read what he was saying to me. We managed through the first few minutes of hellos and how are yous before he handed me a drinks menu and asked me what I’d like. We were both driving so opted for some soft drinks in the end and David kindly went up to order. Once sat down, he pulled a small notepad and pen out onto the table and looked at me with a cheeky smile and laughed. There’s that sense of humour again. On the first page of the notepad it had written down ‘Just in case’.

The date was lovely. David was so lovely but, as expected, we struggled to communicate with each other throughout. I forgot to look at him so would sometimes look away while talking and he’d have to gesture for me to look at him because he couldn’t see what I was saying. I had to ask him to speak slowly so I could read his lips and I missed a lot of what he was talking about at times. David was so patient with me and bless him; he went to sign some words but then would apologise for forgetting I can’t read sign language. We laughed about it and it wasn’t uncomfortable at all; just difficult. We discussed our families and work and got on well despite a few silences. He laughed at one point and said people must think I’m crazy because I’m just talking out loud to someone but not getting anything in return! It was actually a really nice evening but neither of us could ignore how difficult it was to communicate. When we left, David hugged me and then stood and placed the most delicate of kisses on my forehead. He walked me to my car and we said goodnight.

When I got home, there was already a message from David waiting for me. He thanked me again for the evening and admitted to having a lovely time. He also went straight in and said that he understood if I didn’t want to meet up again because it was difficult for both of us. I did want to meet up again though. He was so lovely and I could always learn sign language. One of my best friends from Uni learned sign language so maybe I could ask her to help me. After a few more weeks of texting each other, David made the decision to call it a day on account of the fact we struggled to communicate with each other. He did leave it open and said that if either of us changed our minds, we could always meet up again and see what happens. I can’t blame him at all or even fault him in this because he was just such a decent guy! He was right; it had been difficult to communicate so I couldn’t be angry at him for being honest. Who knows, maybe I will learn sign language just in case.

Me – 1
The David Experiment – 1

 

Nothing Like The Present

What now? My stories have reached up to exactly where I am in the present. I have more dates lined up in the near future and will continue to write about them but for now, I feel that it is important to look at how my opinion of dating and love has been shaped throughout my previous experiences. When people say to me that they have bad luck with dating, I lead them to this blog and invite them to read the proof of just how bad my luck is. I think most of you can agree that I don’t do well with men (well that’s an understatement). I have learned a lot about myself as well as my frogs whilst writing about them.

When I first started dating I wasn’t ready for a relationship so, in a way, I’m glad that none of my stories had happy endings even though we were all hoping for it to go well! After the sexual assault I was even less ready for a relationship and needed time to heal both inside and out. I only started to feel ready for a relationship when I hit 22. We’ve read the stories (I’ve lived them) so we all know how they go and how I felt about them all. We all know nothing worked out with guys. We all know that it wasn’t until I was 24 years old and met Richard* that I felt some self worth and I felt what it was like to experience love (maybe; who knows about that). We also know that nothing seemed to work out right after Richard either. Every man seemed to find some poor excuse to end it with me; a lot of them were lies. Now, I’m not ignorant to the fact that a lot of you will probably have experienced the same lies and poor excuses. To the men reading this, I apologise on behalf of women for you being messed around and to the women reading this, well we all know that some men are just tools! Both sexes have spent years screwing each other around and unfortunately, it’s now a normal part of growing up. Heartbreak is a right of passage into the adult world now, and at nearly 26 years old, I think I’m only really starting to experience it.

I feel lonely. I feel lonely most of the time. You’ll be ashamed to know that I talk to Brian* sometimes to combat that lonliness (Brian is the one who said I should go to the gym and called me a 4 out of 10). Brian is still useless with women and to be honest I don’t find myself wanting to be with him anyway. I know I can do better (shockingly, I actually believe that now). I still talk to Richard sometimes; although it gets less and less. Over the past few weeks I find myself missing him more and more every day. The last time I saw him was in September of 2014 but only now, in March of 2016 has it really sunk in that I don’t think I’ll ever see him again and I don’t think he ever did love me. I feel physical pain now at the thought that he doesn’t care about me anymore. It physically hurts me to think of him with someone else. Maybe I never got any closure from him so I have struggled to move on properly. With Richard, everything was always “watch this space” and “you never know when our paths may cross” but in reality we both know the truth. We will never see each other again. Only now has the pain of heartbreak really sunk its claws into me. I was hurt a lot by various men but over time I began to numb to that pain; I expected it with every new guy I went on a date with. I was almost watching a time bomb just waiting for the next excuse or lie to end anything with me. With Richard it was different; I held hope and continued to hold it for the past 18 months. Until now. Now do I feel the pain. I don’t want to talk to him anymore so I can move on but I am scared to lose him from my life. God I don’t know how so many of you experienced this years before me and managed to get through! It’s bloody horrible!

Since Richard, I’ve dated other guys. I’ve been hurt again but not to the same extent. I’ve also realised that I can’t force this. I’ve been on the other end of criticism for apparently ‘friend zoning’ guys. My right to say no to guys I don’t fancy is apparently wrong. Would it be fair for me to date someone I don’t see a future with? I can’t force this. You can’t force this. A man cannot force you to want to be with him and vice versa. All we can do is wait. It sucks big time but there’s no other way around it. I’m not going to give up dating and I don’t believe that when you stop looking love will hit you. That’s like saying if you stop looking for your car keys, you’ll find them. I don’t know about you but the only time I’ve ever found my car keys is when I’ve looked for them. I don’t desperately search but I remain open minded about possibilities.

I still have hope. My hope is what carries me through the lonliness. My hope is what helps me continue organising dates with more frogs; well hope and the fact that I love a good comedy dating story. I don’t have any hope towards Richard anymore but I do know that somewhere, there is a pretty awesome guy waiting for me. Who knows, maybe if you listen carefully you can hear the sound of him being punched in the face for giving a girl some god awful excuse to end things with her. Maybe that punch is what makes him realise he wants to look for ‘the one’. Probably not but still.

Now, enough of that. As I said before, I have dates lined up and will continue to write about them. If anyone does however know of any eligible bachelors, send them my way…