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.

Tinder Tidbits; Take Two

Previously in the post titled ‘Tinder Tidbits’ I posted pictures of messages that I had received and also sent while toying with the popular dating app. I also included pictures of messages not on Tinder. This post is mainly just pictures of various messages on various social media platforms or means of contact all in one place. I figured the title just lead on nicely from the Tinder Tidbits post.

This first one really is from Tinder.

normal-looking

I mean, is it a compliment? I get the impression he didn’t mean it as one but decided as an after thought ‘actually if it makes you feel better take it as a compliment but yeah you’re kind of normal looking’. Apparently I’m not anything special to look at but on the plus side, at least I’m normal looking. Um, thank you?

This next guy took a different approach in complimenting me. After I didn’t reply to his first message, he waited a whole nine months to message me again giving me my compliment. Much better than normal looking. I just hope I am still sexy!

still-sexy

As you can see, this next one was via Facebook. I am not friends with this person and have never ever met him but he sent me this random message! I mean, he’s got balls I have to say and his complimenting skills are top notch compared to other guys previously so bravo my friend.

f-beautiful

This next set of messages consists of three photos from one night and one from about a month later. The dates are on the pictures with the messages. This is a guy that I met years ago through a friend of mine. We never dated but we are friends on Facebook.

There seems to be a common view that women are more likely to show signs of needy behaviour or act clingy with guys. Men worry that if a girl messages too much, she’s obviously a psycho who will trap him into a relationship or even worse…. marriage!! God forbid you message someone more than once in the space of seven hours. Saying that however, this guy really takes the prize for needy behaviour….

Well he’s certainly persistent. Also extremely charming obviously. To add the icing, cherry and little sugar swirl decorations on the cake…. he has a girlfriend!!

Ah you’ve got to love the wonderful world where phones can take screenshots of the stuff you really want to see again and again and again.