Dating Tips

I’m pretty sure that the title of this post may come as a surprise to many who know me, because those who do will be aware that I am well and truly single, and have been for several years.  I am neither looking for a relationship, nor against having one.  I am neither waiting, nor putting it off.  The plain truth is that it’s simply not happening for me at the moment, and that is something I accept.

Whilst many around me are getting engaged, married, or having children… it’s not unusual for my own relationship status to come up into conversation.  A few years ago it was perfectly acceptable to state that you were single, but at the heavy heights of 28, I’ve found people to be somewhat less understanding – some don’t understand why I’m not out there dating as many men as possible to try and find the best fit, whereas others have even been lovely enough to warn me that my years of being able to bare children are soon to peak (which, maybe they are, but is that really the only route in life that can satisfy? What if that option was barred from me due to factors beyond my control – would my life be any less fulfilling?)

I accept that perhaps, there could be more I could be doing to ‘find somebody‘ but the question is, why should I?

For a short period of time last year I belonged to a dating website.  I had a retrospectively terrible profile that tried to be ‘quirky’ and ‘honest’ and all those other buzzwords that are often suggested to make the most effective profiles.  I combined informative blocks of text with what I considered to be my ‘nicest’ photos:  a black and white one of me stood under an umbrella, one of me wearing what was in hindsight an ill-fitting dress in Bali whilst drinking a cocktail, and a couple of other images that conveniently concealed my buck-teeth and waistline.  The products of this profile were a few dates which typically ranged in their levels of success, involving a few free meals and trips to some lovely places (Ramsgate?!), and – in fairness – some interesting conversations.  There was little sustenance to any of these meetings, however, and I eventually deleted my profile (after about ten million pop-up messages from the site, asking me if I was really, positively, completely, wholly, sincerely, SURE!)

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Online dating works very successfully for many, but it didn’t for me, and sometimes I come to the conclusion that I’m generally just terrible at this whole ‘dating’ thing.  In truth I think I lack the patience to see how things pan out with people.  People speak of, ‘love at first sight’ and I’m in no position to state whether or not I think it exists, but I know who I am myself, and I know that it’s probably not something I would let happen.  I’m much too nestled into my current habits to be comfortable with the idea of somebody – no matter how wonderful – suddenly blasting their way into my life like a hurricane and becoming an extension of myself overnight.  If I am to be in a successful relationship, then those mental reservations are the things that I know I need to change.  I need to give people a chance and take it as it comes…

… but what I don’t need to change, are things like the following, that was listed by self-proclaimed love-expert ‘Lisa Daily’ during a cringe-worthy YouTube video entitled, “Is Your Online Dating Profile Working Against You?” which came up during some search results for a music video I wanted to view.  Lisa, of ‘DatingExpert.tv’ kindly seeks to help us find love in cyberspace by citing what she believes to be the most damaging ‘mistakes’ we can make with our online canvas.  I could understand the point she made about how profiles without pictures attract fewer views, but then she said this…

 “Wearing chartreuse in your photos is a mistake… most people look really terrible in that squished caterpillar yellow-green colour, and it’s actually been shown to repel the opposite sex.” – I actually had to Google ‘chartreuse’ as I hadn’t come across this word before, and I was pretty devastated by the result… I mean what the hell?! This is a ridiculous piece of advice, and I’m not just saying that because I happen to like ‘chartreuse’ (stupid bloody word).  Your clothes are an expression of who you are.  You should wear what you feel comfortable in.  If something as pathetic as the colour of your clothing is enough to put somebody off, it sounds like a bullet has well and truly been dodged anyway!

Intrigued and amused, I began to use my post-viral Saturday night to scour the internet to find other gems of relationship and dating advice.  The underlying theme was that in order to be successful in the dating world, you needed to ‘do’ a lot of things – I’ll mention just a few that I saw: – go to the gym,  read healthy living magazines, start a diet, get your image right, don’t overindulge at dinner, be appreciative, “always look your best!”, try and date an animal first (yes, really!  A lady was being very positive about her experiences dating a horse), along with various other ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ which to me all just came across as trying to strip any remnants of natural character and reaction away from the dating context.  Yes you are more likely to impress if you glam yourself up, but isn’t it more important that you’re yourself?  If you join a gym, shouldn’t it be because you want to feel better in yourself, rather than wanting to look more trim for others?  And what’s this about ‘always looking your best’?  This is England.  On an evening out it’s not unusual to go from ‘somewhat sophisticated’ to ‘drowned rat’ within a few minutes thanks to our friend the rain, and if your date is the kind to look at your heavily precipitated head and run, then – again, surely – you’re better off without?  And no matter for how long you keep yourself looking intact, it will definitely rain at some point…

The problem with dating tips is that they essentially try and put too much scientific equation into something which should really just be a natural wonder.  Dating tips try to increase your chances of romance by telling you all the various things you need to do, or change about yourself, when in reality if you really wanted to do those things you’d have already done them, right?

There’s only one dating tip I live by.  It wasn’t one I ever read anywhere, or was told – rather, it was something I learnt through my earlier experiences with dating and relationships – times when I essentially wasn’t what was required or desired of me.  From this I spent a lot of time being single, and here I am single still, but it doesn’t bother me like I used to think it maybe would, because the thing I’ve learned, is that the only thing I can offer anybody is me, whatever that means.  I could probably learn to give dates a bit more of a chance, but I refuse to try and be something I am not for the sake of a successful date or a relationship –  pretence is too hard an act to sustain, and defeats the purpose of true love.  Only by being me will I really find who is right for me.

And whilst I do hope that someday I will meet ‘the one’ and have a family, likewise I know that it may just as easily not happen, and I’m prepared for that outcome too.  My long-term life plan does not exist, it hasn’t for quite some time, and I like it that way…

Song of the Day:  Wakey! Wakey! – Through The Night

Catchy as the virus I’ve just had, but a lot cheerier.  Enjoy!

One thought on “Dating Tips

  1. Hear hear!

    It took me a long time to work out what in a relationship would make me happy. It’s being myself and expecting high standards from the person you are with. I had been caught up with trying to snare someone that I forgot that I needed to make sure that this person wanted to make me happy; it’s not just a one-way street with me bending over backwards to make the other person happy and not thinking about my needs. I think dating tips are a slippery slope to that attitude.

    I like what you say about dating tips being an attempt to bring science to something that is more emotional/faith-based x

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