I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I’d had a bit of a “bad experience” when it came to the last proper date that I went on (long story short is that he was an a-hole, apparently moved to Canada and got eaten by a bear). Since then out of sheer curiosity, I dabbled in that concept known as internet dating. I’d actually like to call it “lots of freaks who deserve to be put on a completely different island from the rest of man kind” – I mean honestly, there’s a serious reason why most of them are single. Both of these stories bring me back to the same word… “dating“.
“Dating” is a horrible, torturous past time that should be out lawed. If you’re reading this and thinking “whats her problem? Dating is amazing!” then I completely applaud you, but for me, there is nothing that brings me out in hives more than the prospect of a date. When you’re younger going on “a date” with a boy consists of walking round the playground at school, or meeting up with him plus a group of his mates at the local Aqua/Roller Disco (child of the 90’s here!) but like most things, as you get older things aren’t so straight forward.
Of course, the actual having of a date means that somebody finds you vaguely interesting enough to take time out of their life to meet you in a neutral environment and spend a certain degree of time with you. This can only be a good thing.
But the rest.. well, shall we talk about?
History dictates that when it comes to dating, men should always do the asking. Whether this is dating or marriage, the man asks the woman. In 2013, surely these values have fallen by the wayside and if you like someone, regardless of whether you’re male or female and you’re asking either a male or a female (I’m all about the equal opportunities this here blog, you same sex lovers), you should just be able to ask them without any fear of repercussions. But no. Apparently as a female, if you ask a guy on a date you can be seen as being too forward (all this is dependent on the size of the guy in questions balls and if your forward advances would insult his masculinity). Sometimes waiting for someone get the hint that an arrangement to meet up at a convenient time and place to have coffee or drinks would be preferable is like waiting for a bus to come when its pouring down with rain and you have no umbrella (if there are any guys reading this, can you comment/email/tweet/text – what’s your opinion on a girl asking you out?)
As the double X chromosome person, there’s a whole load of dating etiquette that has been put in place by men and women (mainly women) before us which dictates certain dating rituals. One of these is that unspoken subject of “who’s paying for the date?” Whether you’re going to the cinema or going for a meal, that moment when money has to be exchanged for whichever activity you’re partaking in, well.. that’s just god damn awkward. I’m going to rep it for all the ladies who independent (throw your hands up at me) and say that I like to pay my way. Of course, if a guy insists on paying its a touch that doesn’t go unnoticed, but I’m more favourable of the good old going dutch than “some girls” who seem to go on dates purely so they don’t have to pay to eat or see the latest films.
Speaking of eating, where to go on a date is the biggest bone of contention for me. Picnics in the sun aren’t particularly feasible in the UK (unless you happen to have a date on those 4 days in June where the sun is shining) . Therefore, most of the generic date ideas have to be obeyed and all of them have some serious stumbling blocks….
Lets take the old classic of the cinema – good in theory. You get to define some common ground and interests by the film that you’re hopefully both going to enjoy , this is also helped by which of the trailers you pass the “I’ll go and see that when it comes out” comment about (and never do) and you get to work out if the person you’re on a date with is a freak based on whether they pick salted or sweet popcorn (#teamsweet). For cinema dates that’s where the good points end. When it comes down to it, you’re sitting in the dark, in silence, next to someone who you should be getting to know or trying to impress. You should be telling them witty stories, touching their forearm,twirling a piece of hair round your finger and biting on your lip, all of this whilst giving the “I find you attractive” eyes. Instead, you can’t talk, you can’t make any kind of eye contact, you’re gawping at a screen, shovelling popcorn in your mouth and slurping from a cup of Fanta the size of your head. You leave the cinema, and go home. If only cinemas were about when old William Shakespeare were alive, you’d have a brand new setting for Romeo & Juliet… Not.
Going for a meal has its own hurdles. Maybe its just m, but I hate eating in front of someone I’m trying to impress. There’s so many types of human error that can go against you, and they usually do. Spillage, getting food stuck in your teeth, accidentally ordering something that will leave you reaching in your bag for chewing gum or something difficult to eat like mussels/spaghetti – this just means you end up with stuff all over your face… if you know what I mean (we’ll come back to that on point 6) ;)
Sitting across from someone in a restaurant or at a pub can cause all kinds of awkwardness. It’s like speed dating crossed with a job interviewwith none of the speed and all of the land mines. You have 2 hours to sell yourself to this person, whilst the whole time they pick and disect your answers, looking for things they don’t like about you or things that set the alarm bells ringing. On the other side of the table, you’re doing the same thing (oh cmon, we all judge its natural) but you’re having to do this whilst trying to come across as being really witty, trying your best to look vagueley attractive/holding your stomach in and trying not to snort when you laugh. It’s no mean feat, I can assure you.
Most dating environments seem to involve alcohol, and while its not particularly advisable to get steaming drunk on a first date, I’ve been known to metaphorically loosen up the tongue by partaking in a glass or two of wine. This is fine, should you stick to the couple of glasses, but when you find yourself nodding your head when the bar maid asks if you’d like to purchase the bottle instead, or you’re cheering each other on at taking shots of tequila you know its probably going to go downhill (after all, how many people have you managed to impress with the fact that you can fit your entire fist in your mouth? Time and a place, a first date is not one.)
How you’re getting on in said date can be just as daunting as when you’re sitting in front of a job interviewer,. Your mouths dry, your hands soaked from perspiration and you’re not sure whether they’re impressed with you rambling off of scenarios “where you’ve used certain skills” that you read on Yahoo Answers the night before. Of course, if your date has their tongue down the back of your throat before desert has come, I’m guessing you’ve hit it out of the park and you’re more than likely guaranteed a second date. On the other hand, if they’re asleep in their bread roll, the chances are that you’re best finishing whichever course you’re eating and making a swift exit (don’t bother to leave your half of the bill on the table at this point). But what about when everything just seems to be “okay”, you’re neither excelling or falling behind on the charm, wit and entertaining front but you can tell they’re not exactly bowled over with you and will probably go home and message that person who keeps liking all their pictures on Facebook and commenting on all their statuses?
Assuming you’ve made it through the date alive, no ones fallen asleep, you haven’t had to do the “something bad happened I need to leave” phone call and you’ve managed to wangle a bit on tonsil tickling, what happens when you get invited back to their house for coffee? Everybody knows that coffee is code for sex. Never has anybody ever invited someone back to their house post date with the thought that they had recently picked up a lovely jar of Nescafe Gold Blend from Tesco and that they may have some Coffee Mate at the back of the cupboard. Never. I’ve never been on a date and ensured I have some post date/grown up cups clean and ready on the side with a teaspoon just ready to do some stirring. When it comes to sex on the first date, do you stick to the moral high ground, hold onto your undies with a firm grasp and say “NO” in the hopes that it will lay a foundation of respect or do you let the two glasses of wine go to your head, let your nether regions speak for your brain and say yes. Yes you would love to wrap your lips around a steaming cup of coffee on the condition that they have a biscuit you can dunk *wink*. Next comes that awkward ritual of sitting on the sofa making conversation about the persons house before you inevitably launch at each other and remove all items of clothing with your teeth? Its a tough one.
Whether you’re leaving their house doing the walk of shame the next morning, or you’ve bid one another adieu outside of the cinema/restaurant/pub, how soon after a date do you make contact with the other person? You don’t want to leave it too long in case they think you’ve spent hours scrubbing every inch of you with bleach to try and rid yourself of all traces of that person or that you’ve been joining witness protection for the bad dates society. BUT you don’t want to seem too keen either (that scene from Bridget Jones where Bridget is texting Mark Darcy to say that she misses him after shes just walked away from him, without realising that he has infact followed her and is reading the text over her shoulder. HEART MELTS) Do you thank the person for a good day/afternoon/hour of their time or do you find some irrelevant news story to make light hearted conversation about? Either way you’re going to find yourself staring at your phone and then almost having a spasm when a notification comes through, and it won’t be from them. Ever.
With all that in mind, I think it’s probably a good job that I don’t have even the sniff of an offer of a date coming anytime soon (even though I would forsake all of the awkwardness and pay and put out* purely so I could go and see the new Superman movie).