Posted in Dating, Online Dating, personal

The dates go on…

Since my imperfect first date with the girl in this post we have since been on three more dates. It’s been an interesting experience and I’d still say the dates have been imperfect… but there’s something there that means I want pursue this further.

After the first date, I suggested a midweek drink and I’d largely say it was similar to the first date in that I felt like there was some tension and nerves from both sides. But we found some more common ground and she laughed at my humour so I left it feeling like I wanted to see her again and we did indeed make plans for the third date at the end of the night.

The third date was really cool, we went to an exhibition that we both really enjoyed, had dinner and a drink and we spent basically the whole afternoon and evening together. This time I felt like we were more relaxed around each other and yet it still felt imperfect and conversation wasn’t flowing relentlessly. Regardless of imperfection, I think we like each other. She casually talked of things we “must do” in the future with non-specific time frames and the assumption that we would continue to see one another.

Once again, before the night was up we made plans to go out again. And the following week, we went to see a movie and had dinner. At the end of this date, things became a little more ‘physical’ and with that I felt like the tension, the awkwardness, the nervousness – from me and her – melted away.

So, that’s the update. We have made plans to see each other again although there will be a little gap due to us both being busy. I don’t really know what else to say other than I think I may well have packed this in after dates 1 or 2 in the past because I didn’t feel a huge and instant connection.

But maybe it’s about perseverance. Maybe it’s about being patient and taking time to build on something small and doing it gradually. Now I’m just going date by date. I’m too long in the tooth to predict if this could develop into some kind of relationship. All I know is I’d like to see her again, she feels the same and until one of us doesn’t feel that way, perhaps that what we’ll keep on doing.

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Posted in Dating, Online Dating, personal

A imperfect first date and why I want a second

Precisely 3 calendar months to the day was my last post in which I declared I basically wanted to give up dating and implied that I’d be better off with a monk like existence.

So it will come as no surprise to you that I’m here today to write about a first date that I went on yesterday. I haven’t been on any dates whatsoever in the 3 months prior to this one so I was a little nervous.

The build up to this date was unusual for me because, due to conflicts of schedules, we were not able to find a mutually convenient day to meet up for over 2 weeks. There was a lot of texting and I was getting a good feeling from her but when the day came it felt like, okay I’ve built an idea of this girl up from all the messages but things might be completely different in person.

I knew she liked the outdoors so I suggested an afternoon stroll around one of London’s parks. I arrived first and awaited my fate outside the station. This was when I started to feel really nervous. I don’t think it’s going to matter how many first dates I go on, I’m never going to attend one completely nerve-free. I texted to let her know where I was waiting.

A few minutes go by and a figure approaches in my peripheral vision. I look up, and holy cow. This girl’s photos have not done her justice. She’s gorgeous. The best word I can think of for her is “dainty”. A good start.

I suggest we grab a hot drink for our walk and she orders the same as me. I pay for both.

This might just be me, but I figure a walking date is something a little different than just sitting across from someone in a pub or cafe, and my hope is that walking facilitates talking. After all, we’re here to get to know one another.

We begin our walk and I’m not feeling on great form. I’m nervous and a little out of practice and there are little silences where I can tell neither of us know what to say. Hardly a massive crime on a first date but you want to try to minimise these as much as possible.

I get the feeling that she is a little nervous as well and, as I later found out, it was actually her first first date for quite a while as well. I also went on to find out that as someone who works from home, she doesn’t have as much outside world interaction as the average person – something I completely understand and empathise with.

And these revelations kind of legitimise (for want of a better word) both hers and my nervousness.

As we continue to walk, we talk about lots of different things and we find there are lots of areas of common ground. Despite this, the occasional moments of silence persist. I also get the impression she may be quite reserved and holding back somewhat and the reason I get that feeling is because every now and again I feel like she is more forthcoming on certain subjects and the mask is lifted to reveal her true self as opposed to her ‘first date’ self.

She said something else that made me think that. She said she was wearing boots that made her taller because she’s quite short and (I’m paraphrasing this bit) I might not like that. I mean, it’s lovely and great that she wants to make a good impression and present her best self, but I also want to know the real her. Maybe that’s simply way too much to expect on a first date and maybe everyone does this when they first meet someone new romantically.

I guess it’s normal to let your guard down gradually with someone new and everyone’s different with the size of the guard and the gradualness in which they let it down. How many times do you hear people say ‘oh I’m quiet at first but once you get to know me I don’t shut up’?

She also did this thing that you see in Disney cartoons. Whenever I made her laugh (which was actually quite frequently), she would laugh then kind of stifle it a little bit and sort of look away almost sheepishly, or like she was suddenly shy. As if she didn’t want to reveal too much laughter? I can tell fake laughter from genuine and I could tell it was real – maybe it all feeds into the nervousness thing, I don’t know.

But anyway, all in all, I’m okay with it. I’m okay with an imperfect first date. I’m okay with an occasional silence. I’m okay with a little awkwardness. I think in the past I may have been guilty of writing this off because we didn’t get on like a house on fire right from the word go but I don’t think it’s necessarily wise to jump to those conclusions anymore.

During our walk, it started to rain heavily, which meant we took shelter and had another hot drink in a conveniently located cafe. We sat outside, under cover, and as the rain lashed down around us, my date opened up about some other aspects of her life. There was some lovely “Yes, me too! I totally agree! Exactly!” moments and I actually think she’s like me in a lot of ways. A deep thinker. Don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.

We made our way back through the park to the station and, as I always do on first dates, I give the girl the opportunity to say she has to go or has somewhere to be. An excuse to leave, basically, at a natural moment. To my (slight) surprise but (mostly) delight, she did not take that opportunity.

We went on to a pub and had a drink, this led to having dinner and before we knew it, we’d been out together for 7 hours. Quite lengthy for a first date, no?

We walked back to the station and I wasn’t sure how I was going to say goodbye, though I had an inkling. I walked her to her platform, suggested something for us to do ‘next time’ and she said, yes, that would be lovely. A second date tentatively agreed then.

Her train arrived. We kissed, she did the ‘suddenly shy look away thing’ I described earlier, and with that the date was over. An imperfect date, sure. But with enough for me to want to explore further in a second one.

Posted in Dating, Online Dating, personal

Give up?

Hey, how’s it going? Hope you’re well. I’ve just been out in central London, where the tourists are everywhere and now I’m enjoying a delicious doughnut. The only nut without a shell, don’t ya know.

As you can tell by my fascinating intro, I’m a little bored.

To complete the tale of the girl in my previous post, I did hear back from her. Something about being busy. Whatever mate. We exchanged messages but again there was another really long response time and it didn’t take a genius to read between the lines. So that was the end of that.

I have since continued going on some first dates, although with less frequency because they tire me out and each one is a disappointment.

I’m starting to think I’m just not cut out for dating and relationships and partnering up. If I were, I think I’d have done it by now. I see couples and I think: wait so hang on, being in a relationship means like you spend all your time in the company of someone else? That must be so weird. It actually is so far removed from my life that the concept feels quite alien.

So despite having now gone on loads of dates since starting this blog at the beginning of 2016, I just feel jaded about the whole thing now.

I do feel like giving up, and I say this not in a sad, mopey and depressing way but in more of a logical, matter of fact, shoulder shrugging way. I think I can best sum up my feelings using this symbol:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It is what it is. It’s not ideal but I’m basically on cusp of just accepting my fate and no longer trying at this point.

I have a new colleague at work, she’s my age and has a husband and child so she’s got evenings filled with wife and mother activities and when I hear her talk about it, I do not envy her that at all. I wouldn’t want it.

But when she asked me what I do with my evenings, I couldn’t even be bothered to cover up the fact that I normally do absolutely fuck all of any interest. Just eat. Stick the telly on. Go to bed. But that’s still preferable to the evenings my colleague presents to me.

Anyway, not a long post here because I’ve not got a great deal to say. I guess I’ll drop back in next time I feel like it.

Posted in Dating, Online Dating, personal

Well that was confusing + catch up

Hi! I’m back with a post after a 5 month absence. Did you miss me? (Don’t answer that, I’ll just assume you did).

I’ve decided to write a post this morning to round up a little bit about what’s been going on.

So I took a hiatus from online dating, I’m not even sure how many months it was, but probably almost 4. The first thing to say is that I think this is an excellent idea for anyone who is in a place where they’re sick of online dating. Just take a break. Get away from your smartphone or your computer, you won’t miss out on “The One” while you’re away. The same freaks people will still be there when you return, fear not.

During this hiatus, I tried to get out into the world more. I went to more social events, I met some nice people, a few of them girls, and it felt just like the old days when people used to go out and bump into people and start talking.

I confess I did not go out as much as I wanted or perhaps should have. I was focusing on work (got a promotion!) and studies (obtained a new qualification!) and then I went on holiday for a week and a half so I feel like I was focusing on the right things.

Then, a few weeks ago, I found there to be something of a lull in my life so I cracked open my online dating app of choice and it wasn’t long before I found myself going on first dates again.

I would say that since this time I have been on like 6 (is it bad that I can’t remember the number?) first dates. These are ranged from somewhere between painful and mind-numbing to mediocre and tolerable because it’s online dating and that’s what online dating seems to get me.

I won’t go into the details of all of them but there was:

The one who looked nothing like her photos. Right, what is the point of doing this? You’re wasting everyone’s time – and money. Do you think I won’t find out what you look like? Are you going to wear a photo of that head shot on our date that was taken 8 years ago when you were 5 stone lighter? Jesus Christ.

The one with whom I struggled to find any common ground. It was difficult to find any flow to the conversation, I didn’t find her very interesting and I assumed the feeling was mutual. Until the next day. I receive a message from her saying she “had a great time and would like to go out again” but got the feeling that I didn’t. Ouch. Were we on the same date?! I let her down with honesty and did not see her again.

The one who was nervous. Like a little bundle of energy, wide-eyed and kind of tiring to be around. Fidgety, nervy, seemingly anxious about something (me?) but otherwise perfectly lovely, interesting, and someone I was happy to have coffee with but had no desire to see again.

The one who wouldn’t look at me. Actually better looking than her photos, which was a surprise. Fairly easy to talk to but she had this weird thing where her eyes would dart around the room while I was talking or while she was talking. It was very very distracting and I would say actually quite rude. I’m not expecting permanent fixed eye contact, but imagine having a conversation with something and their eyes keep being drawn to whatever’s going on behind and around you. I mean, I’ve been out with some fucking boring people but I always do them the courtesy of paying attention to them.

The other first dates were instantly forgettable (at least the ones I can remember were anyway), the kind of dates where within 3 days you can’t even remember their names anymore.

So, what has the title of this post got to do with anything I’ve written so far? Nothing. I was just catching you up and giving you some context.

Just after I re-opened the dating app, I went out on a Friday night. I went to a pub and met a group of people. And it was there that I met this girl.

We started talking and we got along straight away. Effortless chat and lots of laughter. All the signs were there: the subtle (not so subtle) arm touching, the laughing at all my jokes, the talking much more to me despite us both being part of a larger group, the waitress asking us (after a mix up with the drinks bill) in almost disbelief “have you two just met?” such was our apparent level of connection.

I ask her out and we see each other on what I guess was the first proper date the following weekend. We have a great time, we pick up where we left off and I’m getting some good vibes about this girl.

The following weekend comes around, we go out again and, again, we have a good night and have fun together. Throughout this period, I’m still going on the aforementioned dates, by the way. It’s not like I’m going to pin all my hopes on this one girl so I continue to arrange dates even if when I go on them, they’re disappointing. Disappointing in general but also disappointing in comparison to this other girl.

Another weekend comes along, and we see each other again. Our conversations consist of all kinds of things, from the goofy and immature, to the personal and deep. We talk about family, childhood and I’m opening up as much as I’m comfortable with because it’s nice she’s interested and also a positive sign.

The next weekend I am away the entire time, the one after that she’s away. We text intermittently and semi-regularly; neither one of us are people who like having their phones glued to their hands.

Then I suggest plans for the following weekend and……….. nothing. Silence.

It’s the strangest thing and I have to admit it has confused me. When I think about how affectionate she was and certain moments together, it’s hard not to wonder if I totally misread or misunderstood her. But then I think, no. Surely not. I can’t have misinterpreted things to such a great extent. Like I said, I did not put all my eggs in this basket, I continued to arrange dates with other people but despite that I am still disappointed with how this ended.

Partly because purely on a human level I was enjoying being with her and doing things with her. But also because I’m confused and it’s left me wondering if I can actually trust my judgement of people. Like, she could just text me and tell me she’s met someone else or doesn’t feel like we’re the right fit, or she’s emigrating or she’s an alien from the planet zorgatron, pretty much anything would be fine.

Now that I’ve written all this down, I’m kind of reading it back and thinking, “dude, you met a girl, went out with her a few times, had some fun, and now it’s finished, get over it.” And I totally understand that point of view, and I totally understand (now) that modern dating can and will consist of ghosting at any time, no matter how much of a connection you think there is. I think this is why I continued going on first dates – to protect myself and make sure I have other prospects.

I’m not a cynic by nature and I’m not ready to be turned into one by modern day dating (I was going to write “online dating” then but remembered I met this girl offline!) so I guess I’ll file this under Lessons Learned and see what tomorrow brings. As I type this, I have just received a message from someone new. Always look forward.

Cheers.

Posted in Dating, personal

Marriage, mortgages and minors – you’ll find none of them here

I had a birthday last week that saw me edging even deeper into my 30s. So I went out and drank way more than I could handle in the company of a bunch of friends that I have known since university. I don’t see these people very much anymore, especially not altogether, and it was fucking excellent.

As we sat in the Indian restaurant being rowdy and eating our various biryanis and bhunas, talk got around to people’s various marital statuses. At the table, there was: married, mortgage, child and plans for child 2; there was married and mortgage;  there was long-term girlfriend living together; there was engaged and pregnant fiancee; and there was married, mortgage and 1 child.

You can see why it’s rare for this group to get together all at once – they’re busy impregnating their wives, planning weddings, and purchasing properties.

After the dust settled on my mate telling us his fiancee was pregnant, the focus inevitably fell on me. And let me tell you, I got a fucking grilling. I don’t know if it was because I recently watched the movie “Goodfellas” or whether it was the bottles of Cobra coursing through my veins but my reaction was something akin to an Italian mobster from New Jersey. Picture hands flailing upwards, shoulders shrugging, eyebrows raising, and phrases like “What? What do you want from me? Come on! I don’t know why I don’t have any of that!” Etc and so on.

It was all good natured and good humoured really but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a bit left out/behind. The fact is I don’t have an answer as to why I don’t have any of the things my friends have, my path since we all graduated has just been completely different to theirs. When they were getting jobs, enrolling in pension schemes, and setting themselves up for the next 10 years of their lives, I was travelling the world. A lot. I guess that plays a part. Oh and that I’m fucking dreadful with women. I can’t rule that out as a factor.

I’m halfway through the probation period of a brand new job that could go either way so while they’re deciding on wedding centre pieces or whether they’d prefer their kid to have a brother or sister, I’m either at work trying to prove that I am worth hanging onto or sat at home wondering whether I should give The Wire another go even though I couldn’t get into it first time around.

Suffice it to say, we’re not so much on different chapters as we are reading different books when it comes to the whole adulting thing.

Aaaaaanyway, my plan is still to just go out more and do more shit socially this year. Shamefully, I’ve only managed to do that once so far in 2018, which is a poor showing. The problem is that the most common events to go to and the ones that enable you to meet a lot of new people involve ludicrously overpriced drinks in bars and clubs with terrible music and dance floors – and this is just so not my scene. And if that makes me sound old, sue me. I’m fresh out of shits to give.

I get on really well with one of my work colleagues. Even though I do think she’s hot, she’s not someone I would ever date but we do make each other laugh all the time but I’m moving to another office now so I’m no longer going to be working with her which is a real shame as I won’t see her again. It’s so rare to click with someone at work in that way but they’re the sort of conditions I need to be able to build a relationship – whether it’s a friendship or something more. Not some strobe lit, vodka soaked hellhole with half the people in there being individuals I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire.

So I need to find other things to go to. It’s just so tiring, isn’t it? Meeting new people and trying to make new connections at my age? On the one hand, I cannot be arsed but on the other hand is a lifetime of solitude and boredom. So, yeah, I have to be arsed. Otherwise we all know what will happen. It’ll be back to online dating.