Saturday, 30 September 2017

ON ONLINE DATING & PUTTING MYSELF 'OUT THERE'


As someone who has always enjoyed her own company (perhaps a little too much) and who often fears this may be the reason she has never felt particularly alone, as I nervously approach my 34th birthday, it has occurred to me recently that if I'm not careful, these facts may end up being the reason I die alone. In fact, I realised recently that it was almost exactly this time last year that I wrote this blog post discussing just how much being single had never really bothered me. And with another couple of failed attempts at relationships to add to my bow since then, things haven't exactly been going to plan.

Since I split from Ava's Dad there has been one serious relationship of just under two years, a couple of guys I was 'dating' for a couple of months and more latterly, an on and off five month relationship which was always doomed to fail. So recently I decided to change something. Over the years I had sporadically dipped my toe in and out of the murky waters of online dating but truthfully had never really enjoyed nor sourced anything more fruitful from it than a couple of substandard dates. But I had watched with wild fascination as friends and family members not only utilised this new revolutionary platform to it's full extent (going on a couple of dates a week), but had actually managed to get a couple of decent lasting relationships from it. With blokes who didn't keep their dead mum in the basement. So surely there had to be something in it?

I decided to change tactics. I decided to finally listen to the lamenting of my friends who constantly criticised my over-fussy swiping tactics and refusal to message first. I decided that I would embrace Tinder with full gusto. And that meant not deleting my account every second day. 

Apparently. 

So I made a plan.

Step 1: I would keep my account for longer than a week. 

Step 2: I would look closely at the guys photos, read their bios and not always necessarily swipe on my 'types'.

Step 3: I would message some of them first. 

The last one was a big one for me. I've always waited on a guy messaging me first for fear of looking needy. There is nothing that will turn a guy off more than a women in her early thirties with a Bridget Jones complex and a wedding ideas Pinterest board. Given that it has been known to take three months of messaging to get me to go for a drink, that I am an avid canceller of first dates and that I have ridiculously fussy and old-fashioned ideas of being pursued, I was going to try and do something I had never done before. I was going to 'put myself out there'. 

And so for the past couple of weeks I have been trying. I've kept my Tinder account going and put aside dedicated swiping time daily. I've paused over accounts where my first reaction was to the swipe left, and I've given the guys with bios I previously would have judged them for the benefit of the doubt. I've even messaged first (which killed me), but I can't be posting Instagram quotes about equality for the sexes without reaching out to the odd male specimen now and again. I've even made the first move by messaging a couple of guys who had also caught my eye in the real world (one through work and the other because a couple of pals reckoned we'd make the perfect match). 

The result? Very little. A few chats. Most of which tailed off. I'm not even sure if that was their fault or mine. A bit of flirtation with a couple of blokes who I wouldn't necessarily have given the time of day to before, and a couple of dates with one guy who actually really did have my attention but seemed a little bit too much of a 'risk' to me. 

Yes, now I am in my thirties I carry out risk assessments. Don't tell me that's not normal...

But here's the thing. Despite going nonchalantly on and off dating sites over the past few years, not a single one of my proper relationships I have met online. Every single man I have consciously chosen to share boxsets, Marks & Spencers Meals for 2 and bodily fluids with, I have met through real life. And that's kinda telling me a lot right now.

Truthfully, every time I put myself out there by messaging first, it's a tiny knock to my (probably massively inflated) self-esteem. And we all know I am far too self-involved to desire that. I don't really want a boyfriend. I don't really not. There's little things I miss, but when I'm going to bed alone I'm not exactly crying myself to sleep. Which I think is an ok to place to be.  I find Tinder utterly depressing and frankly fucking vacuous and so for that reason I have deleted again. Messaging guys first doesn't work for me because I don't get a thrill from the chase and the only time I ever meet someone who I would happily keep my bikini line up to date for is when I'm not looking.

And so I am done with the dating for a while. And I'm putting myself firmly back 'in' there.

From now on my coffee dates will be reserved for my girl gang.

And instead I will live my Tinder life vicariously through them.

No comments: