So I’ve now been doing the dating thing for two months. It’s fair to say it hasn’t been the huge success I hoped for. While it’s been very useful for blog posts, twitter updates, facebook statuses and the like, I’m yet to find a guy that I can stand seeing more than twice.
Another first date last night. After about an hour and a half, I’d had enough. I was tired, I wasn’t feeling anything other than mild interest, and it was time to go home. As I walked up the mountainous streets of Lausanne, I had a think about all the first dates I’ve been on over the last few months. I thought about all the inquisitive texts I’d had from friends “how did it go?” and the depressing replies I had sent back which, invariably, was simply “meh”.
And as I thought, I realised that, actually, maybe it wasn’t the men that were meh.
Maybe it was me.
Things I’ve learnt from my dating experiences so far:
1. I fall for the hype
Anyone can sound good on paper (I mean look at me. I’m a veritable goddess here on this blog. In real life? Not so much. Why do you think I keep this blog anonymous? It adds to the mystery!).
Anyone can sound good on paper and yet I have a tendency to fall for the prose. Oooo, look, they’re tall. Oooo, look, they can string a sentence together. Oooo, look, their message to me isn’t a languid “hi”.
I need to learn that just because someone can write well, it doesn’t mean they are witty and charming in real life. Just because they say they like to travel, it doesn’t mean they like adventure. Just because they say they read, it doesn’t mean they’re well read.
2. I trust the camera
I understand that people, obviously, put up their best selves in their pictures (except with the odd exception of various strange Tinder finds). I get that. I did, after all. However, in a fit of optimism, I tend to believe the best photo of them.
I am always disappointed.
I have to start looking at the worst photo of them – it’s more likely to be nearer the truth. (on that note, I shudder to think what they think when they finally see me in the flesh!)
3. I’m deliberately argumentative and more than a little stubborn
I don’t mean to be. Ok, maybe I do a little bit. I was talking to someone about this last night – he was asking me what was wrong with last night’s date and what I was looking for. I surmised it thus:
I like tall, confident, intelligent, challenging guys. Who like sport, and like to travel and experience new things (I don’t ask much, do I?)
When asked to define challenging, I continued
Doesn’t let me have my own way the whole time. Open to discussions. Strong willed. I need someone to rein me in sometimes. I can be quite scary. No, I am quite scary. I need someone to who can handle that.
The point being, is that because I’m always looking for this power dynamic in my relationships, I am deliberately stubborn and argumentative. I want people to challenge me. I want people to show me I’m wrong. I want them to have the confidence to put me in my place.
Why would I want this? This is stupid.
4. I’m a bit of a bitch
It was actually only through one of my dates that I realised that I was a bitch. The guy in question was so cynical and sarcastic that even I balked. And then it occurred to me that, just maybe, probably, this is how I come across too.
My friends know me, and (I hope) love me for my slightly harder side. They know that somewhere, there’s a heart underneath the cynical shell. But new people? No. People who don’t know me must just think I’m a cow.
I also realised last night that I find it very hard to make prolonged eye contact with someone across a table if I’m not attracted to them. With the Hungarian (because I fancied him) I found it no problem to look at him, flirt with him, maintain eye contact. With dates recently, I’ve found it very difficult to gaze into their eyes. It feels false and seems to promise more than I want it to.
Of course, this isn’t true. Looking at someone is just polite.
And, apparently, I’m so rude, I can’t even be bothered with this convention.
5. I’m not sure what I want, but I know when I don’t get it.
This is the most confusing revelation of all. I have an idea of what I want, and yet, deep down, I know that what I want probably isn’t the best thing for me in the long run. And so I continue to go out with guys who are evidently not what I want. And complain about it. And tell the world it’s their fault. When it isn’t.
It’s not them, it’s me.
Onward and upward, right?