One from the archives… AD

I wrote this at the start of the new year. I didn’t post about all my dates because I’m weird, sometimes I just save drafts and go back to them to re-read. But this one is about Army Dude (AD) from Hinge who’s last parting words were ‘you still owe me a handjob’.

I got a date. Well, I got coffee. With a guy I started chatting to on t’interweb. I agreed to meet on a public car park like a misspent youth on my way home from work. Because lockdown. Because it’s public. Because I can stay in my car. Social distancing ergo keeping my distancing.

Initial thoughts Not too sure. He seems nice enough, cute. But also very forthright. I like it but if this is normal and not super excitement to meet me then I’m going to feel pressure. Soon. And I don’t do well with pressure.

My red flag radar is flapping in the cerebral wind, BUT, I’ve been out of the game so long, I could do with a refresher.

Because how am I supposed to know what looks and feels right if I don’t look and feel what’s wrong? Like trying to figure out a maths puzzle; Solid reasoning.

So off I went, my best friend armed with details in case nobody ever saw me again!

I read somewhere that two things you should consider after a date are these: if you wasn’t attracted to them, would you want them to be your friend? And do you like them or are you worrying about whether they like you.

Yes, I would want him to be my friend. And I do like him but I confess I have been wondering if he felt the same. I didn’t hear from him straight away and so I used that time to review.

The coffee lasted over 2 hours, and although there was lots of chatting, he asked very few questions. I had to offer info and tidbits about myself. He did make me laugh a lot though and I got a tour of his camper van. Which is called the fuck truck. No not a physical, physical tour, just a look round and I realise that meeting a guy on a car park in a van he calls the ‘fuck truck’ does sound a bit rapey in hindsight.

And although he was funny, I was crying with laughter at one point, he did discuss politics and religion. His 2 children also came up as did his hatred for his not-yet ex-wife. Separated but not yet divorced, I sensed some bitterness. He stated he hated her. I clarified if he meant indifferent, because we all know that is the opposite of love, and he remained resolute: hates the woman.

Bad choice for a mother then eh?

He’s in the army and spends his weeks down south, coming home at the weekends to see the children. I got a very understanding/fatherly vibe from him, although his daughter was clearly his favourite. I think first borns usually are though. No offence if you are number 2,3,4 but I’m here to tell you, mum and dad love you just as much, but nothing breaks the bond of the first born. The first born teaches you everything. Albeit a second born will challenge that.

He is definitely bangable. He’s cute, pretty fit with a full set of teeth.

Is he dateable though? Boundaries..

Investment: he was quite happy to come to me, 30 mins drive. He initiated the meet. He’s been very chatty all week, making sure he was the last person to text and the first person I wake up to. I left him a voice note because he sulked a bit that I wasn’t chatty enough, he didn’t response with one or a phone call but I did get the date. We met, he put me at ease straight away and a comfortable comfort fell over me. We sat in our cars for a bit and then I sat in his van because having the windows open in -2 was giving us both frostbite! His body language was hard to gauge, very little eye contact, he had a fairly open body stance but was rarely facing towards me and when I playfully grabbed him arm after he laughed at me, he didn’t respond, although he did hold his hand out to help me climb out of his fuck truck.

Communication: has been great all week. Asking questions, wanting to be the first and last person To text with his good night and good morning texts. Little hints at how pretty I am and pet names which have abruptly stopped so now we know there is absolutely no stock in a man giving you a pet name! Last night though, meh. Very few questions. He talked a lot which I am fine with as it took the pressure off me and I did laugh a lot as a result of it, which is like medicine for the soul, especially right now.

Friendship was more difficult to gauge. I’m not looking for my best friend, I’m looking for a partner. I want somebody who is my equal and is going to help me build as much as I want to help them build. I sensed a degree of selfishness, nothing specific I can describe, just a gut feeling. He has tried to bring up sexy time stuff twice, both times I knocked him back with my ‘you have mistaken me for somebody many more dates in’. He didn’t seem to take the hint or just ignored it, because the only compliment I got on the date was that I have a nice bum. I mean I’ll take them as compliments, but I’m also beautiful and funny. And smart.

Flirting. Zero! I touched his arm and he did not respond. This could be related to his job. I know that working in the military is full of horrors. And although I have not seen anywhere near the death and destruction he must have witnessed, I appreciate the need to cover the bad stuff with humour. Lots of dark humour and avoidance. It’s a defence mechanism for self preservation & nothing to with the poor victims. But if carries over too far into your life, you’ll never connect again.

He was definitely chivalrous. A gentleman, although most people are on their best behaviour on a date, however if chivalry is not something you practice often, then I doubt it would come as naturally as it did for him. There wasn’t much in the way of emotional resolve I felt. Again, probably from his career choice but bottling up and plastering everything with humour tape will only cover the cracks, it won’t prevent you from splitting apart.

Overall I would give the date 6/10. The humour was clearly hiding a lot of trauma on top of his divorce from his wife who he was holding a lot of hate for still. I’m sympathetic, she was unfaithful. Having your heart broken is an excellent reason for hating someone. But usually, being unfaithful is the symptom, not the cause and both parties probably need to face some harsh reality/truths. As he is laying it all squarely at her feet, I don’t feel like he has the growth mindset I am looking for.

The date ended him walking me back to my car, he opened my door and held it open, chivalrous, he suggested next time we should involve alcohol and food. I didn’t agree, but I did point out I had wine in my car which could have been put to good use although I’d had a lot of fun without it anyway. Would have totally kissed him if it wasn’t for this sodding pandemic, he lingered so I guess he was debating it himself.

The chat since our date has been quite flat and although he is totally bangable, I can’t see this having any legs long-term. I suspect I’m a 3 date challenge to him but he’s going to be sorely disappointed because we’re not even going to make it to date 2.

Witty Title – The Journey So far

At the beginning of the year when I downloaded hinge, I felt like I had zero prospects. We are 4 months into 2021 and whilst I have reviewed my New Years resolutions, I haven’t really reflected much in my dating life and the patterns. So, that is what this post is going to attempt to do.

Since January 1st 2021, there have been 5 boyfriends (not actual boyfriends, but I’m still waiting for society to create the term for a boy who is dating or chatting or fucking, but where there is no defined relationship that would make them an actual boyfriend).

I digress.

But 5?! Is that really true? Let’s go through them:

FD – he does count, remember the babes comment. Still influences my brain today despite no actual dates in 2021. But he’s in the bin. Never kissed. Never held hands. Just lots of weird games. Buy bye!

Remember Nathan? Yup, disappeared as fast as he appeared.

Mr Big – I ended this with a very polite message because I know I can’t continue to have sex with him and work with him without falling for him. Better to keep things normal now than face potential ruin later on.

Remember Jeff from Men are like Buses. Part 2? Well he has not moved out of my DM’s. Not suggested a date. Nothing. Urgh, see ya dude!

Gamer Geek – N’awwww.

Out of 5 men, only one of them shines and he looks damn fine in a suit. The others are nowhere near on my level of dating and honestly, it’s no wonder single women struggle…there’s only a 20% of finding someone almost decent and even then you might have to work really hard on your own personal appetite for men to make it work. Only out of 5 dates has potential and even then it’s no guaranteed because 10 dates in you find you’re not really that compatible?! Phew!

Look I’m not knocking dating, but in a world of busy lifestyles, finding the time to date 5 men for some women will be super super hard! And as we grow up, stronger and more independent than ever, I worry that single millennial women currently in their 30’s will end up pioneering a spinster revolution. Care homes and bingo clubs will be full of single ladies in their 80’s tearing up the floor with a bottle of Mad Dog 2020! Lord!

The world is NOT ready for that.

So we must stop it. Somehow.

The first place in our busy, modern, pro-gadget age is to weed out all the hook-up wannabe’s from those really searching for something solid and long-term on dating sites. The free apps just don’t have enough of a screening process.

Apps should have a questionnaire, the more you fill in, the wider the choice pool. If you only answer 5, you only get to view other prospects who could only be bothered to answer 5. If you answer 50, you get the pick of the pool – but only if you answered them with long-term intentions. Going for cocktails on a first date is not chivalrous. It’s not romantic. It’s lazy at best, and potentially dangerous at worst – drinks spiking anyone? Same goes for home movies, dinners, take-out. I only wanna be matching with someone who also agrees that a brisk walk in the fresh air somewhere public, or to grab coffee are acceptable first dates to see if the 4D version of those pictures is true to life. And that way, dating 5 different men might be possible if you want to increase your odds (assuming my questionnaire idea doesn’t pay off in the first place).

You know what else isn’t chivalrous, getting sexy before date 3. I say forget date numbers, how many hours have you spent with this person? I’m not knocking any bodies choices, but a guy who wants to invest in you will happily wait 3 dates, or 24hrs in term of total time spent together. Tbh, most men will wait longer than that if they are invested, but I’m assuming you also want to sleep with him so why play games??? Just do it. Whenever you feel comfortable, what I’m trying to say is that in my aforementioned dates, only 3/5 have not pushed for anything physical, although to be honest, one of them hasn’t even pushed to meet face to face so I don’t think that counts and the other is FD who also doesn’t count. 1 out of 5. Damn!

They were all funny. Mostly. Mr Big won the round with that one, but the fact they have all tried to make me laugh, tells me this is a flirting technique. This is how guys get a girl’s attention. 5/5

1/5 bought me dinner, or invited me over or made plans for a date. A real date.

They all like to talk about sex. Men huh? 5/5

FD, Mr Big and Jeff have all spilled their hearts out about various things, their past, their family, their friends etc. GG and Nathan, not so much. This could just be a case of different personalities, but interesting that I felt connected to Mr Big and FD more than the others. 3/5. Possibly a hooking technique.

Communication was a let down for all of them. Even gamer geek isn’t brilliant, but deffo better than the rest. 5/5 – men are just shit.

This blog post has no structure whatsoever. I may come back and tidy it up but that wouldn’t really reflect the way my brain is working today. And besides, if I was blogging for a living, I certainly wouldn’t be wittering on about my dating life, even if I do make some excellent points!

So, the dating app is paused for a bit. I managed to go 3 months on there, spoke to plenty of people and whittled it down to our Matthew.

We really haven’t connected much on an emotional level so that’s what I’m working on over the next couple of dates…Let’s watch this space!

Men are like Buses. Part 2

I can’t get this stuff written down fast enough, I have drafts on drafts detailing my internal witterings, trying to unscramble the mumbo jumbo, which is great because I have content ideas and I did commit to writing 500 words twice a week. The problem is none of it makes sense. None. It isn’t funny (yet) and truthfully I’m not sure I even have the brain capacity to edit them in my usual brand of humour because alongside full-time work I am also home schooling. Maths for 8 year old children is hard yo and it’s depleting my cerebral energy. What I can normally edit in a couple of hours is taking me 3 days and it has absolutely nothing to do with being distracted by beautiful men. OK maybe.

Lets back up to the start of the national UK lockdown 2020. I found myself with a menu of potential boyfriends; see ‘Too Many Choices‘.

My cynical view on love was firmly implanted and my Mind, Body, Soul plan was well underway and I ain’t changing for no-one! I just assumed this was the Menz being bored needing to find something to keep them entertained. Whatever, I was nonchalant about the whole thing. Well not the pilot. I liked him. Still do, it’s just not an obsession like FD.

But as the weeks and months passed by they were still hanging about! Huh!? So a teeny tiny small part of me started feeling hopeful, perhaps if they are still here, they are actually interested! Obviously none of them turned into anything particularly noteworthy, as I still find myself ruminating on my love life decisions; they wanted casual and I wanted anything but casual. There may have also been some Cleopatra-esque fight to the death between two and I blew it. Well, that might be an exaggeration, I didn’t really blow anything, they were only interested, not invested so I let the cataclysm fall where it may.

By November however they had all come to an end, the pilot being the last of the 2020 group and I had a renewed male obsession. Despite my best efforts, that has also not come to fruition. Its OK though, I have had my reality check. Moving on.

So, in present day 2021, I decide to start the year off with a renewed vigour against the war of love and download a dating app. Its been productive, I have found myself chatting to some very gorgeous and some very interesting men. I have ‘dated’ (ish) two so far, lets keep it brief.

Insane Rob. Last week we agreed to meet at Costa on my way home from work as we could grab a drink and chat side by side whilst sat in our cars. How very 90’s! Why insane? Just his personality type, he was fun, very funny, he was nice, I’d bang him at least but its not going anywhere given that his communications after Friday being only of the 10pm kind. See ya!

Two nights ago, I video chatted with Matthew the geeky gamer and it lasted for 2.5 hours. He was very easy going, had a lot to say, we share a lot of things in common. The instant attraction really isn’t there but I think there is potential for chemistry. He’s also quite weird, like me and I dig weird!

But what is strange is that I’ve suddenly been confronted by another list of ‘boyfriends’ outside of this dating app! OK, so not all male friends in my life as I alluded to in my blog of the same name (dramatic much?), but I am 100% back to having a menu of choices. Is this a side effect of lockdown? Or has the change in my mindset to go from ‘Love? Meh!’ to ‘Love? Hell yeah‘ been sensed. They say what you project into the world comes back to you. Is this voodoo? Some kind of love karma?

I have known a guy called Nathan for 4 years. We met on POF when I was newly single after a 13 year relationship. I had no idea what I was doing. We went on about 5 dates, but I didn’t pursue anything because he wasn’t very tactile. I think we went the whole time without a kiss. It was weird, but he was funny and I figured with a few dates he’d come out of his hostile shell. He didn’t. Plus, he lived a good 20 miles away and between working, being a mother, having a house to renovate etc, I really just couldn’t see myself having the time for him. I politely explained my decision to not want to take things further and he was really good about it. We have remained friends since, meeting up every so often to hike or eat (when it was allowed) and just generally catch up with each other. Not three days ago, he gets in touch and says ‘Fancy a snog?’

Umm, what?! I appreciate there is nothing romantic about this message, but knowing the guy as I do, this is extremely forward and is as romantic as he can get. Not in the mood for games though and just to check, I replied with ‘for one night orrrrr?’

‘For a bit…’ Oh heck, just see for yourselves….

We haven’t seen each other since September. The whole pandemic making travelling for either of us difficult. He works in a primary school teaching KS1 too so he has his hands full with work. But WHY NOW? I have asked him to explain. He has said the snog and cuddle is optional, so he actually wants to see me. Just me. For a walk. To have a laugh. He doesn’t need to explain really. I’m just trying to satisfy my curiosity.

Then a guy who I used to work with (lets call him Jeff) who I have zero interaction with whatsoever other than to follow him on social media suddenly strikes up a conversation with me in my DM’s. He was responding to a selfie I posted where I had captioned it with ‘Felt Cute, might delete later’. Oh, we know where this is going don’t we? Everybody knows what sliding into the DM’s means and I can see he has been watching my stories for a couple of months. But I was pleasantly surprised, I love when people suggest new places for me to walk and explore and he did just that, and then offered to take me there, we haven’t stopped chatting since. This is not the action of a man who just wants to be friends is it? Especially one who hasn’t spoken to me for 10 years. I guess he’s been plucking up the courage or waiting to see if I am actually single?

I am excited by none of them. Not one of these men set my world on fire. It may be because I am harbouring an obsession. It may be because I have actually learned something over the last 18 months about not getting too caught up in first impressions. What I have quickly figured out though and is now my top tip for dating after 2 whole dates so I’m obviously an expert: leave it a few days after any date before deciding to continue or not. I cannot stress this enough. Unless it was a very obviously bad date, you will most likely come away smiling to yourself purely based on the success of just getting through it, especially if you are new to dating. But this false sense of achievement will undoubtedly obscure any red flags that your brain hasn’t quite processed yet. So you can reflect and will also give you chance to identify his next intentions. Win Win. And this is especially important if you come away having laughed a lot!

Anyway, back to men being like buses.

Insane Rob wants a kind, honest, genuine person, but the fact he refers to his camper van as his ‘fuck truck’ and the fact he spends most of his time in Wiltshire (the fucking other end of the country) makes this a very easy decision. I’m gonna wait for the next bus.

Geeky Matt has zero charisma, but can hold a conversation. He didn’t make me laugh much on the date but has had a few quips whilst we have been chatting which has made me giggle. There was no flirting but he did invest 2.5 hours over a video call. Yes, I said a video call. So I’m happy to hop onto this new bus for at least another stop.

Nathan I do actually like. We have a platonic relationship right now but I could quite easily move out of that into the romantic arena. He’s funny, cute, fit, successful and engaging. They say that when you come away from a date you should consider if you would be friends with this person, attraction or none, and in this case, I have a proven friendship. I’m reluctant though because again, it seems like a casual set up can only be on the cards. I have made it very clear I do not want that. Nathan is a circular, if I hop on, I might discover some new sights but I know exactly where I’ll be going. I do wonder with Nathan if we both have the same idea of what a friendship is. Maybe I’m just one bus stop on his circular tour of town and he has a number of ladies at other stops.

Jeff has completely come out of the blue. He’s the bus I was least expecting. A big flashy tour bus with tinted windows. I have no idea whats on it, but I want to take a peek. Nothing colourful in my DM’s either, just a straight forward let me take you out. I’m gonna hop on board and see what happens at the next stop.

Even though I have been working on me, I am still second-guessing myself. I have a penchance for being friendly, is it possible my general character is being misconstrued? I keep asking myself whether my need to be friendly is toxic to me, my innate need as people-pleaser means I quite often just see the good in people and expect everybody to be as friendly as I am, but I don’t think it works that way. It’s dawned on me that Nathan might just be recycling girls he knows. Maybe I need to start blocking people? I read somewhere that the sign of a healthy woman is one who has the ability to walk away. The train is leaving the station bus is leaving the stop. By staying friends with them, I’m always waiting for the bus and so they’ll never realise just what a loss I am? God that sounds a little big headed, but nobody else is going to put me on a pedestal, I may as well do it myself. And if I want to find the man of my dreams in real life, I need to sort out the dream haze. The haze in this case is underwhelming men!

I adapted Wendy Cope’s poem:

Bloody men travel on bloody buses.

We are talking about fucking buses…

Seriously girl,

…..find one with a car.

And just when I thought my reality check had firmly taken hold, my horoscope goes and gives me this worthy gem:

So do I continue with my obsession or not?!

Men are like Buses

Is it any coincidence that in the week that I start online dating, suddenly every male friend I have in my life wants more? Can they see or just sense my dating aura has turned from red to green?

Or is it purely that I’m just open to a conversation now rather than ignoring people in my attempt to be more date ready?

Funny, huh?

Except FD *rolls eyes*

Reminds me of a poem by Wendy Cope:

‘Witty Title’ – Pet Names

Ok, let’s talk about pet names. Seeing as I can’t get ‘babes’ out of my head thanks to FD and his stupid fucking confusing fucking mind games! Might I just add that everybody at football, or anywhere for that matter, calls me by name, by surname or by nickname so babes is totally, completely, utterly out of the blue. A l i e n.

Why, Why, Whyyyyyyyyy? *cries with frustration, curls up on sofa, hugging my knees*

Ok, so it was New Years. Maybe he had a drink? That’s reasonable, it was New Years! After all a bevvy does tend to loosen ones tongue but look, many a merry word spoken is the sober truth. Right? So I can be hopeful.

Or maybe he wasn’t merry and he just used the term babes in a casual, friendly way. And yet, if that was the case, he’d have referred to me as babes long before now because we have been friends (OK ‘acquaintances’, whatever) for nearly 2 damn years. Why have I never heard him refer to anybody as babes, babe, bae, darling, anything?? Again, I can be hopeful.

It’s a pattern break. I am convinced. He meant it, he 100% thinks I’m a babe! Of course he does else You can try and tell me otherwise. You there with your objective vantage points and external, non-invested views giving you total clarity on my desperate and pitiful situation. But I’m not listening…la la la la la. I don’t want to hear it. I want to be HOPEFUL. I need to be HOPEFUL, I need to know that he meant babes in a non-platonic way more than I need my next breath!

But I’ve been so caught up in his babes comment that I’ve completely missed the endearing pet names given to me by my dating arrghhpp matches; Home Slice, Red, and my favourite, Chopsy. In the space of a few days, these random men have put more effort and thought into a pet name for me than FD has after nearly 2 years of knowing me! And they actually reflect ME. They are personal. TO ME. Anybody can be babes. Fuck, I call my friends babes. I call the fucking jacket potato man on the corner babes!

Sooo nowwwww, not only am I dwelling on the fucking generic pet name given to me by a fucking generic man, who is acting very fucking generic and responding to it all in an equally fucking generic way (WHEN WILL YOU LEARN LUVVY?) but I’m suddenly very aware that I have quite possibly, unwittingly, had an impact on these Hinge men too. Getting this down on cyber paper was supposed to make things better, not worse. Instead I’ve gotta go overthink not just the one pet name given to me by one man, but 3 other pet names given to me by 3 other men. FFS.

Or actually, maybe pet names really don’t have that much meaning to them at all and I’m just doing my usual trick of reading into something that isn’t there. Perhaps I’m way off the mark about the impact I have had on these people and it’s just good natured stuff coming from good natured humans. I’ve never been pet named before, so I’m in unchartered territory, is this a sign? Is this what the emotionally secure, high value, good guys do? To build rapport and position themselves in a memorable enough way so they are not forgotten? Is…this…how…you…build…normal…relationships? 😧

According to psychology today (because they are the only reasonably reliable website offering insight on this matter at such short notice, other than a bunch of tweens on Reddit), pet names are used to show affection and project tenderness leading to an emotional charge. Not only this but personal idioms are a sign of relationship solidarity. Seems accurate, its certainly why I apply pet names to people.

I so so so want to believe it is all of that. I want to believe that FD called me babes because he is feeling more comfortable with our relationship and confident towards me. I want to know that it is his version of affection for me and that he feels tenderness towards me.Is it too much to ask that he just loves me already, goddammit?! Actually, I wish that to be true for the Hinge men too, but I’m crushing so hard on FD it is borderline obsession. I just cannot shake it. Hmmph!! But there’s a niggle. In the back of my head. Saying ‘oh now wait a minute’. Maybe this is just clever trickery of the Menz, designed with purpose to lure women into a false trap. High calibre Menz probably have higher calibre tricks right? Creating a false sense of security; a pet name being a friendly blanket of comfort before they tear out this hopeful beating heart of mine from under it.

Fucking monsters.