I was reading an article in the Huffington Post by Relationship Expert Susan Winter, who claims that dating has become ‘tedious, unnatural and unnecessary.’ So I had to ask myself, do I agree?
Winter who rarely dates, decided to prove to friends and family that she could date if she wanted to and in doing so agreed to meet every man who asked her out – which resulted in an impressive 98 dates in 9 months. Her quest to find love however was unsuccessful – but was this down to the quality of her suitors or the attitude of Winter herself? “Men parade their toys while women serve as the cows, pigs and horses parading for our blue ribbon of acceptance” she proclaims. It saddens me however, that a ‘relationship expert’ could be quite so cynical. Dating I admit can be tiring at times, but I firmly believe that your success rate is dependant on not just your approach, but your attitude as well. From reading Winter’s views on dating I probably could’ve told you that every single one of her dates would prove unsuccessful before she’d even left the house! And if you’ve been on 97 dates which you’ve already deemed failures, did date number 98 ever really stand a chance?
I find myself strangely defensive of dating because personally I’ve always found it to be a fascinating and at times hilarious social protocol. The awkwardness, the nerves, the sweaty palms – back in the day I just thought it was all part of the fun. I remember once being asked out by a girl who was completely out of my league, I was so enamoured by her that the pressure to impress was tenfold. We went to a local pub where two comedians were hosting a kind of ‘games night’ which seemed like the perfect icebreaker. “Everyone stand up” they said, “if we call your number you must sit down and if you’re left standing at the end you’ll be asked to come up on stage and take part in tonight’s finale.” Myself and fourteen others were left standing and then split into three groups of five. The first five were sent into the audience to find as many items of red clothing as possible. Deep down I was panicking, I was a stick-thin, self-conscious adolescent on a date with this stunning girl and I just so happened to be wearing…a red t-shirt of course. The five contestants had just about got to the end of their game when one of the hosts excitedly grabbed his microphone and shouted “there’s a guy in the front row with a red t-shirt on!” Before I knew it the five contestants were all hurtling towards me to quite literally rip the shirt from my back.
There I was sat in the front row with no top on awkwardly wrapping my skinny arms around my even skinnier teenage frame. To my horror my humiliation didn’t end there, all the items taken from the audience were left lying in the middle of the stage for the owners to come up and collect and so I had to actually make my way up there. What was even more humiliating was that after the others had left I couldn’t actually find my t-shirt. There I was wandering the stage (a little confused and feeling very alone), asking if anyone had seen it. I could see my date sitting in her seat looking absolutely mortified – as easy-going as I am I literally just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. As it turned out, my t-shirt had already been thrown next to our seats a few minutes before I (unneccesarily) got up on stage and yet there I was wondering around like a headless chicken – topless. The only thing worse than humiliation is unneccessary humiliation!
All of this had happened and it wasn’t even my turn to take part in a game yet. Before I knew it, I was back up on stage (fully clothed), this time stuffing my face in a cracker eating competition. This was anything but pretty, five guys stood in a line with tiny pieces of cracker spouting from every corner of our mouths. Strangely the competition was won by a young guy named Sean Connery, honestly!
Much to my surprise, that night ended with a kiss. We had one more date to a David Gray concert but as good as he was his music was so depressing it killed the relationship before it had even begun. Although we never saw one another again, that first date (albeit horrendous in many ways) was one of the funniest nights of my life that I’ve never ever forgotten. Dates are memories, life experiences that we learn from and on the off-chance that it does go well, you might just find what you’ve been looking for all along. Believe it or not that one humiliating evening did wonders for a teenage boy who’d long been lacking in a bit of confidence.
So to Susan Winter I say, no, dating isn’t pointless. What’s pointless is going on 98 dates with anyone who asks just to prove a point. Nonetheless, I sincerely hope you find what you’re looking for.