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 as a result agreed to meet every man who asked her out resulting in an impressive 98 dates in 9 months. Her quest to find love however was unsuccessful, but is 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 method but your attitude as well. From reading Winter’s views on dating I probably could’ve told you that every one of her dates would prove unsuccessful before she’d even left the house! If you’ve been on 97 dates which you’ve already deemed failures, did date number 98 ever really have a chance?
I find myself mightily defensive of dating because personally I find it to be a fascinating and at times hilarious social experiment. The awkwardness, the nerves, the sweaty palms, back in the day I revelled in it, it was all part of the fun. I was once asked out by a girl completely out of my league and her being so attractive I found myself under even more pressure than usual to impress. We went to our local pub where two comedians were hosting a kind of ‘games night’, it seemed like the perfect icebreaker.
“Everyone stand up” they said, “If we call your number you must sit down and if you are left standing at the end you’ll be asked to take part in the finale of tonight’s show.” Myself and fourteen others were left standing and split into three groups of five. The first five were sent into the audience to retrieve as many items of red clothing as they could find. I began to panic, a stick-thin, body conscious teenager on a date with this stunning girl, I just so happened to be wearing a red t-shirt. The five contestants had just about got to the end of their game when one of the hosts grabbed the microphone and shouted “there’s a guy in the front row with a red t-shirt on!” Before I knew it they were hurtling towards me to quite literally rip the shirt from my back.
There I was sat in the front row with no top on casually 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 make my way up there. What was even more humiliating was that after everyone had left I couldn’t actually find my t-shirt. There I was wandering the stage, confused and 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. As it turned out, my t-shirt had already been chucked next to our seats about ten minutes before I got up on stage, topless, I just hadn’t noticed. The only thing worse than humiliation is unneccesary 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 (thankfully fully clothed) this time stuffing my face in a cracker eating competition. This was anything but pretty, five of us stood in a line with tiny pieces of cracker spewing from the corners of our mouths. Strangely the competition was won by a young guy named Sean Connery! Genuinely!
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 it was so mellow it killed the relationship before it’d 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. Dates are memories, life experiences that we can learn from and on the off chance that it does go well, you might just find what you’ve been looking for all along.
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 hope you find what you’re looking for.