Has Dating Become Pointless?

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.

Happy Dating

PTB

Why do dog owners always say hello?

I was walking my dog the other day, a 10 year old cocker spaniel who seems to get more energetic and charming with old age. As I strolled along my usual route at the local park I saw a man in his late 40’s up ahead walking a very excitable German Shepherd. I’m a bit of a thinker when I’m walking, either a song in my head or wondering what to have for dinner that night. This guy however marched ahead of his dog like it was an ex-wife after the rest of his money. As he got closer we first looked at each other’s dog and only then did we make eye contact and give a casual “hello.” We both continued in opposite directions and back to leading our separate lives but for that split second when we made eye contact we were like brothers. I’m exaggerating of course but that simple exchange of pleasantries really made me laugh. That look we gave each other’s dog at the start that was our confirmation, confirmation that we are both dog owners, loud and proud.

Dog owners it seems have this unspoken bond, our dogs give us a reason to converse, even if the other person is your very worst nightmare of a human being, in that moment, on that twenty minute walk, we are all equal. It’s a funny but wonderfully simple concept but I must remember to tone down my new found enthusiasm for fellow dog owners, yesterday i was saying hello to just about everyone who passed by. At one point I was forgetting to check if they were even with dogs (that’s the unspoken rule you see), my neighbours must be thinking that guy is far too happy about walking his dog.

It got me thinking as well, can you imagine if everyone driving a car started waving at each other and saying hello because they are all fellow drivers and are bonded by car ownership? Is one man’s Honda Civic another man’s cocker spaniel? Whatever the reason for saying hello I think it’s a beautiful thing sparked by a love of our wonderful canine friends. And remember if you do see a young bearded man walking an old chocolate coloured cocker spaniel just say hello, neither of us bite.

PTB

 

 

Choosing Between Two Loves?

This is a subject that I know has affected many people, both men and women. A close friend once asked me the question, it tormented me for hours on end and it wasn’t even my problem. I suppose the biggest issue for anyone in this situation is fear – fear of regret, fear of choosing the wrong person, fear olargef making the biggest mistake of your life. Late last year the issue was brought to my attention once again by a work colleague and in my desperate attempts to answer I scoured the internet for advice and surprisingly I found the answer. It didn’t come from Jeremy Kyle or Oprah or a magazine agony aunt it was a quote from none other than Johnny Depp himself. It was so simple, and now if anyone ever asks me how to choose between two people I’ll always give the same answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PTB

Elaine: Beautiful, Intelligent, Stalker.

After your first love you find yourself a bit lost on the relationship front, do I want to meet someone else? Do I just want to have fun? Whatever label this encounter had, Elaine was a mistake. We’d exchanged numbers on a night out, we’d actually hardly spoke when we met but there she was day after day her name popping up on my phone. If I was honest I struggled to remember what she looked like but hesitantly I agreed to meet up. We went to the cinema to see ‘Big Momma’s House 2’ as you can tell I was very cultured in my teens. Halfway through the movie she leaned in and said “I made this for you” it was a CD of her favourite songs, a nice gesture on your two year anniversary but not on a first date and certainly not worth interrupting Big Momma’s House for. Despite a somewhat scary first date for some unexplained reason I continued seeing her, regardless of the early alarm bells.

Elaine had told me she was 19 studying childcare at college, the day after our date she called me in floods of tears, “I’ve done something awful and the guilt has kept me awake all night” at this point I really didn’t care what she’d done, I was still regretting answering the phone. “I’m 17 and I’m still at school” a long pause ensued, I still didn’t care. I was only 19 myself at the time so the age difference didn’t bother me. We saw each other another couple of times, nothing special, Pizza Hut and Brokeback Mountain but still the phone calls continued and now they were to my Mum’s house, it had started to get really out of hand. I didn’t help myself by going to her parents for dinner of course where my teen self couldn’t contain my laughter as  I watched her whole family devour the most impeccably penis shaped meal I’ve ever laid eyes on (beef olives). I messaged Elaine soon after and suggested we cool things, we’d actually only seen each other 3 or 4 times but it was long overdue. She called the house straight away of course. I explained how I was feeling, she was silent until eventually snapping and asking me turn my music off, ‘Swing Swing’ by the All-American Rejects hardly romantic, “it just reminds me of us” she said, what!?!?! This was a girl I’d went to the cinema and Pizza Hut with a couple times, I was unaware we had a song. She wouldn’t accept that I was ending things and so I took the coward’s way out’ “I’m moving to Australia” I said, “to work on an Eco-farm” at the time I didn’t even know what this was nor where the idea had come from. Again a long silence………”I’ll wait for you” she said and so that was the end of Elaine.

Obviously I wasn’t going to Australia but I was half expecting a Friends style send off at the airport similar to when Chandler went to Yemen to escape Janice, it seems funny now looking back but at the time this fear was my reality. The last time I saw Elaine was a few months later when I obviously wasn’t in Australia as she had thought, the shock on her face prevented her from either embracing me or biting my head off and we continued walking in opposite directions.

In spite of Elaine’s faults I did however learn a very important lesson. All jokes aside I think if you meet a girl who is so intense so early on its best to stay clear unless you really are genuinely interested in being with them, not because I think they’re crazy but because they are obviously quite vulnerable and will inevitably get hurt, unnecessarily. At the time I was very nonchalant and just thought why not just see what happens but if truth be told I actually felt sorry for Elaine, she was clearly very insecure and I guess just desperate to be loved, wherever she is now I hope she’s happy and with someone who appreciates her, even if he is living in fear. Just kidding.

Finally, if your mental age is below 25 avoid beef olives at all costs and if you say you’re going to move to Australia make sure you do actually go to Australia, even if just to save the other person the plane fare from when they decide to surprise you at an imaginary Eco-farm in the middle of the Australian outback.

PTB