I have been inspired this week! Not by a beautiful sunset or anything to do with nature and going outside, but by the wonders of technology. Or more precisely I have been listening to the audio book version of Aziz Ansari’s new book Modern Romance; which goes into depth about online dating, our obsession with our phones, and technology trying to nudge us towards real human interaction.
I was inspired not only by Aziz’s comedic timing and well-done homework on 21st century romance, but how true all his findings and interviews really were, especially for the 25 to 34 aged demographic; which is mine and thus the only group I care about (JK, I care like 20% about the other demographics too).
Don’t worry, this is not a book review (but if you’re single or you’ve just started dating someone, you really should read it because it’s got fascinating facts about dating and relationships that you can spout at potential dates and partners when the silence becomes too awkward).
What it did, naturally, was got me thinking about my own dating life, so I figured it would be fun to recount the three worst dates I’ve ever had and then the best one, because people like to also hear good stuff apparently.
So I was speaking to this guy for about a month online (which according to Aziz’s research is a big no-no as that is usually when sparks fizzle out through the constant back and forth of messages. Instead we should think of online dating as an “online introduction” and meet for real as soon as possible). After a few almost-meet-ups, we finally arranged to meet. He was a mover and shaker in the bar scene, so he took me to this very cool bar in the West of London.
So far so good right? Yes, I thought so too, until we were hounded for the first hour by the constant appearance of a waiter and barman who knew my date and felt like engaging in some arse-kissing and hero worship whilst we were trying to get to know each other. This third wheel did not leave us alone for more than five minutes at a time and wholly ignored my presence (after asking my date what he wanted to drink, I had to pipe up and remind the waiter that I also wanted a drink before he swiftly went on his way to fulfil my date’s every desire).
Add to that three hours of my would-be suitor talking non-stop about himself and his life, and it’s safe to say that I was very ready for the date to be over; parched and tired as I was. The icing on top of this cake of self-indulgence on his part came after his three hour talking marathon, when I was yawning through my eyeballs and looking pointedly at my watch, and he turns to me and says “So, what do you do again?”
I met this guy online and we agreed to meet at a planetarium type exhibition; I was intrigued and excited by his geek chic persona and was looking forward to meeting him in real life. However, not only was he two hours late (his friend had an emergency and then there was apparently rail replacement drama), but for some reason I waited for those two hours trying to enjoy the summer sun I was sat underneath and be super understanding because it was our first meeting. I would not be so forgiving nowadays though.
Anyway, he turned up and was not as apologetic as I would have liked. Thus followed an afternoon of fending through sweaty tourists in an overcrowded exhibition, followed by fish and chips in a semi-nice restaurant where he regaled me with tales about why he spends so much time playing Dungeons and Dragons, or D & D as the “cool” kids call it. The best part was that he had some D & D props to really demonstrate his point, so that was nice. I had no actual problem with the D & D thing, each to their own; but we had little in common, he was dressed like he was going to the gym, and he was TWO HOURS LATE for our date.
The Pizza Guy
This is by far the worst date I’ve ever been on but I didn’t actually meet this guy online (shock horror, I know right?!). I met him on the tube on a night out, and I haven’t made eye contact with a commuter since. Anyway, he was also a few hours late for the date (that was probably the beginning of a trend, although I was mega into someone else at the time so my feelings were not exactly invested) and his excuses were way lamer than D&D guy; I think he was just lazy.
When he did arrive, he was dressed like a member of a 90’s R&B quartet, all in white with one of those Kangol hats on (you know the one I mean, we all had them when we were 12. He wasn’t 12 though; he was like 25). He proceeded to take me all around China Town, looking at each of the menu prices before finally deciding that he wanted to go to Pizza Hut. PIZZA. HUT. You can probably guess that the rest of the date went great and we’re now married with three kids.
Well Reader, as usual, you are DEAD WRONG. We went to the Hut, I had a terrible pasta thing, he spoke openly on the phone in front of me for ten minutes before I was ready to storm out, and then he sexually propositioned me a number of times, and when I didn’t respond to his unsubtle suggestions, he just wanted to talk about football. At the end of it all he asked if he could see me again and I wondered if we had in fact been on the same date.
OK and now the best one. This was hard to remember, which isn’t a good sign, and I had to make sure it really was the best. But when I finally remembered it I realised I had buried the memory because it was quite painful to revisit. So here it is!
The Best Date
I went on a “friendly non-date” date with a guy I was not seeing but had rapidly developed feelings for (a “friendly non-date” is a term I just made up which is when two people like each other but both are too afraid to make an obvious move). We went to this very hipster place and ate pulled pork by the canal and talked and laughed for hours. Then we got on the wrong train, we got wasted and he walked me to the bus stop. Perhaps it doesn’t sound amazing but trust me, it was. The difference between this and the other dates was simply the mutual interest, brilliant conversation and firework like sparks flying between us. This probably means my standards had been pretty low up until that point but this isn’t news so let’s move on.
Dating can be something of a minefield, and I am currently MIA from the dating scene whilst I recover from my previous terrible experiences, but according to Aziz Ansari, it’s all part of the modern dating world, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing some action again in no time. Metaphorical puns intended.
Image credit: date by N.K.Narasimhan from the Noun Project