Before I first moved to London I never really saw the point in online dating for myself, don’t get me wrong I wasn’t against the idea of meeting guys online, but at the time I wasn’t really plagued by that need to meet “someone” and therefore I couldn’t really see myself doing the whole online dating thing as I felt it required too much effort on my part. Then one fateful night almost 2 years ago FL and TL convinced me that I just HAD to create a profile on POF. And thus my 2 year Love/Hate relationship with online dating was forged. Online dating is good for a few reasons, you have the ability to meet a wider variety of people and for the most part everyone is online for similar reasons so based on that rationale you feel comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll get a positive response. However, having said that I’ve identified one major problem, and that is, that there is too much choice, especially in a city like London. Most people are talking to several people at once and always with the view that actually someone better is lurking behind the next swipe or in the next picture, so even if you find someone you could like you’re never fully committed to seeing it through unless they are something particularly special. I’ve been on various dates, the majority good, one not so great, suffered a few disappointments, tried various apps at different times and I have deleted and re-downloaded them after bursts of anger and frustration at the whole charade.
Earlier this year I decided that I was fed up of speaking to people online and them never quite being up to the calibre I was hoping for (yes I am aware that I’m fussy) and I haven’t been as dedicated to trying to initiate interactions with people online as I was previously. I have a tendency to attract 3 types of online characters. Firstly there’s ‘the fake dater’ this is the guy I really get on with, he’s ridiculously charming and we have amazing textual chemistry, however when it comes to actually meeting IRL (in real life for those of you that are not au fait with your acronyms) they create wholly believable excuses for why they can’t, and generally use phrases like “soon” and “I wish”. Luckily I haven’t been caught out by this type of guy TOO many times however when I have I do seem to become quite infatuated and end up getting hurt when this interaction ultimately doesn’t go the way I want it to. Secondly there’s ‘the hookup’ he’s the guy who makes it obvious within the first few minutes of talking that all he wants is a 15 minute stand (if I’m lucky). He asks questions like “Do you live alone?”, “What are you looking for on here?” and makes statements such as “I like your curves” a lot of the time they’re even more frank than that. Now I’m not a prude and I don’t believe in judging people for fulfilling a basic need, but I dislike the way that online dating has made it OK, for people to not make any effort or even want to get to know you a little before asking for sex. In a way it’s probably a good thing as you can sniff out the one track minders from the outset. Finally there’s ‘the nice guy’ he is the guy who is really lovely, he would be an appropriate/suitable boyfriend, and he is probably looking for something serious. We have nice, if somewhat basic chat, we go on a date and the date is pleasant, but it’s missing that one significant (well to me anyway) thing, sexual chemistry. I just don’t fancy ‘the nice guy’ and with one notable exception, the majority of men I have met online and gone on to go on a date with, tend to fall into this category.
Now the reason I’m talking about online dating is that for the first 9 months of this year I’ve definitely dropped the dating ball and really haven’t been active on any of my dating apps which I tend to rotate when the tedium of the men on one of them infuriates me. After an evening in the pub with FL (I’m picking out a common theme when it comes to my online dating life here) we discovered that we both had read the same article in last months Cosmo. In the article the writer talks about the fact that she keeps picking the wrong online guy to date. So in order to try a fresh approach she turned her Tinder account over to her dad, as rather than going for looks he was much more likely to go for substance. Her father asked the guys he had matched with if they wanted to meet for dinner very quickly after beginning to chat with them.
There are two things I find very bizarre about this approach, firstly for those of you who have never done online dating, it’s not uncustomary to spend longer than a few minutes talking to a person to see if you click before asking to meet. CP always says she’d rather meet straight away than spend too long chatting for it to eventually fizzle out, and I am inclined to agree with this, however it’s not usually the done thing. The second aspect I find bizarre is the invite to dinner, I’ve always been of the opinion that going for dinner on a first date should be a no no. I like the thought of being able to make an easy getaway as you don’t know if you’ll like them or not and it’s easier to skip out after a couple of drinks whereas agreeing to a sit down meal prohibits this ease of escape.
Anyway, after discussing the article I let FL take over my Tinder. She decided to change a few of my photos and also updated my tagline then for the next 40 minutes she swiped left and right. She definitely matched guys I may not have necessarily swiped right for myself. However I’m trying to be more open and the next night I let CP take over my Tinder as well. Since letting my friends take over I’ve actually been more inspired to make a bit more effort myself and chat to more guys especially while I am feeling somewhat optimistic towards Tinder.
I’ve also taken a leaf out of ‘the father in the articles’ book, rather than let conversations drag on endlessly, sometimes resulting in them fizzling out altogether and in a few instances causing me to suffer severe disappointment when I encounter ‘the fake dater’ I mentioned earlier. So when I started talking to the Restaurant Manager, within 30 minutes I asked him if he fancied grabbing lunch the next day. So after some deliberation about where to meet (he lives in East Acton, so I figured it would be nice to meet on the central line) we agreed to go for some Italian at Marble Arch. I arrived at 1pm as we’d agreed and he was already there waiting for me. (Good sign, one of my pet peeves is people making me wait round for them, and I’m generally even less forgiving when I don’t know them.) We walked over to Prezzo chatting amicably about our journeys down. When we got to the restaurant it wasn’t too busy and we were seated in a comfortable corner table. It was actually a really nice setting for a first date as it was suitably busy so I didn’t feel that paranoia of everyone listening to what we were saying, yet it was quiet enough we could talk comfortably. It’s hard to know what to talk about on a first date, but we were both reasonably chatty so there were none of those awkward moments where you have to think really hard about what to say next. The food was delicious and I was bullied by him into having 3 courses, although a little excessive for a lunchtime meal. I actually had a really enjoyable time and I will be seeing him again…
So there you have it…online dating isn’t always a terrible experience, but it is best to keep your wits about you, if at all possible.