Entries in dating (26)


Not dating, just watching

I have a new obsession. It snuck up on me a few weeks ago and I can’t feed it fast enough.  I’m addicted to reality TV shows that are about dating and relationships.

It started last year with First Dates, a show about, wait for it, people on first dates. Obviously I was drawn to it due to my own experiences of meeting total strangers in the hope of finding a connection.  At last count I’ve been on 36 first dates.  Most were fun, a few hideous, but I was lucky and met some great guys.  Some got a second date, some didn’t.  Sometimes it was my idea to end it, sometimes theirs.  That’s okay.  I guess. 

Watching First Dates reminds me of the nervousness and initial excitement you get, not knowing whether the person you’re about to meet will be nice, an idiot or a total waste of your time.  You wonder if you will click. Will you even like each other?  What if he tries to kiss me?  Will this go anywhere or will I leave, with the sad realization that I’m still single … and more first dates await.  First Dates (the show) brings all that awkward horror to life and I can’t look away because I have lived and breathed that pain (and occasional pleasure) over and over.

My favourite relationship show right now is Married at First Sight – classically manipulated by producers to suck us all in.  MyGod, they’re doing a great job.   Not only did the panel of experts “marry” total strangers, but they’ve managed to create stories of a runaway bride, a text message cheating scandal and plied contestants full of alcohol at dinner parties to ensure they go feral and make each other cry or storm off.  I am both horrified and in love it.  Thankfully there are couples who have actually found love and overcome hurdles (along with their emotions and dirty laundry being aired on television).  They give me hope and show the rest of us how to do it. 

I don’t usually like reality TV but these shows provide an insight into what people see in each other – or are looking for in a partner.  Over and over again, contestants turn down people who are all the things they’re looking for, but their patterns and exes cloud their judgement, making them walk away from potentially perfect partners.  This is usually where I start yelling “You stupid idiot, he’s perfect for you” at the television.  If only someone had been able to do that for me in my dating life.

The other horrible thing to watch is when couples (or one of them) cling to the ‘relationship’ when it’s obvious they’re not a good match and have nothing in common.   With Married at First Sight, I’ve watched men be rude and almost verbally abusive to their partners (one used the word frigid), but still the women stay in an effort to ‘work things through’.  What’s wrong with us that we can’t see when someone is treating us badly and we put ourselves last to stick it out.  If only someone had been around to yell “He’s an asshole Tan, start running” in some of my relationships.  If only.  

Bride & Prejudice is another ‘shock’ reality show that makes you wonder what the hell is wrong with people. It's based on couples wanting to get married and their selfish family members boycotting them for everything from religious beliefs (anyone gay on the show), being too young (sure, the girl is a bit of an overemotional psycho but he loves her) and the poor woman who is being ostracized by her sister because she’s much older than her fiancé.  Grow up people, marriage is a gift and you should be thankful your kids have actually met someone who wants to be with them. 

SBS have a full on dating show called Undressed.  You guessed it, couples meet for the first time and then …. Undress each other.  Talk about awkward.  For me as much as them.  They sit on a king sized bed in a bright, soulless white TV studio while a huge screen tells them what to do next in giant screaming text.  “TALK ABOUT YOUR MOST PAINFUL CHILDHOOD MOMENT.” “KISS EACH OTHER.” “SHOW YOUR TATTOOS AND PIERCINGS”.  “TAKE EACH OTHERS’ CLOTHES OFF”.

This is when I wriggle around in my seat.  It’s not sexy.  It’s just uncomfortable and I want to turn the lights down so they don’t have to see each other and neither do I.  It’s like the world’s worst First Dates meets Dating Nude (a show I can’t bear to watch).  Even worse, at the end of their few minutes together (it’s speed dating too) they have to punch YES or NO into an ipad by the bed in response to whether or not they want to see the other person again.  Dating is hard enough without rejection on a giant screen with the person sitting next to you.  Maybe it is better to lie to someone’s face and say “Let’s catch up again” as you walk off, knowing full well that’s never going to happen.

For light relief and an insight into dating in other cultures check out China’s If You Are the One.  It’s the ultimate dating game show where men pitch themselves at 24 single women who have all the power – they can turn him down by switching off the light on their console after just one look.  Harsh.  The male contestants create a cheesy video about their lives while the women decide if he meets their criteria or not.  If successfully matched, the couple gets to enjoy an overseas holiday (giving the airline a cheery endorsement at the end of the show).  If not they leave alone.  Broken.  The show has 50 million viewers. That’s a public humiliation I would never put myself through.  Being single is pretty good from where I’m sitting  (and watching). 


You're dumped eHam

I finally deleted my eHam profile.  It felt weird.  Like I was letting an old friend go.  Throwing out a pair of jeans that once looked good on me. Killing off my chance to find love (pfffft, joking).  I won’t lie, as a What If Girl, it was hard. 

I’ve been on eHam for a few years – I don’t want to confess how long for fear of sounding like a loser – but it was fun.  When I first signed up I dated enthusiastically, lining up several dates every week, and chatting to a few men at once.  Then as the excitement of meeting potential partners wore off, I logged on only when I felt like it, throwing myself in and out of the dating world for as long as my self esteem would allow.

Now that journey – or should I say roller coaster - is over.  Yes, I’m still single.   But that’s okay. 

Did I meet some great men?  Absolutely.  Some of them I’m still in contact with.  Coffee Boy, one of my first dates, who texts me every year on my birthday to catch up.  Marathon Man, who I dated for a while (he’s now happily married again with another child).  Celebrity Chef, one of the hottest guys I met, swaps funny stories and emojis with me like we’re bored 15 year olds.  Oh and most recently, The Sailor, who was a brilliant dinner date and plus one.  I liked him a lot.  Never mind.  

I also talked to and met some weirdos.  IronMan, the uber strong Leo who had a voice like a jockey and talked in the third person about everyone.  Thong Man who had a fight with me because I didn’t want to meet him after ten minutes of chatting.  Smiley Face who said that women who wear glasses are librarians and that we let way too many asylum seekers into our country. Elvis the bragger and 50/50 boy the groper.  Delete.

Then there were the awesome guys I met but didn’t click with physically or emotionally.  Sometimes me, sometimes them.  The Food Scientist and I had a brilliant four hour date, then nothing.  Fireman Sam (an old school romantic), the Drummer (lots of fun) and Sauce Boy (who flew from Canberra to take me to dinner on Valentine’s Day).  All lovely guys, just not right for me. 

I also had some interesting match ups … Carlos the Spanish Horse Whisperer … Scott the Swinger who had a wife AND a girlfriend, and was looking for another playmate to join them … and the lovely Michelle, a woman transitioning and looking to explore the world of dating as she became a man.  Then there was Nick who ended up dating Twin Kat for a few months. Thank God she never brought him home.  Awkward on a new level. 

A huge shout out to The Painter, Italian Stallion and Five Perfect Dates who all have their own chapters in my upcoming book.  If I ever finish it. 

As I hit the delete button on my account I felt good.  It was time to try something new and get rid of the things in my life that weren’t working.  Done.  I closed my laptop.  A little later, however, I received more matches in my inbox.  What?  I logged on again to find I had only stopped my subscription, not deleted my account.  My profile was still there attracting men.  Nice try eHam. 

I searched the site and finally found the Close My Account section.  As I hovered over that tiny red button, I wondered if this was the right thing to do.  What If, my head taunted me.  What IF?!  No, I’m done.  We are done. 

I clicked the button and a collage of cute men scrolled across my screen with an ominous sentence … “Are you sure you want to close your account? These are some of the people you might be missing out on.”

Are you for real?!  Where the hell were all these hotties the past few years?  It’s like going to AA and someone waving a bottle of champagne in your face before you walk through the door. My self discipline may not be that strong.  I pressed the “Yes, Delete my Account” button.  Another screen popped up.   “Warning!  Are you sure you want to do this?”  

A list of reasons not to delete my profile tugged at me.  You will permanently lose all your matches.  Shame. You will lose all communication with your matches.  Fine. You will have to retake the whole relationship questionnaire (or 936 stupid questions about dumb shit as I like to call it).  Yep.  Got that.  I’m out of here.

Finally after getting through myriads of dating firewalls, my account was closed.  Dead.  Dormant.  Deleted.  Hundreds of men that didn’t quite fit me (or vice versa) disappearing into a cyber black hole.  Just like that.  My fallback database of potential love was gone … for good. 

 Surprisingly, it feels really good.  And no, I’m not signing up for Tinder.   


Wanting the elusive 

They say that you always want what you can’t have.  I’ve been thinking about this a bit lately, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s true.

I had lunch with a good friend last week and he asked about my recent dating experiences.  I quickly ran through details on the world’s fastest and most boring date (coffee and 1/10 of cronut) … abusive messages from a douchebag (read my Granny Puss blog) … meeting a really nice guy but not quite clicking ... trying out a new app (and failing miserably) … and my ongoing stupidity / bravery at my quest to find a partner.

Sighing, I went into a rant about how disappointed I am that, after so much hard work, slogging it out in the dating world, I still couldn’t meet a decent guy.   Reeling off all the things I do / have tried, I lamented that (on a bad day) it didn’t seem fair that some people met their plus one with little or no effort, however I continue to ‘put myself out there’ with no luck.  I’m not just sitting around waiting for a hot pizza guy to ring my doorbell, I’m putting in the hard yards with zilch results.

He looked at me and smiled.  “I’m the same”, he said, “in finding a job, but what can you do?”

Ah, lightbulb moment.   This amazing guy has been looking for a job for almost two years with no luck.  He’s smart, funny, passionate and a good person.   Any company would be lucky to have him, but he can’t find a suitable role.  

Like me, he’s not sitting around doing nothing.   He volunteers with a charity, teaches at a Uni (sharing his skills and experience) and has taken on other roles to keep busy and pay his bills.  He exercises and stays positive, trying not to feel sorry for himself (unlike me and my occasional pity party).  No matter how many interviews he attends, he never lands the gig.  More disappointment, more self analysis, more wondering “Why can’t I make this happen?”

I have friends who are desperate to have children.   They look after themselves, take vitamins, follow orders from doctors and natural therapists.  Some of them have even been through IVF (Hell, I’ve heard) with no result.   Countless injections, invasive tests, procedures and cash, and still they can’t have children.  These people would be great parents, but for whatever reason, it’s not happening.   To make matters worse, they see young Mums ‘accidentally’ get pregnant and produce healthy, happy babies – whether they want them or not.  Heartbreaking. 

Why does this happen?  Is it to teach us that what we think we want, isn’t actually that good for us?  Sure, I can concede that I’m great alone / solo, but for people who want jobs and babies and good health … how does that work?

Is it that when we finally get what we’ve been asking for, there’s less chance we will take it for granted?  That the harder you have to work for something, the more you really appreciate it?   A lesson to count your blessings for all the good things we do have? 

Maybe it’s all of these … and also the fact that sometimes, life just isn’t fair.  Bad shit happens to good people and no matter how hard you work, some things just aren’t meant to be.   I’d like to think it’s also a reminder to stay strong, be positive and always follow your dreams, because you never know what’s around the corner.   Then when we do all get what we’ve been searching for, we’ll look back and be thankful that we never gave up. 

(And no, I am not going back to online dating …. Yet).


The What If Girl 

I’ve had an epiphany.  A realisation about myself.  More self awareness.  I’ve been spending time looking at my habits and patterns (good and bad), trying to work out what I want next in life.  I blame a stack of Facebook and Instagram posts encouraging me to Follow My Dreams and not settle for less.  Dammit. 

Part of this came about after another hilarious (read hideous) dating experience.  I wondered why I keep torturing myself, talking to men who are either damaged, f*ckwits or both.  Why could I not just give up dating for good?  Was I a sucker for punishment?  Did I have a hidden issue from my childhood?  Am I afraid to be alone? 

Thankfully the answer is No to all of those questions.  The answer is that I’m a What If Girl. 

My head is constantly poking me with the statement “What If?” It happens in lots of areas of my life, particularly dating.  What If this guy that I talk to / text / go on a date with is the love of my life?  (I say next as I’ve been lucky enough to have had a few loves in my life.)   What If he’s just awkward online but when we meet, we have an amazing connection and it’s on?  What If I’m being too fussy?  What If I give up dating and my next big love passes me by.  What If?

I have the same issue when it comes to stuff.  I have a lot of stuff.  Some people call it clutter.  I call it memories.   I have a hard time throwing things out.  You never know when you will need something, right?  What If I get invited to a fancy dress party and the theme is double denim with a Brazilian dancer head-dress?  What If someone asks to borrow a book I’ve read?  What If I forget that I finished the New York marathon because I threw my runners out?  What If?

Then there are the quirky little habits I have that I’m not prepared to drop in case I jinx myself or something bad happens.  What If I don’t say Drive Safely to someone when they leave and they have a crash?  What If I don’t call people when they pop into my head and something happens to them?  (This has actually happened to me so I’m going to let this one go).  What If I don’t tell the checkout boy that he gave me too much change and I get bad karma?   What If?

Being a What If girl isn’t all bad.  It actually has a really positive upside.  It means I also wonder What If for good stuff.  What If we created this amazing event at work and everyone loved it?  What If I started a blog as a way to feed my creative juices?  What If I trained really hard to run the New York marathon (and three others)?  What If I chose to see the best in people and do what I could to have a happy life?  What If? 

I’ve decided to wear my What If Girl badge with pride.  To not use it as an excuse to torture myself with clutter and crappy experiences, but to embrace it as a girl who sees the world full of endless possibilities.   To use the term What If as a challenge to do more, be better and embrace that Follow my Dreams meme I saw.  What If I never saw those inspirational quotes on Facebook?  What If indeed.   


My dating days are done

My dating adventures have been long and well documented.  Mainly by me on blogs and at dinner parties when coupled friends ooh and ahh at my hilarious stories of singledom.  Some were jealous.  Most felt sad for me.  Hang in there, they said, you’ll meet someone when the time is right.  Blah, blah, blah.

I haven’t and I didn’t and I probably won’t so stop it.  Stop saying shit that you know nothing about.  It’s like encouraging someone to keep buying lotto tickets … just in case their numbers come up. They mean well but it's not their money they're wasting. Save your cash and spend it on something that makes you happy.  It’s time for me to do the same with my time and energy.    

Sometimes my dating was arduous, but it was mostly fun.  Heartbreaking now and again.  A great content creator to hide the way it sometimes felt.  Degrading.  Painful.  An emotional roller coaster.  If you’ve ever dated for a long period of time you know what I’m talking about.  It can lift you up … but it can also tear you down.  It’s time for me to hang up my hopes of finding a cool guy to hang out with.  I am saying goodbye to dating.

Sipping a latte in an uber cool café recently I looked around at a bunch of bored looking couples and had an epiphany. I realised that I don’t actually need a cool guy to fill my void – because I don’t have a void.  I have a life filled with more than most people have and really, do I want to spend Sunday mornings at my favourite brunch place ignoring the guy sitting in front of me?  No thanks.  I feel good about exorcising my romantic gene.  No more eHam.  No more set ups from friends. (Not that any of you tried – thanks for nothing).  No more nagging thoughts about men and being in a relationship.  I’m done with this journey.

And let’s remember, it was always a journey and never a destination.  Right?

As I pack up my dating portfolio, I wanted to highlight a few of the men I’ve encountered over the past year … and most importantly what they’ve taught me.  I often look for the lesson in things.  Right now, I’m still not sure what I should have learned along the way, but here goes. 

The Cyclist:  Thank you for reminding me that friends should always come before dumb boys with thick accents, no matter how cute they are.  Three bottles of pinot and a hot pash on the steps of the Opera House does not excuse my bad manners of being drunk at dinner with Texas Girl. Too drunk to eat that awesome seafood chowder.  Also, why did you never call me again?  I’m good at Long Distance, remember?

Insurance Man:  Thank you for confirming my belief on always being nice to people because you never know what challenges they are facing.  I understand you didn’t mean to constantly look at my online profile but not get in touch again after our first, supposedly awesome, date. Please don’t do that, it’s confusing.  Also, I’m sorry you have prostate cancer and have been busy with treatments.  I hope you feel better soon and the doctor has helped you with that medical hard on issue you described in your text message. 

Celebrity Chef:  Thank you for being cute, with gorgeous eyes and a brilliant smile. A boy that I could easily add to my “Amazing male friends in my life” collection. If you wanted me to. I like that we had fun, interactive and engaging text conversations and that you admitted I’m really funny. Funnier than you. Your lessons in emojis changed my world and I will forever love that I got to send you that little pooh smiley face emoticon and you thought it was cool.  I will miss the late night photos of your feet at the gym – and one day I might return the favour.  If I ever sign up.  Make sure you send me shots of bad eHam matches now and again so I can feel good about myself.

The Sailor:  Thank you for tricking me into believing I really could have another long distance non relationship like a FIFO miner. Let’s be honest, we’re not George Clooney and that chick acting out that movie Up in the Air.  You made me fall in love with Sydney and the harbor and fluffy bathrobes which made me really happy for a while …  but I think I saw something you didn’t.  Also, no one, not even my Nanna who doesn’t own a mobile phone, thinks it’s acceptable to text someone back three days later.  No one.  I will miss our dates, but I won’t miss the angst of not hearing from you for weeks on end.  Such a shame as I really liked you.  I don’t take just anyone to the opening night of Matilda.  Though you are an excellent plus one at an after party, coaxing waiters with arancini balls in my direction.  I really will miss you. 

The Food Scientist:  Thank you for being the one that finally let me see dating for what it is.  A handful of unicorn fairy dust where you think all your dreams will come true … and for three hours you really believe that … until it’s time to say goodbye and it becomes blatantly obvious that you’re never going to see each other again.  Our date was fun and I loved asking you 397 questions while you asked me nothing about my life.  (It’s okay, this is what 97% of men do on dates). I learnt a lot about free range chickens so not all is lost.  It’s just going to be hard to hang out in the egg section of Coles ever again.  And you had such gorgeous blue eyes and loved espresso martinis.  Damn it!

It’s been fun.  Sort of.   I’m just done.   I need to focus on the amazing things I have in my life, not the tiny little thing I don’t.

Please ignore the sweet bitterness in my tone.  I’m just adding a little bit of drama like the closing scenes of a bad soap opera.  I’m grateful that I’ve had so many adventures.  I’m not sure what I’m going to write / talk / whinge about now … but I’ll find something. A new hobby.  Sailing for one, perhaps?