When I was married, I was always grateful of being in a relationship and not having to deal with being single and the search for Mr Right (ugh, I hate myself for even using that term). It wasn’t in a smug way either, or at least I hope it wasn’t. My ex and I used to have my single girlfriends round for dinner and, despite his many flaws, he was always great at putting them at ease and making sure we had fun with great food cooked for us and our glasses kept continuously topped up. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I put up with his inappropriate behaviour for so long… (note to self, I can cook and get my girlfriends drunk all by myself).
I would empathise with my friends and admit that I would be absolutely awful at dating if I was in that world. I’d known my ex since I was 9 and had been with him since I was 19, I’d never had to do the proper “dating” thing. Back then, I also assumed I never would have to, but what is it they say about assuming? Yeah, I’m an ass.
Fast forward 10+ years and I’m now one of the only single girls in my friend group, everyone else is in their comfortable, co-habitation, marrying, baby-having stages and I’m… back to where my friends were in their twenties.
As much as the idea of dating had always seemed like torture to me, there are also tales out there of it being fun and glamorous and successful! I’m looking at you Sex And The City and every romcom ever.
Closer to home though I had friends who’d met their partners online, sat next to them at a wedding, been set up on a blind date, worked with them or – my favourite ever – met in the airport security line. So I tried as much as I could to focus on those stories and know that I was much more confident in myself than I’d ever been, I found it easy to speak to people and I loved hearing people’s stories so surely dating should be at least fun, if not easy.
Maybe it was the Match.com event I went to where most of the male attendees were over 50 (the top end of my age range is 40) and one, after cornering me, took to showing me pictures of his kids from his wallet, with the oldest one being 21. I was closer in age to his son than him. Dear God, is this my life now?
Thankfully, I actually ended up chatting with possibly the only decent option in the room that night and he and I set up a date. We went for drinks a week later and, while his smile still made my heart skip a beat, there was just no other sense of excitement from him. I think we lasted 2 drinks and then gave it up.
Another guy I’d met on Match.com had seemed super interesting and funny over text but when we met in person he was as wet as the Vancouver rain. He seemed bored. I was definitely bored. I think even the waitress was bored. It was a tough Sunday evening.
The next date definitely had more energy. He was from the UK so at least I knew we’d have something in common and, hopefully, a more similar attitude to drinking. I was finding the drinking lifestyle adjustment hard. I guess at home (UK home) you can count on people to just get hammered and that tends to help loosen things up but at home here (Canada home), people are more concerned about their morning yoga class. And at that stage, I still hadn’t quite got into that way of living.
The date with the Brit was more fun for sure, despite how long he’d been in Canada for he had a little bit of the Mancunian swagger still left in him from home but was maybe a little too sure of himself. The WTF moment came about when he started talking about how close he and his Mum were and how supportive she was of his dating. I didn’t expect him to finish the story with “so she always makes sure to buy me condoms before a date, like tonight”.
Hold up. A) Your mother is buying you condoms? Can you do nothing for yourself? B) Why are you presuming you need condoms on a first date? C) Why the hell is your Mother presuming you need condoms on a first date?
I can’t even remember what my reaction was, all I remember is that from that moment on I wanted the date to be done then and there. It was unfortunate that we were in a bar where the cocktails took an age to be made and we’d just ordered another round. When we finally did get out of there, I made up some story about why I wasn’t walking the way he thought I’d be going and the direction he’d started to walk in, and instead gave him a cursory hug before going off in the opposite direction to my apartment, simply to end the date quicker.
Between those date fails and just generally not feeling a spark with anyone I’d so far met, there was definitely part of me that was starting to get a little tired of dating. It takes a lot of effort and I joke that it could be a full time job, but seriously between swiping on the apps, starting conversations, keeping conversations going, planning dates, trying to keep a calendar organised, oh and also just trying to be your most charming and date-able self at all times it can be exhausting.
Where was the fun?! Where were the first kisses that make you go weak at the knees? The incredible first dates that you’d talk about for years to come? The butterflies when you’re getting ready to meet someone? Where was the excitement?!
Mostly I was stressed. And disappointed. And weary. But all it takes is one. And until that one presented itself, at least I was amassing some really great stories and keeping my girlfriends suitably entertained. You’re welcome ladies.